We live in a globalized world, but few of us know what the word “globalized” actually means, or even more important, how it affects our lives. Welcome to the most urgently needed classroom in the world today
Globalization. This word has only recently been added to our vocabulary and is not yet a clearly formed concept in people’s minds. What is it? “Globalization is the process of transformation of local or regional phenomena into global ones. It can be described as a process of blending or homogenization by which the people of the world are unified into a single society and function together,” is the definition Wikipedia provides.
“Globalization is a process of interaction and integration among the people, companies, and governments of different nations, a process driven by international trade and investment and aided by information technology. This process has effects on the environment, on culture, on political systems, on economic development and prosperity, and on human physical well-being in societies around the world,” is the definition provided at www.globalization101.org.
Kabbalah says, “Globalization is the revelation of a new level of connections between us.”
Not What You’d Expect
You would think that shared information, shared joys and troubles, and shared responsibility would be beneficial to us all, but the present financial crisis clearly shows that globalization has only brought us more problems.
Why is this happening? Kabbalah explains that it’s because we are using the integrated global system backwards: instead of learning to work together, we are seeking to dominate and oppress one another.
This approach has brought us to a sorry place, and now world leaders are scurrying to mend the situation by instituting fairer policies, such as “I’ll scratch your back if you’ll scratch mine.” However, even if we follow this business model, even if we stop lying to each other and start doing “honest business,” it still won’t help. Globalization has brought us to a point where we are like cells in a body. We have become so interconnected that it is useless to do honest business and to create fair global government or a global bank just to save our necks, with the same egoistic calculations in the driver’s seat.
Yet, this is exactly what the world’s political and economic leaders – the G20 – are doing: discussing the creation of a joint, global regulation system. Unfortunately, this will not solve the present economic crisis because the real problem is that we have violated Nature’s all-inclusive law. Our systems mustn’t only be based on fair policies, agreements and honesty; they must also operate as elements of a single system where we consider others as important as we consider ourselves.
Kabbalah cautions us that if we continue building our systems on egoistic laws – even the most open and honest ones, following the rule, “What’s yours is yours and what’s mine is mine,” the system will not work and we will face an even greater turmoil.
In a Globalized World, the Rules Have Changed
Globalization means that we are discovering our interconnection as parts of a single, global system. As such, we must realize that everything is collective, and the only way to survive is for everyone to care for everybody else. The only things that should be considered “personal” are those necessary for an individual’s existence, while everything else should be the property of all humankind - natural resources, goods and production, education, health care, and everything else. Until we begin to act this way, the crises will not end, and no matter how hard we try to set things right with our egoistic logic, we will continue to suffer one crisis after another.
Kabbalah explains that nature now treats us as a single integral system that follows the law of absolute interconnection of all its parts. No one can escape this law, just as we cannot escape the law of gravity. Essentially, this is the ancient Biblical principle of “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”
One might object that “by doing fair business with others, I already follow this principle.” So what’s the problem? The fact is, even if we create a rational system of interaction between different countries following the principle, “What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is yours,” this will create an even greater crisis. Why? Because in doing so, we are still trying to profit from our interconnection. Instead of correcting our use of egoism, we will be increasing it.
As a result, a crisis will arise showing what happens when we try to find a way “around” Nature. Such a crisis will be stronger and more severe than the current one in order to teach us what not to do.
A Smarter Path
What does Kabbalah suggest we do instead? It says that we should envision our future form of existence: the functioning of the system of humanity as one integral body. Then, we should immediately put this vision into practice to the best of our ability.
This does not mean we can settle for simply instituting fair distribution. What we can do is accept the principle of “what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is yours” as a first step, while at the same time launching an intensive education effort, in order to teach humanity the laws of our coexistence. This will help people discover that our society is a single body, encouraging them to act accordingly. Only then will we be on the right path, shifting to one of correction, and we will then immediately see the alleviation of our suffering.
The great 20th century Kabbalist, Rav Yehuda Ashlag, offers this parable: We have lost our way in the desert and don’t know where to go. Now that we’ve used up all our strength, we’ve realized that it was impossible to avoid wandering in the desert. And now we are discovering the path that we must walk. At the end of the path lies a castle full of all the goodness in the world.
We are desperate, ready to give up, but all of a sudden, we receive a map from the people who can see everything from above. If we just agree and change our attitude to the world, we will discover that the whole world was created for this path, and we will suddenly find the strength to reach the goal.
Hence, the most practical solution today is to find out about the world we live in to learn about how to exist in an integral system where we are “all in one boat.” In this boat, the salvation of all depends on each individual. Because we live in a global ecology and a global human society, we must learn how to properly incorporate ourselves into this system, where we will all care for each other.