Saturday, November 05, 2005

The Tower of Babel

Another excerpt from The World Is Flat (by Tom Friedman):

When I raised the broad themes of this book with my religious teacher, Rabbi Tzvi Marx from Holland, he surprised me by saying that the flat world that I was describing reminded him of the story of the Tower of Babel.

How so? I asked. “The reason God banished all the people from the Tower of Babel and made them all speak different languages was not because he did not want them to collaborate per se,” answered Rabbi Marx. “It was because he was enraged at what they were collaborating on – an effort to build a tower to the heavens so they could become God..” This was a distortion of the human capacity, so God broke their union and their ability to communicate with one another. Now, all these years later, humankind has again created a new platform for more people from more places to communicate and collaborate with less friction and more ease than ever: the Internet. Would God see the Internet as heresy?

“Absolutely not,” said Marx. “The heresy is not that mankind works together – it is to what ends. It is essential that we use this new ability to communicate and collaborate for the right ends – for constructive human aims and not megalomaniacal ends. Building a tower was megalomaniacal. Bin Laden’s insistence that he has the truth and can flatten anyone else’s tower who doesn’t heed him is megalomaniacal. Collaborating so mankind can achieve its full potential is God’s hope.”

Score another BULL’S EYE for Friedman via Marx!


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