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Man as a microcosm

The idea of man as a microcosm is most commonly associated with St. Maximos the Confessor (580 – 662). In his Mystagogia he speaks of an indissoluble relationship and unity between man and world:

"St. Paul put forward another suggestion, along the lines of the same imagery, that the whole world of visible and invisible things can be thought of as a man; and man, made up of body and soul, as a world" (Mystagogia, Chapter 7).

Front Cover

Lars Thunberg, in his "Man and the Cosmos" describes St. Maximos' understanding of man as a microcosm by virtue of his constitution and for the purpose of mediation. Being both material and spiritual, all things in the world are reflected in man, who then has the vocation to bring together mortal and immortal creatures, rational and non-rational beings. However, St. Maximos does not view this vocation of man in separation from God. Rather, he states that it is Christ who achieved this unity. Again Thunberg, analyzing the Ambigua, says that man needs to leave the sphere of creation behind and be united with God beyond his own nature.

Thus, man's mission in relation to creation can only be fulfilled in and through Christ: "Man created in the image of God is thus, according to Maximus, a key to understanding creation not only in order that he may understand it as it is, but also that by actively understanding it in his process of divinization he may elevate it to the supreme level of its full soteriological comprehension (Ambigua 10)." (Thunberg, "Man and the Cosmos, p.76)

St. Gregory of Nyssa (A.D. 335 – after 384) also uses the image of man as microcosm, though his use of the expression is rather less uniform than for St. Maximus. In his conception, the parallelism seems to be limited to a common praise of God: "as the cosmos continuously lifts up a hymn of praise to God, so it is the duty of man to engage in continual psalmody and hymnody."

Is it possible that Man being an image of God goes further than the body, mind and spirit dimensions to the way God's body - the cosmos - relate to God Himself.  This may be a metaphor of how the creation act as the body of God.  Just as Man's body contains the various organs the whole creation contains living organism in all its multiple dimensions acting as the organs of God.

 

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http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/images/pictures/humanbody/humanorgans.jpg

The human body is composed of four levels of organization: cells, tissues, organs and body systems.

 

 

CELLS

 

Anatomy of the Animal Cell

 

http://cellstructures.blogspot.com/2008_11_01_archive.html

Cells are small compartments that hold all of the biological equipment necessary to keep an organism alive and successful on Earth. The main purpose of a cell is to organize. Cells hold a variety of pieces and each cell has a different set of functions. The trillions of cells in your body make your life possible.

 

The cell is the basic structural and functional unit of all known living organisms. It is the smallest unit of life that is classified as a living thing, and is often called the building block of life. 

 

Organisms can be classified as unicellular (consisting of a single cell; including most bacteria) or multicellular (including plants and animals). Humans contain about 10 trillion (1013) cells. Most plant and animal cells are between 1 and 100 µm and therefore are visible only under the microscope.

 

The cell was discovered by Robert Hooke in 1665. The cell theory, first developed in 1839 by Matthias Jakob Schleiden and Theodor Schwann, states that all organisms are composed of one or more cells, that all cells come from preexisting cells, that vital functions of an organism occur within cells, and that all cells contain the hereditary information necessary for regulating cell functions and for transmitting information to the next generation of cells.

The word cell comes from the Latin cella, meaning "small room". The descriptive term for the smallest living biological structure was coined by Robert Hooke in a book he published in 1665 when he compared the cork cells he saw through his microscope to the small rooms monks lived in.

 

 

Cells are capable of synthesizing new proteins, which are essential for the modulation and maintenance of cellular activities. This process involves the formation of new protein molecules from amino acid building blocks based on information encoded in DNA/RNA. Protein synthesis generally consists of two major steps: transcription and translation.

