Technology and Tikkun

In Silicon Valley, there is a sense that tech companies are doing God’s work. Software can solve the world’s biggest problems, many tech entrepreneurs believe, if only it is put to the right use.

via Can Technology Save the World? Experts Disagree – The New York Times.

My first reaction to this quote was “G-d’s work? Really? No arrogance or irony?”

And then I thought about my friends who work in the Valley, and realized that something else is happening. Amid all of the wealth, ambition, and engineering is a deep-seated need among many (but by no means all) in the Valley to find a higher meaning in what they are doing.

Is life aught more than the next line of code, the next reference design, the next product launch? Or is there, should there, be something more to what we are doing?

It is relatively easy for the great engineer-entrepreneur-philanthropists of technology to find a path to meaning: Bill and Melinda Gates, Irwin and Joan Jacobs, Marc Benioff and Lynn Krilich and others like them have placed their fortunes at the service of the greater good. But how does a system engineer or mid-level manager in a high-growth, high-pressure tech enterprise inject meaning into their lives?

Fact: there are apparently no synagogues within a decent walking or driving distance for anyone working in Mountain view, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Milpitas, and huge chunks of San Jose and Cupertino. And the problem is not that there are no Jews in those communities.

Food for Hebraic thought…

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