A question I'm sure many around the world are asking: Is "social media" bringing the world together or is it helping to tear it apart?
The stated mission of Facebook is to "connect the world". However, the sea of evidence around us seems to suggest otherwise. Instead of having individuals or smaller groups with opposing views, Facebook seems to have facilitated the building of "echo chambers" for much larger groups or movements who are insulated from other opposing views.
From the beginning of history, mankind has always pushed to come together. After all, groups can solve problems more effectively than individuals. For this reason it has been the overall trend since the beginning of time.
Perhaps, history has reached its final frontier. Today most big problems are global. Look at, Immigration, climate change and terrorism to name a few. All universal challenges.
Local solutions are a thing of the past. They only solve local problems. In order to solve global problems, one needs global solutions.
Mysticism in its mission statement seeks to solve exactly this problem. How do we bring human beings together? Individuals are selfish. Groups of individuals with aligned interests, are only strategically altruistic. They are still selfish, only in larger groups.
The answer lies in "transcendence". The only way we can all be genuinely aligned with all others is by committing to a universal value system that is greater than ourselves. Not a system developed by mankind, but a system developed by a higher force for mankind.
This idea is conveyed beautifully and succinctly by the Lubavitcher Rebbe in his book Hayom Yom, “There are two types of laws: a) laws that create life, and b) laws created by life. Human laws are created by life so they vary from land to land according to circumstances. G-d’s Torah is a G‑dly law that creates life. It is a truth which is the same in all places, at all times”.
The opening word of this week’s Torah portion Mishpatim begins with the prefix "and". Rashi explains that this infers that just as the Ten Commandments were transmitted to the Jewish people by God, so to all Judaism’s civil laws were transmitted to mankind by God.
The lesson is profound. In order for a system of laws to be effective and sustainable in keeping the peace, it must be sourced from a "higher authority". Human rationale however lofty is tainted by man’s selfish instincts and insecurities. It certainly doesn't work on a global scale. It is only the creator of all human beings they can prescribe a universal code that will bring together all of mankind.