Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews

Disconnect from electronics at least one day a week!

Years ago, when a bunch of pre-teenagers for whom I was responsible wanted to play video games, I often gave them a ball and told them: Out! They now are grateful for that because it saved them their social skills. Yet, it didn’t work completely, as they sometimes would quietly visit neighboring friends and there waste their precious playtime by zombie-watching movies on the small screen together.

People who keep Shabbat are extra privileged as we get un-hooked one day a week from the mobile phone. On the other hand, many (almost?) Day of Rest observing youths can’t do it and continue SMS-ing or calling on Shabbat. Since the phones are battery operated, it’s not the worst Shabbat violation possible but it is surely not in the spirit of Shabbat and violates their human need for a non-virtual good life. (Don’t interrogate your young ones but rather friendly ask if you can help them and/or their friends to unhook. (Not their phones need to stay off the hook – they need to unhook.) Then listen, don’t preach.)

The news now has it that the supposed bastion of secularism, Tel Aviv, is encouraging teenagers to disconnect from their anti-social media, part of the time at least. How about not checking your phone first thing in the morning every day, tossing out that pristine mindset after a refreshing night of deep sleep (if you don’t drink coffee)?

Does it work for you or does it work on your nerves?

In the Netherlands, there are now many university faculties that obligate their students to write notes at lectures and that then forbid typing on laptops. This especially in studies for professions that travel many electronic highways like journalism, and political and natural science. The shocking reason is that research shows that hand-writing notes help memorization of the material and typing notes does not!

Voting machines in the largest democracy on earth are so easily hacked. It’s unclear why they are still much in use. If one wants the voters to decide and win, going less electronic on election day might be very important.

Last but not least, would it not be great to have the money to buy the databanks that contain all the information you want to read or quote? Such greatness was never before! That too I call a decline of the generation and not human progress. How so? When you know stuff by heart, you have a different mind then if you don’t. Not only can you quote at lightning speed, all your mental processes will take into account 24/7 what you learned well.

So, think twice before you pity people who periodically or all together, temporarily or permanently have disconnected from the Internet, the iPhone and/or television. Among them might be members of religious sects but also nature lovers, people who hate stress and who love themselves enough to prefer smart (a smart-not-phone) over normal, real over virtual.

Disclaimer: I have no Internet on my phone and my ADSL has an Orthodox-Jewish porn filter.

About the Author
The author is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (DES - Diethylstilbestrol), born in 1953 to two Holocaust survivors in The Netherlands, and holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam). He taught Re-evaluation Co-counseling, became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a vegan for 8 years now. His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second generation Dutch Holocaust survivors. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. How ironic that he who had three times 90 for Dutch at his finals is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew. G-d definitely has a sense of humor. His most influential teachers (chronologically) are: his parents, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach and LBCHLCH, Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo and Rav Zev Leff. Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. His fields of attention are varied: Psychology (including Sexuality), Medicine, Science, Politics (Israel, the US and the Netherlands, Activism), Oppression and Liberation (of young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, GLBTQI, foreigners, and anyone else who's dehumanized and exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation) and Veganism. Many of his posts will relate to current affairs from the news or the Torah Portion of the Week or to new insights that suddenly befell him. He always tries to bring something original and to avoid boring you or wasting your time with the obvious. To send a personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click on Contact Me.
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