The True Matrix
An atheist once told a wise Rabbi “I don’t believe in G-d.” “In the G-d that you don’t believe in I don’t believe in either.”
Simon Jacobson wrote the bestseller “Towards a Meaningful Life”. Hundreds of thousands of people found this book to contain the greatest wisdoms and truths about life. I taught Jewish Students at State University of New York and I was once privileged to go to a lecture by Simon Jacobson in Barns and Noble. He spoke about how as a young teenager he had philosophical questions about G-d and life. He approached the great scholar and Jewish mystic the Lubavitcher Rebbe of Blessed Memory Rabbi Schneersohn. Rabbi Schneersohn helped him understand G-d in a more positive light and Simon reconciled himself with his faith
Often it is our very perception of G-d that destroys our desire to believe or trust in G-d.
If you had a negative perception of someone chances are you would not try to make friends with that person so why would it be any different with G-d.
In his lecture Simon spoke about this negative perception of G-d. “I give a weekly lecture in Manhattan to hundreds of professionals. Instead of getting their backs up with using the name G-d I started referring to a higher power a supreme existence and similar non-secretarien names. After one of my lectures a business man approached me and asked “Simon, are you referring to G-d?” “SHHH” I told him, “It’s a secret.”
Why do some people have such a negative perception of G-d?
I think there are three reasons.
The first is that no one likes to work. The Bible requires charity and many other noble pursuits. It is easier to ignore G-d then to embrace G-d.
The second is that we have an old fashioned image of G-d. “G-d relates to the medieval days when people were believers” and we want to see ourselves as enlightened.
The third is the fear of the unknown.
So let’s get to know G-d a bit….
The more scientists probe the universe and matter the more similarity we find. Earth water fire and air are different forms of similar atoms. Every atom contains enough energy to create a thousand times the explosion of atom bomb. There must be one infinite source of energy.
In effect the more science one learns the more one realizes the unity of nature. Before people knew about atoms they saw differences within nature. Now we see how all is the atom in different shapes and forms. If everything can be reduced to matter and energy and if matter and energy are interchangeable according to Einstein then the Kabbalists who refer to reality with three words are correct. In one of the most ancient books of the Kabbalah called Sefer Yetzirah a book that consists of no more then thirty two short paragraphs but encompasses all of the ideas later found in the Kabbalah reality is referred to as Matter / Space, Time, and Soul.
This is a highly accurate description of reality. Matter which is within space which is as Einstein taught is completely one with time has another dimension to it and that is soul. People know very little about spirituality and thus soul means many different things based on a person’s knowledge or ignorance.
Reality that humans perceive may be divided into four “kingdoms. 1. Inanimate – matter that contains no life. 2. Vegetable – the DNA of the vegetable kingdom (which is square like) that grows. 3. Animal – the DNA of the animal kingdom (which is round like) that contains a digestive system and the necessary organs for it. 4 Human – the DNA of the human that gives us the unique ability to speak.
For thousands of years people believed that the earth was the center of our solar system then Galileo taught that the sun was at the center of our solar system. Then Einstein explained that just as a person riding in a train does not know if it is the train that is moving or the ground under the train that is moving so to a person on earth does not know if the sun revolves around the earth or it is the other way around.
The same is true of many phenomena of nature. Although we think we know that what we see is real in fact it is not so simple. Take a table for example, are you looking at a table or a bunch of atoms. Take a person, are you looking at a face or a bunch of cells. The truth is that when you go a little deeper you realize that when you are looking at a person you are in fact looking at atoms and cells, and the information that shapes the atoms and cells into the live sculpture that you see.
The computer is a wonderful example of virtual reality. When you see something on your computer screen is it really there or not? The answer of course is that it isn’t. It is only electronic information on a two dimensional screen. Well this world is atomic information in a three dimensional format and space. Just like when you take a document you don’t need and throw it out on your computer by dragging it into the recycle bin so too you pick up a paper and take it to the garbage can in real life. The effect is the same, getting rid of garbage. If you analyze it carefully you will understand that there is no real difference between a two dimensional space and a three-dimensional space apart from one dimension.
