The Price of Freedom
As the battles in Ukraine escalate and the pressure on civilians intensifies, it is becoming clear that a compromise or a “reasonable” solution are both out of reach. Not only is the misery on the ground escalating, but the enmity between the two nations is deepening as the suffering of people intensifies. Today, overpowering other nations with military force is impractical. Therefore, the parties will eventually have to put down their arms. If at that moment, the adversaries understand the need to give each other freedom, they will be able to advance constructively. If, however, they insist on trying to dominate each other, the price of freedom will soar, though freedom will eventually come.
If everyone will contribute what nature has given them to the benefit of all of humanity, there will be abundance, peace, and harmony on our planet. Therefore, the sooner we choose to pay the price for freedom from the ego, the sooner we will reach prosperity.
While it is difficult to examine a conflict objectively when you are a party to it, the longer the sides stall with making this effort, the more they will prolong their suffering. In the end, they, and the whole world with them, will understand that the war being fought today is a fight not only for the freedom of nations, but the freedom of every person, and in the end, the freedom of our souls. The struggle, therefore, is the price we pay for our freedom.
To win this war, we need to understand what we are up against, who is our real enemy. The more we look into the drivers behind this war, the more we will realize that the real culprit is the human ego, which drives all people to seek glory, fame, power, and wealth. We all possess an ego; it is a monster that lives within us, and only circumstances and characteristics beyond our comprehension determine if we reach a position where they might manifest in us. But even if they are not expressed, an egoistic tyrant still lives in all of us.
Therefore, our battle should be on two fronts: the physical and the internal. On the physical front, we need to do what we can to save our lives. On the internal, more important front, we need to stand up to the tyrant within us and seek to rise above the ego that separates us and pits us against each other to the death.
The battle against the ego takes place in different ways at different times and at different places. In some places, it unfolds violently, through wars, terrorism, or other forms of violence. In other places, it manifests through economic sanctions, shortage of staples, skyrocketing energy prices, and other forms of economic hardships that influence our lives. In still other places, the war unfolds through political battles. Either way, these hardships are all prices that we pay for our freedom.
The ego may win in some places and lose in others, but in the end, it will lose altogether. The time of its dominion is coming to a close.
In his essay “The Freedom,” written in the 1930s, the great thinker and kabbalist Baal HaSulam wrote that every tendency and characteristic in an individual is unique and we must cherish and nurture it. Afterwards, he elaborated on the importance of maintaining the freedom not only of individuals, but also of nations. In his words, “From the above-said, we learn what a terrible wrong inflict those nations that force their reign on minorities, depriving them of freedom without allowing them to lead their lives according to the tendencies they have inherited from their ancestors. They are regarded as no less than murderers.”
And to be free, we must be liberated from our ego. In order to achieve this feat, we must form new connections among us based on mutual concern and mutual support. Instead of suppressing one another, society must learn to encourage everyone to be their true selves.
For their part, individuals must learn to rise above their egos, too, and use their unique skills and capabilities not for their own benefit, and often at the expense of others, but for the benefit of society. In this way, if everyone will contribute what nature has given them to the benefit of all of humanity, there will be abundance, peace, and harmony on our planet. Therefore, the sooner we choose to pay the price for freedom from the ego, the sooner we will reach prosperity.