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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Self-Recognition (Revised)
"... and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen."
-- Exodus 33:23
Henceforth, we shall consider the Anthropic Principle as the axiomatic basis of our journey to the metaphysics of self-empowerment: "The universe must have properties that allow life to develop because it was designed to generate observers."  As an axiom, this statement is not provable, but it is demonstrable.  If observation supports it, then it is assumed to be valid.
If the universe requires an observer, then does that imply that the universe, in some sense, has a purpose?  Purpose implies intelligence.  Does this imply that some aspect of the universe is intelligent?  If this is true, does it then mean we have a rudimentary concept of something that could be called "God"?
In "The Guide for the Perplexed", Maimonides defined the essential attributes of God.  God exists, is one, ls incorporeal, is intelligent, creates and governs.  Parallels to this can also be found in St. Thomas Aquinas' "Summa Theologiae".
The existence of God, like the Anthropic Principle, is axiomatic.  An axiom is similar to a statement of faith.  In both cases, you assert the truth of something based on observation.  Then you apply the statement to other observations.  If the other observations consistently support the statement, then the axiom can be considered to be true.  We now have two complementary axioms, one scientific and the other metaphysical.  Both assert the need for an intelligent observer.  Then, if we are to acquire knowledge of God, what are we to observe?  The quote from Exodus 33:23 can provide an answer.  It can mean that you cannot see me directly, but you can find me in the results of my presence, that is, my creation.  Both Maimonides and St. Thomas Aquinas assert that, because God is incorporeal, the only way to acquire knowledge of God is through the study of God's creation.  Then, a metaphysical Anthropic Principle might assert that God and the universe require an observer.  The task is made more difficult because the observer is also part of the observed.  We are part of God's creation.

According to Kabbalistic thinking, the first step to self-empowerment is self-recognition.  The term self-recognition definitely does not imply narcissism, megalomania or self-indulgence.  To the contrary, it requires a balance between the "inner self" (observer) and the "outer self" (observed).

Self-empowerment is achieved through the acquisition of knowledge of God.  This is an awesome and challenging task.  In a previous post (11/4/12), we found that if you see yourself as a "grasshopper" you are unable to meet the challenges presented by God.  Numbers 13 asserts that even the greatest power in the universe cannot empower people unless they choose to empower themselves.  And this starts with self-recognition.
The basis of this self-recognition lies in the realization that we were intended to have a special purpose in creation.  Knowledge itself is not a sufficient purpose.  Knowledge must be applied to become purposeful.  We, the acquirers, must become the appliers.  In this way, we become participants in the continuing process of creation.
Is this what prompted the psalmist to declare:
"8:5. What is man, that you are mindful of him? And the son of man, that you visit him?
6. For you have made him a little lower than the angels, and have crowned him with glory and honor.
7. You made him to have dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet;"

Original content copyright © Secular Kabbalist

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Request to My Readers

As an educator, I have preferred the Socratic approach: questions and conversation.  In setting up this site, I had hoped to apply the same approach.  However, the worldwide web is not a classroom.  It is too unwieldy to maintain classroom decorum.  Nevertheless, I still wish to, somehow, transform the spirit of the classroom to this website.  In this effort, I am requesting your assistance.

The word verification component of the comments section has been removed in order to provide easier access.  I am requesting that you use this to submit your questions and suggestions.  Please ensure that your input follows three basic rules: brevity, respect and relevance.  I cannot respond to each of your remarks, but I do promise that I will try, wherever possible, to incorporate your feedback into future posts.  It is my hope that this will make "The Secular Kabbalist" more responsive to you.

Thank-you for your assistance in this endeavor.  In the spirit of true connection, may we, together, create a site that is pertinent to the lives of many others.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Challenge
"But of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat of it, ..."  --  Gen. 2:17

From the beginning, it appears that humanity's purpose has been to challenge those forces that are beyond us.  In previous posts, I have emphasized the power of those forces and the need to adapt to them.  Most living creatures accept the environment and adapt themselves to it.  However, humans are driven to test every aspect of the environment, most often at considerable cost.

Does this uniquely human characteristic imply some cosmic purpose?  The parable of Adam and Eve indicates that this question has engaged the human psyche since humans have become self-aware.  The similar tales found in other ancient cultures further support this.

