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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Dead-end Morphs

Mitsubishi Pajero: No dead-ends

Has God ever surprised you with a creative alternative to an “impossible” situation? Is a new creation waiting to be born in your life now? Or are you empty, infertile, running up against the limits of your understanding? How can God's might and understanding penetrate these barriers? (Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary edition, page 883).

One reason that I am optimistic about man's future is that he take such pleasure in devising ways and means to escape dead-ends. Video games are very popular now and though I don't know much about them I think that a common feature they have is providing opportunities to escape impossible situations. Certainly when I look back on a day at work, I find it an exceptionally good day when I have met a seemingly impossible challenge only to have in the end overcome it. In fact, we easily become disinterested in situations (or with games) that present no substantial challenges. Such games and situations provide little or no pleasure. This gets to the very core of what it means to be human – the profound pleasure we get in mastering difficulties. This explains why we continually seek to break out of the envelope of easy challenges. Most all progress or accomplishment of any kind is based on humanity's seeking this type of pleasure. In this sense, though we can long to live in Pleasantville – a place where everything is provided in abundance and there are absolutely no problems or challenges – we soon come to realize that “though it's a nice place to visit, we wouldn't want to live there.” In the midst of challenges, hope is an essential currency. And who would choose to live where hope shrivels on the vine because it is not needed?

An especially complex situation is posed when challenges and dead-end solutions call upon input from many people with diametrically opposed points of view. If action were not indicated, this would not be a serious problem. The issue becomes, since action is often needed, how to devise a decision mechanism that is mutually acceptable. Democracy has been adjudged by many as the best answer, for even if it does not solve the underlying problem it at least implements procedural fairness—that is, in social situations the principle of fairness takes precedence over solutions that would be procedurally bad even if on some levels more efficient and effective. This is a conscious choice that democracies make and stand by in faith as the better choice—as being most in accord with God's point of view since as a decision model it values people over things. Priorities, even amidst the tumult, are kept straight.

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