Aaron Zimmer
Cohost of "Physics to God" podcast

The Bad Part of Modernity: Values and Culture

Last time, I discussed the good parts of modernity. This time I want to briefly spell out the bad parts: (many, but not all aspects of) modern values and culture. I have no intent to write a screed against society or to rant about things that have been discussed at length. I only want to lay out a basic schematic I can use to constructively build an approach to Modern Orthodoxy.

The bad values of  Western society are not really that modern. They have existed in many nations throughout the ages. They include but are not limited to the valuing as an end-in-themselves of pleasure, fame, money, and power. These bad values are directly related to the erosion of many of the moral values society used to have.

Social values don’t exist in a vacuum but are supported by an underlying culture that promotes and maintains its values. The secular culture that supports these values is well known. As illustrative examples of what I mean: Washington culture is designed around political power, Wall Street culture idealizes endless pursuit of riches, and Hollywood culture glorifies pleasure and fame.

Any meaningful ideal of Modern Orthodoxy must find a way to interact with modern society without appropriating these negative aspects of modern culture and the detrimental values inherent in its structure.

About the Author
After earning a physics degree and receiving rabbinical ordination from Rabbi Yisroel Chait, Aaron Zimmer utilized his personal resources to trade commodity futures. His approach was deeply rooted in the conceptual frameworks of physics and the Brisker Method for Talmudic analysis. After an eleven-year career marked by success in commodity trading, Aaron now cohosts a podcast, "Physics to God", with Rabbi Dr. Elie Feder. He resides in Lawrence, New York, along with his wife and their five children.
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