Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Book of Genesis: The Power of Positive Thinking

Today I reflected that I didn't remember if I'd ever actually read the passage in Genesis about Babel (Genesis 11:1-9). While I do consider the Bible to be a rich source of cultural, literary, and even some historical information, I found this passage in general a little dry and uninspiring and undeserving of all the linguistic references made to it.

The most interesting bit though is Genesis 11:6. In the NIV, it reads:
The LORD said, "If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them."
Is this to be taken as a Biblical endorsement of optimism? Should we therefore try again to all speak the same language? (English is fine for me since it's my native language, and making everyone speak English seems to be a cause celebre for lots of American social conservatives.) Or, are we to take Yahweh's distress at man's ambition and ability to be a condemnation of achievement and hard work? Seems pretty un-American to me. "Don't try to do your best and achieve great things, or you'll be struck down!" What are you people, socialists!?!? Keep your anti-achievement screeds to yourselves, you hippies!

4 comments:

TGP said...

Seems more like a job security thing to me.

1. God creates universe.
2. God creates life.
3. Life explores universe.
4. God panics and burns the owners manual.

Michael Caton said...

NICE! Alternatively, you could think of it as, "And God programmed the Matrix in Python. And lo, on the Eighth Day people were still basically speaking in Python, just a later implementation. Because He didn't want them digging up His source code that easily, he fractured them into Perl, and Ruby, and lo there was a great confusion, especially with Perl."

TGP said...

If you're omniscient and omnipotent, why are you still releasing bug-fix patches every month?

And, seriously, what's with the shitty user interface?

Michael Caton said...

I'm not a computer guy so I'm going to quit before I use a cyberinfonet term flagrantly wrong in trying to continue the metaphor.