Transcription is the process where genetic information in DNA is used to produce a complementary RNA strand. This RNA strand is then processed to give messenger RNA (mRNA), which is free to migrate through the cell. mRNA molecules bind to protein-RNA complexes called ribosomes located in the cytosol, where they are translated into polypeptide sequences. The ribosome mediates the formation of a polypeptide sequence based on the mRNA sequence. The mRNA sequence directly relates to the polypeptide sequence by binding to transfer RNA (tRNA) adapter molecules in binding pockets within the ribosome. The new polypeptide then folds into a functional three-dimensional protein molecule.

Cells can move during many processes: such as wound healing, the immune response and cancer metastasis. For wound healing to occur, white blood cells and cells that ingest bacteria move to the wound site to kill the microorganisms that cause infection.

At the same time fibroblasts (connective tissue cells) move there to remodel damaged structures. In the case of tumor development, cells from a primary tumor move away and spread to other parts of the body. Cell motility involves many receptors, crosslinking, bundling, binding, adhesion, motor and other proteins. The process is divided into three steps – protrusion of the leading edge of the cell, adhesion of the leading edge and de-adhesion at the cell body and rear, and cytoskeletal contraction to pull the cell forward. Each step is driven by physical forces generated by unique segments of the cytoskeleton

An overview of protein synthesis.

The nucleus is a highly specialized organelle that serves as the information and administrative center of the cell. This organelle has two major functions. It stores the cell's hereditary material, or DNA, and it coordinates the cell's activities, which include intermediary metabolism, growth, protein synthesis, and reproduction (cell division).

Only the cells of advanced organisms, known as eukaryotes, have a nucleus. Generally there is only one nucleus per cell, but there are exceptions such as slime molds and the Siphonales group of algae. Simpler one-celled organisms (prokaryotes), like the bacteria and cyanobacteria, don't have a nucleus. In these organisms, all the cell's information and administrative functions are dispersed throughout the cytoplasm

 

The Cell Nucleus

 

 

Understanding cells in terms of their molecular components.

 

All living organisms are built from cells varying from single-celled organisms like bacteria and protozoa, as well as the many specialized cells in multicellular organisms such as humans.

 

Apparently these cells coordinate themselved to the environment within the body without the direct intervention of the brain replicating the freedom of will of the living being within the cosmos.

Tissues
Cells group together in the body to form tissues - a collection of similar cells that group together to perform a specialized function.  There are 4 primary tissue types in the human body: epithelial tissue, connective tissue, muscle tissue and nerve tissue.

  1. Epithelial Tissue - The cells of epithelial tissue pack tightly together and form continuous sheets that serve as linings in different parts of the body.  Epithelial tissue serve as membranes lining organs and helping to keep the body's organs separate, in place and protected.  Some examples of epithelial tissue are the outer layer of the skin, the inside of the mouth and stomach, and the tissue surrounding the body's organs.
  2. Connective Tissue - There are many types of connective tissue in the body.  Generally speaking, connective tissue adds support and structure to the body.  Most types of connective tissue contain fibrous strands of the protein collagen that add strength to connective tissue.  Some examples of connective tissue include the inner layers of skin, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, bone and fat tissue.  In addition to these more recognizable forms of connective tissue, blood is also considered a form of connective tissue.
  3. Muscle Tissue - Muscle tissue is a specialized tissue that can contract.  Muscle tissue contains the specialized proteins actin and myosin that slide past one another and allow movement.  Examples of muscle tissue are contained in the muscles throughout your body.
  4. Nerve Tissue - Nerve tissue contains two types of cells: neurons and glial cells.  Nerve tissue has the ability to generate and conduct electrical signals in the body.  These electrical messages are managed by nerve tissue in the brain and transmitted down the spinal cord to the body

Organs
Organs are the next level of organization in the body. 

 An organ is a structure that contains at least two different types of tissue functioning together for a common purpose.  There are many different organs in the body: the liver, kidneys, heart, even your skin is an organ. 

