Smart phones, tablets, emails, video chats, online dating sites, and facebook are all tools that are available to us today, thanks to advancements in technology. Some say it alienates our society, and for proof they show photos of people walking in the street or taking the subway their face focused on the screen in front of them. Technology certainly changed our life. Whether it changes our life for the better or worse it is up to us – and depends on how we use it.
The thought to write this post came to me on Saturday morning, December 24th. My brother Nathaniel woke me up, “Get on a video chat, we are about to light the first candle of Hanukah,” he said over the phone. It wasn’t Hanukah yet in Seattle, but in Israel, which is 10 hours ahead, it was. Within a few minutes I was there, showing up at home on the screen of my brother Yair’s cell phone and saying hello to everyone. It was nice to see them all in one room: my father, my three brothers, one of my sisters, and my two sisters-in-law. It felt so festive. My body was 6,746 miles away from home, and yet I was there to share that moment with them.
This magical moment made me think of how much technology has been helping people from all over the globe to connect with each other on a daily basis. How technology has made it easier to share love across mountains and oceans. How people from different countries can meet and fall in love, how grandparents can still read a bed-time-story to their grandchildren who live on another continent, how friends and siblings can still take part in each other’s life despite the geographical distance between them – all this and more is available to us now thanks to technology.
Many years ago I had a dream that I found a secret shortcut that connected between Seattle and Israel. There were dwarfs who welcomed me at the entrance and guided me through a network of underground tunnels. It was thrilling to be able to visit home so easily and in such a short time. It was a beautiful dream, a happy one, and I still remember it. Now come to think of it – the shortcut between places is technology, with all its invisible tunnels and magical dwarfs.
Next time, before you blame technology, or something else in your life, for causing some evil, stop for a minute and think: “How do I contribute to this end-result?” Consider if there are other options that you could use this given tool or situation to your benefit. Technology is only a tool, a neutral one. Whether it affects your life in a good way or in a bad way is up to you.