The Sin of Choosing Convention over Conscience

Truth Over Tyranny: Biblical wisdom for defeating the Technocrats.
These are my insights for defeating the Transhumanist Technocracy movement, based on the teachings of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, of blessed memory, on the weekly Bible portion.

In his commentary on Parashat Bereshit called “The Art of Listening,” Rabbi Sacks asks a fundamental question about the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden: what exactly was their sin? Was it about eating “forbidden fruit?” Being naked? The “original sin?”

His answer to all these is a resounding “no!” The sin was, in my own terms, “accepting convention over conscience.” Adam and Eve knew the right thing to do, but chose to ignore it to “fit in.” The Rabbi describes their error this way:

“The drama of Adam and Eve is not about apples or sex or original sin or “the Fall” – interpretations the non-Jewish West has given to it. It is about something deeper. It is about the kind of morality we are called on to live. Are we to be governed by what everyone else does, as if morality were like politics: the will of the majority? Will our emotional horizon be bounded by honour and shame, two profoundly social feelings? Is our key value appearance: how we seem to others? Or is it something else altogether, a willingness to heed the word and will of God? Adam and Eve in Eden faced the archetypal human choice between what their eyes saw (the tree and its fruit) and what their ears heard (God’s command). Because they chose the first, they felt shame, not guilt. That is one form of “knowledge of Good and Evil”, but from a Jewish perspective, it is the wrong form.”

I encourage you to read his complete essay and learn more about how a culture of shame pushes us to prioritize living up to the expectations of others, over our own sense of right and wrong.

I am sure you will see how this fits the actions of the Technocrats. They push conformity and compliance to their dictates – or else we risk ostracization and even persecution. With everything from the “vaxx” to Trans rights to Digital ID, we are “wrong” if we don’t accept the “party line.”

But as Rabbi Sacks points out, that is the wrong form of Good and Evil; of Right and Wrong. It is easy to follow “conventional morality” and hard to follow “true morality.” It takes work. But it is worth it:

“It takes training, focus and the ability to create silence in the soul to learn how to listen, whether to God or to a fellow human being. Seeing shows us the beauty of the created world, but listening connects us to the soul of another, and sometimes to the soul of the Other, God as He speaks to us, calls to us, summoning us to our task in the world.”

May we each develop the strength and discipline needed to defy convention when it conflicts with our conscience.

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