societies change. sometimes for the better. sometimes for the worse.
human nature has includes an element of taking advantage of opportunities. capitalism also takes advantage of opportunities as well. with respect to taking advantage of opportunities, it goes to the notion of competition. an opportunity with less competition is something that is valued. there is the chance of success at a lower expense.
for example, if there was a day in which all restaurants were closed, a restaurateur might choose to open on that day and take advantage of the lack of competition.
there was a mathematical study published in the journal of biological physics entitled “the stabilizing role of the sabbath in pre-monarchic israel: a mathematical study. ” besides the sabbath, this study provides insight about our modern society.
in order to start this discussion, let’s start at the source of the sabbath. as stated in exodus 20: 8, the ten commandments provides, “remember the sabbath day to sanctify it. six days may you work and perform all your labor, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the lord, your god; you shall perform no labor, neither you, your son, your daughter, your manservant, your maidservant, your beast, nor your stranger who is in your cities. for [in] six days the lord made the heaven and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and he rested on the seventh day. therefore, the lord blessed the sabbath day and sanctified it.”
thus, there was societal conduct control as to when people worked and refrained from working.
the math study analyzed this issue. the study’s conclusion found that according to the [study’s] model, strict observance of the sabbath rules provided social stability within a covenantal society.
the study noted that a covenantal society required a proper combination of combating poverty, resisting external influence, avoiding temptation, encouraging righteousness, and observing the sabbath. livni j, stone l. the stabilizing role of the sabbath in pre-monarchic israel: a mathematical model. j biol phys. 2015 mar;41(2):203-21. doi: 10.1007/s10867-014-9373-9. epub 2015 Jan 18. pmid: 25596025; pmcid: pmc4366438.
as noted, the study focused on a pre-monarchal time. thus, this control was achieved within a loosely governed society.
thus, it can be argued that the sabbath observance can be a means of bettering a society.
in modern societies, we see problems with respect to the lack of observance of various event and holidays. holidays such as thanksgiving and christmas are under societal siege. these days, which are arguably intended to be days in which families spend time together, are being compromised by an open competitive society. businesses are trending to be open on these holidays to take a competitive advantage. thus, the traditional “black friday” sales, are drifting into thursdays. likewise, many businesses remain open on christmas. as a result, there are forces within society that can take away from family time. for example, family members may choose to do shopping on thanksgiving rather than spending it with family and friends at a home.
as a result, our modern societies are creating pressures which afford little time for individuals and families to provide time to spend together and reflect.
if families cannot be able to spend time together and learn to get along with each other, how can we expect individuals to get along with neighbors and strangers?
thus, the study taps into our problems within modern society. while we all may enjoy the convenience of shopping and activities on holidays, it comes with a cost. the cost be less family time and the ability of individuals to interact with others on a profound level.
in addition, there are many workers who are taken away from their families during these holidays. it should be noted, however, that appreciation should be extended out for those who are “essential workers” such as market workers, medical providers, police, fire and safety, who work on holidays.
in reality, it is doubtful that a society will go backwards with respect to holidays. in the us, there were sabbath laws which were removed and thereby allowed for commerce on sundays. thus, it is incumbent on individuals and communities to promote holidays and personal time. if there is an individual buy-in of significant numbers, perhaps that can be a means of improving society.
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