What Lies Ahead: Conflict or a Peaceful Transition? - Official Kabbalah Publication of the Bnei Baruch Kabbalah Education & Research Institute
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What Lies Ahead: Conflict or a Peaceful Transition?

Recent events indicate that people’s anger and discontent may erupt at any moment and in any place in the world. It’s good to know that there is an alternative to violent conflict

An unusual scenario unfolded in Chicago in December, where more than 200 angry workers “peacefully took over” the Republic Windows & Doors factory after being abruptly fired without final pay or benefits. With support from hundreds of union members, officials and even President-elect Barack Obama, the six day occupation ended in victory for the workers.

Was it even thinkable a mere four months ago that American citizens would have to resort to “occupying a building” just to receive what is rightfully theirs? And what would have happened if the incident had unfolded under different circumstances?

We don’t have to look very far to find the answer. Coincidence or not, at the same time as the Chicago sit-in, a much more dramatic protest unfolded in Athens, Greece, where a police shooting of a teenager unleashed mass public protests. Angry mobs are estimated to have caused over a billion dollars in damage.

What started in Athens quickly spread all over the country and then spilled over to other parts of Europe, including Spain, Denmark, France, Italy, and Germany. The media has portrayed the violent protests as an outlet for people’s deep-seated discontent, intensified by the pressure of the financial crisis, the massive layoffs that came as a result, and the fear of the ones yet to come.

Can Things Get Any Worse?

Well, it turns out that they definitely can. The International Security Report 2008, warning of violent protests worldwide, was publicized in November - just before the Europe riots - by the Oxford Research Group. Provocatively entitled “The Tipping Point?” it states, “The global economic downturn is the biggest single threat to security across the world. On present trends, many hundreds of millions of people among the poorest communities across the world will suffer most. This is likely to lead to the rise of radical and violent social movements, which will be controlled by force, further increasing the violence.”

A rather pessimistic forecast. So are we doomed to plunge into violent conflict on a global scale?

Not necessarily. Kabbalah assures us that there is an alternative path. However, it will only become available once we realize the true reason for the financial crisis, which is pushing many to the brink of violence, and begin addressing it.

So what is the reason for the unprecedented global financial fiasco? Kabbalah explains that it is our inability to adapt to the changes that our world has undergone. In other words: over the past century, our world has rapidly shrunk into “one small village,” while our attitudes and ways of thinking about the world have not evolved as fast.

As shown by the latest research, the "shrinking of the world," which we have all witnessed and many analysts have written best sellers about, wasn't only about Internet and commerce. We have become interconnected and interdependent in such a way that not only our actions, but also our thoughts and desires now determine the fate of others worldwide. We have become one body, one family whose members cannot afford to ignore the close connections between them. It is as if we are connected to each other by invisible threads, where our inability to see them doesn't change the fact that they're there.

And this was exactly what we failed to see. Instead of changing our approach toward life to one of globalism, consideration and warmth with respect to others, we tried to stick to the old, local, narrow-minded, and self-centered approach. The only thing we didn’t notice is that the world has changed and there is no turning back. The new degree of connectedness, proven time after time by the current financial crisis, was revealed to allow us to truly become one loving family, and it will not allow us to settle for less.

The present crisis is but a result of our outdated attitudes, which put us in opposition to the global system. As the Oxford Research Group pointed out, our problems can only be prevented by reversing the current trends.

The Alternative Path

So, how do we turn around the imbalance that has brought the world to crisis, and how do we set the world on a path leading to balance, tranquility and harmony? What do we have to do to shift to a “global mentality” that will ameliorate the financial crisis and set us on the alternative path of peaceful development?

All this can be done through education and public opinion. Instead of “educating” people the way we do now – by filling the media with self-oriented messages that encourage us to be better than others and to step on them on our way to the American dream, we can use the mass media channels (including television, radio, Internet, and advertising) to give people the needed, practical explanation of the world we now live in and the relationships that are now necessary for us to survive and prosper in the new world. This is a world where the actions and thoughts of every person bear a direct relation to the well-being of everyone in the world. And this is why, now, more than ever before, there is a need to create new attitudes and relationships of kindness and consideration for all our “neighbors” – everyone on the planet.

Yes, We Can

If the media channels that fill our minds with information and shape our worldviews will start transmitting information about our interdependency and the importance of new attitudes of kindness and care for those around us, the public opinion will gradually begin to change.

Actually, because the human being is so naturally and easily influenced by society, the shift to the alternative path of peaceful coexistence among all people in our small global village is really not such a difficult feat to accomplish. We have only to use the tools we already have in a way that will benefit us all. Once we implement a different, “globally – aware” education system, human society as a whole will change its egoistic values and be in unison with our new, global reality.