With all of my interest in technology and innovation, what really makes me tick is finding ways to intertwine my love of Chassidus (Jewish mystical philosophy) with the technological tools that are rapidly evolving and shaping our lives.
Despite all of our advancement and development, humans still yearn for an inner connection and purpose. So with all the information bombardment and distractions synonymous with our advancements, how do we find a path through all of the “noise?”
Chassidus, the mystical populist movement jumpstarted by the Baal Shem Tov in the early 18th Century among Eastern European Jewry teaches that everything in Creation can be uplifted for a higher purpose. From eating to entertainment, are not really mundane tools, but rather vehicles for a Divine purpose. The challenge is not the tools, but rather who is harnessing them and what their mission is.
Today’s advancements in bio and medical technologies as well as ease of communication has radically changed our world for the good. Yet, the darkness that has spread across social media and messaging platforms like Telegram, Tinder, and even WhatsApp has disrupted social norms in place for thousands of years, unleashing visceral urges and deviant behaviors. Most of all, social media and messaging apps have funneled away the exuberance and joy of our youth.
How Do We Rectify These Tools?
The drive to know, to connect to one another has replaced the patient growth that was once held dear to most people. The constant data driven targeting and influencing allowed and even pushed by Google and Facebook as well as other big information and social media giants can be overcome. Ultimately the solution rests within each of us.
Our main mission in our lives is to strive to instill within our mundane reality a higher purpose to our choices. When technology comes into conflict with this, it means we ourselves are not choosing correctly. Once again the onus is on us, no on the tools. This means the tools we use must be part of the mission we are striving to carry out — that part of us which yearns to spread goodness and light in the world.
If these technological tools are used for the opposite, meaning to aid our selfishness and base desires, then no good can come from them.
These vessels, tools, and technology can and should be uplifted from a mundane appearance to that of purposeful existence. In Chassidus, this is called filling the vessels with light.
Each one of us wants to draw our special individual light into the world. However, we are easily distracted, caught up into the mundane covering and never realizing that the tools we have can be used for a higher purpose. If we want to truly change our world, we must first change ourselves and then the technology we use will change as well.