If a tree falls in the forest and theres no one to hear it, did it really fall? And does that tree even exist? Classical science has changed its mind about this again and again, and lately it has taken a direction that is remarkably similar to what the wisdom of Kabbalah has been saying for thousands of years.
But first, a brief history detour. For centuries, scientific research was based on the belief that reality and the observer are two distinct entities. Reality was thought to be objective, to exist regardless of whether there is someone observing it or not. In other words, scientists thought that the tree exists in the forest whether theres anyone to see it or not. But further research in the 20th century proved this to be wrong, and that reality is relative – it depends on the observer.
In the 1920s, Albert Einstein was the first to introduce this concept. He showed that the observers velocity causes his reality to change. Later on, scientists went even further and concluded that reality does not depend just on the observers velocity, but that it is altogether subjective and exists exactly to the extent that the observer perceives it. In other words, we perceive everything through our own properties, so that if our properties change, our perceived picture of the world changes as well.
This discovery revolutionized the scientific world; however, it was no innovation to the world of Kabbalah. For centuries, Kabbalah books have described that reality is relative, subjective, dependent on the observer, and changes according to his attitude to it. Kabbalah has always advanced the idea that the picture we perceive depends solely on us and does not exist outside of us. In fact, the reality we see is a reflection of our inner qualities, and if we change our qualities, we will perceive a completely different reality.
So both Kabbalah and science aim to broaden our picture of reality through scientific research, but when it comes to changing the observers qualities in order to do so, they part ways.
Even though a scientist may know that the findings of his research depend on his own qualities, he doesnt work on developing himself as a part of his research. In other words, whatever an ordinary scientist investigates, understands and reveals, remains as something that is outside him.
A Kabbalist, on the other hand, develops himself as a part of his research. He doesnt just recognize the fact that reality is subjective, that it depends on the observers qualities, but actually utilizes it. Hence, a Kabbalists new finding is a profound feeling and understanding. It becomes an actual part of his reality. This is why Kabblists call it an attainment or Hasaga in Hebrew, meaning that one tangibly grasps the feeling and knowledge the way one grasps something with his very hands.