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June 30, 2022

Archive for July 16, 2007

The Pursuit of Happiness

Pursuit of Happiness
The Pursuit of Happiness
article by Rav Michael Laitman, PhD

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If, according to the Declaration of Independence, we are all entitled to ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,’ why does it so often seem that we are pursuing the unattainable?

For nearly two and a half centuries, the idea that the “American way” could grant freedom, dignity and happiness has been the basis of the American society. “The American Dream” was defined by James Truslow Adams in his 1931 book “The Epic of America” as “a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.”

Yet it seems as though this dream is fading. Clearly, Western society, which we also call “the free world,” and which (in many ways) shares the American Dream, doesn’t know what to do with its liberties. Many in the West, especially the young, are giving up on the pursuit of happiness, since no happiness awaits at its end. By consequence, many youth are giving up on life itself.

Following his definition, Adams explains the essence of the American Dream: “It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.”

While this is truly an admirable aspiration, according to the wisdom of Kabbalah, this statement contains an inherent flaw that will never allow it to come true: It ignores human nature. In his article “Peace in the World,” Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag, the greatest Kabbalist of the 20th century, writes that “the nature of each and every individual is to exploit the lives of all other people in the world for his own benefit.” And moreover: “[M]an feels … that all the people in the world should be under his own government and for his own private use.” more…

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