Remote Controlled People
Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp., Japans top telephone company is working on making video games a bit more realistic. How are they doing this? They invented a remote control device that fits onto your cranium which controls your body's movements. A woman described her experience at the research lab:
I found the experience unnerving and exhausting: I sought to step straight ahead but kept careening from side to side. Those alternating currents literally threw me off. The technology is called galvanic vestibular stimulation (GVS) -- essentially, electricity messes with the delicate nerves inside the ear that help maintain balance... Your feet start to move before you know it. I could even remote-control myself by taking the switch into my own hands. It's a mesmerizing sensation similar to being drunk or melting into sleep under the influence of anesthesia. But it's more definitive, as though an invisible hand were reaching inside your brain.
NTT researchers were able to make a person walk along a route in the shape of a giant pretzel using this technique. See the system in action, here (8 MB, Mpg format). This is a fascinating metaphor for human interaction. We so to speak give people the remote control of our emotions all the time. We allow other people to control how we feel. In Pirkei Avos 4:1 it says, "Who is rich? He who is happy with his lot." Being happy with what you have means focusing on what is in your control. When we say "this person makes me so mad!" in effect we are giving our remote control to them. The same applies to concepts like money and power. When we say "I will be happy when I have this much money" we are placing our remote in another domain thereby allowing money to control our happiness. Judaism requires that we take hold of our remote and not let anyone or anything press our buttons.