This weeks blog with thanks to Ami Levartovsky
How big is your world?
By Ami Levartovsky
Behind Shakespeare’s works hides Philosophical thoughts. I’d like to share one of these with you.
Hamlet: O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself
A king of infinite space, were it not that i have bad dreams.
Guildenstern: Which dreams indeed are ambition, for the very substance
of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream.
These “dreams” refer to self-delusion of us being separate from the Creation (The Universe, all the living creatures and all other matter). This is further clarified by Guildenstern, who explains that the delusion of separation leads to Greed.
This may seem a bit far-fetched at first, but consider this:
I have an infinite world to love – nature, living things large and small, and yet I can reduce this infinite very easily by separating myself from others:
First let me separate myself from Moslems – I don’t want anything to do with them…Between me and Christians there’s bad history. Then come the Africans – I don’t think I have much in common with them…Similarly the Chinese, Japanese, Indians (of any kind), Malaysians, Indonesians and other Asians, etc.
Then there are the very old people – slow and helpless, and children – so noisy and senseless…
Of course I don’t see myself as a tree or a bush, nor a dog or a fish – why should I care for them?
– I must cut the Creation to a tenth or less by now.
I could divide the Creation further – I only like Jewish people (I’m now down to 0.2% of the population). But I can still go further – maybe not all Jewish people are worthy of my love – some may be too religious or not religious enough, some are too far to the left and others too far to the right…
So having started with an infinite Universe – I’m now down to less than 0.2%. So all that reduction in the size of my Universe came from the delusion about me being separate from all. It’s me, me, me! I want for me! (me is separate from others).
The Me is bigger but in a smaller Universe…
Conversely, the more people, animals, Nature I love – the bigger is my Universe. If I love all my neighbours – my neighbourhood becomes larger. If love all living creatures – my world now includes the love of animals and is now that much bigger. If I love trees and grasses – my Universe is larger still. The Universe is infinite and so is love.
So, for the New Year, let’s recall Rabbi Hillel’s words: “Love thy neighbour – that is the whole of the Torah. The rest is just commentary.” And the more neighbours you love, the bigger your world will become.