We live in a world we know only partially. There are many rules in Nature, some of which we discover easily because they are evident from our own existence. The law of gravity, for instance, is evident because when we try to fly without the proper instruments we fall right back to Earth.
Some laws apply only to Earth and some also apply to space. Some of these rules are perceived through our senses and our bodies, but there are other laws, such as the laws of radiation, whose action we cannot feel. We can only see the phenomena they produce. We cannot perceive, hear, or see waves, but we do recognize their effects.
There are other rules whose effects we do not know. At times we feel certain phenomena, but we cannot clearly identify their origins. Either way, our experiences demonstrate that if we knew all the rules that affect the world, we might be happy and successful.
Some rules we learn from experience, some rules of behavior children pick up from their parents, their friends, the environment, and the general society. The rules we learn by education are not innately known to us. It is not clear that this is how they actually exist in the world, but our educators persuade us in various ways that it is so, and that this is a path worth treading. If children could see for themselves that something was wrong, they would not do it.
If one does not understand personally that it is bad to be cruel and evil to others, if one fails to see that theft is a negative phenomenon, society demonstrates this by penalties it attaches to such actions.
If we were aware that there was a law of reality that determined that if we stole, nature would respond with a negative reaction, we would not do it to begin with. If we knew that the penalty for stealing was illness or that something terrible would happen to us or to our loved ones, we would avoid stealing. Thus, where one does not see the law and the consequences of one's actions, society helps determine the rules one must follow, along with the system of reward and punishment.
Clearly, we would like to know how the natural rules operate and then behave accordingly, but the rules pertaining to our relationship with society and with the Upper Force seem to be hidden. Kabbalah states that these rules can be followed only once they are attained. When humankind reveals the whole system and understands the connection with the Upper Force, we will certainly be able to follow the general law of reality—the law of bestowal. But until then we cannot force anyone into such a state.
In Kabbalah, the numeric value of the words "God" and "Nature" is the same (86). Stating their equality emphasizes that all of nature around us, this world as well as the upper, spiritual worlds, are all God. The system of these forces is the manifestation of the Creator before us.
We know the rules at the physical level, and perhaps we will know additional laws in several hundred years, but this is not the source of our problem. As we evolve, we must come to know the spiritual laws, those that pertain to the human degree in us.
Presently, not only do we not know them, we are not even close to knowing them. Consequently, humanity falls deeper into predicaments generation-by-generation, and our situation is growing more desperate. None of the physical laws that we will discover in physics, chemistry, biology or any other field of science will be of help to us. Using scientific discoveries to benefit humankind will not make our lives any better, safer or more complete, since we are not keeping the spiritual rules.
What have we gained by learning how to grow more crops if human egoism prevents us from dispensing them to everyone's benefit? Human beings use every benefit from the rules they have discovered against themselves because they have not corrected themselves as humans. We suffer because we do not know how to conduct the speaking, human degree within us. All humanity's problems stem from the single fact that we do not conduct ourselves correctly.
People kill one another, they are frustrated, afraid, and desperate. All those phenomena are the maladies of the speaking degree within us, not those of the still, vegetative, or animate degrees in us. We do not feel bad about anything that pertains to the still, vegetative, and animate degrees in us.
We have food, water, and shelter. To past generations living conditions were much harsher, but people were happier. We are not happy, and it all stems from the imbalance between the speaking degree in us and nature's forces. This state will not change unless we change, study these forces, and equalize with them.
We are like a screw in a perpetually working engine. If we are not at exactly the right position, if we are not in sync with the machine, we are certain to feel discomfort. The fact that we are not rushing to correct our position with respect to these forces may ultimately turn against us. A thousand or two thousand years ago humanity was not so opposite to nature's machine. But today we are more evolved, more egoistic, crueler, and hence in greater contrast to nature's laws. Baal HaSulam says that this is the reason that our suffering intensifies with every generation.
...nature, like a competent judge, punishes us according to our development, for we can see that to the extent that mankind develops, so increase the pains and torments... And besides the blows we take today, we must also consider the drawn sword for the future, and the right con-
elusion must be drawn, that nature will ultimately defeat us and we will all be compelled to join hands in following of the commandments with all the required measure.
--Baal HaSulam The Peace
The system of laws operates on us incessantly; it does not ask our opinion in the matter. If we know it, we will get along with it and have a blissful life. But if we do not study, we will feel greater discomfort the more we continue to evolve and fall behind in balancing ourselves with the system.
To discover the spiritual rules, we must begin to change ourselves and operate in accordance with these rules. This is why we have been given the wisdom of Kabbalah. Thus, the sciences we have known and developed thus far relate to the inanimate nature, to the vegetative and the animate levels, and the wisdom of Kabbalah is surfacing in relation to the speaking, human level.
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