A Requiem for Utopian Dreams
As we watch the “Ameican Dream” of a successful, prospering free market vanish before our eyes, it’s no wonder that our faith in change has withered, as well. And yet, the future looks much brighter from a Kabbalist’s bird’s eye view
From Plato to John Lennon, many great minds have envisioned a perfect society where there is no poverty, war, hatred, exploitation, crime or racism, and everyone lives in peace and harmony.
Today, however, one would need a super-sized portion of Don Quixote naiveté to continue holding on to such dreams.
Are we living in an era devoid of utopian dreams? An era of no hope, no bright future glimmering on the horizon? Not necessarily. From Kabbalah’s perspective, this time is the perfect setting for a fundamental shift to take place.
A Bird’s Eye View of the Future
“We have been lost in a terrible desert along with all mankind, and now we have found a great, abundant treasure… that fulfills our yearning souls and fills us abundantly with lushness and content. Yet the memory of our friends left hopelessly in the terrible desert remains deep within our hearts… For that reason, we have set up this horn to blow loudly so that our brothers may hear and draw near and be as happy as we.”
(Kabbalist Baal HaSulam, “Building the Future Society”)
In this verse, written 60 years ago, Kabbalist Baal HaSulam speaks of the ideological “drought” of our era. He states that it is high time to explain the laws and principles of a properly functioning society – one founded on spiritual principles. Such a society will have inner harmony among its members, as well as harmony with all of Nature around it, because it will be founded on mutual bestowal – the principal law of Nature.
His descriptions do not come from an imagined vision, a poetic idea, or a romantic fantasy. Nor were they derived through philosophic reasoning or a cunning historical analysis. A Kabbalist is one who has revealed the spiritual world – the full picture of reality, and hence has a bird’s eye view of humanity’s development.
Just as Baal HaSulam accurately saw and described the events that would occur during the 1940s (including World War II and Nazi regimes) as well as today’s turmoil, he also saw what our world will be like in its Last Generation. And despite any images of “utopian dreams” his words may elicit in us, they are actually based on practical experience and a most rational approach.
A Springboard to the Spiritual World
“We find the opportunity to look at the conditions of life in the last generation - the time of world peace. People will use only the form of bestowal and not at all the form of reception. And it is good to follow this form of life so it will serve us as a lesson and a model to settle our minds under the flood of the waves of our lives.”
(Kabbalist Baal HaSulam, “Peace in the World”)
What is so good and unique about a society that’s based on spiritual principles, a society whose biggest value is to change the egoistic aspirations and intentions that drive us by nature, to those hitherto unknown to us - bestowal to our fellow man? A society that enables us to give up the endless concern for ourselves by surrounding us with thousands of people who will take care of our needs?
Kabbalists have a name for this familial, warm relationship between the members of a society:
“Mutual Guarantee.” This is the magical tool that enables each individual to break out of the mundane existence to a new dimension, and there to discover a completely different level of perception.
And what makes this society different from other utopias, which have failed time and time again? The fundamental difference is that “the Last Generation” Baal HaSulam speaks of isn’t a goal in and of itself, but is simply a means, a “springboard” to the spiritual world.
While the perfect society outlined by Baal HaSulam may seem unrealistic in our day and age, we must ask: Do we really have any alternative? It is clear that humanity is rapidly advancing toward a very shaky future. The banking crisis, which started in the U.S. and spread to the whole world, has proven for the thousandth time that the Butterfly Effect is much more than a cliché. With every passing year, we gain greater insight into our absolute connection with each other. We gradually discover that we members of the human race are similar to the cells of one body. And what other way is there for cells in a body to interact, if not as Baal HaSulam describes in the Last Generation?
The only remedy for our condition must be general or global, and the model of the Last Generation is designed exactly for this purpose, founded on the reality of our global interdependence and interconnection. It accounts for the fact that the only way for us to succeed and prosper is by living as cells of one body – by the principle of mutual bestowal.
The Last Generation will be like a family whose members divide the common burden among them and invest their best efforts in the common good. Every member of the family has a role, and one is not rewarded for working more hours by getting more food. Rather, the spiritual principle that guarantees equality to all is that everyone aspires to invest the best effort possible to benefit society, and correspondingly, everyone’s essential needs will be fulfilled.
The basic principle for the members of a family – and the society of the Last Generation - is the idea of bestowal to the fellow man, where the opportunity to give is the highest reward in and of itself. Why so? Because giving to others makes one equal to Nature at Its highest level.