Many people doubt whether the science of Kabbalah is a science in the proper meaning of this word. Should it be attributed to the category of the natural sciences, such as physics, chemistry, and biology which research the nature of the surrounding world, or to the humanitarian sciences such as philosophy, psychology and the like? Or perhaps it is a special science, since it not only demands of its researcher to have knowledge, but also a special quality that man does not have from birth?
By the word "science" we mean research of the surrounding world whose results we can record, transmit, and reproduce by means of the natural five senses that we received at birth and instruments that expand the range of their sensitivity. Kabbalists assert that studying by the method of Kabbalah allows one to acquire a new, sixth sense (the screen or soul), with whose help one researches the agitations that are felt in it, analogously to how our five senses work. We record these sensations, analyze and summarize them, and bring them together into a single whole. In addition, just like the observations made in the natural sciences, these observations have been conducted throughout centuries and confirmed by thousands of Kabbalistic researchers.
So what makes Kabbalah a unique science, one that cardinally differs from other methods of attainment that man uses? It is not only the fact that man is not given the ability to attain this way at birth. The uniqueness of Kabbalah lies also in that it allows one to attain the Upper part of the universe, from where information about what happens on that level descends to us, clothes into our five senses and begins to be felt and perceived by us as the reality of this world.
The science of Kabbalah allows one to attain the roots of the universe; not one more additional part of it, but the universe on the level that precedes the reality which man perceives. This does not mean simply attaining that which will become reality at some time in the future. In this case the irreversibility of the impending event will not leave man any choice and he will not have the power to change anything.
The revelation of the previous level, one that has not yet become the reality of this world, with the help of Kabbalah's method allows a person to control and measure the Upper Reality by means of his inclusion into it. It is as if a person ascends into the center of governance, from where the control becomes actualized behind the reality that surrounds us; he ascends from the level of creation to the level of the Creator.
It is as if man's ascent above himself takes place, to the place from where emanate the forces that afterwards clothe into the matter of our world and that become manifested as concrete actions and events. The change of the attitude towards them in their source (not of themselves, bur precisely of the attitude towards them) leads to the fact that in our world they begin being perceived completely differently. Instead of the sensation of empty Kelim (vessels) emerging time after time, what is felt is a constant accumulation and growth of Kelim, filled with Light. Everything depends on what attitude a Kabbalist has in his sixth sense towards that which is about to become revealed before him.
This way, the difference of Kabbalistic researcher from a non-Kabbalistic scientist lies only in that the former researches the universe by means of an additional sense, which in principle can be acquired by anyone who wishes to.
It is somewhat unusual to suddenly find out about the opportunity to acquire an additional sixth sense of perception, which provides additional information about the world that is already determined by the five senses. However, as soon as a person acquires the readiness to accept such a supposition, everything else begins to appear absolutely natural. Research of the world by means of an additional sense is unquestionably called "science," just as research with the help of the senses with which we are born.
A non-Kabbalistic scientist who researches reality through the five senses and studies how it becomes revealed in them, is limited by these five sensors, not having the opportunity to go beyond their boundaries. He cannot even imagine what awaits him there.
The Non-Objectivity of the Picture of the World
Lately scientists are discovering that the picture of the world is not objective and that it is entirely determined by the observer. As Niels Bohr asserted, the researcher does not study the surrounding world, but only his reactions to it. If this is so, then the natural sciences can be defined as knowledge that a person receives in the natural five senses given to him from birth, while Kabbalah — as a science whose range of attainment is above the perception of the regular senses. In this sense Kabbalah is a "supernatural" science: people attain it by preliminarily acquiring an additional sensor.
The General Crisis
Today humanity is coming to total disillusionment, both in the social realm and in the realm of man's inner development. Science, as a form of human activity, is also demonstrating an inability for further development.
The state which humanity has reached at the present time is completely unique. The notion of a general direction of development has vanished. Problems in spheres of social relations, ecology, culture, upbringing, education and science have placed humanity on the verge of ruin. It is becoming clear that further advancement no longer seems possible with the absence of the understanding of the correct direction, that which is the moving energy or essence of matter, that which governs and fills it from inside.
Previous crises have always happened in some one area: in science, culture, religion, social relations, and so on. They gave a push towards the development of something new, which was called an overturn or even a revolution. When religion lost its positions, it was replaced by the blossoming of culture and new technologies; when a technological decline came, it was replaced by cultural development. And vice versa: when culture experienced a decline, the development of industry began. That is, one thing always came to replace another.
Whereas today humanity has reached such a state where in all directions of his activity man is receiving absolutely negative results, signifying total exhaustion.
The same thing is true of the religious influence. A certain awakening of an interest in religion does not signify a return to the form that existed in the past, when religion occupied the decisive place in personal and social life. Rather, the return to religion is happening because it is necessary to once again check and become convinced once and for all of its inability to justify man's hopes for any kind of support in life.
Lacking a basis are also the hopes for the emergence of a synthesis of religion and science that might help man get rid of the sensation of feebleness and helplessness. Humanity has arrived at the completion of development, which unfolded for thousands of years based on the receiving Kelim.
Everything is moving towards the revelation of the Creator. However, if this process happens not by creation's desire to become similar to the Creator, then man perceives the development as unkind and menacing, and it immerses his entire life, which is perceived in the five senses, into darkness. In contrast, when the revelation happens by creation's desire and corresponds to what the Creator desires (that is, becomes realized in the process of the two becoming similar to each other), then creation perceives it as a growing nearer with the Upper Light, and this connection becomes constantly strengthened and expands.
