Monday, July 5, 2010

The ten plagues of Facebook

1. Face Worship. Facebook, the Book of Faces, could have been a blessed endeavor, strengthening family and social relations with the help of a social network. Unfortunately, however, it is a monster that has attacked its creator and become an impediment with its worship of faces. Man is not a face but a soul, which is revealed through its good character and good deeds, not through outer appearance, or through various artificial shows that one puts on for the sake of photo-ops. “Grace is false and beauty is vain, but the woman who fears Hashem – she shall be praised” (Mishlei 31:30). One time our Rabbi, Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah Kook, was invited to an exhibition devoted to his father, Maran Ha-Rav Avraham Yitzchak Kook. He said, “People will see his books and his pictures there, but they won’t see his fear of G-d there. I’ve got no business going.” How the soul suffers, seeing itself shoved into a corner, alone and scorned – and the individual being judged by his picture.

2. Exposure. A person has to be humble and modest, and not to expose personal details for all to see. The Jewish People are humble. A Jew does not have to be so extroverted, to reveal his personality and emotions to all, but only to his true friends. One time, Prime Minister Golda Meir was interviewed following the Yom Kippur War, and at the end was asked: “What do you feel personally?” She answered, “What I feel personally, is personal.” A person has to be a bit introverted. Moshe placed a veil over his face. Likewise, one should not peek with curiosity into the lives of others, and certainly not into the pictures of women, all the more so if they are immodest.

3. Advertisements. Facebook is sponsored by advertisements, some of which are disgusting, full of offensive language and sexual immodesty, provoking people to commit acts that are base, coarse and forbidden.

4. Crime. Since the information is out in the public domain and available to all, all sorts of unsavory people take advantage of it for evil: identity theft for the sake of extorting monetary contributions; for convincing people to come to rendezvous where they will be robbed; as well as the use made by various types of sexual perverts; for sending junk mail, and for racist groups that encourage hatred.

5. Addiction. Facebook is the fifth biggest cause of addition in the world. 400 million people in the world are addicted to it, and 2.5 million in Israel use Facebook. 75% of youth are regular users. Facebook addicts can spend 4-5 hours a day on it.

6. Loss of time. Time is one of the most precious things in life. A person thinks he is going into Facebook for a moment, and he may be stuck there for long hours.

7. Superficiality. It’s all so shallow, so full of nonsense. People pursue that nonsense, and wallow in it. Pictures and videos, talkbacks and cheap blogs, and blogs responding to blogs. People engage there in superficial discourse, in nonsense, emptiness and shallowness, and they become shallow themselves. It’s a vicious cycle, and it gets worse.

8. Exhibitionism. A person develops a longing to be seen by others, to share glances and find favor in the eyes of imaginary, virtual friends. He constantly updates his personal profile in order to increase his popularity. He strikes an alluring pose and has his picture taken in order to draw attention to himself. He becomes enslaved to finding favor in the eyes of others, and to being seen by them.

9. Disintegration. Time disintegrates. Life disintegrates into grayish nonsense. One’s personality disintegrates. True, quality friendships disintegrate into virtual friendships.

10. Loss of friendship. Friendship is something vital to a person. Friendship or death! Loneliness is an awful sort of wretchedness. Therefore, one is supposed to acquire for himself a friend (Avot). Facebook instead supplies addiction to a shallow kind of socializing, engulfed in meaningless excitement, in virtual friendship. Pictures no longer reflect life. They have become the essence of life. It is the end of friendship. Facebook is a social network devoid of friendship, because a true friend is like a war buddy – someone ready in every situation to offer help and support. Certainly social connections are good, but that’s not a real bond, but the destruction of the concept of friendship. Facebook also leads to the disintegration of the family. 20% of divorces are because of Facebook and the corrupt chats that go on there. True friendship is face to face, not face to screen or screen to face. Therefore, please harness all your courage and cancel your membership in Facebook. Be brave! At first you will have 4-5 days of feeling dazed, but after that you will feel wonderful pleasure and supreme freedom.

Yeshiva Ateret Cohanim/Ateret Yerushalayim. This is from Rabbi Shlomo Avi-ner, the Rosh Yeshiva.

Be-Ahavah U-Be-Emunah – Pinchas 5770 – translated by R. Blumberg

39 comments:

A Suede Ḥossid said...

Nu, what’s the simcha?

The Real Shliach said...

What's what simcha?

A Suede Ḥossid said...

There must have been on occasion for saying a l’chayim. Wait, did you celebrate the 4th of July?

Must Hashem destroy the moon and the sun because fools worship them?

The Real Shliach said...

Who said a Lchaim, and who celebrates goyishe holidays?

We are commanded to destroy Asherahs.

Leo de Toot said...

Dear Mr. R.S.
Thanks for presenting this article - I've always had my suspicions but this very nicely articulates exactly what the issues are with Facebook and related sites. (And why LdT has never joined.)
Keeping it real, LdToot.