Adam and Eve were created in the comfort of the Garden of Eden.  Then they were given freedom of choice.  God warned (commanded) them not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge, and they chose to test God's warning.  This led to consequences of their own making.  They were forced to leave the comfort of the Garden and dwell in a harsh world.  Does this imply that human beings were created to deviate from Divine governance?  If you believe in one God that created and governs everything, then the answer is yes.  Then, why did that all-powerful God create a creature that had the power to deviate from God's will.

Could the answer be found in the text: Now the Lord God said, "Behold man has become like one of us, having the ability of knowing good and evil," (Gen. 3:22)?  Note that the text says, "having the ability of knowing good and evil".  The acquisition of knowledge requires challenge, and is achieved with great discomfort.  Is it possible that humans were intended to have the power to acquire knowledge?

A response to that question might be found in the anthropic principle of astrophysics and cosmology.  The four forces that govern the interaction of matter and energy have just the right properties to allow atoms to bond together into molecules.  These are the building blocks of the universe, and, ultimately, of intelligent life.  If the value of the fundamental constants, that determine the nature of these forces, were to deviate by an infinitesmal amount our universe would not exist.  This theory of the "fine tuning" of creation, is called the anthropic principle.   This led Brandon Carter, one of the founders of the anthropic principle, to state that "The universe must have properties that allow life to develop because it was designed to generate observers."  I consider this the most profound metaphysical statement of the twentieth century.  This also raises another question.  Does this need for intelligent life imply that the universe, or some aspect of it, is intelligent?

The function of an observer is to acquire knowledge.  Is that the purpose of humanity?  Maimonides responded to that question in metaphysical terms.  He asserted that the perfection of humans is attained by the acquisition of knowledge of God. 

As observers, humans have the capacity to interact with the cosmos.  Within certain limits, we can use our knowledge to adapt our environment to our purpose.  We are not corks floating on a vast sea.  We can choose to be partners in creation.

However, there is a price to pay for this elevation of humanity.    The price, as Genesis 3:15-24 teaches, is we become responsible for our choices and their consequences.  In this way, God's response to our challenge is to challenge us.  This is the gateway to self-empowerment.
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Monday, December 10, 2012

The Metaphysics of Economics - II

"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."  --  Albert Einstein

Our lives have largely been determined by the economy we have lived in over the past seventy years.  Our skills, our jobs and personal economic behavior are the result of that economic environment.  Now we face a changing economic environment, and the demand is on us to adapt to it.

Again, the principles of connection and balance come into play.  We must recognize that we are connected to everything in the economic world.  As that world changes, the nature of our connection changes.  Then, we must restore our balance within the changing connections.

The Bible story of Joseph provides a parable for dealing with the current economic environment.  Joseph was a prince among his people.  Suddenly, his world changed.  He became a slave, then a prisoner.  However, he ultimately became the second most powerful person in Egypt.  In each situation, he confronted the reality before him.  He then adapted all of the talents and skills that he possessed to that reality to achieve success.

The first thing we must do is to increase our awareness of that world that exists beyond our self.  Further, we must recognize that our self exists within that world, just as I was within the churning ocean as described in a previous post.

According to Adam Smith, labor is the most important currency in the economic world.  From an economic perspective, we trade our labor for our economic benefit.  However, the value of our labor is determined by the world beyond our self.  The law of supply and demand sets that value.  In a national economy, the value of labor is largely determined within the borders of the nation.  In a global economy, the value is determined globally.  We are currently in the turmoil of transforming from a national to a global economy.  This is changing the value of our labor.  History has taught us that these changes are usually irreversible.

The challenge for the individual, who has been living in a national economy where his/her labor had high value, is how to sustain the value of his/her labor in the global economy.  The measure of their success will be determined by their adaptability, their ability to rebalance their relationship with the external world.

The first step is to do as Abraham did.  Go out from yourself to the word beyond yourself.  What is going on in the changing world that is affecting the value of your labor?  If you are in manufacturing, can the same job be done somewhere else for less?  If you are doing telephone sales or service are there workers anywhere in the world who can do it for less.  This is the shift of the tide of the law of supply and demand from a national to a global economy.  If you want to sustain your economic value, you have to determine the labor of higher value that is needed in a global economy.  Then you must align yourself with the changing tide.

