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).
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
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.
human body is composed of four levels of organization: cells,
tissues, organs and body systems.
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
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
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
overview of protein synthesis.
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
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
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
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
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 are the next level of organization in the body.
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
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.
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
"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. "
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
"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."
Alex Grey - Gaia -
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
"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?
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.
Model of the Living Universe
chapter 12 as follows:
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
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
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
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
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
We Live in a Living
"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. ......""
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
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.
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.
Power of Our Freewill
idea that God created a world where humans were given complete
freewill is a gift of tremendous magnitude and responsibility in
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
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
and Yetzer HaRa
In Judaism, yetzer hara (Hebrew: יצר
the definite "the evil inclination"), or yetzer ra
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
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
Cherokee told his grandson:
son, there’s a battle between two wolves inside us all.
anger, jeleasy, greed, resentment. inferiority, lies and ego.
other is Good.
joy, peace, love. hope, humility, kindness, and truth.
boy thought about it, and asked:
which wolf wins?”
old man quietly replied:
“The one you feed.”