During the last week we had a lot of snow (50 cm) where I live. It’s one of these things that is fascinating and beautiful, but then reality bursts in and spoils it all. Everything looks truly stunning, especially when the skies clear and the sun shines, but when you try to walk in snow that deep you discover that it is really difficult. When the snow comes up to your knees every step is a struggle. For the first few days driving was impossible.
Sometimes I feel that we Christians say some things because we say them. I am not saying that we don’t understand what we are saying, or don’t mean what we say. I mean that we say them so often that we lose track of the meaning, or the power of the words becomes detached from them. At its worst, the words become a conversation filler.
I was interested to read that Prime Minister, Mr Cameron, is going to spend Â£2million on measuring the happiness of the British people. Happiness, according to the dictionary is a state of well being and contentment.
I do not see a lot of contentment in the society in which we live at the moment. All our labour-saving devices and technological advances have maybe given some a better quality of life, but this does not necessarily mean a more contented life. In fact, I think the opposite is true in most cases.
Why do we do what we do?
Some things we do just because we do – they sort of happen around us and we just go along with the flow. Some we do automatically, out of habit, and sometimes we don’t even know we are doing them. Sometimes that habit can be so compulsive that we cannot stop ourselves from doing it – we have lost control, and the drift into addiction can follow. We do some things out of our emotions – we laugh because we are happy, cry because we are sad, we lash out in anger, scream with fear.
I have had a keen interest in computers for many years. In fact, I wrote my first computer program in 1969. That was a long time ago by anyone’s standards, but in terms of computer development it was way back in the early days! To put it into perspective, there was no internet, no such thing as a PC and Microsoft did not exist. In fact Bill Gates was only 14 years old.
I cannot remember what the program was for, but I do remember that the programming language was Algol and that each line of the program was punched by me sitting at a kind of typewriter, onto special cards – one card for each line of the program. The cards went into a reader which the computer then accessed. I had to carry the cards to the reader and I was very aware that if I dropped the cards I would have to sort them all out into the correct order or the program would not work properly. The computer itself was the size of a house. I remember seeing the computer’s hard disk: it was a sheet of metal about 5 feet in diameter.