In other words just like you didn’t really throw out a piece of paper on your computer you didn’t really throw out a piece of paper in your home. This is because just like the paper on your computer is electronic information in a visual format so to the paper in your hand is atomic information in a visual format.
Let me give you another example to show you how reality is not necessarily what we perceive it to be.
I went with my father to the General Motors pavilion in the World Expo in Vancouver Canada in 1986. They had an Indian on the stage doing magic tricks using fire from a small bonfire in the middle of the stage. Towards the end of the show his cloak caught fire and he somehow turned into a man made out of fire. He then made a boat appear in the air, climbed into the boat and disappeared. You see he did not exist, he was made out of laser beams, a holograph.
Advertisers use false images such as a person smiling when they drink something or use something, to convey a message that is not necessarily true. All this means that reality is what we perceive to be real. If it wasn’t so, would advertisers spend millions of dollars creating these images and associations?
Let us go another step into the reality of the universe by attempting to understand if atoms themselves are real. If someone would tell you that in the park there is a ball hovering in mid-air and thirty other balls are somehow revolving around this ball you would probably think that this is impossible. If in fact you went to the park and you saw it you would look for a logical explanation. Each and every atom needs an explanation. How does a nucleus get protons and neutrons to revolve around it. The fact that this the reality, does not mean it needs not an explanation. Einstein points out that scientific theories best explain observable phenomena however although they may tell us how to predict the rotations of the atoms and how many electrons are revolving they cannot explain the reason for the rotation only the methodology.
Another example is gravity. Although we observe its effect we do not know how it actually works. Just like we seek an explanation as to how the large Stonehenge stones were positioned, we need an explanation as to how the atoms are positioned and are in motion. You and I know that there is only one possible explanation and that is, that the same G-d who made matter instructed matter how to behave. G-d made the laws of Physics. There simply is no other way that an atom can exist and function.
G-d creates matter and thus it is like an electrical supply to a lamp, that the moment the plug is pulled, the lamp will go off. Similarly our universe is constantly supplied by a Divine energy and ability to create matter ex-nihilo (matter from nothingness.)
This happens all the time, for just as anything not natural, say throwing a ball in the air (reversing gravitational pull) will only last as long as the new force is more powerful then the old force (gravity,) so to the natural state of the world is non existence, and the supernatural state is existence which means that there is a constant creation, a constant miracle of time space and souls existing and co-existing.
Particularly after Einstein taught that E= MC 2 which means that matter is really energy and vice versa can we readily understand that matter doesn’t exist at all, it is in fact energy. This energy must come from an energy source. This energy source is the light of G-d.
So the true matrix is G-d. It is true that G-d gives us freedom to choose our behavior and our actions, but to say that this world exists independently of G-d is as absurd as saying that the rays of the sun exist independently of the sun, or that there is a real independent piece of paper and recycle bin on your computer. If G-d were to but for a moment take away his Divine energy that creates and energizes the molecules and atoms that make up the real physical trash can, then it would disappear as quickly as your recycle bin on your computer does when you shut it off.
Perception of Reality
We perceive reality through our five senses of taste sight touch hearing and smell. Imagine a person alive, but G-d forbid, without those senses. They would not be able to interact with the world. People may take the physical world for granted but its existence and our ability to perceive it and our desire to engage it is the greatest supernatural phenomena we know.
Humans are unique in our ability to regulate our behavior based on our minds. Only humans can control themselves. Lab mice were given a button to press that would have the same stimulant as opiates and they did this until the point before death. Some humans act like mice and get addicted to drugs but most do not for they control themselves. (This is not to judge addicts rather it is a statement of fact.)
The reason for this is that G-d has given the human, a powerful soul termed by the Kabbalists “The Intellectual Soul.” This soul concerns itself with logic. People often find themselves in two minds about something for their instincts often differs to their logical. (“Should I eat this chocolate bar and break my diet (instinct) or not (logic.”))
