The Database We Own

We start out life will little or nothing of our own.

data-001If you were born into money, then perhaps your birth sets you up for a particular path. If not, then you end up making your way into the world on your own. Not on the back of others, but by your own efforts.

Okay. That said. At birth the only thing you really own is your name. It’s not what you would have chosen, rather it’s what you were given. You can change it when you get older, but those who have know you since your younger years will always see through the new name and remember you as who you were. Are. And will be.

A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, Loving favor rather than silver and gold. (Proverbs 22:1 NKJV)

I’ve been a student all of my life, you could say. So, my mind if full of stuff I learned, or gleaned, or supposed along the way. There is a storage system within my brain that has collected so much information, I would hesitate to call it useful. But perhaps along the pathway of life it will make it self known at the most appropriate time and we can determine how useful it is!

There are some who seemingly have the knack to draw directly from their storage system and use data at the drop of a hat. I’m not sure how they do it, because I have to dig down, finger through all the slips of knowledge, until that next thought can be stated.

Sometimes it’s days later before my subconscious delivers the data needed to respond. 

This morning I thought about the accumulation of stuff that I have that represents my interests over the years. Though the 50 boxes of books in the garage do not represent all I’ve ever read or studied, it does show the various paths of interests that caused me to pick up that tome and hang onto it all these years. Just like that file cabinet of older preached messages when I did everything by hand…laboriously penning every single word or thought at a slugs pace, when my fingers can do it so much quicker these days.

Life is full of data. How you store it, what’s important, and how you choose to use it in the future is an important aspect of getting older. The internet and all of it’s ongoing technological marvels makes it easier to store and recall, but we see over and again that the data we search for may not even be the truth.

False Data

Facebook is continuing it’s fight against the accusations that much of the news on their website may have affected the outcome of the presidential election, and now Facebook is fighting against fake news.

“The problems here are complex, both technically and philosophically,” Mr. Zuckerberg wrote. “We believe in giving people a voice, which means erring on the side of letting people share what they want whenever possible.” (Source)

If my memory serves me correctly, we have seen false news before! Probably every news reporting agency, magazine and web service struggles (or they should struggle) with getting the news and facts reported correctly. Rolling Stone, CBS News, News Anchors, Reporters, etc. Even the politicians are “Fact Checked” after every speech or debate. This makes me wonder about the Facts. Are they correct, or do they simply fit another’s version of the truth?

How many software versions have I downloaded and updated over the years to fix problems? Endless modifications to make the system operate better. New! Improved!

keypunch-card-002In my older programming days we knew that incoming data must be verified and repaired before we used in processing. So, we “scrubbed” the data – meaning, we made sure that the data fit the criteria needed before processing. In the Keypunch data scenario, we would dig through the cards, find the one with bad data, copy the card on the Keypunch machine and make the changes in the appropriate column. If the data was digital, then there were other tools available to repair the corrupt data so that nightly processing could continue.keypunch-machine

The old saying was “Garbage In, Garbage Out” (GIGO). Seldom did we do anything to VERIFY that the data was factual, only that it was cleaned up. We may be able to verify the data comes from an expected and proper source, but we did not fact check the data to make sure it was accurate. The results after the processing will show whether the data was what we expected it to be.

When it comes to my studies, I am expected to make assumptions on how to use data presently based on others studies of data compiled, verified and found to be acceptable. We all know that Wikipedia is not entirely factual and we should never base our study of facts on work that can be updated by simply anyone on the planet. But we are also finding that textbooks being used in schools do not always get the facts straight, so students are learning with a faulty source of information. Trust me?

Simply search the internet for articles writing about “false data in textbooks” and you will come up with over 14 MILLION hits. 

This is a real problem as we move forward. Too many times we want to restate history so that it reflects more accurately the world around us. But the truth of the matter is that it would require a Time Machine (H.G. Wells) to go back in history and peruse the reasons that historical facts were meant to address the present situation. The Supreme Court supposes to interpret the meaning behind the laws enacted over 200 years ago and apply a resolution based on their interpretation.

Whose to say they interpreted it correctly?

How about you? What’s in your mental database and how differently are you applying old facts against new norms? This is a tough question. When my database is replete with scriptural principles that dictate how to live life, and those laws will be how I am judged in the end, then my database follows a pathway that is established from long before there was a Congress.

Back when a country was a theocracy, then you follow only the dictates of your God. As we have seen, nations change their views of how to live, and God gets put on a back shelf and is dusted off and displayed at certain times. Otherwise, the database of how we are supposed to live gets changed. Suddenly, we are at odds between a law that is older than any of us, and a law that is fluid. In the US, 115 new laws were enacted in 2015. (Source) Quick… Tell me. Which of them impact you?

Man views laws differently than the religious laws I follow. Our country has so many laws that it is unsure exactly how many there are. (Source) By one count it’s over 40,000 laws and regulations we must follow in order to stay “legal” in our home country. State to state, county to county, city to city – laws change based upon local needs. Travel to another country and then there are other laws that come into play.

Let me leave you with a thought that is over 2,000 years old…

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. (Matthew 6:24 NKJV)

While mammon is often with man, it is really related to Money and Deceitful Riches. The principle is the same, however, you must choose between one set of laws or the other. I am religious and I follow a certain code, but Jesus did give some insight:

Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk. And they sent to Him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do You care about anyone, for You do not regard the person of men. Tell us, therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, “Why do you test Me, you hypocrites? Show Me the tax money.” So they brought Him a denarius. And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” When they had heard these words, they marveled, and left Him and went their way. (Matthew 22:15-22 NKJV)

What does this tell you? Where is your priority? What does your database tell you?

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