Solving the world’s problems is obviously no small task, but Michael Laitman and Anatoly Ulianov … attempt to consolidate the solution into one central premise: that of “mutual guarantee.” The authors believe that globalization has created an environment in which “we are all connected to and dependent on one another like cogwheels in a machine.” If people all over the globe can change their mindset from “caring for oneself into caring for all,” write the authors, then everyone would be far better off.
The authors explain the notion of mutual guarantee by breaking the book into two parts. Part 1 addresses the key principles related to the concept. Here the authors discuss how mutual guarantee relates to nature, as well as practical issues, such as changing the public discourse, implementing the concept with the help of the Internet, the need to turn school into a place of social learning rather than individual learning, and the way in which mutual guarantee would achieve social justice. In Part 2, they briefly describe how a new society could be established based on the concept of mutual guarantee. One key cornerstone is recognizing that everyone is equal. The authors write, “We must change our social values so that people are appreciated for their contribution to society, not according to the size of their bank accounts.” Read More »
Review by Barry Silverstein, ForeWord Reviews
October 18, 2012
Stating that society’s future relies on cooperation of people to work together for society, stating that much of society’s degradation in recent decades has been the result of narcissism and greed, “Self Interest vs. Altruism” is a curious and recommended read for those who believe that optimism in human nature is not entirely lost.
With America’s education system in a state of disrepair—as evidenced in 2010′s critically acclaimed documentary Waiting for Superman—it’s clear that significant change is required in order for conditions to improve.
One radical plan comes from Dr. Michael Laitman, the founder and president of the Bnei Baruch Kabbalah Education & Research Institute. According to him, education must be tailored to the concept of a society where every aspect of the world is connected. Those who understand that and go along will survive. “The adults are still in a transition phase, while the children are already ripe for it,” Laitman writes.
This book is structured as a series of conversations between Laitman and co-author Ulianov, a professor of psychology at Aesthetic Education Institute in Moscow. Ulianov asks the questions and Laitman provides the answers, which illuminate his philosophy and the steps instructors, parents, and students can take. Though the material gets a little dense—after all, we are talking about rebuilding society—readers will leave with some significant matters to consider.
Laitman proposes a complete overhaul regarding how kids are currently prepared for the adult world. According to him, children need to build a relationship with real life, instead of just sitting behind a desk from ages six to eighteen—when they’re suddenly expected to be on their own. Students should also be exposed to life’s negative aspects, with examples such as touring prisons and rehabilitation centers, which will steer them toward an early adulthood with more perspective. That bit is essential, since Laitman advises that students start college at age thirteen. “A child has to be taught to self-develop, to observe himself and others, and how to communicate with others,” the author explains. “But the most important thing is to teach him to understand the world he lives in. A person has to understand his essence and his goal in life.”
It goes without saying that Laitman’s master plan will not satisfy everyone. However, what’s expressed in The Psychology of the Integral Society should also get people thinking about other possibilities. In solving any difficult problem, all perspectives need to be explored. As a society, we spend so much time competing and trying to get a leg up that the concept of simply working together sounds groundbreaking in itself—since Superman is still nowhere in sight.
This video animates the following quote from the book Bail Yourself Out: How You Can Emerge Strong from the World Crisis by Dr. Michael Laitman:
“Humanity, like the universe, is a perfect system comprised of myriad elements that interact with each other. Just as billions of galaxies make up the universe, billions of people combine to make up humanity. And just as there are stars, within each galaxy, there are people within nations and states. And the organs, tissue, and cells within each person’s body are like the planets, comets and asteroids orbiting their suns.
Expansion and contraction form the endless ebb and flow of life, propelled at one moment by the desire to give, and at the next moment by the desire to receive. Whether it is galaxies, suns, and planets merging to form our universe or cells, tissue, and organs combining to form a human being, this interplay of desires is at the heart of creation
As with the stars, Planet Earth evolved by expansion and contraction through the interaction of desires. When Earth was first formed, its surface reflected the flow of expansion and the ebb of contraction. Every time the desire to give prevailed, Earth’s sweltering interior would burst into rivers of malted lava. And every time the receiving force prevailed, the lava would cool and form new swaths of land. Eventually, a strong enough crust was formed over the Earth to allow for the emergence of life as we know it
If we search deep enough, we will find the same two forces—giving and receiving—within every being ever created, weaving their magnificent garment of life. In the weaving process, the desire to give first creates matter, as with the Big Bang or a newborn baby, and the desire to receive gives the matter shape, as with the stars and the differentiating cells in organism.”
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