By Michael Laitman
The text below is a summary of Dr. Laitman’s words in the show 𝘌𝘭 𝘔𝘶𝘯𝘥𝘰 (𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘞𝘰𝘳𝘭𝘥).
It is said that money is not everything in life. That may be true, but it can buy just about anything. Our desires are generally divided into six categories: food, sex, family, money, power, knowledge.
Money, the fourth category, can acquire all other five. In other words, money is power; it is an equivalent that can be traded for anything we want or need.
This is why in Hebrew, the word kesef (money) means two things: kisuf (wanting/yearning) and kisui (cover). In other words, money can cover (satisfy) all our wants.
The more civilization develops, the more it develops its monetary systems. We have become completely dependent on it because we cannot barter products the way our ancestors did, so we have to use something that is equivalent in value to the products we want to trade, something that is portable, collectible, and valued equally throughout the world. The thing that meets all these requirements is money.
The only thing that can replace money is love, since love drives us to give and receive fairly and justly. Regrettably, love does not exist in human society, except between parents and children, although today even this is not a given. In any case, as a factor in today’s society, which is based on mistrust, the only practical means of exchange is money.
However, for an increasingly growing number of people, there is something that is worth more than money, despite all that it can buy. These people are searching for something money truly cannot buy. Money can buy anything in life, but it cannot explain the meaning of life itself, life’s purpose!
Usually, when we are younger, we focus more on making money, thinking that this is what will make us happy and feel secure.
As we mature and reach our late 30s or 40s, we realize that we may have made enough money to secure our living, more or less, but we do not know why we live at all. “OK, so I was born, I’ve lived thus far, and I have children who will live after me. But now I am looking at several more decades of life, where I’ll be going through the motions without understanding what it is all for.”
Think of everything we do in life; we always know what we want to get out of it. So how can we carry on with life itself without knowing why we are here? No amount of money can answer this question, which is why most people are even afraid to admit to themselves that they are asking it.
My personal take—as someone who is occupied much more with the meaning of life than with financing ephemeral satisfactions—is that money should cover our basic needs.
We should have enough of it to secure health, housing, education, and food for ourselves and our families. Beyond these basic needs, I get no pleasure out of hoarding cash; I prefer to spend my time developing the higher realms of life, the ones that deal with life’s purpose, and not with securing my physical existence.
There is another point here: People who chase money and other corporeal pleasures are never truly satisfied. If they settle for what they have, it is only because they are too tired or timid to strive for more, but it is not as if they would not want more. Such people can never be satisfied because the very satisfaction of their desires causes them to grow. Because the sensation of vitality comes from satisfying our desires, once they are satisfied, we no longer feel alive because there are no desires to satisfy. As a result, new and more intense desires emerge in us.
On the other hand, a person who strives to know the purpose of life is always satisfied because he does not need to achieve something in order to feel happy. The search itself makes him feel alive and energetic. He, too, will want to learn more once he has learned something, but knowing is not his purpose, but the learning itself, making him constantly satisfied and deficient at the same time.
For such people, money matters do not matter. All that matters is to learn and explore the world they live in, how it works, why it works, and how they can make it work better.