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Charles, were you right? Say “No”, Charles! Oh, how we’ve moved on in the information revolution! After about five years of using that machine, it was going bad, so we went shopping again. We bought two computers, identical machines, one for our secretary and one for me. These were described as “state of the art”: they had 386 chips, they ran Windows 3.1, and they were loaded with a great big hard disk of 140 megabytes. You got all that? This too, it was said, will do all that we will ever need to do. We put a bigger word processing program on it, we put our database on it, we added a financial management program, an inventory program, a calendar program, a task management program, graphics, and we thought we were really burning up the bytes. It had a modem, so we learned to use on-line software to run the heating and air conditioning system; we hit the Internet and created a web site, and we thought, once again, we had arrived at the ultimate.
Except that it began to run very poorly. So we added more memory. Next we found that we had just about filled up that 140 megabytes of storage; so we added an extra hard drive. Now we’re cooking, for the duration, right?
But the machine I’ve been using sort of wheezed and gasped and gave up about a month ago; so we went shopping one more time, and bought the latest thing: a Pentium chip, 4 gigabytes of storage, running Windows 98, with more icons, options, plug-ins, and just stuff than you can imagine. This is going to be great! This is going to be fantastic. Except guess what? I cannot make it work. I cannot get it to run. It may be the machine; but it is more likely me. It may be the software, but it is more apt to be my buzzing brain. I am suddenly in information overload. I have more choices than I know what to do with, I am sitting in front of a device that offers me more possibilities than I can dream. I am loaded down with instruction manuals, help lines, tutorial sessions, and emergency phone numbers, and I can’t seem to make sense of any of it. I am in serious information overload. Plenty of information, but I cannot use it. Lots of facts, but no skill to use them. I am in trouble. Why? Information overload.
Isn’t that a parable of our very lives? We know plenty of things; but we do not know what to do with them. We have plenty of facts; but they do not make sense to us. We have all sorts of knowledge, but end up miserably unhappy. For all of our knowledge, we feel overloaded. Something is missing; we still need something else to make it all come together.
The poet of Proverbs has the answer. He tells us what the key is to make our
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