Cyber Or

CyberOr 3 Sand and Light

Moshe DrorAnd the journey continues. Dr. Rabbi Moshe Dror continued to unpack the secrets in the Biblical texts. This series by Moshe Dror is in his Memory. A close friend and a wonderful human being.


The correlation of Abraham’s journey with our cyber journey goes much further and deeper.

In the narrative of the Binding of Isaac, Abraham is rewarded for his actions. In Genesis 22:17 the reward is:

“I will bestow My blessings upon you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars of heaven and the sands on the seashore”.

The figures of speech that are used here for a multitude are grains of sand and stars. Obviously, the narrative is suggesting a vast amount.

It is interesting to note the vast amount of data in cyberspace.

The Wall Street Journal (February 22, 2008) ran an article by Bret Swanson and George Gilder that describes the “Unleashing of the Exaflood”:

To give you an idea of the scope, an Exabyte (a one-quintillion byte unit of information or computer storage) is 50,000 times larger than a digitized Library of Congress. By the end of 2006, the annual U.S. internet traffic was around 10 exabytes. .. By 2015 the US internet traffic will reach an annual total of 1,000 exabytes, or one million, million, billion bytes. That is 50 times larger by 2015, equal to 50 million Libraries of Congress”.

Talk about the metaphor of vast. And this is for real and both you and I are using this huge amount of zeros and ones.

Another interesting connection is the use of these two terms- sand and stars. Sand is of course, silicon; and stars are light. So silicon and light, photonics are the basic units of the blessings and the basic units of cyberspace are also silicon and photonics.

We need to remember that the term Adam is exactly the same word for adamah, namely earth-silicon. Indeed in the creation narrative in Genesis 2:7, we are told that: “The Lord God formed man from the dust of the earth”. Interesting, that the very word human, is derived from the Latin word humus, meaning the earth,-silicon.

For your edification I would like to share with you a speech that Douglas Adams gave at a conference in 1998, in Cambridge, England; dealing with “The Four Ages of Sand”. This is a description of the technological changes humanity went through all made possible by sand (and glass which is made from sand) and how these changes broadened our understanding of our world.

The first age is that of astronomy– when we looked at the stars and realized that the earth is not the center of the universe.

The second age is that of the microscope—when we looked down at the tiny formations that make life and the universe.

The third age is that of computers—the silicon chip which gave us process and models and simulations.

The fourth age of sand is the one we are now entering—that of the Internet. This runs on fibre-optics and is the form of communications of the many-to –many, the network and the web.

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