Positive Vision - Day 95
Rabbi Avrohom Neuberger
Our weekly excerpt from the book "Positive Vision"
Chapter 2 - What You Still Don’t Know About the Internet - DAY 4
R’ Nechemia Gottlieb, the director of TAG, has worked closely with the Gedolei Hador to address the challenges posed by the Internet. He has graciously allowed us to excerpt and adapt his monograph, Nisayon Hador, in which he elaborates on this issue.
The Internet has ramifications in a host of areas. We will break them down by category:
2. Waste of Time — Bitul z’man
4. Challenge to Authority
5. Cognitive Damage
6. Heresy — Kefirah
7. Where the Wicked Meet — Kinus l’reshaim
8. Loshon Hora and Disputes
9. A Breach in the Wall
12. Social Networking
13. Family and Social Life
14. Filters and Monitors
In this book we highlighted many of the challenges presented by the Internet, but to see these issues as “bullets” may shock us into action. Note that each of these eleven (!) bullet points is a danger that exists almost exclusively in connection with the Internet, and not in connection with any other nisayon:
• Anonymity. One can browse without fear of being caught.
• Ease and speed. With everything only a click or two away, there is no time for contemplation.
• Constancy I. Everyone has weak moments. The constant challenge will exploit those vulnerable moments.
• Constancy II. The need for self-control is unceasing, and eventually our self-control can be depleted.
• Gratis. Almost everything is free, and we need not be hindered by financial considerations.
• Virtuality. We can rationalize by thinking we are “just” looking at a mere “virtual” image, and not one of flesh and blood.
• Repeat Access. Once one is “hooked,” the sin is always readily available for repetition.
• Proximity. The inappropriate content is located in the same “place” as legitimate business and research.
• Linking. A legitimate page is linked to a questionable page, to a shaky page, to a totally inappropriate page. Three to four clicks and we’re done!
• Rapid evolution. Technology is evolving so quickly that we do not have time to evaluate potential downsides of new technologies and devise strategies for their use before we embrace them
• Positive emotions. It is difficult to demonize something that is so constructive in terms of knowledge, power, earning a livelihood, savings, and convenience, not to mention entertainment. Perceiving your enemy with ambivalence or perhaps even as your friend is one sure way to lose a battle.
This potpourri of factors has created a situation in which viewing true tumah, something that was limited to the fringe only ten to fifteen years ago, has become all too common… Unfortunately, for many Yidden it has moved into the category of aveiros into which they may fall from time to time.