I got involved in a bit of conversation earlier today which started off innocently enough with explaining the basic concepts of how a computer “works.” I described how bits and bytes go from stateful memory like hard drives, through a controller chipset to pass the data to a mainboard chipset, then through dynamic memory into a processor and back out through dynamic memory into component chipsets and eventually out to devices like speakers, printers, and monitors, with each stage of the game having its own unique and vast set of standards and protocols to make the whole process “work.”
I started off on another tangent about standards organizations, and the conversation started to lean into a more philosophical angle with the basic question being posed about whom really “steers” this ship of technology. We got into a broader realm of this same sort of perspective in terms of more than technology, but governments, corporations, and all kinds of other organizations. The fact is, while there are certain groups with more influence than others, there is no ultimate “captain” on “the ship,” if you will.
In recent posts, I’ve touched on the topic of numbers and how human reliance on systems built on numbers is at the root of our separation from the higher power. This conversation today got me thinking about, and putting into words, a concept of the “ten-headed dragon” referenced in the Bible’s book of Revelation. This beast, this anti-Christ, this epitome of separation from God, which preaches a peaceful message but ultimately turns to devour anything and everything in its path… is much akin to our current phase in the history of humanity. Our designed and contrived systems, while built and aimed at “noble” goals of prosperity, productivity, and peace - are turning out to be our nemesis more than our nurturer.
Like a creature with multiple minds, and no single direction, is the beast. If the concepts and metaphors in the Bible are examined with less guidance and more critical analysis… they begin to make a great deal of sense - I would argue far moreso than hundreds of years of dictated interpretation.
Fortunately, our conversation ended on less apocalyptic terms. We decided that, aside from all the ways and means by which we distract and distress ourselves, if we can remember that so long as our feet are still planted on the ground and our eyes are still windows to, from, and for our souls, that we are still alive, and regardless of our direction, that is our ultimate and beautifully simple purpose.
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