Mike Ault's thoughts on various topics, Oracle related and not. Note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are not contributing to the overall theme of the BLOG or are insulting or demeaning to anyone. The posts on this blog are provided “as is” with no warranties and confer no rights. The opinions expressed on this site are mine and mine alone, and do not necessarily represent those of my employer.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Stray Thoughts

It is amazing the things that come to mind just as you are drifting off to sleep. Old memories, new thoughts, the answer to that annoying question. I guess it shows that the mind is continuously at work processing things that we see and hear, sometimes long after we have stopped thinking about them on the surface.

Last night for example religion for some reason was paramount in my mind as I started to drift off. I remembered such adages as "God helps them that help themselves", and the parable of the servants and the money which goes something like "A master gave three servants each some money and instructed them to take care of it while he was gone. One went out and invested it, another used it to buy grain and plant it, while the third buried it. Upon the masters return each was called into accounting for the money they had been given, the first gave back two fold, the second was unable to give back crops because of a blight, the third gave back exactly what he was given. The master praised the two who had invested and put the money to work and rewarded them, even though the second had lost the money, the third, who only hid the money to return the exact amount, was punished." forgive any paraphrasing...

It seems to me that many of the fundamentalist beliefs are rather like the third servant. They take the coin of heaven and attempt to return it without changing it, improvement or loss. They feel that to question, challenge or add to the amount given (I am not talking about how many you add to the numbers of the church, I am talking about knowledge) is in some way forbidden, as if the holy book sprung, not from the labor of hundreds of people over thousands of years, but whole and perfect from the hand of God. When there are errors in translation, errors in usage, errors in understanding, they accept this all as whole cloth, not weaving more, not patching the holes, and not washing the stains away.

This happens of course not only in religion, but in life as well. In technical areas we have our own version of the GI-GO syndrome (garbage in - garbage out) known as garbage-in-gospel-out (I talked about this in an article back in the late 80's), that portends if it issues from a computer it must be gospel. In law we base everything on precedents, as if those in the past were smarter, more enlightened and knew more about the current situation than we do.

I believe that each person has the responsibility to learn as much as they can. We are all our own product. Many times people have accused me of being, shall I say eclectic? To which a say thanks. Having read at last estimate over 3000 or so books in my lifetime (give or take 100 or so) and hoping to read at least another 3000 before I pass into my reward, I find it gives me quite a platform on which to stand while I reach for more. Reach for more understanding. more knowledge and more insight that is. My reading reaches from technical and religious books to science fiction, historical fiction and the occasional horror or action adventure. Each book has something to teach, if you limit your reading on any topic to just one author, your horizon will be limited.

In a recent conversation someone dear to me expressed horror that I would read certain books by authors who disagreed with that persons basic belief structure. Words are only given power by the reader. I read what gives me more understanding, for it is only in understanding something can we elevate or overcome it.

Well, enough rambling for one day, there is work to be done!


Mike said...

By the way, the citation for my article on "Combatting the Garbage-In Gospel-Out Syndrome" is:

Radiation Protection Management, September/October 1987, (4:5), pp. 18-24


Tony Andrews said...

Mike, this is in response to one of Don's posts on your "Standing By" entry, which no longer accepts comments...

> I still have the e-mail from TK accusing you of being a "bad" DBA.

> Maybe we should ask Robert Freeman to re-tell the tale of that drunken public abuse tirade at the Oracle Press OW meeting in 2003 too. . .


The more you post, the more ridiculous, unprofessional and unpleasant you seem.

Now you want to "blackmail" Tom Kyte into silence by making thinly veiled threats to dish some kind of major dirt on him. Pathetic.

The more you do this, the more your reputation is discredited. You may find that your $500/hour contracts start to dry up and you have to look for $50/hour contracts instead.

Tony Andrews said...

I'm glad to see that the offensive comments by Don have been removed from the "Standing By" entry since my last comment.

Hopefully you have banned Mr Burleson from making further comments in future too!