When we look at the world’s political map, we see two lines that are trying to annihilate one another: the right line and the left line. They alternate in dominance and their struggles are growing increasingly ferocious and destructive. But when we look at the rest of nature, there is no war there, but complementation. Even the struggles strengthen the rivaling parties and make them healthier. Clearly, we are missing something.
Balanced progress must always contain two sides: right and left. The right side is the tendency toward stability and tradition, toward making tomorrow the same as today. The left side is the tendency to revolutionize, innovate, to probe the future. When the two sides complement each other, society can draw better conclusions, make more accurate decisions, and move forward successfully.
“The eyes of the wise are in his head” (Ecclesiastes 2:14), said King Solomon. In other words, while nature is always pushing us forward, we must strive to understand its disposition and prepare for it. When we do not prepare, misfortunes surprise us and the distress forces us to search for protection. Because nature always evolves, maintaining stability tomorrow requires that we prepare for the future today. This is the right combination between the right line and the left line, and it is called “advancing on the middle line.”
Maintaining the middle line is challenging since the human ego constantly changes and evolves. The more we develop, the more our senses demand new excitements and we feel greater hunger for pleasure and satisfaction. At the same time, our world is growing increasingly connected and any movement that one person makes influences all other people. We have become mutually dependent while our alienation from each other is intensifying.
To survive the 21st century, we will have no choice but to establish global educational systems that will teach us the middle line between catering to our growing egos and the necessity to be considerate of others. Unless we learn how to find a constructive middle ground, nature will force us to do so through pressure and pain.
Back in the 1930s, the great kabbalist and thinker Baal HaSulam wrote in his inspiring essay “Peace in the World”: “In our generation, when each person is aided for his happiness by all the countries in the world, the individual unwittingly becomes enslaved to the whole world, like a wheel in a machine. …Although this is, in fact, known and felt, still people in the world have not yet grasped it properly. Why? Because such is the conduct of development in nature: The act comes before the understanding, and only actions will prove and push humanity forward.”
Therefore, we have no time to waste. If we want a welcoming tomorrow, we must work on it today.
Members of the far-right Proud Boys clash with counter-protesters during rival rallies in Portland, Oregon, U.S., August 22, 2021. REUTERS/David Ryder