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July 18, 2024

Is it Possible to Give Without any Selfish Motivation?

Is it Possible to Give Without any Selfish Motivation?

In ancient Mesopotamia, in the face of growing egoism Abraham developed a practical method of balancing this unique human trait. In truth, Abraham’s method was very simple: in the face of heightened egoism, unite and thus discover the quality of bestowal—the Creator. Every element in nature behaves in this way.

  • Atoms: The initial levels of desire to receive require very limited organization and form small systems where each element dedicates itself to its host system. We call these elementary systems, “atoms.”
  • Molecules: The more evolved levels of desires place atoms within systems we call “molecules.”
  • Cells: As the desire evolves further, these systems organize within even bigger systems called “cells.”
  • Multicellular Creatures: These group into multicellular creatures, finally leading to the creation of plants, animals, and humans.

In all of this, there is only one principle: the desire to receive in all the elements wishes to receive, and the only way to create balance and sustainability in the system is to unite under a higher-level system. This is what Abraham’s method sought to consciously emulate.

The desire to receive in humans becomes egoism because of our sense of uniqueness. Hence, the antidote to egoism is the exact same cure applied by Nature—the construction of a system to which all parts will contribute and yield their self-interests. In return, the system will guarantee the well-being and sustainability of its elements. Scientists today wish to discover the conditions that existed in the early universe by recreating those conditions on a miniature scale in facilities such as the CERN Hadron Collider in Switzerland. Similarly, by imitating Nature’s “natural” conduct, we will discover its law of bestowal.


Gain the Greatest Delight & Ultimate Goal Out of Life by Not Making the Same Mistake that Was Made in Babel

In truth, the modus operandi is really quite simple: If you think like a giver and act like a giver, we have to at least consider the possibility that you have a small amount of giving in your nature, to paraphrase Douglas Adam’s celebrated quote from Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.

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What Is Today’s Significance of the Story of Abraham’s Conflict with Nimrod?

Pyramid of Desires

The Pyramid of Desires
The top of the pyramid is also the part that governs it,
and hence the part that has free choice in how to do it,
and the responsibility to do it right.

Mesopotamia, the Cradle of Civilization, was also the birthplace of Abraham, the harbinger of Kabbalah. The conflict between Abraham and Nimrod, ruler of Babylon, stands for much more than a conflict between a ruler and a defiant subject. It is a conflict of perceptions. To Nimrod, reality is a “federation” of forces that he must please, serve, and appease by sacrifice. To Abraham, there is only one force, and worshiping it means living by its law—the law of giving, as simple and as straightforward as that. Considering this contrast of views, it is no wonder that Nimrod had to either destroy Abraham or expel him.

But Abraham’s departure from Babylon did not quiet the polis. The trends that had prompted Abraham’s search for life’s secret continued to intensify and to spread through the bustling city, fueled by the same forces that power the process of evolution. Yet, in Babylon, these trends began to manifest a conduct that is uniquely human—egoism.

Baal HaSulam explains that egoism is a natural trait for humans. He declares that it is human nature, and that Kabbalah offers a way to turn its evident detrimental consequences into positive ones. In “Peace in the World,” he writes, “In simple words we shall say, that the nature of each and every person is to exploit the lives of all other people in the world for his own benefit. And all that he gives to another is only out of necessity; and even then there is exploitation of others in it, but it is done cunningly, so that his neighbor will not notice it and concede willingly.”


The Need to Learn How to Govern & Nurture the Pyramid of Desires

But before we delve into the solution that Kabbalah offers to human egoism, we need to understand how the desire to receive, initially created by the desire to give—the Creator—has become egoism. “The reason for it,” continues Ashlag, “is that … man’s soul [desire] extends from the Creator, who is one and unique. … Hence, man, too … feels that all the people in the world should be under his governance,” just as the whole of nature is governed by the law of bestowal, the Creator.

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