A little while back, I got an email from a reader telling me I had to read this book By Rav Avraham Sutton, called Spiritual Technology. I started tracking it down to the Pomerantz Bookstore in Jerusalem, when this very special reader got back in touch to tell me she could give me her copy, as she was visiting Jerusalem shortly.
We met; I got the book; I read it over Shabbat two weeks’ ago – and it has a lot of very interesting information that does shed some light on so many of the things we’re all struggling with today, including how technology has taken over our lives, whether it’s good or bad, spiritually, and how all this may be affecting the rectification of the world and the geulah.
Rav Sutton explains that ‘technology’, which the dictionary defines as 'the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes', comes from the Greek work tehkne, and is in direct opposition to the Jewish word tikkun, which refers to rectifying the world spiritually.
Greek tehkne is all about making life easier, controlling nature and the environment, and externalizing the human soul in so many cheap, superficial ways.
By contrast, Jewish tikkun is about rectifying the world at its spiritual root, nullifying ourselves to God’s will, and building up the strength of the human soul internally so that many of ‘technology’s’ achievements can be accomplished in a much purer form.
This is the ultimate goal of humanity, and this is the world we are heading towards with the dawn of the coming of Moshiach.
A world where people can transcend the physical body, and travel all over the globe without airplanes, and connect to others without phones, and who can access tremendous knowledge directly from the spiritual realm, via a very strong bond with Hashem.
It sounds a little crazy and far-fetched, doesn’t it?
In the past, I’ve had a few arguments with readers here about the role technology has to play in this future world. Even before I read Rav Sutton’s book, it seemed to me that the rabbis’ call to ditch i-Phones, etc, was coming from a very deep understanding of the true damage they are doing to people’s souls.
Most of us have no idea of what’s really playing out here between Greek tehkne and Jewish tikkun, or what’s at stake.
So, here’s a few excerpts from Rav Sutton’s book, to get the ball rolling:
“External technology [in ancient Egypt] hadn’t developed to the point it has today. Nevertheless, the chartumim had direct access to what we may call psychic technology…In a sense, Pharoah’s magicians were the equivalent of today’s scientists. It’s just that their ability to manipulate physical reality was through magic and psychic manipulation.”
“Alienation as we find it in modern society is almost total…Man has created a world of man-made things as it never existed before. He has constructed a complicated social machine to administer the technical machine he built.
“Yet, this whole creation of his stands over and above him. [He is] the servant of a Golem which his hands have built. The more powerful and gigantic the forces are which he unleashes, the more powerless he feels himself as a human being…He is owned by his own creation and has lost ownership of himself. He has built a golden calf, and says “These are your gods, O Israel, who have brought you out of Egypt.” – (Quote from Erich Fromm)
“It is axiomatic that true spirituality cannot be selfish and self-serving.”
“When the connection between heaven and earth is broken, we lose the understanding that behind every physical process, there is a spiritual process making it happen…preceding it, activating it, and guiding it through every stage of its evolution and development.”
Zohar, Ki Tisa, 2:191a states: “The Erev Rav consisted of all the magicians of Mitzrayim.”
“The letters of the first tablets (luchot) – embodying the [much higher spiritual] level of the Tree of Life – could not exist in close proximity with the coarse consciousness of the golden calf (i.e. technology in the service of magic.)”
“Torah / kabbalah describes evil as being without any real ‘mind’ of its own. It is best imagined as a mechanical force that has one primary function: it grabs onto everything and anything in order to own it.
“It is the will to receive, in its most extreme, negative and ugliest form. You can always identify a person or a nation that has… become an instrument of evil: it inevitably wants to own you and everything else in the world. This force acts within the human personality as well.”
“The klipot (forces of evil) draw their life-force and nourishment from the souls that they hold captive under their dominion… This is why the klipot exert such effort to cause humans to sin.” Sefer HaGilgulim.
(Hans Morovec is a scientist, and the director of the Mobile Robot Laboratory of Carnegie Mellon University):
“Morovec calmly explains how within the next 30 years we will bypass the present limits upon artificial intelligence and robotic mobility, to the point where we will be able to ‘download’ all of the content of our brains – which are now unfortunately stuck in decaying biological entities – into computers housed within mobile robots, thereby gaining ‘us’ immortality, via these machines. The machines will ‘evolve’ by their own design…and will generate ideas and actions that will far exceed human evolution.”
( Master magicians of Egypt)
Let’s stop there for now, and put together some take home conclusions from what we’ve learned so far:
1) Today’s scientists are yesterday’s ancient Egyptian magicians, and the root of today's 'Erev Rav' tendencies. The Egyptian magicians were also extremely precise, their magic also followed very detailed calculations and rules, and it was all focused on taking power away from Hashem, and trying to control the world and the environment.
2) The Egyptian magicians – like so many of today’s scientists – were also obsessed with ideas of ‘immortality’. Ancient Egypt tried to do this by embalming the body to keep a degree of the lowest soul level, or nefesh, trapped in this world forever, in an attempt to defy God and His justice.
3) Egyptian / Greek technology is doing its best to get people to sin, and to break the connection between us and God. That’s why they’ve come up with all these huge lies about the theory of evolution, the age of the world, the ‘progress’ to be achieved via i-Phones and the internet, pretend cures for cancer, fracking wells and all the rest of it.
4) In the future world of moshiach, we won’t need all this technology, as we’ll be able to tap into the unvarnished power of the soul to do all the good things technology enables us to do without it. That’s what we’re aiming at, strange as all this sounds to our modern, materialistic, technology-dependent ears.
5) The true 'Golden Calf' today is anything that takes the power or honor away from Hashem, and gives it to 'science' instead. If you think that pill is 'curing' your headache, or that the Iron Dome is 'protecting' Israel, or that Darwin and science knows more about the true age of the world than the Torah does - you are effectively worshipping the Golden Calf.
There’s so much more to say about this, as always, but let me leave you with this out of office message that my husband got yesterday from one of his non-Jewish clients:
"I found myself constantly looking at my mobile for no good reason, often in front of my children.
I am experimenting with checking my emails once a day so if you need me urgently please call me or text on [number]. Otherwise I will respond to your email as soon as I am able to.
Thanks for helping me break this cycle!!!"
The push-back against technology and towards true tikkun is beginning.