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What the lord said to the queen November 25, 2011

Posted by Ezra Resnick in Economics, Religion.
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The UK Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, has discovered what’s wrong with modern society:

Speaking at an interfaith reception attended by the Queen this week, Lord Sacks said: “People are looking for values other than the values of a consumer society. The values of a consumer society really aren’t ones you can live by for terribly long.

“The consumer society was laid down by the late Steve Jobs coming down the mountain with two tablets, iPad one and iPad two, and the result is that we now have a culture of iPod, iPhone, iTune, i, i, i.

“When you’re an individualist, egocentric culture and you only care about ‘i’, you don’t do terribly well.”

He went on: “What does a consumer ethic do? It makes you aware all the time of the things you don’t have instead of thanking God for all the things you do have.

“If in a consumer society, through all the advertising and subtly seductive approaches to it, you’ve got an iPhone but you haven’t got a fourth generation one, the consumer society is in fact the most efficient mechanism ever devised for the creation and distribution of unhappiness.”

Help us, Rabbi! Tell us what to do!

In an attempt to highlight the link between faith and happiness, Lord Sacks pointed out that on the Jewish day of rest, the Shabbat, the devout spend time with their families rather than spending money in shops.

The Chief Rabbi, who has represented Britain’s 300,000 Jews since 1991 and is due to step down in 2013, said: “Therefore the answer to the consumer society is the world of faith, which the Jews call the world of Shabbat, where you can’t shop and you can’t spend and you spend your time with things that matter, with family…”

You might have thought that people could independently decide to spend time on things that matter, even without faith in invisible super-beings and infallible holy books, but apparently not. The Rabbi’s God will tell you what matters and when to spend time on it, and you will obey; that is the straight and narrow path to happiness. And don’t forget to thank God for everything he’s so generously given you — I hear there are children in Africa who can’t even afford an iPod Nano!

By the way, just to be clear, the Rabbi didn’t mean to imply that we’d be better off without all those “i, i, i” consumer gadgets:

A spokesman for Lord Sacks said later: “The Chief Rabbi meant no criticism of either Steve Jobs personally or the contribution Apple has made to the development of technology in the 21st century.

“He admires both and indeed uses an iPhone and an iPad on a daily basis. The Chief Rabbi was simply pointing out the potential dangers of consumerism when taken too far.”

I’m sure the Lord’s iPhone is an older generation one — and his faith helps him resist the urge to upgrade.

(via Butterflies & Wheels)

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