The perils of modern technology

This is a guest post written by my husband. His name is Rabbi Aaron D. Michelson, but you can call him Saba. A lot of people do.

Somewhere I came across the idea that if two terms can be considered opposites then the existence of one of them implies the existence of the other even if only as the absence of the first one. In theology this led to many debates about the nature of evil with some saying that it has a real and palpable existence of its own and others saying that it is merely the absence of good, its opposite.

The same arguments could be held on the subject of intelligence/ignorance. Is ignorance a real force in its own right or is it merely the absence of intelligence. Many have experienced “creative” ignorance so concretely that they would argue for its reality. Similarly we may find that if there exists a class of an item that is called smart there is also a class that is stupid and the stupid class has an existence and a reality equal and opposite to the smart class.

Many of you have “smart” phones which are capable of all kinds of clever tricks and operations which can be helpful to you. ” Where,” you may ask, “are the stupid phones?” Until recently, I might have asked the same question had it occurred to me. This morning at 4:08 AM the answer was thrust upon me. and then for almost two hours it was periodically drilled into my eardrums.

In the past few days I have exchanged text messages with someone who is near and dear to me. At 4:08 AM and ff, that dear person’s stupid phone showed its true colors. Again and again it rang. Bleary eyed I tried to discern a message. None. Perhaps my dear one was in trouble. After two hours I sent a message. Dear one was well. Stupid phone had prevailed. No helpful advice; no cute games; no internet radio or even pictures that know which way is up. Just dumb ringing and if I failed to answer because I had fallen asleep momentarily beep beep beep to remind me that I had not answered the nonmessages that stupidphone had visited upon me.

Yes Virginia, there is a Stupid Phone and it is here among us.

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