The next step is to go into your self.  The way to restore balance of self and the external world is self-recognition, transformation and training.  This begins with a thorough examination of all of your prior experience and skills.  Then you have to determine if one, or a combination, can be applied to increasing the value of your labor.  Many people simply do not recognize that they have skills, talents and experience that can be rebalanced to increase the value of their labor.  Finally, some training might be needed to complete the process.  Wherever possible, the training should focus on existing capabilities.  The idea is to reapply yourself, not to remake yourself.

For example, there is a person with manufacturing experience, who relates well with fellow workers and is an outstanding Sunday school teacher.  He/she can become a trainer or advisor to companies that have a large population of workers who have little familiarity with modern manufacturing.  If large companies can outsource, why can't individuals outsource their labor?  This can also encourage entrepreneurs to create the infrastructure needed to connect individuals to opportunities.  (Do you know how many millionaires were created by the Great Depression?)

Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson taught, "We hold the keys to our freedom, but we use them to lock ourselves in."  The same applies to our opportunities in a tumultuous world.


Original content copyright © Secular Kabbalist


Monday, December 3, 2012

The Metaphysics of Economics - I

The incident of the changing tide of the ocean in the previous post is analogous to our current economic situation.  The tide of our economy is changing and we are required to adapt to it.  We must learn to form a "partnership" with it. 

Furthermore, history has taught us that, in the case of economies, when the tide settles, the "ocean never returns to its previous state.  Humans started in a hunter-gatherer economy.  That was transformed into an agricultural economy, which was then transformed into a merchant economy.  Then came the industrial economy.  Now we are in what we call the postindustrial economy.

Each of these economic transformations produced major ad long lasting social changes.  Hunter gathers required tribes.  Agriculture led to settled villages.  Merchants required city-states; and industrialization led to nations.  Notice that each transformation contained the seeds for the next, which, thus far, have been irreversible.  Each of these transformations has also impacted on the life and role of individuals.  This is one example of the principle of connection in the lives of individual people.

What is our current transformation?  We have already named it, the global economy.  The great technological advances in communication and transportation have changed the nature of the connection among people.  The craftsman does not have to live in the same city.  The manufacturer no longer needs to be in the same country.  The strength of distant connections has increased.  Now we must adapt to those forces that impact on us.  First, we must recognize that we cannot "swim back to the same spot on the beach" and succeed.  We must accept that we will end up in a new and different reality and prepare ourselves for it.   We must align our self (From now on, I will use the word "self" instead of "inner world".) with a new reality.

Let us look at that new reality.  After World War II, the United States was the only significant industrial nation.  There was huge demand for manufactured goods and only the US had the capacity to respond.  With the help of the Marshall Plan, the US became the leading manufacturer, and the richest nation, in the world.  This also was the time when the power and value of labor increased.

Over time, the other nations began to catch up.  The major cost in manufacturing is labor.  The advantage began to shift to those nations that had manufacturing capacity and low labor costs.  The balancing forces of supply and demand kicked in.  Over the past forty years, the world has been remaking itself.  A current example is found in the following quote: "In just five years, China has surpassed the United States as a trading partner for much of the world, including U.S. allies such as South Korea and Australia, according to an Associated Press analysis of trade data." (AP 12/2/2012).

In this emerging world, the rich nations must learn to provide high value labor that is not available elsewhere.  An example of this is the company that used to produce computer-based design and support for special manufacturing equipment, and then manufactured the equipment.  After a while, they found that their overseas customers were using their designs to build the equipment cheaper than they could.  The company fell into serious trouble, and was planning to shut down.  Then they came up with an adaptive solution.  They would shut down manufacturing and sell their design and support services under an exclusive proprietary contract to those overseas companies that manufactured their equipment.  They thrived.

You might ask, what happened to those who did the manufacturing?   I am not sure.  But, as someone who is experienced in the application of Statistical Process Control, I do know that the people who do the manufacturing are best equipped to recommend what is needed for performance and process improvement.  Some of them could have been retrained, at little expense, and incorporated as advisors to the design and support teams.

Thus, the metaphysical principles of connection and balance apply to economic pragmatism.  In Part II we will examine how these principles may apply to the individual.



