A Wall of Hope
The wisdom of Kabbalah and Pink Floyd have something in common: they like to break walls. But unlike the boys from London, Kabbalah tells us how to break through our inner wall and why this breakthrough is possible now more than ever
"If you intend to slide on the thin ice of modern life, don't be surprised when a crack appears under your feet,” warned Roger Waters, the leader of the legendary Pink Floyd band, in the beginning of their 1979 masterpiece, “The Wall.”
Waters' edgy voice was the voice of a whole generation that felt a crack open beneath it, and the first generation that did not want to be educated. It rebelled, shouted, kicked, and stopped playing by the rules, to the sounds of David Gilmour's electric guitar.
But beyond the harsh indictment against Britain’s strict educational system, “The Wall” was also an allegory about the general condition of humanity. It reflected people’s deep feelings of confusion, fear, and anxiety in the face of new conflicts and challenges. “Break down the Wall!” repeats the choir again and again, and the excited audience responds with a joyous uproar.
But a sober look 30 years later raises the question: Did the wall break after all?
Another Brick in the Wall
On the outside, it seems that some of the bricks that made up the Floydian Wall have indeed been broken. The iron curtain that separated the East and the West has faded, and the remnants of the Berlin Wall are now a tourist site, while the Great Wall of China is already making its way into the souvenir shop of history.
The world is shrinking into a dense, tightly knit network. With modern technology we can bridge distance and time, which used to separate countries and people. A single click of a mouse now bridges any two points on Earth with one another.
Yet, despite the progress and the cellular and satellite communications connecting us all, something is still missing. There is a growing sense of disorientation, moral degeneration, alienation, violence and terror - the same ailments Waters wrote about almost 30 years ago. These feelings have only strengthened through the years. Somehow, thinking we were removing old walls, we’ve actually been piling up new ones.
However, all this is only the external layer of the wall that the legendary band had described in song. Waters knew that the wall between us is not external. He was ahead of his time in pointing out that it’s the inner wall, “the wall in our hearts,” that’s the real source of our suffering and confusion.
How was this wall created, and how can it be broken? This is something Floyd didn’t know and didn't try to explain. Their music burst as a bitter cry from the darkness of modern loneliness, but it couldn’t find the magic hammer that would break the way to the light.
Pink Floyd’s 30th anniversary is fast approaching. Children who grew up with “The Wall” are now parents to a new generation, wiser and more developed than their parents. They don’t have a sense of purpose and they refuse to continue walking the same worn-out path.
The rebellion of today’s youth is no longer directed against a specific system or institution. The new generation’s lack of interest, alienation, apathy, hyper-activity, loss of values, violence, and most of all—the inability to determine the cause of their frustration - situate them before the real wall: the wall within that’s just as impenetrable as it is confusing.
And what about us? How are we dealing with this problem? We are simply going by rote, hoping that our attempts to change this or that framework, or to drug our children into calmness, will suppress the problem.
It is difficult for us to understand that the new questions our children ask offer us an opportunity to find a real solution, questions such as: “Why do we need all this?” and “What is the meaning of life?”
The Show Must Go On
The wisdom of Kabbalah explains what Pink Floyd didn’t: It shows us how we can break through our inner wall and why this breakthrough is possible right now.
“At the outset of my words, I find a great need to break the iron wall that has been separating us from the wisdom of Kabbalah and to this day.” This is how the great 20th century Kabbalist, Baal HaSulam, begins his introduction to one of the most important compositions of our time, The Study of the Ten Sefirot. The wall he is talking about is the wall that surrounds our hearts, separating us from the world around us.
The new generation sees that the former generations have failed to make a breakthrough. It is disillusioned with the old approach and understands, albeit unconsciously, that until now we have tried to break the wall with the very instrument that created it: the ego. This is why our attempts were doomed to fail.
To break the wall, we need another method, written by people like Baal HaSulam, who have succeeded in shattering this internal wall, and who tell us about it from their personal experience. Kabbalists, those who broke the ego’s walls, write about the reality they discovered as a result, where we are bonded by love. There are no walls or iron curtains there, and no personal interests, but only feelings of security, peace, and love that fill all people. This reality can be revealed to all of us, here and now.
With “The Wall,” Pink Floyd created the ultimate sound track to modern life. Now it’s time to change the record. The new generation expects a new melody full of hope, carrying the promise of a better life. What we need now is a melody that plays in our hearts, a melody of love and warmth that will enable us to shatter the walls of hatred and alienation that separate us and cause all the suffering in our world. All we have to do is desire to reveal this melody among us. Today, more than ever before, the time and the conditions are just right.