 

In fact, the skin is the largest organ in the human body and provides us with an excellent example for explanation purposes.  The skin is composed of three layers: the epidermis, dermis and subcutaneous layer.  The epidermis is the outermost layer of skin.  It consists of epithelial tissue in which the cells are tightly packed together providing a barrier between the inside of the body and the outside world.  Below the epidermis lies a layer of connective tissue called the dermis.  In addition to providing support for the skin, the dermis has many other purposes.  The dermis contains blood vessels that nourish skin cells.   

 

Organ Systems
Organ systems are composed of two or more different organs that work together to provide a common function.  There are 10 major organ systems in the human body, they are the:
Skeletal System, Muscular System, Circulatory System, Nervous System, Respiratory System, Digestive System, Endocrine System, Reproductive System,Lymphatic/Immune System.

The reason why I have enumerated them in three steps is to show how the tissues and cells organise together to form organs and they in turn organize together as organ systems. 

 

It is the working of the organ systems together in unison that maintain the body in health.  We have looked from the structure of man starting from the tissues.  However the tissues themselves are built from elemental cells.  Though the brain generaly controls the parts, the parts themselves from the cell level to body level each have their freedom within the environmental structure. 

 

Family Units

 

In human context, a family (from Latin: familia) is a group of people affiliated by consanguinity, affinity, or co-residence. In most societies it is the principal institution for the socialization of children. Anthropologists most generally classify family organization as matrilocal (a mother and her children); conjugal (a wife, husband, and children, also called nuclear family); and consanguinal (also called an extended family) in which parents and children co-reside with other members of one parent's family.

 

File:Indian family in Brazil posed in front of hut.jpg    

 

"Extended from the human "family unit" by affinity and consanguinity are concepts of family that are physical and metaphorical, or that grow increasingly inclusive extending to community,tribes, village, city, region, nationhood, global village and humanism. "  

 

 "All human societies organize, recognize and classify types of social relationships based on relations between parents and children (consanguinity), and relations through marriage (affinity). These kinds of relations are generally called kinship relations. In most societies kinship places mutual responsibilities and expectations of solidarity on the individuals that are so related, and those who recognize each other as kinsmen come to form networks through which other social institutions can be regulated. Among the many functions of kinship is the ability to form descent groups, groups of people sharing a common line of descent, which can function as political units such as clans. Another function is the way in which kinship unites families through marriage, forming kinship alliances between groups of wife-takers and wife-givers. Such alliances also often have important political and economical ramifications, and may result in the formation of political organization above the community level."

 

"Humans often form ethnic groups, such groups tend to be larger than kinship networks and be organized around a common identity defined variously in terms of shared ancestry and history, shared cultural norms and language, or shared biological phenotype. Such ideologies of shared characteristics are often perpetuated in the form of powerful, compelling narratives that give legitimacy and continuity to the set of shared values. Ethnic groupings often correspond to some level of political organization such as the band, tribe, city state or nation." (wiki)

 

 

Interior of a Kanza lodge, 1841, near Menokin, Shawnee County - Page

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gaia Hypothesis

 

 


Alex Grey - Gaia - 1989

The hypothesis that our planet could be a huge organism was proposed by British scientist Dr James Lovelock. In the 1960′s when Lovelock was working with NASA on methods to detect life on the surface of Mars, his hypothesis came about when trying to explain why Earth has such high levels of carbon dioxide and nitrogen. Lovelock defines Gaia as:

…organisms and their material environment evolve as a single coupled system, from which emerges the sustained self-regulation of climate and chemistry at a habitable state for whatever is the current biota.” – Lovelock J. (2003) The living Earth. Nature 426, 769-770.

