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Jesus, don’t let Google take the Wheel.

It was an odd conversation though maybe not considering that as a part of a choir from a Midwest Lutheran college staying with a born-again Christian host family on a choir tour in the mid-80’s. It was a discussion of faith and the line went something like this, There is a tightrope across two buildings and Jesus pushes a wheel barrel on the tightrope from one building, across the tightrope to building that you are standing atop. He says to you, “ See how I have walked from one building to another across the tightrope pushing this wheel barrel? Now, why don’t you get in the wheel barrel and I will take you back to the first building by walking the tightrope.”
Now while I enjoyed the idea of Jesus on the tightrope, the thrust of the argument was that if you just saw Jesus walk the tightrope with a wheel barrel, shouldn’t you have faith to trust that he could make the return trip with you in the wheel barrel. While we trust the other person to do something alone, when we are involved it seems to be another matter. This also seems to be the issue with the current discussion on self-driving cars – in a recent Washington Post article, Seventy-eight percent of respondents to an AAA survey said they would not want to ride in a self-driving car. While we can trust our credit cards, our social security numbers our addresses and other personal information such as emails and texts to the internet even trusting planes to autopilot, we dare not get into the car with an electronic stranger. Equifax has the falsely earned idea of our trust, but we can not entertain a computer piloting us through city streets. Strange how so much of our society can claim unswerving faith in a deity that will save our soul but have no faith in something that affects every aspect of our lives on a day-to-day basis.

Google, Jesus, Faith, Belief,

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The Marriage of the Dull Science and Senseless Beauty

In my wild years it seemed like a good idea to study Economics. Needless to say this passion passed to less lucrative field, thought the ramifications of economic thought still crosses my mind. This happened recently when thinking of social media and the wealth of data that floods our consciousness every moment. It seems that these two ideas, social media and economic theory,  are coming out of opposite corners in regard to our ideas of value and worth. Our economy teaches us to value things that are scarce- scarcity equals value but the idea of social media is completely opposite, excess is valued, how much quality content can you post. While these Janus faced concepts seem define our world and our relationship to it, it seems that we never stop to think about the ramifications of these ideas. People are confounded by the reality of social media, that the more quality content the better- where is the scarcity, where is the value? How is it that the scarcity we have valued has now, through the new social media, become of the least value. A Facebook page with little or no content wild fade into obscurity while one with a solid supply of quality posts will find an audience. Like content, we have so many people in the world we seem to take them as an exhaustible, expendable  resource. When Chairman Mao was faced with the possibility of an atomic bomb being dropped on China he reportedly responded saying ” China has many people. They cannot be bombed out of existence. …….. The death of ten or twenty million people is nothing to be afraid of.” The most precious thing we have, our time on this earth we seem not to appreciate until we find ourselves confronted with the end of it.

We can only hope that in this time of readjusting ideas of worth and value we may take the lead from this new computer paradigm, that there is value in number and discover the value of the many and concern ourselves only with the scarcity of gratitude in our bounty.

Giovanni_Battista_Tiepolo

The Marriage of the Dull Science and Senseless Beauty

 

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