You remember my last posting about some random pseudo-research institute and its promotion of woman empowerment: "Women, men, gender equality… and natural law?" You liked it? You’ll love what follows…
Have a look on this:
$ whois ariresearch.org (...) Domain Name:ARIRESEARCH.ORG Created On:08-May-2006 16:40:25 UTC (...) Registrant Name:Uri Laitman (...) Registrant Email:firstname.lastname@example.org (...) Admin Name:Uri Laitman (...) Tech Name:Uri Laitman
Kabbalah.info? Oh! This is the url of the "Bnei Baruch Kabbalah, Education & Research Institute".
Domain Name:KABBALAHBLOG.INFO Domain Name:KAB.INFO Domain Name:KABBALAHKIDS.INFO Domain Name:ARVUT.ORG Domain Name: LAITMAN.COM Domain Name:ASHLAG.INFO [Domain Name] LAITMAN.JP Domain Name:KABBALAHMEDIA.INFO Domain Name: kab1.com Domain Name:KABBALAHSCIENCE.INFO Domain name: kab.tv Domain Name: zoar.tv domain: kab.co.il Domain Name: kabbalahforwomen.com domain: laitman.co.il probablement laitman.it Domain Name:KABBALAHBOOKS.INFO Domain Name:KABTODAY.INFO
So, what does it mean, in fact? The first part above: whois is a command to be executed in your command-line interface under some GNU/Linux distribution, say Debian. (You can even run it under Windows, I guess: there is an executable named whois.exe that you can install and run whois in the DOS command interface.) Good. It gives you some interesting information such as the owner of a given domain (here our beloved ariresearch.org). And we learn that the person who registered this domain name is somehow related to kabbalah.info, which happens to be the url of this Bnei Baruch Kabbalah thingy. The latter is associated with a certain number of domains as well (second output above), some of them hosted in Israel.
And what is that kabbalah stuff, in fact? Well, it is where things become interesting :) The kabbalah " is a discipline and school of thought concerned with the esoteric aspect of Rabbinic Judaism", says the dedicated Wikipedia entry. And continues:
Kabbalah is a set of esoteric teachings meant to explain the relationship between an eternal and mysterious Creator and the mortal and finite universe (His creation). While it is heavily used by some denominations, it is not a denomination in and of itself; it is a set of scriptures that exist outside the traditional Jewish scriptures. Kabbalah seeks to define the nature of the universe and the human being, the nature and purpose of existence, and various other ontological questions. It also presents methods to aid understanding of these concepts and to thereby attain spiritual realization.
So, we have some kind of secte here. Ok, this sounds like a very primary anti-religious statement. Let’s look further.
When you check the ARI Research "About" page, you notice that there are four main contact centers: one in the USA, one in Canada, one in Israel and one in Russia. Well, apparently Dr. Michael Laitman studied in Russia and eventually immigrated to Israel in the 1970s, so the Russian and Israeli branches are kind of explained. This ARI Research looks like some family company still: the founder is Dr. Michael Laitman, the executive vice-president of the USA branch is Rachel Laitman, the Chief Operating Officer of the Canada branch is Uri Laitman…
But still, this doesn’t matter that much who holds the business. Let’s check the activities. These guys have published a huge amount of stuff, they quote some of the editors such as Guy Tredaniel (France) and EdicionesObelisco (Spain). These publish things about esoterism and mysticism. Anyway, you know, people can publish whatever they want, freedom of speech is for everyone. What I find a bit scarrier is the activities of this ARI thing towards children and youth (still the "About" page):
NIFLA Youth Movement
The youth movement, NIFLA, was formed out of the need to provide a supportive and loving environment for youth ages 12-18 in Israel and throughout the world who aspire to promote the values of mutual consideration and love of others. This social framework is a direct extension of the complementary education center, Citizens of the Future. Activities of NIFLA include:
- Studies of nature in general and human nature in particular;
- Tutoring and training of children, to qualify the next generation; and
- Preparation and guidance for life as adults.
- Developing lesson plans on the love of others, human nature, and nature as a whole;
I took here the most terrifying things. This is just brainwashing. But you understand it much better when you have a look on the other part of the story.
The same Dr. Michael Laitman also founded the aforementioned Bnei Baruch Kabbalah institute:
Bnei Baruch is a diverse movement of many thousands of students worldwide. Each student chooses his or her own path and intensity, according to one’s personal conditions and abilities.
In recent years, the group has grown into a movement engaged in voluntary educational projects, presenting genuine Kabbalah sources in contemporary language. The essence of the message disseminated by Bnei Baruch is unity of the people, unity of nations and love of man. (from the "About" page)
Hmmmm. Good, so we have a religious group supporting a notorious mystic ideology that founds and maintains the now famous ARI Research Institute. This link is not obvious, though. I mean, it is just very indirect (through the name of the founder of both and the whois ;) ) and, of course, is misleading. Why should someone keep this link secret? The ARI thingy is promoting extremely conservative ideas with light homophobia/LGBT-hating stench. They claim they are somehow supported by UNESCO (check out the section "A Guide to Living in a Globalized World" here)…
This is very disturbing: people can do whatever they want given they respect others’ freedoms. Brainwashing children is not respecting freedoms. Hiding the fact that, under the coverage of promoting gender equality, there is a religious group with very conservative rigid ideas is not respecting freedoms. Insinuating that your controversial ideas are backed by intergovernemental organizations such as UNESCO is very dangerous: does it mean that UNESCO somehow supports mystic ideologies?
But of course, everything is justified in the following way:
"It is not a religion at all," [Michael] Laitman said [...] "It is a scientific method to transcend the ego. It makes no difference what religion you belong to. Everyone should be able to do it." ("Kabbalah’s popularity, controversy are no secret", Chicago Tribune, Oct 12, 2007)
It is all about science, in fact. You may not believe in religions, you cannot easily go against science. That’s it.
And one last thing, Kabbalah people: putting the mention "All rights reserved" right next to the license CC-by-NC-ND is just meaningless and contradictory…