It assumes that the Earth canbe considered a single living organism comprising of billions of living organism in the same way a s the human body is one organism comprising of  large number of living cell, organism, and systems.  Lovelock’s idea is the fact that the living biosphere, the atmosphere, the mineral lithosphere and the hydrosphere seem to work together to maintain a homeostatic condition. ‘Homeostasis’ is a biological term describing how life processes maintain an internal balance, an equilibrium that keeps the organism alive; these processes insure stable temperature, pH, electrochemical balance, energy flows, etc, without all of which the organism would die. The oceans and rivers can be seen as the earth’s blood, the atmosphere is the earth’s lungs, the land is the earth’s bones, and the living organisms are the earth’s senses and organelles. The Gaia Hypothesis proposes that organisms living on Earth, with all the living and non-living components of Earth’s biosphere form complex interacting systems to regulate the environment to a very high degree . The Gaia Hypothesis proposes that the all the physical components of the Earth, including the biophere, atmosphere, cryosphere, and lithosphere are related closely. The result is a complex system that interacts to the point of being able to be considered a single organism. 

 

"When you stop to think about it, our planet does act like a huge organism. If you look at the interrelationship between plants and atmospherics, animals and humans, rocks and water, a complex pattern of symbiotic processes seem to complement each other perfectly. Should one system be pushed out of balance by some external force (such as a massive injection of atmospheric carbon dioxide after a volcanic event), other processes are stimulated to counteract the instability (more phytoplankton appear in the oceans to absorb the carbon dioxide in the water). Many of these processes could be interpreted as a “global immune system”." http://www.universetoday.com/13939/gaia-hypothesis-could-earth-really-be-a-single-organism/

 

This concept may be extended to include our cosmos and also the whole universe.  The cosmos itself may be a superorganism. Can we then consider the Universe as part of a bigger body - the body of God?     

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Is The Universe Alive?


Could our universe's collection of stars, galaxies, and black holes follow the same rules of existence as biological life? The cosmos itself may be a superorganism, a collection of separate bodies that act like a single being — just like ants in a colony. One scientist believes cities are superorganisms and perhaps our universe is a super-scaled up version of these metropolises.
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Cosmological Model of the Living Universe 
http://www.livinguniverseweb.com/index.html

Jorge Ales

concludes in chapter 12 as follows:

"12.-LIVING UNIVERSE

This model suggests that the universes would behave as living creatures: they are born, grow, are reproduced and eventually they die. In multitude of studies and observations living characteristics describe and attribute to all kinds of structures, entities and phenomena that to the first sight would seem to belong to the kingdom of the inanimate thing.

James E. Lovelock discovered the vital essence of our Earth. Why to stop in her?.

The life is not a "strange" phenomenon. I suspect that it is the essence of all the things, included our universe. ...

The age and the size of our universe is finite, the age and the size of the complete universe postulated in this web I think that we will be able to imagine them never. In this point one enters the area of the religious beliefs, initially and at the end of the complete universe, we are free to imagine what we wish. "

One bold thinker hypothesizes that our universe may have emerged from a set of laws similar to biological evolution. Like we pass DNA from parent to child, the cosmos may also produce offspring that inherit its genetic make up. And the seeds of these cosmic births could exist inside black holes, the endpoints in the death of massive stars.

If the universe is a replicating, living being, one visionary thinks he's found its pulse. Energetic particles called neutrinos may propel our universe to expand and contract every trillion years — like a slow beating heart — as it moves from one life cycle to another. And if it has a heart, it must have a brain. Our universe could function like a giant quantum computer, processing and storing information on everything we see around us. And we might be able to find its program.......

 This insight – that we are cousins to everything that exists in a living, continuously regenerated universe – represents a new way of looking at and relating to the world, and overcomes the profound separation that has marked our lives. From the combined wisdom of science and spirituality is emerging an understanding that could provide the perceptual foundation for the diverse people of the world to come together in the shared enterprise of building a sustainable and meaningful future......

Scientific Evidence of a Living Universe
Less than a hundred years ago, when Einstein was developing his theory of relativity, he considered the universe a static, unchanging system no larger than the cloud of stars we now know to be our galaxy.

Today, we know that the universe is expanding rapidly and contains at least a hundred billion galaxies, each with a hundred billion stars, or more. Our cosmos embodies an exquisitely precise design. Researchers have calculated that if the universe had expanded ever so slightly faster or slower than it did (even by as little as a trillionth of a percent), the matter in our cosmos would have either quickly collapsed back into a black hole or spread out so rapidly that it would have evaporated.

