THE chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, has updated the idea of the Sabbath by recommending that we switch off our phones one day a week.
He is campaigning to bring back reflection and contemplation by turning off our devices, just for one day. We at the Idler agree: let’s bring back the sabbath, or, as the modern custom has it, #bringbackthesabbath.
“The impact is sensational,” he told The Times of London. “Instead of being slaves to modern technology, we are able to control our own agendas. Just knowing that the phone won’t ring and there is no expectation for one to reply to texts, messages or emails, one enjoys a wonderful day reserved for spiritual contemplation and healthy family and community engagement. I recommend such a system for everyone.”
Other religious leaders, concerned about our 24/7 computer culture, have expressed similar sentiments. “In a world in which cultures overlap constantly and are communicated instantly,” said the Archbishop of Canterbury earlier this year, “you need space to adapt and to meet with one another.”
The Pope has also attacked our digital culture for distracting us from the important stuff of life: “The products of technology should simplify and improve the quality of life, but sometimes take attention away from what is really important.”
Switch off, shut down, chill out. Or as John Lennon might have put it, “turn off your phone, relax and float downstream.”