There is an increasing understanding that we can no longer live our lives the way that we do, i.e., that our consumerist culture of overproducing and over-consuming is destroying our planet, robbing it of its resources, and which ultimately leads us to destruction. More and more people see no point in bringing more children into such a world where they end up suffering most of their lives.
Today, it has become commonplace to work 10-to-12 hours a day, and to endure long traffic jams before and after work. It seems foolish and even unreal, as if we have been placed into some game and we do not know what we are doing in this game, that someone somewhere is pressing on a controller that moves us around.
That is how our ego plays with us. Our innate desire is one that wishes to enjoy for personal benefit alone, and it makes us picture all kinds of pleasures that we can receive for running the rat race that so many of us do. Yet, since any pleasure we receive fades away, we remain feeling empty and wanting, and we never achieve any kind of complete fulfillment. On the contrary, the more we run around trying to fulfill ourselves, the worse we end up feeling.
We would thus be wise to stop for a moment and to think hard about what we are doing with our lives.
In the Passover story, Pharaoh is the king of Egypt who tries to hold the people of Israel in slavery. In the 21st century, Pharaoh is this very egoistic force that rules over us, which makes us each consider how we can live our lives in separation from each other, for personal benefit alone, and which holds us back from positive human connection and the discovery of a true harmonious, peaceful and purposeful life.
Pharaoh describes this egoistic force in us that obliges us to try and enjoy ourselves, but which ultimately leads us to destroy our own lives, the lives of others, and also the still, vegetative and animal levels of nature—all in the name of our personal enjoyment.
However, like there is the great ruling ego, the Pharaoh in us, there is also a small desire called “Moses.” Moses appears as a certain force or thought that tells us that we are heading in a wrong direction, that we are indeed under Pharaoh’s rule—the rule of our egoistic desires—but it is detrimental to us, and we need to find a way to get out of this egoistic mode of wishing solely to benefit ourselves at the expense of others and nature.