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Hidden Signature

I remember the first computer game we ever got. Since hardly anyone owned computers in those days, you had to use your television set for a monitor. By plugging a cable into the antenna jack, you turned the TV into a primitive video arcade. Then - are you ready? - you could play ping pong - in monochrome. You operated a little paddle that moved up and down along one side of the screen. The ball - actually a white square - moved horizontally. With enough coordination, you could get your paddle to intersect its trajectory, whereupon you heard the game’s sole sound effect: “Bip.” After you got good at it, you could crank up the speed: “Bip. Bip. Bip. Bip. Bip.” People in our home, who shall remain nameless, played it for hours.The first two sections of this essay appear in slightly different form in my book Invisible Lines of Connection: Sacred Stories of the Ordinary, Woodstock, VT: Jewish Lights Publishing, 1996.

A few years later, Atari became all the rage. As I recall Atari initially had four different games. My favorite was called Adventure. It was your basic “dungeons and dragons” genre, with different castles and rooms, a key, hidden doorways, a bat that could steal the key, even whole areas where the obstacles were invisible.

Our whole family really got into it. The kids, of course, quickly surpassed their parents. They would come home from school with new tips and tricks. Some of them were even “undocumented,” which is computer-talk for saying that such maneuvers were not written down in any manual. One of the most amazing came home from junior high with my daughter: In a particular place inside the “black castle,” the diligent searcher could find a small white dot that was too small to be noticeable as a normal game object. Indeed, if you did find it you would think it was only a defective pixel in your video monitor.

By taking this dot back to the starting screen however, you could enter a hidden, otherwise inaccessible room. Entering the room had absolutely nothing to do with playing the game. All you would find in the room was a rainbow and the name of the person who invented the game. For all I know, every computer programmer does something like this. Somewhere, behind some hidden wall, available only to the initiated, there is another room. And in that room is the name of the artist.

What I want to know is this: If the signature of the Creator is not just in some hidden room but in every created thing, why can’t we see it?

I once heard of a man whose dental work made it possible for him to actually hear radio broadcasts. Somehow the combination of fillings in his teeth accidentally turned his mouth into a primitive receiver. But he found the sounds so distracting that he had the fillings replaced. The radio signals were still there, he just chose not to hear them any more.

Contributed by: Rabbi Lawrence Kushner

Cosmic Questions

Was the Universe Designed? Topic Index
Nothing by Design: A Neo-Kabbalistic Perspective

Hidden Signature

Virtual Reality
Reading Music
Drops in the Ocean
Anacortes Ferry
Bosches del Apache


Lawrence Kushner

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