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March 27, 2023

What Is The Proper Education For Teenagers?

Dr. Michael Laitman Teaching Kabbalah

Question at the South American Kabbalah Congress: What is the proper education for teenagers who have so many problems, like drugs and depression?

Answer by Dr. Michael Laitman: As I’ve said, the proper education for teenagers, which is also the proper education for us and the whole world… Why is the wisdom of Kabbalah being revealed today? It is written (in Baal HaSulam’s article “The Essence of the Wisdom of Kabbalah“), that the wisdom of Kabbalah is no more and no less than the revelation of the higher force to the creation in this world. In other words, we need to reveal the higher system acting on us, on our world. We need to reveal it so that it is clear to us.

It is hidden. We see and feel only our world, and not the higher system. We don’t know how it operates on us, and how can we give back to it in return, in a way where we’ll receive only good commands and responses from above.

We need to understand the whole loop between the higher system and our world, how we raise MAN above, and how we receive a response from above, which is called MUD. How can we do that? – That’s what we need to know. That’s why the wisdom of Kabbalah has been opened, precisely in our times. And with regard to your question, it’s the same with the education of children, we need to go that same way.

How can we reveal to children the higher system as quickly as possible, how it acts, and not wait for them to turn thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, when there starts to be problems with hormones, sex, boys and girls, drugs, and all kinds of things? Children need to be taught from a much younger age. The wisdom of Kabbalah states that the age of three is necessary to start the education of children, boys and girls alike. What does that mean? It means starting to teach and develop them.

Today’s education is based one hundred and fifty years ago, at the time of the technological revolution that began in Europe. It’s when people started working unlike how they used to work in ancient times, where there was a blacksmith, a shoemaker, a tailor, and some mechanic who made some cart. This time marked the beginnings of the conveyor belt, and working with the conveyor belt required a lot of people. They then brought people from villages, and taught them quickly in order to place them in factories fast. And like it is in factories, they needed to just stand there and understand what they should do… We see this today in China. Have you seen the factories in China? There are ten thousand Chinese people sitting there, each one doing one activity.

What do they need to learn at school? A little bit of reading, a little bit of writing, and how to connect, say, two strings, or something like that. That’s all. So school was established like that a hundred and fifty years ago, and it remains like that until today. In other words, it exists only to give a person a certain measure of knowledge… physics, geography, history… to give him knowledge, and let him make his life out of it, because all kinds of people are needed in all kinds of places.

Today, we have come to a completely different time. We have already left these kinds of jobs. Most people are now sitting behind computers, and we don’t need all kinds of big factories anymore. In other words, there is surplus, and we don’t know what to do with it. The world is tipping over. Businesses aren’t closing for no reason. It’s because about 90% of what we produce are things that there is no need for. And the main thing we haven’t done throughout all these years: we haven’t built “a human being.”

School provides knowledge and learning in all kinds of professions, but it doesn’t build the human being that is in us. “Education” means “building a human being,” to talk with the student, to converse so that he’ll speak, to be together with him in dialogues and discussions.

You know how philosophers once taught? They used to just walk around with their students, and they’d talk about all kinds of things. And by doing this, the students would also be able to express something, in a way where the elder speaks with the younger, a constant dialog between them. As a result, the younger one develops.

We don’t only want him “to speak.” We want him to speak, and to do, and we provide him with all kinds of things for him to respond to. We play with him. And that we play with him, we descend to the same level as he, to be like him, and we play together like friends.

In other words, what we do with children, when they come to school afterwards, completely breaks them. They turn into being mechanisms, meaning that we give them knowledge in a few things, which the teachers, or the government, the Ministry of Education, chooses, and that’s it. And according to that they pass exams, and afterwards enter all kinds of jobs in order to succeed…

All in all, instead of seeing a human being, a personality, we see a mechanism. Whether it’s a lawyer, an accountant, a prime minister, or a simple worker, they are mechanisms. They know how to perform some role in some place, in the human society… to do something; to fix the plumbing, electricity, to do all kinds of things. That’s all.

We don’t observe, and also, we have never cared about building a human being. We don’t do that in any place… Today, from about thirty or forty years ago, we encountered a major problem in education, because by making a mechanism out of a person, we failed to achieve happiness (like you pointed out in your question). We failed to achieve any kind of delight out of life. The person functions – he has his job, family, children, vacations, pensions, and everything, but what does he live for? Why is he alive? We haven’t provided him with tools to check, and so they become despaired.

Today, everyone needs a psychologist nearby, medicine to treat depression, many use drugs. We haven’t developed their personality, so they turn to crime and all kinds of places. They cannot hold a family, because they have no value for it. What do they learn at school instead of that? They learn how to have safe sex. Instead of building a human being, they move in a completely opposite direction.

I’m not against it. But what they don’t do is add about a person himself. And also, where does that come from, don’t we want there to be good children? I mean, they’re our children, our future. In another ten, twenty, thirty years, they’d have filled our place on this planet, and we’ll be below them. So why don’t we care about them? It’s because we also don’t know this higher system. We don’t know it, and therefore we have a problem: Where should we be bringing them, to what form, what fulfillment? What will become of them?