It is reasonable to assume that if our cosmos is alive it would exhibit specific properties characteristic of all life – unity, regeneration, freedom, sentience, and a capacity for self-reproduction. These in fact are among the properties of our universe emerging from the frontiers of modern science. The cosmos is a unified system. Physicists once viewed our universe as composed of separate fragments.

Today, however, despite its unimaginably vast size, the universe is increasingly regarded as a single functioning system. Because other galaxies are millions of light years away, they appear so remote in space and time as to be separate from our own. Yet experiments show that things that seem to be separate are actually connected in fundamental ways that transcend the limitations of ordinary space and time. Described as “nonlocality,” this is one of the most stunning insights from quantum physics.

Although scientists working in this domain hold divergent views about the implications of quantum mechanics for our everyday lives, physicist David Bohm says that ultimately we have to understand the entire universe as “a single undivided whole.” Instead of separating the universe into living and nonliving things, Bohm sees animate and inanimate matter as inseparably interwoven with the life-force that is present throughout the universe, and that includes not only matter, but also energy and seemingly empty space. For Bohm, then, even a rock has its unique form of aliveness. Life is dynamically flowing through the fabric of the entire universe.

Our home galaxy – the Milky Way – is a swirling, disk-shaped cloud containing a hundred billion or so stars. It is part of a local group of nineteen galaxies (each with a hundred billion stars), which in turn is part of a larger local supercluster of thousands of galaxies. This supercluster resembles a giant many-petaled flower. Beyond this, astronomers estimate that there are perhaps a hundred billion galaxies in the observable universe. Scientists and spiritual seekers alike ask the question: If this is a unified system, then could all this be but a single cell within a much greater organism?......

The foundation of the cosmos is freedom. Traditional physicists have seen the cosmos as being like a clockwork mechanism locked into predetermined patterns of development. By contrast, the new physics maintains that the cosmos has the freedom and spontaneity to grow in unexpected ways. Uncertainty is so fundamental that quantum physics describes reality in terms of probabilities, not certainties. No one part of the cosmos determines the functioning of the whole; rather, everything seems to be connected with everything else, weaving the cosmos into one vast interacting system.

Everything that exists contributes to the cosmic web of life at each moment, whether it is conscious of its contribution or not. In turn, it is the consistency of interrelations of all the parts of the universe that determines the condition of the whole. We therefore have great freedom to act within the limits established by the larger web of life within which we are immersed......

Consciousness Is Present Throughout
Consciousness, a capacity for feeling or knowing, is basic to life. If the universe is alive, we should therefore find evidence of some form of consciousness operating at every level. Renowned physicist Freeman Dyson writes about consciousness at the quantum level: “Matter in quantum mechanics is not an inert substance but an active agent, constantly making choices between alternative possibilities … appears that mind, as manifested by the capacity to make choices, is to some extent inherent in every electron.” This does not mean that an atom has the same consciousness as a human being, but rather that an atom has a reflective capacity appropriate to its form and function.

Dyson thinks it is reasonable to believe in the existence of a “mental component of the universe,” and that, if so, “then we can say that we are small pieces of God’s mental apparatus.” While it is stunning to consider that every level of the cosmos has some degree of consciousness,  ....

The cosmos is able to reproduce itself. A remarkable finding from the new physics is that our cosmos may very well be able to reproduce itself through the functioning of black holes. In his book, In the Beginning: The Birth of the Living Universe, astrophysicist John Gribbin proposes that the bursting out of our universe in the Big Bang may be the time-reversed mirror image of the collapse of a massive object into a black hole.

Many of the black holes that form in our universe, he reasons, may thus represent the seeds of new universes: “Instead of a black hole representing a one-way journey to nowhere, many researchers now believe that it is a one-way journey to somewhere – to a new expanding universe in its own set of dimensions.”.....