Original content copyright © Secular Kabbalist


Monday, November 26, 2012

The Reality of Choice
"You shall choose life, so that you and your offspring will live;"
-- Deut. 30:19
We live in a world where we feel an increasing loss of control.  The opportunity to earn an adequate living is decreasing.  Pensions are shrinking or vanishing.  Availability of health care is being questioned.  The world in which we once found our security is changing.  These are not outcomes of our choice.  Forces are acting on us that we cannot control.  We are being dragged in a direction that is further and further from our "comfort zone".  What can we do?

Many years ago, I visited the New Jersey shore.  It was after vacation season, and the beach was empty.  The day was beautiful and the ocean was so tempting.  I was a strong and experienced swimmer, so I decided to go into the ocean anyway.   The ocean was calm and I swam out quite far.  Suddenly the tide began to change and I started swimming straight back to the beach.  As I struggled to get back, I noticed that I was being dragged toward a jetty.  The harder I tried to swim toward the beach, the faster I was being dragged toward the jetty.  Reaching near exhaustion, I had to stop and try to catch my breath.  While treading water, I noticed that the waves were hitting the beach diagonally.  And, they were reaching the beach before smashing into the jetty.  I immediately changed my approach and, started swimming in the direction of the waves.  Although it was still difficult, I was able to use my strength, with the help of the waves, to get safely to the beach.

This incident offers a paradigm for addressing the issues relating to our current situation.  First, when the tide started to change, I responded to an inner voice saying swim straight to the beach.  Next, as I was struggling to avoid the jetty, I was forced to face the reality that the force of the ocean was overpowering.  I had virtually no control.  The ocean was determining where I was going.  Then, I realized that, if I was to survive, I had to adapt to the reality of the ocean. 

If I continued to struggle against the tide, I would not have made it to the beach.  If I simply submitted to the ocean and did not add my effort, I probably would not have made it.  I had to form a "partnership" with the ocean.  I had to "choose life".

As far as we know, humanity's relationship with reality is unique.  All other living creatures appear to passively adapt to the environment in which they are embedded.  Only the human has the capacity to actively influence its adaptation.  Humans, if they choose, can become participants in the process of adaptation.  We can become partners with reality.

In order to achieve this partnership, we must recognize two essential principles.  First, we have little or no influence over the realities acting upon us.  They are the products of nature and/or history.  In business, there is a saying that a good CEO controls about twenty percent of his/her business, influences about twenty percent and neither controls nor influences the rest.  His/her success depends on how he/she responds to the remaining sixty percent.  In life, the relative percent of control and influence is even less. 

This leads to the second principle.  Success or failure depends on our response to the reality in which we are embedded.  This means that we must align ourselves with the rules of that reality.  For humans, adaptation is not submission.  It is the creation of that "partnership".  This is the key to self-empowerment.

In metaphysical terms, this is the story of Abraham, Jacob and Joseph.  Each were plucked out of their comfort zones and required to adapt.  Each confrontation was a test that increased their ability to form a partnership with the Power of the Universe.

How can we increase our awareness of reality in our everyday life?  What must we require of ourselves?  The journey to self-empowerment continues.


