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This is your brain… on Shabbos.
I really did mean to take a picture of the fridge and post this last night, but I got too caught up in the pre-Nine-Days laundry rush.
I was reading Jaron Lanier’s book You are not a Gadget over Shabbos – when I got a moment of peace and quiet here and there. So far, it’s mostly about how people are abdicating their individuality to some type of idealized software “cloud”, faith in which has to some degree supplanted religion in our society.
He cautions readers that the software is poorly designed and that the promises of the “hive mind” are probably vastly overrated.
Upon reading which, I was reminded of the precious 25-hour gap in our access to what society sometimes misnames “information,” the unsatisfying buzz of activity, the mix of omniscience and sheer stupidity that characterizes the Internet in 2010.
My brain on Shabbos: has no access to Google, and so occasionally doesn’t remember the name of whoever starred in whatever movie or TV show. Trivia has to wait until after sunset.
My brain on Shabbos: is very distracted and forgetful, just like during the week… only I can’t write it down or check my email to find the answers. Yesterday, to remember the six words at the top of this post, I used fridge magnets to spell “UR brain on zhabes” as a reminder. My brain on Shabbos is ephemeral.
My brain on Shabbos: is sleepy and sometimes difficult to entertain. This is what really gets teenagers. Without distractions moving at the speed of light, life is dull and a nap is often in order.
My brain on Shabbos: is probably all the better for it. A day when I am forced to use my (feeble) memory? A day when I have to see friends in real life and not just on facebook? And not just friends, but acquaintances, matching faces to names, which is ultimately one of my feeble brain’s most challenging tasks. A day when we are all more prayerful, more pious, more tuned-in to the Godly parts of ourselves?
Well, I have lost much of the purity of the thought in the 24 hours that have passed since I first recorded these words on my fridge door. But I do remember this: I feel sorry for those who get no more break from the 24/7/365 hive mind than the time it takes to sleep each night.
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