THE "Y" FACTOR
Understanding who you are is crucial for understanding what you are capable of achieving. Understanding what you are capable of achieving is the basis of positive motivation, accomplishment, and eventually continuous happiness.
The western world has come a long way in understanding the universe, and mankind. But it has yet to provide enough sure answers to give society, and the world as a whole, a clear-cut direction to follow.
Most historians agree that we are about to enter a whole new era in history. With the demise of Russia, it was recently written, and the end of the cold war, the Western world has little if any ideology to fire its engine. The new superpowers are countries whose philosophies frighten us, and threaten whatever remains of world stability - all in the name of happiness.
If mankind understood mankind, and its potential to accomplish, the wars would cease. Brotherhood and universal peace can only exist when we develop a common understanding of who we are and what we are meant to achieve.
The business person who goes to work each day and, by Western standards lives a moral life, feels little responsibility for the confusion and conflicts of nations half-way around the world. But in fact, the two are quite connected, and as time trudges on, he too one day will be affected by the results.
In-between the "bad" times, the highest level of living people strive for is mediocrity. Perhaps one way to measure the maturity of a society and its level of intellectual growth is to examine that societyís reliance on its entertainment industry as a source of stimulation, and the quality of that entertainment (does it promote morality, and stimulate people to strive for greatness, or merely cause them to blank out, and behave less moral?).
Mediocrity is okay, perhaps, but itís a long way away from personal greatness and constant happiness. Personal greatness and constant happiness are what life is all about, and both lie below the simple, surface understanding of life that too many people accept as being the true perception of reality.
Once people understand the make-up of human beings, then they will also understand their personal potential, and what makes them truly happy. Itís like investigating a Styrofoam cup: that it is watertight on all sides except for one means it can hold water. The fact that Styrofoam is a good insulator means that the cup can hold hot water.
Just by understanding the cup and its nature, you can understand its potential use. Just by understanding your essential nature, you can understand and appreciate your potential purpose, and the goal of life.
Once a person has the goal and the potential of the human being worked out, then it becomes a simple mathematical problem to discover a productive course in life - the ďyĒ factor. This was part of Abrahamís greatness, of whom the Talmud writes:
Abraham kept the entire Torah... (Talmud Yoma 28b)
Hundreds of years before the Torah was ever given, Abraham had worked out its principles for living. Years of intensive examination, and the belief that there was more to existence than what meets the eye, yielded a profound understanding of human potential, and the goal of life. Discovering THE "Y" FACTOR, at that point, was not too difficult.
Discovering THE "Y" FACTOR will also not be too difficult for those who follow in Abrahamís intellectual footsteps.
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The following is a point-by-point summary of each chapter:
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Table of Contents
- Chapter One: The Equation
- 1. All of life can be summarized with a mathematical equation: Human Being + Y = Happiness, where "y" corresponds to the path one takes in life to achieve happiness.
2. The fact that "y" is not the same for everyone implies that "y" is not the only variable in the equation.
- Chapter Two: The "Happiness" Factor
- 3. "Happiness" is defined differently by divergent societies, but the ultimate happiness is the same for everyone: significance in life which amounts to spiritual achievements, primarily the creation of "self".
4. This results from expending oneís potential in a meaningful way.
- Chapter Three: The "Human" Factor
- 5. The "Human" part of the equation is also a variable, since many donít understand both the physical and non-physical aspects of human beings.
- Chapter Four: The Claim
- 6. But the Torah claims to understand exactly what the human being is, and makes the claim that the information came from the Creator Himself.
7. This claim is too incredible to simply be ignored.
- Chapter Five: The Point of View
- 8. Torah teaches us about ourselves.
9. We are made up of two opposing drives, an inclination to behave morally, and one to behave immorally.
- Chapter Six: The Two Inclinations
- 10. The inclination to do "evil" is the result of an innate longing of the physical element of man to return to its source: the earth from which it was formed.
11. The inclination to do "good" is the result of the spiritual element of man longing to return back to where it came from: God.
12. These two inclinations make possible free will by creating to viable options. The use of free will is the purpose of creation.
13. The goal of life is to teach the evil inclination to see life as the good inclination sees it, thus channeling the energies of the former towards the goals of the latter.
14. The "battleground" of the two inclinations is in the arena of choice.
- Chapter Seven: Torah the "Spice"
- 14. Torah is a set of guidelines that helps us to channel the energy of the evil inclination in the direction of good, by creating moral choices and raising our awareness of the issues of life.
15. Thus the equation for life becomes:
Human Being (capacity for free will)
+ Torah (guidelines and moral issues)
= Happiness (maximized use of free will)
- Chapter Eight: The Way We Think
- 16. Obstacles to accepting new information stem from intellectual frameworks, created between the ages of 0 and 12 years, that are unable to relate to the new information.
17. Thus, oneís disbelief in God and Torah usually has more to do with upbringing than it does with intellectual refutation, even for the educated scientist.
- Chapter Nine: The Element of Paradox
- 18. As well, to create more sophisticated choices, paradoxes are a part of life.
19. The basis of a paradox is usually faulty assumptions, which one has to discover and eliminate. Sometimes the test of the paradox is to test the faith of the individual, as in the case of Abraham.
- Chapter Ten: What is Meant By "Torah"
- 20. Torah is not just the Five Books of Moses, but also includes an Oral Law given also to Moses at Mt. Sinai.
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