Late last week, on the eve of the Hebrew month of Tammuz the world was made aware of an uncomfortable fact: the government, via the NSA’s PRISM, is watching your every move! Many are shocked by this revelation. Conspiracy theorists are telling their detractors “we told you so”. George Orwell’s 1984 is coming true in that even the totally innocent can be followed and have their thoughts twisted and turned to make them enemies of the state.
Seemingly this happened under the noses of an unsuspecting citizenry. But how? How could they pull this over our eyes? Are we really so blind? These are the questions of the bewildered. Those who questioned to begin with will continue to point fingers at who is REALLY behind the information collection, be it the Freemasons, the Templars, the Jesuits, the Illuminati, (dare I say) the Elders of Zion, the Skull and Bones, maybe even Reptilians – yes, there are lots of people at whom the finger can be pointed.
There are many possible reactions to this news. There is another group whom I have thus far failed to mention and that is the supporters of the government and those who support the information collection. The government itself has said the information will only be used to identify those who pose a real danger to the security of the people. Furthermore, it is clear there is not nearly enough man/machine power to actually examine and extract relevant information, making the bulk of this data collection mostly useless.
Between these groups there will inevitably arise a dialogue based on the following question: how much personal freedom should individuals be willing to surrender in order to achieve a greater level of collective security?
This is not a new question. Thomas Hobbes in 1651 had already asked the exact question. Hobbes’ ideas on this question are found in his work Leviathan. His primary point is that the natural state of human affairs necessary to achieve a stable society is one where a general populace will surrender various freedoms to a sovereign in exchange for living in a state of security. This social contract has become the fundamental and foundational principle behind the governance of the modern nation-state. Hobbes’ question is as relevant today as it was 350 years ago! So, what’s the answer? How do we deal with the question? What is the balance?
I started this article saying that this information officially came to light on the eve of the new Hebrew month. The reason is as follows: At the conclusion of morning prayers, our sages enacted that a chapter of psalms be recited correlating to the day of the week. On the new month there is an additional chapter recited, psalm 104. This psalm, in verse 26 states “לויתן זה יצרת לשחק בו” – You created the Leviathan to play with it.
Our sages have taught that the Leviathan is some kind of “big fish”, G-d’s pet. So, people love to say the Leviathan must be the Loch Ness Monster. Other’s say it’s a blue whale. Other’s say it is some sort of mythic creature that doesn’t actually exist in our physical world. The one place in which I agree with all of these views is that the Leviathan is a hidden creature – something with a life of its own that “swims under the water”. It moves, it is fluid and natural, but for the one looking at the surface of the water, it appears invisible. That is, one can’t see it until, like a whale it surfaces only for a moment and one gets a brief glimpse of the “monster” before it submerges itself yet again.
From the first moment I learned of Hobbes’ Leviathan almost a decade ago, the connection with the biblical creature was not lost on me. The Leviathan was created by HaShem as a pet, with which to play, but all the games are hidden away – under water, if you will. That is to say, the modern nation-state and all its hidden, nefarious, behind-the-scenes, actors and director are merely a play-thing which HaShem is using to direct the affairs of the world until the day when HaShem’s unity will be revealed to all.
You know what that means? It depends.
If you are of the group who is totally supportive of the government’s actions, then be aware that you are nothing but a toy, a pawn being directed by the higher hand. You have given up your personal freedom for the illusion of a man-made security from other man-made problems that may or may not have any actual impact on your life. But who cares because you have surrendered your life to the will of another. God blessed you with freedom and you looked to God and said “no, thank you!” Your faith in man above God is your downfall.
