Thursday, September 16, 2010

Not Electronically Dependent? Think Again

I wouldn't imagine that the article in the link below applies to my readers here, but I found it of interest given a discussion in one of my classes last night.

The subject of that discussion was electronic communication devices and being connected 24/6. I mentioned that we have gone beyond USING such devices to having become totally dependent on them--we've become addicted to them. And like other addicts craving a fix, our addiction has spilled over into all areas of our lives, becoming dominant. Let one of these devices develop a problem and the owner frequently exhibits the behavior that we once expected to see if a loved one was in mortal danger.

Now granted, observant Jews do not use these devices on Shabbos and Yom Tov--one day a week they manage to control the addiction. But watch men davening in shul and you will frequently see them put their hands where their cell phones or blackberries normally would be. It's almost as if these devices have become an integral appendix to the body, and their absence bothers us in the same way that a missing limb would bother us. One student remarked, apropos of the reaching for the device during davening, that it's phantom vibration--not really there but you think it is because it should be.

Amazingly enough, on Yom Kippur our voices, not enhanced by electronics, will soar upward to The One who needs to hear them. We're going to be talking to God directly, no little gizmos required. If we can do this, when the importance of the conversation is so critical, we might just ask ourselves if there are not other areas of our lives where such direct conversation, "face to face" as it were, would not also work better.

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