Our universe is a living system of elegant design that was born from and is continuously regenerated within an even larger universe. We are living within a “daughter universe” that, for twelve billion years, has been living and growing within the spaciousness of a Mother universe. The Mother Universe may have existed forever, holding countless daughter universes in its grand embrace while they grow and mature through an eternity of time."""

The same thought is contained and continued in the Duane Elgin's book

We Live in a Living Universe

by

Duane Elgin

http://www.workingwithoneness.org/articles/we-live-living-universe

"Freedom is at its foundations.  Another shift in the scientific view of the universe has to do with views about the existence of freedom.  Whereas traditional physicists have seen the cosmos as being like a clockwork mechanism that is locked into predetermined patterns of development, the new physics sees it as a living organism that has the freedom and spontaneity to grow in unexpected ways.  Freedom is at very the foundation of our cosmos.  Uncertainty (and thus freedom) is so fundamental that quantum physics describes reality in terms of probabilities, not certainties.  No one part of the cosmos determines the functioning of the whole; rather, everything seems to be connected with everything else, weaving the cosmos into one vast interacting system.  Everything that exists contributes to the cosmic web of life at each moment, whether it is conscious of its contribution or not.  In turn, it is the consistency of interrelations of all the parts of the universe that determines the condition of the whole.  We therefore have great freedom to act within the limits established by the larger web of life within which we are immersed. '........

With a cosmology of a living universe, a shining miracle exists everywhere. There are no empty places in the world.  Everywhere there is life, both visible and invisible.  All of reality is infused with wisdom and a powerful presence......

  On the other hand, if the universe is conscious and alive, then we are the product of a deep-design intelligence that infuses the entire cosmos.  We shift from feelings of existential isolation in a lifeless universe to a sense of intimate communion within a living universe.  If life is nested within life, then it is only fitting that we treat everything that exists as alive and worthy of respect.  Our sense of meaningful connection expands to the entire community of life, including past, present, and future generations.  Every action in a living universe is felt to have ethical consequences as it reverberates throughout the ecosystem of the living cosmos. ......""

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Duane Elgin, discusses how biology and physics show that the universe is not dead but rather uniquely alive, an insight which, he shows, is in harmony with all of the world's major spiritual traditions. Plato said the universe is a single living creature that embraces all living creatures within it. Indeed, the universe is a whole, integrated system, with an infinite amount of energy flowing through it. Quantum physics has pointed toward probabilities and uncertainties as the very foundation of reality.  I have discussed this in my book on "Quantum Theology".   This freedom of choice runs up and down the cosmic spectrum, starting at the level of an atom, to the creation of universe.  Do they have consciousness and intelligence. Unfortunately Consciousness and intelligence are not observable directly.  We arrive at their existence only by inference.   If a choice is made and the wavefunction collapses with only an observer, we better understand that intelligence runs all the spectrum of cosmic life whether we can observe them in those levels or not.

 Thus it is very legitimate to assume that we are part of  a "multiverse." which all together should be considered as the body of God. This multiverse if teeming with beings which form the divine organs. God is not merely creator of the universe; His active Presence is necessary in some way for every bit of creation, from smallest to greatest, to continue to exist at all.   That is, God's Energies (activities) maintain all things and all beings, even if those beings have explicitly rejected him. His love of creation is such that He will not withdraw His Presence, which would be the ultimate form of annihilation, not merely imposing death, but ending existence altogether. By this token, the entirety of creation is good in its being and is not innately evil either in whole or in part. This does not deny the existence of evil in a fallen universe, only that it is not an innate property of creation. Evil results from the will of creatures, not from their nature per se.

The Power of Our Freewill

 The idea that God created a world where humans were given complete freewill is a gift of tremendous magnitude and responsibility in itself

Man is thus not lord of the universe. He is and ever will be subject to universal law. The things in heaven and earth play their influence upon him, and he cannot alter them  These lifeless, unintelligent things affect man, and man must recognize and submit to the laws governing such created things. Within the spacious realm of the endless operation of these 1aw keeping things, perfect man will enjoy hi earthly paradise and enjoy human freedom to a perfect degree.