Original content copyright © Secular Kabbalist



Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Search for Reality
"Go out to yourself." – Genesis 12:1
The above translation is a little different from the ones that appear in most biblical translations, but it is a valid alternative translation of the biblical Hebrew.  Hidden in the ancient language of the Torah is the guidance to the path of self-empowerment.  Just as these words set Abraham on his divine journey, so can they show us the path to ours.
Of all the mysteries in the universe, the most mysterious is ourselves.  Although we think we know ourselves, more and more research reveals that we don't.  It appears that our mind is encased in a shell of genetics, family and cultural influences that hide reality from us.  If we can't confront reality, then we can't empower ourselves to deal with it.  We become helpless in the presence of reality.  This is why science is so very careful to separate the observed from the observer.
Cultural influences determine our “national reality”.  What if we accept that “national reality” as part of our internal reality?  Then we lose our power “to form a more perfect union”.
The sages have taught that “The Lord God is truth.”   For a kabbalist/scientist this leads to a fascinating syllogism.  God is Truth.  Truth is Reality.  Therefore, God is Reality.  If the kabbalist is to achieve his/her mission of acquiring knowledge of God, he/she must confront reality.  This might be why Ralph Waldo Emerson said “the religion that fears science insults G-d and commits suicide.” 
The following parable might help to illustrate the way the mind distorts our perception of reality.  You are driving along a country road dotted with farm houses.  In the distance you see what appears to be a person standing at the edge of the road.  As you approach, you become certain you are seeing a person.  Then, as you draw close, you discover that it is a mailbox.  If you had turned off the road before the point of recognition, you would have sworn that you saw a person.  Many people have experienced this phenomenon.
What happened?  Your mind is filled with a vast amount of data.  At a distance, it began to assemble some of that data and formed an image of what it expected to see based on past experience.  If you turned off the road, you would have retained that image in your memory.  In addition, that memory will add to the data for future identification.
This is the way that, from before childhood, we create a world within our minds that can be substantially different from reality.  This is what makes it possible for humans to turn fantasy into facts and facts into fantasy.  If we must confront reality in order to achieve self-empowerment, then how do we break through the shell of our minds?
This takes us to the meaning of "Go out to yourself."  The sages tell us that, on his journey, Abraham experienced ten "tests" which transformed him.  The tests required that he confront reality as it is, not a world as he wanted it to be.  With each confrontation he aligned his inner world with the real world.  Amazingly, in this process of revealing the world around him, he discovered himself and the power that resided within him. 
This concept of self discovery through confrontation with the world, as it is, is common to mystical systems and psychology.  In contemporary terms, Viktor Frankl, author of “Man’s Search for Meaning” said When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves. 
However, this leads to another paradox.  If our initial view of reality is distorted, how can we be sure that our changed view is any closer to reality?  The journey to self-empowerment continues.

Original content copyright © Secular Kabbalist

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Empowering a Nation

"...  and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so were we in their sight."  -- Numbers 13:33


By the time that this is posted, the United States will be in the midst of a critical election.  It likely will tell us how we define ourselves as a nation.  More than that, it will tell us how a significant part of our population defines themselves.

In Biblical times, we are told of a nation that experienced miracles of a magnitude that are still beyond our comprehension.  The Source of the miracles then told them that they had been granted a certain land.  They were commanded to conquer that land and assured that the Source was with them.  They sent out spies.  When the spies returned most of the spies said that, compared to the occupants of the land, they saw themselves as grasshoppers.  The people refused to carry out the command.  The price for this was that the entire generation had to die in the desert.  The next generation would fulfill the mission under the leadership of the sole survivor of the previous generation.

Whether you view this tale as history or allegory, it has stimulated much commentary over the succeeding eighty-five generations.  It is a profound lesson in the nature of humans.  It appears remarkable that a people who had experienced the support of the greatest power in the universe for a year would refuse to obey the command.  After many demonstrations, did they still not trust in that power?  Obviously, the answer is yes, but, why?

The answer is quite simple.  Although they saw this great power around them, they could not internalize it.  They still did not trust themselves.  The victory had to wait until they had absorbed some aspects of that power into themselves.  Then they would be able to trust themselves and fulfill their appointed mission.  This is the remarkable lesson of the Torah.

There are those who declare that the singular purpose of government is to protect its people.  I would respectfully disagree.  The singular purpose of a just government is to provide its people with the means to protect themselves.

All forms of government, democracy, republic, monarchy and dictatorship claim that they "protect" their citizens.  That is why people cling to their governments.  They seek its protection.  Sadly, history has taught us that, all too often, this may lead to "enslavement".  I do not mean the slavery that we currently think of, but the enslavement of dependency and the voluntary loss of personal power - the enslavement that turns people into "grasshoppers".

Archeology has shown us that Egyptian slaves had adequate food, medical care and housing.  However, their lives depended solely on the will of the Pharaoh.  That is the reason why the people who departed from Egypt cried to go back.  The government in which they had been raised turned them into "grasshoppers".

No government empowers its people, unless the people create a government that empowers them.  This is the lesson of the exodus.  Even the greatest power in the universe cannot empower people unless they choose to empower themselves.  This is the gift of free choice.  This is why the Declaration of Independence states, "Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,".

