Friday, February 3

Genuine People Personalities: How I've Dealt with the Temple Part III

Those of you who have seen heard or read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams will know what the phrase "Genuine People Personalities" means. For those of you who haven't I will explain. A company call the Sirius Cybernetics corporation produces robots, whom they describe as "Your plastic pal, who's fun to be with." These robots, and other automated devices are given genuine people personalities, or GPP for short. Having a product with GPP basically means that your robot, or automatic door, or coffee maker has a personality. In the story of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy there is a robot, named Marvin who has a GPP prototype. He is very very depressed. Marvin works on a ship with a cheerful main computer, and automated doors that open and close with a sigh of satisfaction in a job well done. Marvin is beyond intelligent, but is utterly miserable and bored all the time. He is a great comic device because his existence makes no sense. Why would the Sirius Cybernetics Corp. make a devastatingly intelligent robot that is programmed to be miserable for it's entire exisitence? Why? Because they're stupid, and it's funny.
This last installment of my series shares the conclusions I was given or have come to. It all focuses on this sentence, "That they may fill the measure of their creation, and have joy therein." First, consider the phrase "measure of [my] creation. " What is the measure of my creation? I would say that it means 'everything I was designed to do.' So what was I designed to do, and how can I tell if I was designed to do it?

When someone is designing something they start with a list of things that they want it to do. A popular notion is the idea that the more features a thing has, the better. This is false and leads to poor design and execution. A cell phone with a camera in it will never take art-quality pictures because it is a cell phone. If you want good pictures, get a real camera. A printer with a scanner and fax machine and copy machine all combined will never make very good copies. Also if the printing funtion breaks then you end up with a very large not so great scanner. So if we make a robot, it is designed well when it has as few 'features' as possible so as to maximize the quality of its main function.

Now lets add the idea of intelligence. Lets say we make a robot, and give it intelligence. In so doing we risk having the robot learn enough that it decides it doesn't want to do the things we want it to do, or it could take over and do much more than we want it to do. Therefore one would have to walk a careful line of giving it just enough intelligence to do what we want.

Now lets add desires and emotion. If we could give a robot desires to do something then we could make it want to do what we are building it for. We could make doors that want to open and close for people. Alternately it would be foolish to allow the robot to have desires other than what it is designed for. Giving doors a desire to read novels would be foolish. Doors are not able to read, and the door would begrudge those that ask it to open and shut for them. A door with a desire to read novels would be miserable.

In summary, a well designed robot would have a specific purpose to ensure highest quality. It would have *only* the intelligence it needs to do its tasks well. And it would have the desire to do what we ask of it. In short, a well designed robot would be happy if it is put to it's full use, and it would be unhappy if it is unable to do what it is designed for. Therefore filling the measure of our creation and having joy therein means doing what we were made to do because it will make us happy.

Heavenly Father is a smart designer. I believe he originally gave every creature on the earth only what it needed to do its job well, and he gave us desires to do what he wants us to do. Because this is a fallen world many of us aren't given the chance to do everything he designed us for. So how does this apply to my worries about the Temple?

I have a brain that makes me capable of doing everything my husband is capapble of doing. If Heavenly Father never meant for me to use my brain as much as my husband uses his, then He wouldn't have given me such a great brain. If He didn't intend for me for me to be anything more than a 'good pal' to my husband then He wouldn't have given me righteous desires to do more. If He didn't intend for me to be equal to my husband He wouldn't have made me able to feel that the current arrangement is unfair. The sentence I keep saying to myself is; "It feels unfair because it *is* unfair, and I know it is unfair beacuse I can feel it. "

An unspoken (until now) assumption here is that my feelings of unfairness, and my desires for 'more' are not the result of wickedness and temptation. I believe that this is not the case because I felt the spirit bearing witness of the truth of this while the thoughts came to me. Also I believe that it isn't wickedness because this understanding has allowed me to feel joy during the Temple Ceremony and at other times too.

The question now becomes "So it's unfair, how do we fix it?" My answer is this, I'm not sure we can, or are even supposed to fix it yet. Yeah, "men are that they might have joy," but you'll note that it doesn't say "men are that they might have joy on earth." Right now I'm content with knowing that the things that bothered me are not eternal truths, and that things will be fair soon enough.

1 comment:

Rich said...

Life is definitely not fair, full of double standards, etc.

The hardest for me is the mindset at church regarding reason vs. faith. It ain't faith if it flies in the face of reason (IMHO).

I could (and probably will someday) write a book on that subject...

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