There is still a third soul humans possess and this the Kabbalists call, “The G-dly Soul” a Soul that is a part of G-d in you. This part strives to focus you towards morality and goodness, kindness and compassion, cleanliness and holiness, and every other positive desire you may have. This soul is selfless and giving unlike the instincts which are self-orientated by nature.
The G-dly soul thus needs to gain supremacy over the powerful instincts via the agency of the logical soul for man to become great and goodly. (This is in fact the meaning and purpose of life on earth.) We all know people who act like saints, and people who act like children. Maturity is the process of taking responsibility for one’s own actions, a “painful” process. Spirituality is spreading the light of your innate G-dly soul over your thoughts speech and action resulting in a very special person.
There are five categories of souls. The first as we discussed before in length is the energy that G-d supplies matter whereby it exists. This is a lifeless energy, although very powerful, it does not grow nor does it feel pain or pleasure.
The second is a soul that animates the cells of the vegetable Kingdom. This instructs the vegetable to grow.
The third is the soul of instinct that animals and humans posses. The instinct of survival, the instinct for pleasure, the instinct for a reduction of pain.
This instinct is in fact very unique. Computers may be very mathematically “smart” but they contain absolutely no desire to do math. If you turned a computer on and did not give it any instructions it would remain that way forever. The animal and the human are ATTRACTED to Pleasure and RECOIL from pain. These two species will always seek more pleasure and less pain. Furthermore they desire their own existence. Have you ever seen an insect run away from you if you are trying to kill it? This is because it is afraid of death. All living creatures desire their continued existence.
Humans are unique in containing the Intellectual Soul discussed before which allows us to regulate our behavior logically.
Additionally we can become good people purely for the sake of pity and compassion with absolutely no altruistic motives via the agency of the G-dly Soul discussed before.
Nature is a veil over G-d. The fact that it is repetitive makes us assume an independent existence. However just as a parent’s love continuously provides a child with the love and food that they need continuously so to G-d continuously creates the miracle of creation.
One of the most significant aspect where this is seen is in the orbits of the planets and the moon. Each planet and the moon has an exact millisecond continuous orbit although there is no natural reason for it to constantly be going at the same speed indefinitely. If it were pushed it should be slowing down with time so we must conclude that there is a constant miraculous force that maintains the millisecond precision of the orbits.
Watson and Hicks discovered the miracle of the complexity of the DNA code. The more we probe into it the more baffled we are how it divides creates and is capable of almost infinite mathematical equations, though too small for the human eye to see.
If perhaps it was once plausible for man to believe in evolution the DNA code has put an end to that. Just as a simple mathematical question must be undertaken via an intellectual soul definitely a complex mathematical code must be created by a super-genius.
There is a wonderful teaching from a great scholar and Mystic by the name of Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov that the first time we see a supernatural phenomena in nature we call it a miracle the second time we call it nature.
Every time there is a new discovery we are amazed by the complexity, ingenuity and impossibility of what we have found, however then we take it for granted for it is like the parent who is always there for us constantly providing us with warmth and shelter and we fail to appreciate the significance of what we have.
If we really analyze G-d’s infinity, we realize that G-d is so far removed from us mortals that in fact there is nothing that we have that he needs. G-d can give us atoms cells souls but what can you give G-d?
People have absolutely no conception of the difference between infinity and finite. Finite has no relationship with infinity. The wealthiest man and the poorest man have a common denominator, that of money, however all the wise men in the world, all the strong men in the world, and even all the energy contained in every single atom which is beyond belief is still nothing compared to infinity. Infinity has no limitations while finite does. The difference between a limitless line and a very large line are infinite. There simply is no point of comparison.
One of the critical errors people make when they relate to G-d is a fancy word called anthropomorphizes. We presuppose that G-d is like us and vice verse. So we imagine power and we imagine that what we would do with all the power in the world is exactly the same as what G-d would do. However as Jewish Mystics teach that the only thing that we really know about G-d is that he is not comparable to anything created, so in fact we have absolutely no point of reference to him.
