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KD MAGAZINE! 
Posted: Monday, January 1, 2007  -
י"א בטבת, תשס"ז

 
 
 
   
 

What the GPS Taught Me
Rabbi Shea Hecht
About the Author

GPS or Global Positioning System is the new "must-have" for drivers navigating roads they don't know. With this system, instead of calling for directions or using a map or even finding directions from someplace like Mapquest, the user can get directions spoken to them by a computerized voice that comes from a small box that is attached to the dashboard of the car. GPS gives the driver exact directions. It's as if there is second person sitting in the car reading from a map for the driver. The only catch is that the GPS is a machine and not a person.

Hence, a recent news article that is no doubt meant to be a serious piece of news but has a humurous touch. According to the story, it seems that motorists turn their brains off when they turn their GPS systems on. Some drivers obey the computerized voice, totally disregarding their own mind and brain. These motorists do totally irrational things on the basis of the computerized voice and have crashed into rivers, construction sites and roadside rest areas in German and Britain.

"It's hard to understand how these things can happen, " said a spokesman for a German motorist club. "It's not as if people are driving in a tank with only a small slit to see out. You'd think that they have their own eyes and brains engaged to make decisions and not rely on the Santav (European model of the GPS). I used to think that the Santav was idiot proof, but perhaps not."

According to the records kept by a motorist club, one motorist ignored common sense and followed his GPS command, and drove straight into a "closed for construction" sign. Luckily, though he hit a pile of sand at high speed, he was not hurt.

Another motorist, listened to the GPS command tell her to turn left in one mile and after putting on the mile counter, she turned left after one mile - and crashed head on into a temporary concrete traffic barrier.

A few weeks later, a motorist following the GPS command which said "Turn right now!" jerked the wheel over and crashed into a thankfully empty roadside bathroom hut which was situated 90 feet before the crossing he was meant to take. By blindly following the computerized GPS the man cause $2,600 in damage.

Though this news item has a humorous touch we can learn a serious lesson from it. There are times that we do things without making use of our G-d given brain and act as if we are listening to a computerized voice with our eyes closed.

For some people it's following the slave-creating fashion industry which generates a need to buy more and more, for others it's keeping up with the Joneses and there are still others that blindly follow friends that lead them to all the wrong places. These people and others like them are foolishly following some sort of external GPS system instead of using their brain.

 

The next time we take action we must ask ourselves, "Does this decision make sense? Or am I carelessly plowing into the roadside bathroom stall by following a system that is training me to listen to its command instead of using my brain."


Read more articles by Rabbi Hecht 

Rabbi Hecht's Website:  www.sheahecht.com  

 

 
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