© 2008-2011. A course in Kabbalah by Sephir.
Authentic Kabbalah Part 3
The Desire’s Development
As previously mentioned, the desire to receive is the core of the universe, and all that exists within it in all its possible stages of development (inanimate, vegetative, animate and human) consists of certain strengths of the desire, which entirely determines its manifestation in our world. Let’s suppose, if we increased the desire of a tree (vegetative), it would turn into a cat (animate), and if we increased a cat’s desire a bit more, it would turn into a human being. Kabbalah tells us, that our world is a projection of the spiritual roots descending from the upper worlds, and beyond the illusion drawn by sensory perception, there is nothing, except for the desire to receive pleasure, and the pleasure itself.
Although the structure of the desire and its development will be explained in the further part of the course, a short explanation, however, may as well be given at this point. All that exists in each world is divided into four levels: Inanimate, Vegetative, Animate, and Human. These correspond to four levels of desire, and similarly, every object consists of these levels, and each level consists of sub-levels structured the same way.
Desire is often depicted as a vessel, or circle.
Let’s clarify, what is our place in that global desire structure, and what role do we play in it. As we already know, the whole process of the universe development is an exact projection of constantly growing desire to receive. There are several rules according to which the process of desire development works:
Hence, the whole process of development of humanity is merely a manifestation of constantly growing desire to receive. I hope it’s clear, that every action follows certain desire, and there is no action without a desire. We don’t control our desires, but they control our actions – they appear, develop, and disappear according to a constant pattern. Thus, knowing the structure of the desire, and its development pattern, our world becomes absolutely predictable. The appearance of human being is the last (4th) stage of desires development – its inner development can be depicted as follows :
Obviously, the dates are approximate. Please note, that humanity appeared around 40.000 years ago, and remained existing on the lowest (inanimate) level of egoism, which corresponds to simple desires of physical body -sustainingits existence. It consists of simple desires for food, sex, sleep, parenting etc. In fact, this level is not considered egoistic, as egoism deals with social desires only (to be explained later). As egoism level gradually grows up with the increasing speed, a new level of desire appears. There was a certain amount of people, who climbed up to the higher level of egoism (vegetative), while others remained existing on the lower one (inanimate). Invention of money was merely a way to express that new egoism layer, to express that particular division in society. People belonging to the vegetative level of desire felt differently than others, more separated from each other. Meanwhile, egoism kept growing up, thus creating a new level of desire, which appeared the same way as previous one. While two lower levels kept existing, a new one ascend to the upper level of egoism, thus creating a new form of desire. The aspiration to power, fame, and honor corresponds to the animate level of development, and obviously represent much bigger desires than the previous ones. The mechanism that this desire is based on is the same : people belonging to this level felt even more separated from one another, thus the need to express oneself in the society caused such manifestations, as wars, politics etc. The last level of the desire development embodies aspiration to knowledge, meant to be used on the same basis, as previous desires – to express one’s position in the society.
The levels differ from one another in two parameters, that gradually change from stage to stage : amount of people included, and egoism size.
Hence, the higher level of desire, the more egoistic state it represents, and the fewer people belong to it. This proportion is constant for each level of Nature (inanimate, vegetative, animate, and human) Although the amount of people living on the globe increases, this proportion doesn’t vary.
Desire and pleasure
The question is, why does humankind change so fast, whereas animal, vegetative, and inanimate level remain almost the same throughout thousands of years? Why our egoism is constantly growing? Let’s clear it up. In fact, there are only two distinct components that the universe consists of : desire, and pleasure. There is nothing else in the objective reality (beyond its form drawn by 5 senses) except for these two forces : reception and bestowal. The force of reception is represented by desire to receive, also called “the creation”, however, the force of bestowal is a manifestation of the Creator within the desire – in other words, with regard to our sensation.
Please note, that both receiving and giving is only an action, that doesn’t indicate whether it’s egoistic, or altruistic. Egoism and altruism represent the intention of action, not the action itself. Intention can be imagined as an electric charge – plus and minus. Hence, there are 4 possible combinations :
1. Receiving to receive pleasure (egoistic reception) –
2. Receiving to give pleasure (altruistic reception) +
3. Giving to receive pleasure (egoistic bestowal) –
4. Giving to give pleasure (altruistic bestowal) +
Egoistic reception (1) is what we know from our world – 95% of population represent this state. Egoistic bestowal (3) also exists in our world – around 5% of population are involved into “altruistic” organisations, etc. Altruistic bestowal (4) doesn’t exists in our world, and it’s impossible to reach by a human being. This is the quality included in the Creator, and this is the orgin of pleasure (hence, pleasure is considered to be a purely altruistic force). Altruistic reception (2) is possible only through method of Kabbalah, and this is what kabbalists do (to be explained later).
Egoistic intention of the desire means no more and no less, than sensation of pleasure within the desire (inner sensation). However, altruistic intention is a sensation of pleasure beyond the desire (sensation of what is outside). Thus, what we deal with in our world is either egoistic reception, or egoistic bestowal. Let’s examine what happens when altruistic pleasure (+) enters an egoistic desire (-) :
If the desire doesn’t match the quality of pleasure (their charges aren’t identical), it becomes destroyed by pleasure. The spark of pleasure received this way is called : “ner dakik” (hebr. tiny spark of light), as Kabbalists tell us, that people in our world don’t even know what real pleasure is, as they have never felt it. Let’s examine how this model of reception works :
1. The only goal we have is to receive pleasure. Regardless of its form (buying a car, making a career, eating french fries), all we want is at least that slight sensation of fulfillment.
