Daily Archives: April 7, 2015

If You Give a Monk a Fishing Net

A great desert story.

The Golden Echo

Monastic Monday Br. Monday is now wondering why the abbot made him a fishing net…

Three old men, of whom one had a bad reputation, came one day to Abba Achilles.

The first asked him, “Father, make me a fishing-net.”

“I will not make you one,” he replied.

Then the second said, “Of your charity make one, so that we may have a souvenir of you in the monastery.”

But he said, “I do not have time.”

Then the third one, who had a bad reputation, said, “Make me a fishing-net, so that I may have something from your hands, Father.”

Abba Achilles answered him at once, “For you, I will make one.”

Then the two other old men asked him privately, “Why did you not want to do what we asked you, but you promised to do what he asked?”

The old man gave them this answer, “I told you I would not make one, and you…

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Voice Recognition

The British writer Arthur C. Clarke proposed three “laws” of prediction that are known as “Clarke’s Three Laws.” Here they are: 

Law 1) When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.

Law 2) The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.

Law 3) Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. 

Taking Clarke even further, some historians of science have argued that the roots of science in the mists of time lie in magic, that science began as magic. According to these scholars the astrologers and magicians parted company: those who sided with the astrologers accepted fate and the destiny of the stars; those who cast lots with the magicians looked for ways to change our future and manipulate the world. 

For people of my generation, we are living in a magic renaissance. Science and technology are awash in magic with things like 3-D printers, which are now printing human organs and 3500 square foot homes in 24 hours. Have you seen how they work? That’s magic. Then there are Google glasses and Amazon drones. That’s magic. 

But some of the biggest magic around is voice recognition. As a young Samuel was instructed to speak by his mentor Eli, “Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth.” Our technology now is saying to us, “Speak, Lord, for your servant hears and obeys.” We “speak,” and our toys turn on and do our bidding. Your voice is enough to get the GPS systems in your car to be your digital concierge and report back to you with a voice of our choosing. X-Box One recognizes who is speaking to it and obeys the voice of its “master” instantly. It’s all magic. But to our kids, it’s not magic, it’s normality. 

But Voice Recognition didn’t begin as magic, or as science. It began with Jesus….

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