Kabbalah — the Root of All Sciences
We reveal this world and use that which we find in it for ourselves. We discover how much we can adapt and transform it for ourselves and how much our life changes according to how we reveal the world, its order and our abilities of using it. We attain a completely new universe, a new volume, a new order. However, we are not simply (as in our world) expanding the ability to exist more comfortably and feel ourselves safe in this world. Rather, the revelation of the following, higher world brings us to completely different attainments - to the sensation of eternity and perfection, to the attainment of that which does not exist in our world. Unification with the Upper Governing Force to the degree that man identifies himself with it provides liberation from fear and worry for one's existence, for one's present and future. This is why the science about achieving such states and using them for further altruistic development and similarity to the Creator is naturally a wonderful science.
There is not a single science that is not included into it. Each of them is just one area of researching our world under a specific angle, with the help of specific instruments and methods. One of them is called "physics." By researching our world in a different way, we accumulate data and call their aggregate "chemistry," for example. We call a third means of researching our world - "biology," and so on. All sciences emerge from the fact that we collect data from a specific perspective, and with the help of specific instruments and programs of relating to our world. This data is sometimes interconnected: we can work simultaneously in physics and chemistry, biology and physics, mechanics and mathematics, and etc. when we see an interconnection between them. However, as a rule the sciences of our world are separate from one another. Besides this, they are applicable only in the area of our world where we exist and perceive ourselves.
The basis of the science of Kabbalah is the general knowledge of all the levels (the still, vegetative, animate and speaking levels) and all of their particular manifestations, which are included in the plan of the Upper Governing Force.
The science of Kabbalah deals with attaining everything that the Creator created. It studies both the material of creation itself and everything that happens to it: under the influence of what and according to what laws it originates, how we can master these laws, how with their help we can govern ourselves and achieve the highest state, include the entire universe in us and its laws and become the only creation that the Creator created.
Kabbalah includes all the metamorphoses that happen to the created will to enjoy — the matter of creation, as well as all of the particular sciences, which we have developed from our small experience of interacting with the matter of our world. The science of Kabbalah does not only include all of these sciences, but also all the other laws of the universe, since it deals with researching matter on the highest and deepest level.
Correspondingly, all the sciences of our world are included into the science of Kabbalah. It equalizes all forms of science in an order common to them, such they every science receives the place corresponding to it in the general system of Kabbalistic knowledge.
We bring all sciences to a common denominator, at the same time not belittling them but vice-versa, completely revealing their significance. What can physics reveal above that which can be attained in the egoistic attitude towards matter? The same thing can be said of chemistry, biology and other natural sciences.
Physics precisely corresponds to the order of the worlds and Sefirot; astronomy also corresponds to the same order, and so does music. This speaks of the fact that they are all interconnected, that is, Kabbalah contains all other sciences, which in turn depend on it. Correspondingly, the progress of the sciences lies precisely in combining them with the science of Kabbalah, as the science that initially includes them into itself.
We are discovering that the sciences in this world have not developed over the last few decades, and we are speaking of a dead-end situation. As scientists themselves assert, their further development depends on how the observer, that is, the researcher or scientist himself, will change.
A scientist must change the means of research and begin studying the material by making it similar to himself, by letting it though him, rather than simply researching matter outside of him. A scientist must begin acquiring altruistic qualities or the ability to come out of his ego. Everything that can be learned by absorbing information about the surrounding world has already been learned. We can continue accumulating data, but we will not receive anything new.
Additional knowledge about the world can be received not by gathering information and thus isolating oneself from the external world, from the researched objects and actions, but rather by bringing oneself into them. This is why before beginning one's research, one must acquire the quality of bestowal. The science that is built on absorption has come to an end. The following phase is beginning: science that is outside of the researcher, the altruistic science.
The merging of the natural sciences with Kabbalah facilitates their development not into themselves (where they have already reached their satiation), but to the outside. Consequently, the future development of the sciences is possible exclusively in their integration with the science of Kabbalah. Today all possibilities of studying the outside world by the method of absorbing into oneself, the egoistic method, have been exhausted.
The development of the egoistic desire inside of man compelled him to move from place to place, to change inside of himself, and to grow in attainments and discoveries. In the end, the egoistic desire reached its maximum, that is, it no longer moves man forwards. We have reached such a state where it is necessary to place this desire under the altruistic intention. Then it will be possible to move together with it along 125 levels from our world into the World of Infinity. In our world we have already reached the height of using egoism.
We can only continue increasing that which we have done and achieved, but all of this will be harmful to us. As it is said in all books on Kabbalah and as regular science says today, a new phase is beginning to show in humanity. Humanity is beginning to realize the fallaciousness of the egoistic development, which is directed exclusively towards one's own fulfillment. The following phase will be exit out of oneself to the outside.
Our egoism has worn out and does not give us any more possibilities to discover anything. The century from 1850 to 1950 was an epoch of great discoveries in the natural sciences, and it is finished. We will still "select" data somewhat, but there will no longer be anything cardinally new. We have been observing this process over the course of the last few decades, and scientists know about this very well.
If the researcher will become an altruist, he will begin studying this world in its reflection away from him, in its external form, and this will be called "the spiritual world." If we had once thought that our attitude towards the world does not introduce any changes to it, then later it became clear that this is not so. Einstein asserted that everything depends on the speed of light, and we appear as supposedly depending on this speed because we are in the region of limited space and limited movements, but the absolute laws of the world do not confirm this.
Later scientists began to understand that the world we perceive is purely subjective and depends on our qualities. When the qualities of the researcher change, his picture of the world changes as well, and this is why it is necessary to think about the moral image of the researcher, his moral level, and his attitude towards the universe, himself and everything around him. This will change his perception of the world to such an extent that a completely different world will emerge before him.
Rav Michael Laitman