16 October 2015

Postdigital Translation of Genesis: Read B’reshit (in the beginning) as B’reshet (In the network)

A creative translation of the first verses of Genesis from the original Hebrew as the Jewish people rewind the Torah scroll to the beginning offers the creation narrative in postdigital perspective.

“In the network, God created media systems for creating heaven and earth.  When the earth was absolutely empty and dark, God created light and separated between light and darkness (1 and 0).”

We can read the first word of the Bible B’reshit (In the beginning) as B’reshet (In the network).  In Genesis 1:1, the Hebrew word et appears twice, before heaven and before earth.  “In the beginning God created et the heaven and et the earth.”  Since English has no equivalent for the word et that links a verb to a noun, it drops out in translation.  et is spelled alef-tav, the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Spanning the full set of 22 Hebrew letters, et symbolizes media systems.

Wikipedia’s definition of “postdigital” is based upon my definition in my book The Future of Art in a Postdigital Age: From Hellenistic to Hebraic Consciousness (intellect Books/University of Chicago Press) as “the humanization of digital technologies through interplay between digital, biological, cultural, and spiritual systems.”

My new book PHOTOGRAPH GOD: CREATING A SPIRITUAL BLOG OF YOUR LIFE http://photogrpahgod.com brings postdigital concepts into the everyday world.  I photographed goldfish in a pet shop next to my house for the Genesis post for the “Torah Tweets” postdigital blogart project.  You can see five more photos of the creation of world in and around my house at http://bibleblogyourlife.blogspot.com.  

The media system of heaven, the spiritual realm, is written in the Torah with Hebrew letters that form words.  The media system of earth, the physical realm, is written with electrons and protons that form atoms and molecules.  The media system of the digital realm returns us to the primeval binary creation of darkness and light, 0 and 1.  It is written with the binary digits 0-1 called bits that form bytes.   Every blog, website, video, song, and text that you access in the Internet is written with the binary system of the first day of Creation.

The Lubavticher Rebbe Menachem M. Schneerson, the 20th century’s greatest Hasidic leader educated as a scientist, recognized the spiritual power of the Internet early on.  Each of the nearly 3,000 husband-wife emissary teams who established Chabad Houses from Miami and Paris to Mumbai and Katmandu have created websites.  The emissaries’ annual conferences can be viewed live via Internet simulcast with a running Twitter commentary. 

The Rebbe teaches: “The divine purpose of the present information revolution, which gives an individual unprecedented power and opportunity, is to allow us to share knowledge – spiritual knowledge – with each other, empowering and unifying individuals everywhere. We need to use today’s interactive technology not just for business or leisure but to interlink as people – to create a welcome environment for the interaction of our souls, our hearts, our visions.”

From my weekly Torah portion article at The Times of Israel 

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