Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Kabbalah Explains Our Search For Pleasure

Modern psychological research shows that we do everything with the aim of receiving a reward—even if that reward is just a chemical in our brain. We are not only “rewarded” for the obvious things that give us pleasure, but even for things you wouldn’t expect—like fighting. The article “Brain rewards aggression much like it does sex, food, drugs” published by the journal Psychopharmacology, tells us of interesting new research results obtained at Vanderbilt University:

"It is well known that dopamine is produced in response to rewarding stimuli such as food, sex and drugs of abuse," Maria Couppis, who conducted the study as her doctoral thesis at Vanderbilt, said. "What we have now found is that it also serves as positive reinforcement for aggression."

Craig Kennedy, chair of Vanderbilt's Peabody College of education and human development's special education department, which is consistently ranked as the top special education program in the nation, and the director of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research of Human Development's Behavior Analysis Clinic, stated, "We learned from these experiments that an individual will intentionally seek out an aggressive encounter solely because they experience a rewarding sensation from it. This shows for the first time that aggression, on its own, is motivating, and that the well-known positive reinforcer dopamine plays a critical role."

In other words, even our aggressive behavior is motivated by the desire to receive a feeling of pleasure, which the chemical dopamine provides. But modern psychology is not the only science that speaks about this. For millennia, the wisdom of Kabbalah has been saying the same thing—that we are the “will to receive,” meaning a desire to feel pleasure.

According to Kabbalah, we were created by “the Creator,” a higher force whose only aim in creating us was to please us. This is because by definition, the Creator exists in a state of perfection where He has no need to receive anything, no deficiency. It follows that His only desire is to give pleasure, therefore He had to create someone who will want to receive it from Him—a desire to receive pleasure.

This is known as "The Thought of Creation"—to delight the created beings. Therefore, it's no wonder that literally everything we do—even the chemical processes taking place in our bodies—boils down to our desire to receive pleasure.

Moreover, Kabbalah explains that everything that exists around us, and all the external conditions present in our lives, were created for the same purpose: To give us the opportunity to feel the pleasure that the Creator wishes to bestow upon us. Hence, the Thought of Creation is all around us. It is the only force that brings everything to motion, that rules all of reality and humankind, doing all this with the aim of bringing us to the best possible state of existence.

However, in order to feel all the pleasure that comes from the Creator, we have to learn how to fully use our will to receive. The wisdom of Kabbalah teaches us how to "receive" all the pleasure contained in the Thought of Creation, and thus rise to the level of the Creator Himself—eternity and perfection.

By: Bnei Baruch

Bnei Baruch, is the largest group of Kabbalists in Israel, sharing the wisdom of Kabbalah with the entire world. Study materials in over 25 languages are based on authentic Kabbalah texts that were passed down from generation to generation

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