And therefore, the wisdom of Kabbalah comes and says, whether it’s with the child or the adult, boy or girl, as age and sex don’t matter, one could be fifty years old or five years old… you need to relate to him as an equal, because the soul has no age. And we need to develop the soul. The soul is called the human being in us, not the beast in us, living in order to give our body life for as long as it’s alive. However, we need to extract something that relates to the person from this body. It is something infinite. It should bring one to a complete level, where the person will reveal his complete and eternal life, independent of one’s animate part that lives and dies, and that’s how we should relate to it.

We try to do this within our framework. We have started giving lessons to children in the last six months, and I’m amazed at the good results. First of all, children start understanding what is happening with themselves, what pressures they have, “Why do I want to hit that kid?” “Why did that kid do that to me?” “Why is it like this, and why is it like that?”… They understand how to develop things, and not just come up to you and cry, “Why did he hit me!?” He understands why that happened to everyone, because of his ego, and what he should to do to get along, and how we should build a society so that I’ll be able to give them my ball, and he on something else, and she on another thing… Meaning, in our framework, we want to bring them to a state where they’ll want, through practical learning, from a young age, to build a correct society by themselves, where they’ll know how to get along with each other in a way where they’ll have it good.

We hope that this will develop through our groups, and reach a state where the education ministries of the world will realize that there’s no choice, and that we have to learn how to build education. Meaning, throughout a person’s teenage years, to build a human being out of him, and not just some professional in something. First of all, a person, in that he’d know why he’s alive, he’s confident in his life, and even if he lives off bread, but feels like he knows why he’s living, etc.

That’s what’s missing. I think that’s the biggest problem in the world, because all in all, people live through a lot more today than they did one and two hundred years ago, and certainly five hundred years ago. But a person doesn’t know why he’s alive. In his current ego, he sees people who are living a hundred times the life he’s living. In short, he doesn’t know how to get along in life. That’s what’s missing. If he was able to make it, he’d be happy doing his part. That’s what’s important. Because we check everything relatively, me with respect to others. And if I know that I have something, that I’m connected to Divinity, that I open an exalted world for myself, that I am related to an endless stream, a global harmony, so whether or not I have another thousand in the bank doesn’t really matter.

This Q&A was taken from the second lesson in this weekend’s South American Kabbalah Congress in Buenes Aires, Argentina, where mostly Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking students gathered to celebrate humanity’s shift toward unity and mutual love at this crucial point in its history.

The lessons taught by Dr. Michael Laitman highlight the Congress’ events. Dr. Laitman spends most of the lessons answering questions that clarify Kabbalah’s fundamentals to people relatively new to the wisdom. There are also many answers to questions from people finishing their first Education Center courses, who are looking to build and strengthen environments supportive of spiritual progress.

3 Lessons from the South American Kabbalah Congress in Argentina (Video & Audio)

Q&A Celebration
Kabbalah LIVE Video Q&A Celebration

Wednesday, September 02.09 – 8:00pm EST (U.S.)



  Lee Kelso wrote @ July 26th, 2010 at 12:38 pm

Rav, this is beautifully stated! Therefore one must conclude that you are beautiful and you are. Thank you very much.

It appears to me that embedded in your answer above, that we, societies collective ego, have over engineered the external or the material world due to the egotistical nature of the collective ego and under engineered the interior, the immaterial or the soul. Thus making the world ripe for the knowledge of Authentic Kabbalah to be revealed.

A fitting adage here is, “what good is it for a man to gain the whole (external/material) world, and yet lose his own soul?” appears to supports the logic of your argument. Many “westernized” minds, even myself grew up believing this adage to be only negative. Now if one interjects that wisdom has two sides to it as the prophet Job put forth and we know that there are two sides to a coin, heads and tails and one cannot see both sides at once unless they are using a reflective device such as a mirror. So now we can begin to perceive a “light” side and a “dark” side, a seen world and an unseen world .

So what is the positive side or “what good is it for a man to gain the (external) whole world? “The good” could be said to be a process of people coming to a place in life where they begin internalizing that what is typically called the “problems of the world” are not the problem but rather the symptoms. Thus they begin to look or search for their soul. Why? Because they lost it. Could, Authentic Kabbalah be considered the “reflective device” needed to assist people in this process which requires “internalizing life’s experiences”.

It is interesting that global surveying (Manpower Inc.) of the world of work reveals that employers, globally are having a difficult time in finding engineers that have the specific talents they need. Now contrast this lack of engineers for the corporeal world with the need to engineer the soul of humanity. Could this plight of employers both be reality and an illusion to the human eye unbeknownst to them? Could it be because all is energy and energy is in the process of converting from one form to another?

  Katie wrote @ September 7th, 2009 at 6:23 am

Fantastic! These five minute video segments are SO helpful!! Thank you Rav and all the friends for putting this idea into place!

L’ Chaim!

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