Embracing Our New Reality

Technology was supposed to make communication between people easier and to help them understand each other beyond their differences. Yet, in reality, we don't see these results.

It is a platitude to say that the world has become more complex. People have been saying this for years, and with good reason. Certainly since the beginning of the twentieth century there has been an explosion of knowledge.

There have been, and are ongoing, amazing innovations in all areas; science, medicine and technology. Moreover change is moving ahead at an unprecedented progression.

I perceive an irony, because technology was supposed to make communication between people easier and to help them understand each other beyond their differences. Thus, in theory we should feel less isolated and less likely to be deceived by divisive forces like nationalism, race, gender and class. Yet, in reality, we don’t see these results.

People may know more and be able to express themselves universally, even instantly, but, the mental quiet and serenity, seems more absent than ever. For example the connection between overworked parents and over-stimulated children, is as elusive as the connection between today’s busy spouses. There are more places to turn for information and audience; there are fewer places to turn to for comfort.

Remember that letter your mom saved from when you were in summer camp? The feel of real paper, the misspelled words and the broken syntax, they all contributed to the authenticity of the personal communication. Isn’t it ironic that in pursuing efficient communication we have lost the personal touch, the heart and soul?

This is not an appeal to the enemies of progress, nor to enlist a platoon of Luddites. I merely want to ask the question; is humanity becoming a binary system with a bunch of zeros and ones?

To some, it may seem counter-intuitive but in this era of high-tech, perhaps it is time to go, as in the movie title, ‘back to the future’, to look to a more .

What are your thoughts about how to embrace and utilize to the fullest new technology without loosing our soul?

I was about to suggest you send me an email, but instead, why not stop by so we can discuss this in person?

This coming Saturday night I will be amongst a group of students and together we will be doing an all night study session as part of our annual observance of the Shavuot holiday, commemorating the Receiving of the Torah. We will be going until 4 a.m. You are most welcome to join as we discuss and explore ancient ideas in a modern world.

Rabbi Levi Cunin May 25, 2012 at 11:38 PM
Thank you Barrett for sharing. Indeed all of these advances continue to assist us and provide us with a possibility never before available in the history of our existence (as far as we know). I am grateful that I can connect to family and friends the world over at the push of a button. And I can write many words about how great I think the ipad is… We are in the midst of rapid changes and it is truly exciting to be a part of it. And yet there seems to be a line that is so easily crossed, like friends who live in close proximity but because of the ease of connection on the web, miss out on the true blue connection that only comes when you are with someone face to face. Or the time that would otherwise have been a meditative or even romantic moment that got lost because of the distraction of texting. The tools that are available to us are truly amazing, but I believe that it takes wisdom and intelligent judgment to navigate wisely.


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