2. The empty desire (without fulfillment) is felt as suffering, and the fulfilled desire is felt as happiness. This is what we want, right? To be happy.
3. Usually, it takes a pretty long time until we achieve our goal. It can take a day, a month, years, even a lifetime. As we feel empty throughout this process, we suffer.
4. Once we achieve our goal, we feel happy for a little while (a spark of light). Let’s say, I have been dreaming about buying a new car. To afford it, I had to work hard for many years. And finally, I can buy it. I feel happy, I got what I wanted. Tomorrow I’ll feel a bit less happy than today. In one week, I won’t even remember about that happiness. I’ll feel empty again, and some new, bigger desire will appear, making me suffer again, forcing me to go through the same process. Looking back, we see how much time we had spent on achieving the desired object, but received very little pleasure in return. Likely, our life consists of 99,9% of suffering (emptiness) and 0,1% of happiness.
Let’s take a look at what happens when the desire is being destroyed by pleasure :
Once the desire (along with spark of pleasure) disappears, a new one appears. It’s bigger than the previous one, therefore requires more time and effort to achieve. Accordingly, it causes more suffering, because the bigger emptiness is, the more suffering comes from it. This is the constant pattern of growing egoism, according to which our desires develop.
We live under a constant influence of the Creator, which represents utterly altruistic quality (altruistic bestowal). This influence doesn’t vary, and never changes. However, as our egoism grows up, and thus a degree of dissimilarity with the Creator’s quality increases, we receive more and more negative result (suffering) in return. Thus, this model of reception causes destructive results of interaction between the creature and the Creator.
Growing egoism increases a degree of dissimilarity to the Upper forces.
Hence, on the one hand, receiving pleasure is our inborn life core, but on the other hand, we are virtually incapable of receiving it, as the pleasure destructs the desire itself. At this point it can be concluded that we are born to suffer. Once man reveals this, one common question arises : “What is the meaning of my existence?”. Before we answer this, let’s go back to the question we asked previously : why does human level change so fast, whereas the lower levels (animate, vegetative and inanimate) remain existing on the constant level of egoism? What is the difference between 4th level of the desire, and the rest of them (1, 2, 3)?
1. The first level (inanimate) represents the smallest desire to receive pleasure, therefore it affects only the sum of all the elements, and is not separately manifested in each of the inanimate elements of nature.
2. At the next level (vegetative),the will to enjoy is bigger, and already manifests in each particular element. Hence, each element at the vegetative level already possesses the ability for individual movement (for example, plants open their petals and turn toward the sun). This level includes such processes as absorption and excretion, yet beings at this level still lack the sensation of individual freedom of will.
3. At the third level (animate),the will to receive pleasure grows even larger. Desire produces individual sensations in each particular element and creates a unique life for everyone, one that differs from those of the others. However, there is no sense of empathy with others at this level. These beings still lack the necessary compassion or pleasure with regard to others.
4. Finally, the fourth level (human) creates the desire to receive pleasure based on sensation of others. The previous levels cannot sense others and can generate simple needs only within the limits of their own desires. On the human level, a person who can sense another acquires the other’s needs.
The difference between the levels is pretty slight, and it’s still unclear, why humans egoism grows up, as apposed to lower levels. It is important to understand, that only human level is egoistic. In fact, there is no egoism on the lower levels of existence, because there is no freedom of will, and there is no sensation of others. These levels are entirely guided by the Creator (nature), so that no free choice remains. We observe, that these levels exist in perfect harmony. As we already know, egoism has nothing to do with the basic needs (sustaining one’s existence) – it manifests with regard to others, thus causing corrupted relationships between a person and the environment. Hence, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd levels unconsciously exist being perfectly connected with the Creator, whereas the human being is the only egoistic element in purely altruistic surrounding.
According to the law of equivalence of form, the Upper forces put pressure on the lower level, thus forcing it to change, so that they become identical. The higher degree of dissimilarity to the Creator a man reaches, the more destructive influence from above he may expect. A man can be compared to a cancer cell, that doesn’t feel the common desire of the whole body, and focuses on satisfying its own needs instead. A cancer cell, being surrounded by an altruistic environment consisting of healthy cells, gives up providing the body with esentially important elements, and begins to absorb them for pleasing itself. Thus the whole body dies, along with a cancer cell.
Being a sole egoistic component of the universe, a man doesn’t sense the unity of the world he lives in. His perception is limited to inner world, which is an illusory projection of inner qualities. This is pointed out in the Book of Zohar :
Open slightly your heart to me, and I will reveal the world to you.
The Book of Zohar
In Kabbalah, the full spectrum of man’s desires is called “heart”. Thus, it’s said, that once you transform your desires, so that they are directed to outside reality, you will witness the reality itself, the way it exists regardless of observer, beyond time, space, and form.
It’s been said, that inanimate, vegetative, and animate levels have no freedom of will at all. Their behavior is determined by inborn mechanisms, thus they are absolutely guided by the Creator. The question arises : is there any freedom of will when it comes to a human level? This is indeed a very important question to be clear up.
© 2008-2011. A course in Kabbalah by Sephir.
Next, Kabbalah Part 4
Freedom of Will, Meaning of Life and more
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