The history of the Revolutionary Period in America is a magnificent example of national empowerment through the will of the people.  Under the Continental Congress, the United States was certainly not a strong nation.  Yet, it confronted one of the strongest empires in the world.  Its army was no match for the vaunted British army.  It sent representatives across Europe literally begging for financial assistance and talent.  Its only real asset was a population that most certainly did not see themselves as "grasshoppers".  From the will and dedication of this self-empowered population came the shining example of what can be achieved by a nation "of the people, by the people and for the people".

Sadly, many in the United States, and much of the Western World, have recently chosen to see themselves as "grasshoppers".  More and more are choosing the dependency and enslavement of "Egypt".  And, as we have been taught so very long ago, no power can change that except the will and self-empowerment of people.

In the next post, we shall begin to explore how the wisdom of ages can guide us on a path to self-empowerment.

Original content copyright © Secular Kabbalist

Monday, October 29, 2012

Moral Empowerment
"Justice, only justice shall you pursue,"  -- Deut. 16:20

During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union were engaged in a massive nuclear arms race.  The Soviet Union was aggressively pursuing an effort to bring a significant part of the world under its power.  The United States was struggling to block that expansion.  The nuclear arms race was a tactical means of achieving the Soviet's strategic goal.  If they could build a large enough nuclear arsenal, the threat of a nuclear apocalypse could block other nations from deterring them from achieving their strategic goal.

Both could choose to arm or disarm.  Disarming, while your opponent continues to arm, would have led to military inferiority and possible annihilation.  If both sides chose to arm, neither could afford to attack each other, but at the high cost of maintaining and developing a nuclear arsenal.  If both sides chose to disarm, war would be avoided and there would be no costs.  If your opponent disarmed while you continue to arm, then you achieve superiority.

Although the 'best' overall outcome is for both sides to disarm, the rational course for both sides is to arm.  This is indeed what happened.  The United States adopted a strategic policy of mutually assured destruction (MAD). Ultimately, the economy of the Soviet Union collapsed under the pressure of the arms race.  Although there were localized wars during this period, there was no nuclear exchange.

This is a global demonstration of the validity of the "repeated prisoner's dilemma" in the science of game theory.  It has led to a dozen Nobel Prizes.  It has been applied to conflict resolution and economics.  The principal behind this goes back to the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi (1780 BCE) - "an eye for an eye".  It later appears in a revised, more humane form in the Biblical codes of justice. 

Robert Aumann, in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, pointed out that simplistic peacemaking can cause war, while arms race, credible war threats and mutually assured destruction can reliably prevent war.  History, science and religion have joined in establishing the moral value of "peace through strength".

From a kabbalistic point of view, an eye for an eye and the prisoner's dilemma evolve from a single concept, reciprocity.  In this context, "an eye for an eye" takes on the broader meaning of "measure for measure".  Reciprocity, in turn, rests on the principles of balance and connectedness.  Once again, we arrive at the bedrock of justice and morality.

These examples are global; applied on a grand scale.  You would be right to ask, how do they affect me at a more personal level?  Let's try to answer that through the following parable.  Suppose you were an alien anthropologist studying one of Earth's cities.  You have no knowledge of the language.  Your assignment is to determine if this is a just/moral society.  Your only tool is behavioral observation.  What would you look for?

The observer might start by determining if people left the doors of their homes and cars unlocked, day and night, with no fear for themselves, their families or their property.  Are they able to walk the streets, day or night, without fear?  Can they be comfortable in knowing that, if something untoward happens, people will hurry to assist them?  Do the merchant and customer both receive value for value in any transaction?  Clearly, human beings do not meet these standards.  However, these are not absolute measures, but are set against a scale to determine how close the society has come to achieving these goals.

Take note that the answers to all of these are based on reciprocity.  If I am going to leave my home unlocked, I must have reasonable certainty that no one will violate my property or me.  On the other hand, every other person must have the same confidence that I will not violate what is his or hers.  This means that the moral force acting on the society must be strongly directed toward achieving this outcome.  Morality can only be determined by outcomes.

The kabbalist recognizes that the human being is not intrinsically moral, but has been created with the capacity to be moral.  Furthermore, it makes clear that the achievement of morality is entirely our responsibility.  This is the essence of moral empowerment.

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