Remember how George Bush (No. 41, not No. 43) was revealed to have lost touch with the modern world because he had never seen a bar-code scanner at the grocery store? Well, he's not the only senior statesman out there who has lost contact with the modern world. A friend of mine has a dad who is a prominent Judge and all-around big-wig politician. He's a great guy, the dad is, but he hasn't personally dialed his own phone in twenty years. He's one of those guys that asks their secretary to "get Bill on the phone" and then only picks up when, and if, Bill is actually on the line. Anyway, my friend goes to see his dad in his judicial chambers and after awhile he tells his dad he's got to go so he can fire off an important fax on a business deal he is working on. His dad knows what a fax machine is. In fact, he has one in his chambers. So, in an effusive display of parental helpfulness, he offers to fax the documents for his son.
Son says "no 'cause he's got to run" and he has to meet his ride that is waiting for him downstairs. The dad says "no problem. Just, leave it with me son and I'll do it." The son is skeptical, but in a hurry, and decides to take the chance.
The next day, he calls the guy that was supposed to get the fax. The guy says "yeah, I got it, but it came in like twenty times." So son sees dad a couple of days later, and dad cautiously asks about the fax. He straightens up and beams when he learns that, indeed, the fax made it to its destination. But, then the son says, "although he did wonder why the fax was sent so many times. The judge sort of bows his head just a tad, and says "well, I had a little problem. Everytime I put the paper in one side it kept coming out the other side...."
And now some philosophical thoughts about change
It's no secret that things are changing. And it's no secret that most people (especially those over ... shall we say, "a certain age") detest, and vehemently resist, change. But change is the norm. Alvin Toffler has made a name for himself studying the effects of change on society and on people. But back in in the 6th Century B.C. Heraclitus noted that change is the norm, and that "things are in flux." Life is like a river. Stuff like that....
Some of us get tired of paddling. We let the current take us, and then ultimately we pull over to the side, camp out on the bank, and curse the commotion created by those who are whizzing by. I think change is good. Sure, we all don't like having to adapt once we have got things mostly "figured out." I'm getting to that stage of life where I don't want to have to revise my theories to account for "new phenomena." Or maybe it's the little utensils that I'm familiar with that I don't want to have to give up (e.g., I know how to work my cellphone, and at some point I'm going to resent the effort required to learn some new communication skill just so I can communicate with my grandkids). So, I admit, change is difficult.
But overall, change is good. And if you look at the timeline of human development, and consider the vast changes that have taken place, you have to admit that the changes have almost always been in an entirely positive direction. Overall, change has made society more democratic, more rational. We started from a point where only the "high priests" could read and interpret the "sacred texts" to a world where information is hard to control and everyone can do their own "interpreting." But, still, we resist change. It's wierd. It's almost like some force (let's call it "Nature") is pushing us in a direction that gives greater control to individuals to move about freely, and to think for themselves. And yet this force, which we embrace when we are young, we resist as we get older. So, inevitably, we reach a point in our lives where we just can't deal with change. It is an interesting thing, and it raises all sorts of questions. Maybe it even explains the need for death.
It's as if our incapacity to deal with change is the reason nature has decided to give us a relatively short shelf-life. I mean, what would happen if people lived for 200 years on average instead of 70? Would social institutions have become more democratic so fast? Would the "high priests" have given way to independent thought as quickly as it did? I think not. So I think that the Guiding Hand of Nature decided that the lifespan of humans would have to be kept to a minimum (I mean "minimum" in the geologic scale of time that nature functions in). Maybe if we were more adaptable and were better at learning new things Nature would let us live longer. So pick up that new fangled toy, and learn how to program your VCR. And maybe...just maybe you'll buy yourself a few years....
My theology, briefly, is that the universe was dictated but not signed.