The Financial Crisis: Diagnosis and Cure
Is there anyone in the world who remains untouched by the current financial crisis? Everyone agrees that something must be done; Kabbalah can tell us what that something is.
Retired couples have seen their life savings vanish in the stock market. Young families are forced out on the street when their home is foreclosed. Consumer confidence in the U.S. is at its lowest point since the rating system was launched in 1967. Companies large and small are laying off employees as the demand for their products plummets. This will put further strain on social services and an economy that is already at the breaking point.
Everyone agrees that something must be done to fix the problem, but no one knows what that “something” is. World leaders from Europe and Asia met in China in October, and there will be a G20 summit in Washington in November, but will these meetings produce tangible results?
In order to fix a problem, you must first understand the cause, and even the most knowledgeable economics experts are baffled. Blame has been assigned to everything from greed, a godless economy, corruption in business and government, the production of bio fuels, the free market and deregulation, oil prices, and poor mortgage practices, to name just a few.
Diagnosing the Root Cause
According to the wisdom of Kabbalah, the confusion arises because we are looking at symptoms, rather than causes. If we want to find the root cause of our market collapse, we must examine the evolution of societies in general. Throughout history, people have operated as individuals, focused on personal well-being and that of those close to them, such as family or tribe. It was fair to exploit anything else in the world if it brought benefit to one’s familial unit.
Over time, the circle of people necessary to support the individual expanded. Tribes became villages, which became cities, which became states and eventually, countries. In today’s world, all facets of society have become so intertwined that even the broadest political and cultural boundaries have become virtually meaningless. We have become a single entity called “humanity,” where each part depends on the health and proper functioning of all the other parts.
And this is where the root cause of our current crises becomes apparent. Until today, societies functioned by exploiting another part of the system. The rich took advantage of the poor; developed countries used the resources of the undeveloped world; the strong preyed on the weak. Now that we have reached a point where humanity is a single organism, who is there left to exploit?
The events happening around the globe clearly demonstrate that our traditional patterns of behavior can only result in our killing the organism of which we are part. After all, by exploiting others, we are consuming ourselves.
Healing the Human Organism
The solution to this problem is readily available to us: We must begin to understand and follow the laws that apply to organisms, rather than to individuals. Nature provides us with clear models for this, whether we look at the human body, ecosystems or galaxies. In a healthy organism, each part takes what it needs for its own maintenance, and contributes everything else to the well-being of the whole. Nothing is wasted and nothing is consumed in excess. Thus, the entire organism exists in harmony and balance.
This is exactly how we should behave in the realm of human society, since we have become one human organism. Our institutions – including the economy – must be built upon an organism’s law of sharing and reciprocity.
At present we are at a crossroads, and the decisions we make to address the current financial crisis will determine our future. We can try to return to the past by implementing policies of isolationism and protectionism, as some nations are already doing. Kabbalah warns that such efforts are doomed to fail and will only bring greater suffering, because it is impossible to reverse our natural evolution into a globalized system. Nature has already imposed the laws of the organism on us, and we can no more break them without consequence than we can break the law of gravity.
Our other option is to dedicate ourselves to understanding and conforming to this newly discovered set of natural laws - those of globalization, communication, interaction and interdependence. Then we will create a world of mutual caring for one another for the sake of everyone’s survival. Kabbalah tells us that in the process, we will discover vast reservoirs of untapped potential within and around us, thanks to the new and healthier connections between us.