Last night my mother was telling me how my sister told her she really liked one of the photos we posted on the internet. Specifically, she was talking about a photo where Jo was hugging Georgia that was recently posted at Flickr. I explained that we now put all of our photos on the web for everyone to watch, and that we're actually putting all of our backlog up there, too (there are some 1500 there at the moment, and counting).
I wasn't really surprised when my mother started expressing doubts about this habit. Why do you do it? Do others do it too? Do Haim and Uri [my best friends from Israel] have similar web habits?
I explained that I don't have anything to hide and that I doubt any villains would go to the web in order to abuse my photos. I also explained that regardless of what my friends do, I don't see any reason to do what they are doing if I think that what I am doing is the right thing to do; and I definitely think that posting photos is the right thing to do, especially given that most of the people we know are half a world away and this is one thing that could bring us together.
But most of all, my mother's attitude has exposed her line of thinking, shaped by the brainwashing she's been through: to her, showing one's photos to strangers (as in people who are not as close to you as to guarantee their love to you) is a recipe to expose oneself to others' evil eye. Yes, it's superstitions that we're talking about here.
And her line of thinking doesn't stop there. There's that greatest superstition of all, religion. When I told her recently that our kids, if we ever get to have any, will not be circumcised, her immediate reaction was "why not". My answer, by the way, was "why yes?". Then she went on saying that even Christians do it, which is where she exposed herself to a flank attack: I asked her "since when do we do what Christians tell us to do"; she didn't have anything to say to that.
Now I need to explain why. You see, Jews often complain of antisemitism. History shows they're right; even Borat does. However, Jews themselves are only human, and they are just as likely to think nasty things about others who are foreign to them; for example, Christians, who most modern day Jews think of as the poor little brothers [they're too chauvinistic to think of the sisters] who believe that stupid story about that loony guy with the cross. Mind you, I agree with them on the stupid story bit; yet I also don't think too highly about Judaism to begin with (and for the record, I do not consider myself to be a Jew).
Anyway, my point with all this was to show the value of education by example. I'm not talking about school; most schools only serve to block one minds. I'm talking about stuff like religion and other superstitions on one hand, things that fill your mind with bullshit and make you think the way my mother does - and by now she's too old to see the light - as opposed to what the writings of, say, Asimov and Sagan can educate you with: the virtues of an open mind to empirical evidence, speculation, and doubt.
I am so happy I had the opportunity to be exposed to the likes of Sagan at the right time. You could argue he saved me.