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The Walls Cry Out
by Prof. Yirmiyahu Branover

Sixty or seventy years ago, there was a clearly defined difference between animate and inanimate matter. However, with the fast pace of development in technology, the divisions have become blurred. Machines and devices of all types have ceased to be inanimate and can now respond in highly sophisticated ways to their surroundings, and are even capable of independent action and decision-making. From the automatic pilot that gathers information and self-corrects its course based on the data it receives, to the sophisticated equipment that saves lives in the operating room, machines are becoming increasingly life-like in their thinking capacity.

As human beings, how do we relate to this phenomenon? Here is a piece of equipment that yesterday was just a pile of metal and silicon, and today it can sing, speak, report, originate, innovate... How do we feel about this usurpation of our normal human functions by a piece of machinery?

Like so many innovations of our time, the burgeoning capabilities of our technology has been foreshadowed in our spiritual heritage. Chassidic teachings explain that every inanimate object has a Divine energy that sustains it and recreates it at every moment from naught. This energy, the soul of each object, is currently concealed, but will be reveald in the future.

Over 2,000 years ago, the prophet Habakkuk described a scenario in which the inanimate will come to life: "A stone from the wall will cry out, and a chip shall answer it from a beam." There will come a day when the inanimate will be silent no longer. It will cry out! Our sages say that if someone will come along and try to pick a fig from a tree on Shabbat, the fig will protest, "It is Shabbat today!"

It will then be apparent that in essence, the inanimate objects had absorbed everything. Not just in a passive sense, but in a qualitative way--able to discern and make judgments about what it observed.

When will all this take place? At any moment, with the true and complete Redemption. Then the G-dly energy that animates every creature will be revealed, and will be expressed in actuality. Every technological transformation we see today is a preparation for the truly great revelations of the future.

Prof. Yirmiyahu Branover is chairman of the Center of Magnetohydrodynamic Studies and Training at Ben-Gurion University.



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