Saturday, June 25, 2005

Known or Nobody

Podcast Version

Thanks to Think-a-Tron and Digicomp I, I can happily claim to have worked with computers for something like forty years. From the days of those toy computers to today I've used punch cards, paper tape, magnetic tape and disks, compact disks, and now, small flash-ram "jump drives" to store and retrieve information. We've seen the same progress with our music. From vinyl to eight track and cassette tapes to compact disks and mp3 players, every year seems to bring a new way to record our tunes.

We can't imagine what will be used in the future. Though we can assume the obvious: things will continue to hold more and more data in smaller and smaller devices.

Yet these improvements introduce a problem: as older storage techniques become obsolete, we may lose access to important information. It seems funny to think that we have scientific data from the 1960's that is becoming inaccessible. We still possess the records - but as time goes on we're losing the ability to read them.

vaD joH'a' SovtaH the way vo' the QaQtaHghach
'ach the way vo' the mIgh DIchDaq chIlqu'.
For the LORD knows the way of the righteous but the way of the wicked shall perish. Psalm 1:6

To be known by our God - or perish. This is the contrast presented by the last verse of Psalm 1. It is a difference in outcome that I think we see with computers and music. Not many people are prepared to listen to an 8 track, or read a program off of a paper tape: information kept those ways is perishing.

But the things worth knowing, worth keeping, have been preserved. Copied from tape to disk to chips - and who knows? In the future, maybe kiloquad isolinear storage chips, or whatever the Federation uses. As long as the information is kept in a readable form, it won't perish: it will be known.

This psalm was another case where the KLV lexicon needed help. In particular I lacked a word for "perish." abad the Hebrew word, carries the idea of "to wander away, i.e. lose oneself; by implication to perish." So I used the Klingon word chIl, to be lost, and added the intensive suffix -qu'. mIgh DIchDaq chIlqu' : that is, the wicked shall be utterly lost.

What does this mean? I think the Psalm is reminding us that there are two ways ahead of us. As we look through all of our tomorrows and into eternity, what is ahead? Here we see the way of the righteous - the life of the blessed that this psalm describes, or the way of the wicked, those who scoff and turn their backs on God.

To be known and not be discarded - the promise of such a future is the confidence we can find in Psalm 1. There is security in being known by the Lord. It is like the prophet Nahum reminds us:

The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and he knows those who take refuge in him. Nahum 1:7

1 comment:

doer said...

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