Even among humans there are people with a variety of different desires which means that people’s opinions are as numerous as their different faces, so for us to begin to understand G-d would be as ludicrous as attempting to understand each and every person’s opinions about life.
However it must be said that hundreds of millions of people believe that G-d communicates through saintly individuals whose piety allowed them to become vehicles for G-d to speak to the “masses.” Moses is called in the Bible the greatest prophet to have ever lived.
This subject is immensely complex and I do not wish to delve into it but it is obvious to me that if we believe G-d does exist and G-d is all powerful certainty G-d can infinitely and easily communicate with people.
Science has proven that prayer on behalf of people (who did not know that they were being prayed for) has clinically proven results. So G-d is aware of everything. A great example as to how this is possible is similar to the human body that sends nerve messages to the brain so man can be aware of a pain in both his legs, the temperature he feels, the sounds and smells and visual sights, and much more all at the same time. Similarly G-d is aware of everything all at once. Sure this sounds impossible to man but man is finite and G-d is infinite.
Obviously it is appropriate to talk about Creation. Every religion has a creation story. The Bible has a fairly simple one. We must remember that the Bible has four basic levels of understanding. The first is literal or basic. The Second is allusion. The third is allegory. The Fourth is Kabbalistic / Secret.
So while you may see a very simple story, the scholars of the other fields see infinite complexity in the Bible. The Bible codes have proven beyond a shadow of doubt Divine authorship.
“The only rational act is Love,” Professor Morrie Shwartz.
Why is that when people know that they are dying they then forget petty differences, forgive squabbles and they wish to be remembered as generous and kind people. As a Rabbi I often encounter people before death and for some strange reason it seems to be the time when people have the most control of their emotions.
Imagine a world filled with people searching for ways to help one another. A world where people would always say hello, a world where cries are comforted, where assistance is offered out of compassion and not only for money.
A world where people cared for one another, identified with one another, an end to nationalism and separatist religions, exclusivity and notions of superiority. I believe such a world would be wonderful.
Every man lives in a world. This world consists of his or her friends, family, acquaintances, passer byes etc. If we are the origin of good cheer then we affect the world. Daniel Goleman in his book Emotional Intelligence speaks of how a cheerful elderly black man would always get on his New York bus happy. A loud hello would be bestowed upon the bus driver and friendly handshakes to fellow passengers, a genuine “how are you” and a warm hug. Most people wouldn’t risk this kind of behavior but it sure cheered up the passengers. More than that reported Daniel Goleman, these people would get of that bus cheerful and thus the chain started on that bus has never been broken.
A man I knew was searching for meaning in life. He was a successful businessman but was patently unhappy. Then a friend of his introduced him to a beautiful woman whose husband had died and had left her with three children. This man loved the woman and cared for the children. They married and you can’t get the smile off his face. Why? I believe that suddenly he found someone, and more importantly more than one person to share his life with. Before he was alone. Now as a good father and a husband he has bound his soul to the souls of others. He has created a family. He is a giver not just a taker from life. Only through giving to others selflessly can man find happiness.
People climb the Himalayas in search of the meaning of life. The meaning in life is in your world. By escaping it and people you may find solitude but never happiness.
Happiness comes from positive achievements not from powerful achievements. A person may win an Olympic gold medal but the fame will last for but a brief moment and then the solitude will set in. However a human achiever, a knitter of souls, a kind person will never be alone.
Who are you?
I think it is necessary to get to know yourself before you can really become a giver.
As you discover who you are you will understand why?
Man, as mentioned before is body and three souls.
The three souls are 1. Instinctive 2. Intellectual 3. G-dly or Compassionate.
We have five senses which convey information to our conscious mind. We have three modes of expressing our desires. 1. Thoughts. (E.g. Thinking how to get money) 2. Speech (E.g. communication with others for our goals) 3. Actions (E.g. our feet take us to the stores etc.)
