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The Middle Way In All Things

May 14, 2012

Technology is both a blessing and a curse.  Have you ever been at a party or dinner table where several people instead of sharing the moment and enjoying the wonderful company and cuisine, were busy texting under the table?  Have you ever been to an event where people seem more focused on their iPhones than what was happening at the moment?  Do you know people who will answer their text messages, but refuse to answer their phone?

There is no going backwards with technology.  For years I fought getting a cell phone but finally I gave in.  Judaism has always taught the middle way in life.  The great Rabbi and sage Maimonides taught, “If a man finds that his nature tends or is disposed to  extremes…, he should turn back and improve, so as to walk in the way of good people, which is the right way. The right way is the mean in each group of dispositions common to humanity; namely, that disposition which is equally distant from the two extremes in its class, not being nearer to the one than to the other.”  He was teaching in good company with ancient Greek thought, that there is a middle path in all courses.

I must admit I’ve given in in many ways to the wonderful benefits of technology.  In fact I am writing this article using voice recognition software.  It does save time!

Have we however turned away from some of our humanity?  When people fail to talk to one another, but sit across from each other texting, we have moved far from the Golden mean.  Sometimes technology becomes popular simply because the media convinces us of its benefit.  Great marketers can make you want almost anything.  At time there really is a useful time-saving product, and yes I will embrace it.

What we need is more humanity and less marketing.  We need more personal contact, we need more personal dialogue, and we need to be coming closer to each other not more distant as technology progresses.  Surely many would argue with me that technology has brought us closer through Facebook, twitter and other new media.  While it has accomplished that it is also made true relationship and real intimacy more difficult.

Just as an experiment, maybe only for today, try to limit your texting and begin talking.  There is a good middle way with all things.  Even with technology.


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