Founder and president of Bnei Baruch Kabbalah Education & Research Institute
First, what is history? History is the evolution of desires.
It starts from the smallest and simplest desires, which every individual has—for food, sex and family—and our desires increase to bigger ones that play out in society, for money, honor, control and knowledge, where we develop socially through communal, urban, state and finally global relations.
We see people’s struggles according to the degree of our desires’ development. First, we fought each other in our various settlements, and later, as small disparate states. We ended up unifying in various alliances so that we could continue sizing up against each other, and this process brought us to what we have today.
And what do we have today?
Today’s level of our desires’ development brings us to the increasing awareness of our global interconnection and interdependence, which shows us the futility of fighting each other.
Let’s say that one country shuts itself off from the world. What would happen then?
We fail to realize the full extent of what such a phenomenon would result in. The world would come to a standstill. It would affect us on multiple levels, from our most basic ability to operate simple tools and appliances, through to the unavailability of certain foods, through to economic difficulties and several other phenomena. In short, the world would shut down.
We are clueless as to how interdependent we truly are and our lives’ fragility. We cannot have a world war today because no country provides solely for itself. There is mutual dependence between countries at the level of mere essentials that we need for our very survival.
Think of human evolution like a building we started constructing many thousands of years ago. On the ground floor, we had our own garden, cellar, and we planted our own produce, i.e., we had the ability to provide ourselves with our daily needs. Today, we live on the twentieth floor of that building, and we cannot live like we once did on that ground floor.
I remember my childhood in the small town of Vitebsk with a population of a quarter of a million people. We had a small plot and a large cellar where we kept potatoes, cabbages, garlic and onions, like everybody else did at that time. We prepared this produce a year in advance so that the family would not starve, and it was the same for most of the population.
Today’s world is completely different. Today, we have major residential areas and cities with populations of over a million people. If the systems that provide for their essentials break down, then we would experience global-scale crises. We do not realize what would happen if a couple of large countries suddenly become dysfunctional.
Therefore, if we are to impact a positive shift to a more harmonious and peaceful world, we need to raise the awareness of our tightening global interdependence, that the billions of us on this small planet are all on the same boat, and accordingly we should start relating to others as to ourselves, or at least, as to members of one global family.
History is leading us to increasingly connect. If we are to realize our increasing connection positively, then we need to learn how our nature works in this process: that we were born into an egoistic nature that wishes to benefit itself at the expense of others and nature, that we can never be truly satisfied while living in such a nature, and moreover, that we increasingly suffer at its helm.
With growing awareness of our nature, we also need to learn how to invert it into a new nature: to realize our increasing interconnection and interdependence harmoniously by changing our nature from egoistic to altruistic. If we adjust our educational, media and social influences to direct us at this change—from egoism to altruism—then we will experience our tightening connection as an immense new form of satisfaction, happiness and confidence that would fill our lives. If not, then we will continue developing through increasing suffering.