Thoughts can be dominated by any of the three souls. A person who is thinking about eating is usually being motivated by instincts. A person who is thinking of which course to choose in college may be motivated by logic (what is the best for me.) A person who is thinking about helping another is usually motivated by his or her G-dly / Compassionate Soul.
The structure of each soul is as follows:
|1. Chochmah (Brain) Wisdom, Insight|
|2. Binah (Heart) Comprehension, Understanding|
|3. Daas Knowledge, Conviction|
|1. Chesed -Love – Kindness, Giving|
|2. Gevurah -Fear – Severity, Withdrawing|
|3. Tiferes Mercy- Balance of Giving and Withdrawing|
|4. Netzach -Power – Victory, Winning|
|5. Hod -Unity – Beauty, Harmony|
|6. Yesod Connection – Balance between Winning and Harmony|
|7. Malchus – Humility – Kingship|
This is a subject that can be studied almost indefinitely so my brief explanations will need to be understood in this light. The accuracy of this division and the insights into the human personality have been confirmed by the greatest psychiatrist and Freudian scholars of our time.
The prime motivator of all souls is desire. As the instinctual soul is what we relate to best, I will begin with simply the instinct to survive. There must be some kind of joy in knowing that you exist which motivates you to desire to want to exist. So joy precedes desire and desire follows joy?
Say you see a snake your instincts tell you to run but your mind (Intellect) reminds you that the vibrations caused by your running will alert the snake and will thus put you in greater danger (this is only an example not fact.) Your insight that reminds you of this information is your Wisdom. Wisdom is the eureka moment a burst of information or inspiration, short like a bolt of lightning, it makes you aware to a higher or more important reality.
Then comes integration. To fully appreciate this idea you need to cogitate on it for some time. You need to focus your thoughts on the ramifications of the idea. (Say you wanted to build a home your inspiration as to how the home looks is wisdom but your detailed plans reflecting where the plugs will go is the next stage called Understanding. You now understand your idea.)
We often have good idea and we may even understand exactly how to implement them but we rarely act on them. This is for one reason that we lack the necessary conviction to persevere in our desires. The only way to get that conviction is to constantly and perpetually excite oneself about what it is that we want. I recall reading that Scott Adams a former cubicle employee would write fifteen times a day I will become a great cartoonist. This daily reminder of his lifes goal helped actualize it.
G-d has given us a brain that comes up with ideas (wisdom) and methods (understanding) of how to obtain our desires. Let us look at the human ingenuity it planting threshing etc. and the creations of probably millions of different types of food products available throughout the Western World. All things considered people have done a great job.
Now if a person uses their head they have the greatest tool in the world but if a person merely reacts to life, if their emotions and passions control their thoughts, then they lose this tool (the intellect) and become like a clever animal.
There are two main emotions, love and fear. Imagine a seesaw, on one side is love on the other side fear, on the side of love include pleasure and on the side of fear include pain. This is the instinctive state of man and animal. If I love the pleasure more then I fear the pain then I am drawn towards it (like someone eating great chocolate cake on diet.) If however I fear the pain more then I love the pleasure I withdraw from it (like the fear of making a mistake in public speaking which prevents people from speaking in public.) The problem for humans with this system becomes apparent in narcotics. Tens of millions of people do great damage to themselves by smoking but because they have not felt a fear or pain greater than the pleasure of smoking they do not give it up. Often smokers diagnosed with lung cancer find the ability to give up smoking immediately. What is the difference in one day? How come yesterday he couldn’t give up smoking and today he can. The fact that he can after the diagnosis is proof that he did not truly want to before the diagnoses. When the Lubavitcher Rebbe OB”M heard that smoking is bad for ones health he put out his cigarette and never touched another one in his entire life. That is mind over heart/emotions.
Lab mice were given a button to press that would have the same stimulant as opiates and they did this until the point before death. Only the self-preservation instinct in an animal is greater than the pleasure instinct.