For the conspiracy theorists, please, STOP POINTING FINGERS!!! The only thing one achieves by saying “group x is behind all the ills of the world” is give a bad name to group x (assuming they actually exist). Here is the truth – it doesn’t matter who is behind it all. If it is the government, or the president and executive orders, or if the president is a manchurian candidate of some sort of secret cabal, or if the secret cabal are satan worshippers, or if it is the devil, the dark side of the force, or the soul of the nation of Amalek – the biblically sworn enemies of God and Israel, it doesn’t matter! The reason it does not matter in the least is because HaShem is One and there is no other than Him. All that happens in this world, both spiritually and physically is by HaShem’s directive. Ranting and raving about who is responsible for all the bad things achieves nothing in terms of directing the world to be a better place. So what can one do to improve the world? Improve yourself! That’s right! One only has control over one’s self! If you want a better world, be a better individual and the world will be a better place, if only because of one person (i.e. you) who is now a better person!
If you are completely surprised by the amount of information the government is collecting about you, than take this as an opportunity to wake up. YOU ARE BEING WATCHED! It says in the Chapters of our Sages (Avot 2:1) “know what is above you and you will be free from the clutches of transgression – a watching eye, a listening ear, and all your deeds are written in a book”. Well, this saying has now taken on a whole new meaning.
“Big Brother” is watching, right? “Big Brother” is listening, right? “Big Brother” is recording every email, every internet search, every phone conversation, and probably even more than that, and they are storing it all on a massive supercomputer apparently zettabytes (1 trillion gigabytes) large, right? Well, yeah, that too. THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH BIG BROTHER! THIS HAS EVERYTHING TO DO WITH BIG FATHER! Yes, even the dreaded Big Brother is subservient to HaShem. Everything that “Big Brother” may know about you and you are debating whether or not that should bother you, HaShem knows more! Is that scary? That all depends on if you have something to hide. If you do then that is between you and HaShem. If not, that is also between you and HaShem!
HaShem took us out of Egypt, and out of the house of slavery. HaShem made us free people! What does it mean to be free? It means to know that ONLY HaShem runs the world. Yes, we have to each do our part! Yes, we are put on this Earth to help perfect the world. However, this perfection only comes about through the individual. You are responsible for you! Are you free? Do you care if the government knows a bunch of stuff about you? If you do, then you are a slave to what they know.
The Ba’al Shem Tov taught about the passuk in Psalms (16:8) שויתי ה’ לנגדי תמיד – that at all times I know HaShem is running the world and no matter what happens, my reaction will be the same. Indeed, if someone tells me I am evil, I know the truth, that though I am not perfect, I’m definitely not evil. Conversely, if someone tells me I am perfectly righteous, I know the truth, that though I am not evil, I’m definitely not perfectly righteous. If one takes every situation as an opportunity from HaShem to introspect and examine one’s own actions, both the positive and the negative, one will truly come to know that there is HaShem and HaShem is One!
If one is only concerned about what HaShem knows, then one is free. There is nothing that any man or spirit or anything can do, other than by the directive of HaShem. “Big Brother” is real and he is watching. But, “Big Brother” is nothing more than a hidden beast, swimming around, trying to control the flow of the world and whether “Big Brother” knows it or not, he too is being manipulated; he is being toyed with; he is a pawn in a game, and although it appears that the Leviathan is big enough that nothing can get in its way, its whole purpose and existence is part of a game and HaShem is the Only Player. This game is being directed that HaShem’s Oneness will be revealed to all.
Each and every individual has a choice. Each has the opportunity to say that one is a player and will play WITH the One playing the game. Each has the opportunity to say that there are two players and one side is stronger than the other and one must work hard to fight against “them”. Each has the opportunity to say that one is subjected to a particular situation and since “they” are so big and powerful and faceless, the only recourse is to throw up one’s hands and go on existing while hoping for the best.
I like games! I like playing! Sometimes I win and sometimes someone else wins. I think sometimes losing is important. It builds character and gives individuals opportunities for growth. But, as the saying goes, “it doesn’t really matter if you win or lose, but how you play the game is important!” I’m playing as best as I know how and I’m having a great time! Games are meant to be fun. Is “Big Brother” interfering with your fun? There is only one solution: stop playing with “Big Brother” and realize “he” is no more of a player than you; realize that when you know the One who is directing all the moves, the fun never stops! In fact, things only get more fun as they proceed!
So, how are you playing the game? Are you having fun?