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

Yes, but nothing else.

sarabonne said...

Facebook is the fifth biggest CAUSE of addiction? I think addiction was around far longer than Facebook.

sarabonne said...

By the way, it's interesting you post this now, I was just thinking about deleting slews of my photos.

A Suede Ḥossid said...

“After FEMA and chicken wings, N-moments are the third biggest cause of death of African Americans.” (Boondocks)

A Suede Ḥossid said...

Was this post prompted by this?

e said...

How does he know that 20% of divorces come from facebook and "immodest chat"?

I disagree with him that online friendships are always superficial. Some of my best friends were originally just online friends. Many of the readers of this blog could say the same about themselves.

A Suede Ḥossid said...

There was a Soviet saying: «Темнота — друг молодежи» (“Darkness is a friend of the youth”). Maybe the same can be said about the Internet.

e said...

Darkness is the friend of the internet? The internet is the friend of the youth? "Darkness is the friend of the youth" is an internet saying?

I'm really trying to understand wtf you're saying.

A Suede Ḥossid said...

Darkness = friend of the youth.
So is the Internet. Like you described.

But something that has potential for good can be also used for bad.

The Real Shliach said...

Modeh: Huh?

Sara: And you see how powerful it is- it's already the fifth biggest addiction out there! Bichlal, it's worse than, for example, tv, because it's a social thing, which tv is not.

CA: lol

No, it was prompted by it getting emailed to me.

e: In the US, more than a fifth of divorces cite FB as a cause or factor.

Also, yes, the internet and FB are just as inherently evil as the printing press.

CA: Sounds about right.

e: It's not that complicated.

A Suede Ḥossid said...

You sound like Catholic church, which declared printing press an instrument of the devil. Who knows how many stories about priests molesting choir boys can be printed en masse?

At the same time, as soon as the printing press appeared, lehavdil, Jews started printing Shulchan Aruch and Gemara. Facebook is very useful for shluchim, for example.

The Real Shliach said...

Thank you. That was exactly my point.

e said...

re: divorce. Even if it is true that a fifth of all divorcing couples cite fb as a factor in their deciding to get divorced, that doesn't mean that they would necessarily stay happily married were it not for facebook.

When couples find out that they're incompatible, they get divorced. Facebook is just another way for couples to find out about each other. Facebook causes divorce the same way telephones cause divorce: Back in the day a lady might divorce her husband after hearing him talk to other women on the phone; today a lady might divorce her husband after hacking into his facebook.

Way back in the day, a lady might divorce her husband after discovering his affairs by reading his private mail.

A Suede Ḥossid said...

Which shows you one thing: illiterate people have better family life.

e said...

I know! Let's bring back the good old days when women couldn't read! And if we removed the stigma from polygamy, then wives would have no complaint against their respective husbands respective extra-marital affairs, and divorce could be reduced even more!

The Real Shliach said...

But why stop there? Let's move back into caves!

A Suede Ḥossid said...

I definitely think if women were made illiterate again and polytheism was brought back, it would solve the shidduch crisis. Otherwise, women are too smart for their own good: they realize what a bunch of lazy shmucks most men are and don’t want to marry them.

Not like the old times, when you married whomever your village elder picked, and that was the end of it (and if you were lucky, he would beat you up only when he got drunk).

A Suede Ḥossid said...

I mean, polygamy, not polytheism. Or was it polyethylene?

sarabonne said...

Yes, whoever wants to marry me gets my roommate as an extra bonus. I should add, she knows how to cook.

The Real Shliach said...

So why not just marry the room mate and forget about you?

sarabonne said...

I can also cook.

The Real Shliach said...

So who needs the roommate?

sarabonne said...

I was making a polygamy joke...

The Real Shliach said...

I'm just trying to understand the benefits thereof.

sarabonne said...

Two cooks=less dinner shifts.

A Suede Ḥossid said...

According to my mormon friends, the benefits are sundry and numerous.

The Real Shliach said...

Sara: It'd be cheaper to hire a cook.

CA: Such as?

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

TRS: yes but nothing else referred to asherot.

CA: Bringing back polygamy carries consequences.

Sarabonne: hmmm...
(That's why "lewd chat" is so evil. You couldn't see the facial expression indicating that the hmmm meant nothing whatsoever.)

The Real Shliach said...

We don't have to destroy idols?

What are the consequences thereof?

sarabonne said...

Hence why so many resort to the little smiley icon whatsits. How the great have fallen.

The Real Shliach said...

Huh?

Yossi said...

Don't have time to read the post, or the comments, but sure looks like a great post! I'll have to come back and read it when I have time.

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

Asherot are the only naturally occuring idols that we are obligated to destroy. We do not need to level hills used for idolatry, we need only break the altars on top of them. Similarly, there is no obligation to nuke the moon.

Sarabonne: Which are so easy to misunderstand.

The Real Shliach said...

Yossi: Spammer.

Modeh: I wasn't aware that FB was a naturally occurring phenomena.