So if we use our minds we can conceive of anything and do everything but if we are slaves to our passions and instincts then in fact we are dumber then the animal that has no ability to use its head for anything but what they naturally crave.
Love and Fear also translate as giving and withdrawing as the natural instinct is to give to whom you love and withdraw from whom you fear. I may be arrogant in presupposing the following idea which runs contrary to scientific thought but perhaps observation may prove me correct. I think that we do not contain a flight or fight instinct. Fear causes a flight instinct. I am sure if there is no alternative and say one animal attacks another the victim will fight but only as a means of ESCAPE not as an aggressive means.
This brings me to a very interesting anomaly that humans have which is significantly absent in animals. Humans love power. Animals only use power for their own objective. One often sees movies of some crazed human desiring to take over the world but not of a crazed animal desiring the same. How come?
Obviously the desire for world domination which is instinctive in man does not come from the G-dly soul nor the intellectual soul for it is definitely a far greater headache then having a nine to five job. G-d has implanted within the human’s instinctive soul this desire. We naturally enjoy supremacy over others. This desire is at the heart of all evil.
The story is told of a man who came to his Rabbi. “Rabbi in Synagogue everyone walks all over me,” he complained. Knowing the person in question that Rabbi responded: “Perhaps if you do not spread yourself out over the entire Synagogue people will not be steeping on you.” In other words this man’s desire for attention made him into a nuisance whom no one could tolerate.
Our desires for recognition is very real indeed. People do crazy thing to get their names in the Guinness book of world records on TV etc. In truth there is only way of creating the true desire of permanence that we so desperately want and that is through goodness and kindness to others.
The other day I thought about the following idea. Can I name ten good people and ten bad people with equal speed. (Perhaps you would like to try it out. I was referring to world famous people.) What I noticed was that to find Ten good people was very easy but after about seven bad people I started searching my brain.
In other words we are more likely to remember the compassionate saints of this world then the evil tyrants of this world.
So the true way to receive acclaim is by becoming a selfless saint.
Someone who gives to others begins to feel proud of themselves and spiritually content, while someone who just wants to get more will never have enough.
Freud points out that although some people are universally respected for their kindness and compassion, (e.g. Nelson Mandela,) nevertheless few people dedicate their lives towards goodness and kindness.
We see that there are hundreds of millions of people in Western countries with many physical comforts but sorely discontent and unhappy. Depression and suicide are disproportionately higher amongst such people. Modern culture that focuses on instant gratification does not produce happy people. On the other hand there are hundreds of millions of people living on basic staples who are relatively content and happy. Often I ask poor blacks in South Africa “how are things” and they say joyfully “can’t complain.”
It used to be that explorers into remote parts of the Amazon or Africa would try to integrate the tribes they found into modern culture. Now the tribes are being left alone for modern man seems to think that perhaps their cultures produces greater happiness then the western culture.
Material comforts alone do not suffice to make man happy, rather kindness and giving, good deeds and harmony, humility and thankfulness are the real source of joy for man. It is only the constant challenge between the Instinctive and Divine Souls that produces the confusion of direction within the human. People who control their animal soul and make sure to act according to the Divine soul find true inner peace, pride, and harmony with their fellow man. The animal soul offers instant gratification while the Divine soul offers lasting gratification. We are forced to choose.
Let us get back to our original topic which is the discovery of you.
As mentioned you are a composite of body, senses, souls and “Soul Powers” which are primarily Intellectual and Emotional. This expresses itself to your conscious thoughts through the agency of Malchut. Just as you communicate through speech with your tongue so to you communicate to yourself which is the main part of your thought processes. When you speak to another you reveal your thoughts to them. If you were all alone on an island speech would be basically useless.
Actions are how you actualize your desires.
A person must choose which soul Instinctive Logical or Divine dominates their conscious thoughts, speech, and actions. Harmony and peace in oneself is found when the G-dly Soul is the motivating factor.