According to the entertainment industry news outlet Deadline, “ESPN and ABC’s coverage of the UEFA Euro 2020 soccer championships that kicked off last week has grown by 12% in viewers over the Euro 2016 tournament,” and the championship has only just begun. Perhaps it’s the return from the Covid-19 forced termination of league games and championships, or perhaps it is for other reasons, but despite all the hype, I think the tide will be short lived.
Humanity is losing interest in such games; our childhood days are coming to a close. As we grow, our wishes and aspirations change. This happens to every person, and it is also happening to all of humanity. People are beginning to look for more meaningful things to do with their time, so while watching sports games is still quite popular, it won’t remain this way for long.
But it isn’t happening only in sports. It is happening in every realm of the entertainment industry, because entertainment, in the end, leaves us feeling empty. We are approaching a phase in our development where we are beginning to ask not just how to have more fun in life, but about the meaning of life itself.
When we begin to ask about the meaning of life, we search for its origins, what happened before I was born, what will happen after I die, is there life elsewhere in the universe, and other such questions. But in the end, we realize that the answer to the question about the meaning of life lies not in some distant planet or in the distant past or future, but right here, among us, in our human connections.
The thing about human connections is that by changing our relation to each other, we change our perception of reality, and the world we’ve always known transforms into a new creation. It’s not magic, and it’s not that reality has changed; it is simply that we are seeing a whole new layer of reality that we did not see before, which gives life, and all of existence, a whole new meaning.
People like to play with augmented reality games, such as Pokémon GO, or use this technology to change the way things look. But when you see how everything is connected, your whole existence becomes augmented, transformed, enriched, and enlivened in ways we cannot even begin to imagine with our current, very limited perception.
What is even better is that once we realize how connected we all are, we transform our relationships from negative to positive. Realizing our interdependence simply does not allow us to be mean to one another, as that would be like being mean to ourselves. Our sages knew all this thousands of years ago, and taught this to anyone who wished to learn. The Jerusalem Talmud, for example, offers this beautiful allegory about our connectedness: “If the writing warns about habitual mistreatment, vengeance and bearing a grudge should be forbidden also toward those who are not from among your nation. Also, how is it possible for one to forgive an affront? [Suppose] one is cutting meat, and the knife descends into his hand; would he consider avenging his hand and cutting his other hand for cutting the first? So is this matter … the rule is that one does not take revenge against one’s neighbor, for it is as though he is taking revenge against his own body” (Nedarim 9:4).
The Jerusalem Talmud was redacted in the 3rd century. Can we imagine what history would have looked like had we absorbed the profound love and connection radiating from this excerpt? What would human history look like if we felt the way the authors of the Talmud described? What would our planet look like? Would there be pollution? Would there be exploitation? Would there be wars, hunger, or poverty? I believe you know the answer. Therefore, the sooner we embrace our connected future, the sooner this truly augmented reality will become our reality, and our lives will be what they can be, and what we hope them to be.
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