“The difference between technology and slavery is that slaves are fully aware that they are not free” N. Taleb
In this week’s Torah portion we are given the very first of the 613 mitzvot “to sanctify the new moon “. A nation coming out of slavery whose lives and actions were controlled by their task masters 24/7, was given the absolute authority to define time itself.
That humanity should have control and mastery over time was a revolutionary idea in ancient cultures, a realm that hitherto, was the domain of the gods.
This concept has never been more relevant than today. On the one hand we have more time saving devices then ever before, jet aircraft, instant food and Uber eats, even fax machines are too slow and passé, high-speed Internet connections are expected like the air we breath as are smart phones and computers, instant messaging and the list goes on and on and on.
Yet rather than becoming masters of time we have become it’s slave! The ability to get things done faster has resulted in the expectation that everything will get done faster and that in turn puts pressure to get things done faster in an ever increasing vicious cycle. The amount of time we expect our text messages to be answered is measured in seconds and our emails only slightly longer.
There is a great significance in the fact that the very first mitzvah was for us to be masters over time. As precious as freedom from a human taskmaster maybe, it is incomplete unless one is also free from the relentless domination of modern technology. The ability to put the invasion and intrusion into our lives aside and to focus on the relationships that really matter, that is true freedom.
There is no greater refuge from its control over our lives then to disconnect once a week and to slow down the pace of our lives and reconnect and be present with the important people and things that makes our lives meaningful. That is true freedom!