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Read Letter

Data R Us!

Dear Jil,

I want to share an insight with you this morning. I had gone to the cinema with my wife and as we drove back I stared into the night through the window of my thoughts. And then a profoundness hit me.

It occurred to me that as we go up and down the surface of this earth we are collating data. Essentially that’s what we do. We are data collectors and to that extent we are data storage facilities – servers. We go up and down gathering data like a robotic space probe on Planet Mars. We are data rovers. Our eyes are cameras, our ears collate audio files, our senses are receptors. We have specialised apparatuses. We gather data, record images, sounds of life, words, knowledge, pictures of places, videos of interactions… I’d never seen things this way even though it’s so obvious. Our eyes record life. We store sundry data in our brains. The man who lives to 70 years essentially has 613,620 hours of video and audio recording. That’s terabytes of data.

Theoretically, at the end of our lives someone can plug in a hard drive and download all the data collated. Perhaps God does this. Who knows! When we meet in social fora we are essentially creating a network of servers for the transfer of information. At such functions we acquire additional data, using them to analyse the data we have. Same thing goes on at work, only that it is a more focused and purposed interaction. We form a dedicated network of servers, sharing pertinent files to maximize productivity.

As I meditated on this thought I came to understand human identity and why we’re different from each other. Our identity is in our genes (which is legacy data code) and the information we collate as we move through life. WE ARE DATA! Information is our identity, on many levels. Indeed when you think about it we behave according to the information we have. A man is said to be educated because he gathered certain types of information. A gossip is someone who gathers certain other types of information. We are the information we gather. We become the information we acquire.

There is a second level of differentiation of identity however, and it’s related to the foregoing. We achieve further differentiation by the way we process data. As we process information so we turn out to be. This is the basis of that ancient saying: As a man thinketh so is he. The ability to process information correctly to arrive at practical solutions is what we ordinarily call wisdom. We must develop the ability to process information correctly in order to succeed in life and relationships.

Now let me shock you with a further bit of insight: the processor of information is not the brain! All the brain does is machine the sequencing of information. The real processor of information is actually the information we gather! Words are processors. We use information to process information. Let me illustrate.

Assuming you have a friend going through a very rough patch in her relationship. Daily she regales you with terrible goings on in her relationship. She’s giving you data. What then happens is that you use her data to process the data you collated on YOUR relationship. Using her data you can arrive at certain conclusions. For example: a). My friend is dating the wrong guy. A good relationship starts with the right choice. Or… b). My friend is quite stubborn. I must avoid stubbornness in my relationship so I can be happy. Or… c). My friend’s boyfriend is terrible. Men are terrible! Or… d). I’m lucky to have a good relationship and a good man. I’d better treasure it and treasure him!

Essentially you have used your friend’s data to analyse your own data to arrive at certain conclusions. The type of conclusion you arrive at is dependent on your belief system. Faith comes by hearing. Therefore your belief is determined by information collated. If so be the conclusions you reach in life will be determined by the type of information you gather. Whether you like it or not the data you gathered from your friend will influence your decisions one way or the other. Information determines the trajectory of our lives.

There are several lessons to take from the foregoing:

a). We must be mindful of the information and data we gather.

b). Our destinies and life trajectories are determined by the information we gather.

c). Our worldview and philosophy of life is determined by information.

d). We are transformed by information.

e). If we collect wholesome and edifying data, we stand a better chance of arriving at wholesome relationships.

f). Be careful about how you use the data of someone else’s experience to process the data of your relationship.

Relatedly, don’t get into what Jesus called “offences”. Simply defined, creating “offences” means occasioning trials and temptations for others. Don’t maliciously use data implantation to destroy the relationships of others just because you have challenges in yours. And don’t let anyone do the same to you. You must be discerning in your interactions.

Well, I believe I’ve given you a lot of data to help you navigate your relationship. Like I always say, what you do with information is up to you.

Your mentor, LA. 

©Leke Alder 2013

Tags : Life, Data, Experiences

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