You Have a New Message :)
U can communicate in codes like youth do on chats; u can remain unexposed behind a computer screen and a user-name, but not for long. Sooner or later we will have to leave our masquerades and make room for each other in our hearts, not in our chat rooms.
Today’s young don’t need lengthy letters, placed in envelopes and stamped. These are replaced by the screen and keyboard, or the cellular phone.
From early on, children learn to use instant messaging software such as Yahoo! and MSN messengers, ICQ and Skype. It is free, easy, and fast. Moreover, fast Internet allows them to transcend boundaries of time and place, which makes their world both unlimited by geography, yet confined to their PCs or mobile devices. This makes them pragmatic people, matter-of-fact, and estranged like the technology they are using.
But aren’t they so already? Is it online communication that alienates us, or our alienation that causes us to develop alienating communication? What is to become of a generation that knows no other way to converse than via wires, or via wireless?
All Wired Up
As a child, I never dreamed that devices from my science fiction comics would become everyday communication tools of six year-olds in my lifetime. When I wanted to play with friends, I had to use an ancient technology called “feet.” I actually walked to my friends’ houses to talk to them. Usually, it was my friend’s mother I had to talk to, first.
Today, I can commute to work and send messages to friends at the speed of light using my mobile device. And the chance of talking to my friend’s mother is much smaller, too. My daughter talks to her friends mostly through the messenger. She substitutes acronyms for words, and emoticons for emotions. It seems that even relationships have become a virtual thing for our children.
Connected After All
To understand the essence of the connection among humans, we must know its root. According to Kabbalah, this root is in a place where time and place are nonexistent. Kabbalists tell us that in that place, we are all connected, a single soul, called “the soul of Adam ha Rishon (the first man).” This soul is like an organism made of myriad cells that tightly reciprocate. At some point in its evolution, the parts (cells) of this soul lost the sensation of their connectedness, and the soul broke into a multitude of separate cells.
The separation created alienation and hatred among us, and ever since, we have been unconsciously searching for substitutes for that sense of wholeness we had once possessed. In fact, all of the social systems we human beings have created throughout history and around the world aim at one purpose: to restore our lost connection and reciprocity.
A key element in our detachment is the ego. The ego not only triggered the shattering, it had been increasing our alienation ever since. The ego makes us want to use others, thus making us dependent on others to satisfy our needs. But the ego also makes us wish we could find other ways of satisfying ourselves, that we would stop being dependent on others, and that other people would simply vanish.
We cannot accept the fact that we are connected and that there is nothing we can do to change it. This “togetherness” annoys and burdens us, hence our resistance and denial of the fact that we are connected. Today’s communication means are very true to our state—they project our alienation as well as our connectedness.
On the one hand, we want to be with everyone, and on the other hand we want to remain safe behind our computer screens and user-names. Thus, despite the advanced technology, modern communication systems do not really connect us; they allow us to be detached, yet connected after all.
As we grow more detached, we will also come to feel a greater need to truly connect. Such connection cannot be achieved via phones, computers, or any other communication device. It must be cultivated deep within our hearts. Sooner or later, but probably sooner, we will discover that we need to upgrade our communication grid to one that is based on thoughts and desires rather than on sms’s. If we establish our connections through thoughts and desires, we will rediscover the connectedness we had once possessed in the soul of Adam ha Rishon, and we will reinstate the natural, direct, and wholesome bond among us.
Our time in history is very special. The soul of Adam ha Rishon is not meant to remain shattered. Once its pieces (us) realize they are detached, they will realize that this is the reason for their suffering and strive to change it by reconnecting. According to Kabbalah, in 1995 the stage of reconnection has begun.
The current global crises are the first signs that show us we are dependent on each other. But they are not really crises, unless our interdependency is burdensome to us. Had it not been undesirable, we would rush to help each other and would not consider our state a crisis, but an opportunity for strengthening our ties.
When we reestablish our bond, we will feel the one, collective soul of Adam; we will perceive our existence as inclusive, beyond eons and universes, unbounded by our limited perception. Indeed, we will experience the bliss of unbounded freedom. Until then, we continue to hide behind our screens, believing we are guarded from each other by our anonymity. The next phase will be to remove our masks and truly bond in our hearts.
And in the meantime… you have a new message :).