So true freedom lovers do not desire an absence of right and beneficial law. Safe freedom is enjoyed within the framework of law. Rightly understanding them, we are glad for the time- tested, trustworthy laws of the universe. We are grateful for the things of the universe that are kept in order by law so as to have the best effect upon us. Subjecting ourselves to them is no hardship and is not to our hurt. If, now, we wisely and beneficially subject ourselves to these inanimate objects and forces that were created for our good, why should we not, rather, subject ourselves to the One who created them and established the laws to govern them? We cannot escape being subject to him any more than we can escape being subject to the influence of those created things that affect us. Our denying the existence of the Creator of these things will not do away with our dependence on this Creator and our being subject to him and being affected by what is his will for our human creation.  

 

Is it possible to be a free man, and what does it mean – to be free?

 

Answer by Michael Laitman: To be free means to feel that you are 100% dependent upon the Creator, but “of your own free will,” meaning that it is your decision to be so. Man feels free when he decides, on his own, that he wants to remain under the influence and authority of the Creator, instead of being slave to his egoism. We can’t imagine what freedom means, because we think of it as the absence of any influence. However, that is an impossibility, as there is no such thing as an empty void free from any influence whatsoever. Freedom is a balance of forces, achieved through one’s conscious choice and effort. We can only become free if we rise above our egoistic desire. This does not mean that we involuntarily and completely fall under the dominion of the Creator and the desire to bestow. Instead, it is a choice we make to be governed by the desire to bestow instead of the ego. It is then that we can reside in the balance between the attributes of reception and bestowal. Such a state is called freedom (Klipat Noga).

Michael Laitman Kabbalah On Free Will  http://ns2.siebenart.com/doc/16222/michael-laitman-kabbalah-on-free-will

 

Yetzer HaTov  and Yetzer HaRa

In Judaism, yetzer hara (Hebrew: יצר הרע for the definite "the evil inclination"), or yetzer ra (Hebrew: יצר רע for the indefinite "an evil inclination") refers to the inclination to do evil, by violating the will of God. The term is drawn from the phrase "the imagination of the heart of man [is] evil" (Hebrew: יֵצֶר לֵב הָאָדָם רַע,yetzer lev-ha-adam ra), which occurs twice in the Hebrew Bible, at Genesis 6:5 and 8:21..  

 

 

The yetzer hara is not a demonic force, but rather man's misuse of things the physical body needs to survive. The yetzer hara represents the inner impulse or tendency within the human heart to gravitate toward selfish gratification.   Thus, the need for food becomes gluttony due to the yetzer hara. The need for procreation becomes sexual abuse, and so on. The idea that humans are born with a yetzer ra (physical needs that can become "evil"), but that humans don't acquire a yetzer tov ("a good inclination") until an age of maturity—12 for girls and 13 for boys

 

Traditionally, a person's indulgence of either the good or evil impulse is seen as a matter of free choice. For example, Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, wrote in Derech Hashem ("The Way of God") that "Man is the creature created for the purpose of being drawn close to God. He is placed between perfection and deficiency, with the power to earn perfection. Man must earn this perfection, however, through his own free will...Man's inclinations are therefore balanced between good (Yetzer HaTov) and evil (Yetzer HaRa), and he is not compelled toward either of them. He has the power of choice and is able to choose either side knowingly and willingly..."

 

An old Cherokee told his grandson:

My son, there’s a battle between two wolves inside us all.

One is Evil.

It is anger, jeleasy, greed, resentment. inferiority, lies and ego.

The other is Good.

It’s joy, peace, love. hope, humility, kindness, and truth.

The boy thought about it, and asked:

Grandfather which wolf wins?”

The old man quietly replied:

“The one you feed.”