Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Parable #9: The Navigation System

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Once upon a time, a young man walked into his local electronic store to purchase a GPS navigation system for his car. He was assured by the salesperson that the Navigon 2100 was the ultimate in directional technology. It was time-tested, infallible, and never made an error. "How do you know it's good?" asked the young man. The salesman smiled and said- "I just know in my heart. Anyone who truly knows electronics will tell you that what I say is true". The young man didn't want to be exposed as ignorant (he prided himself on being technologically minded) and so he purchased the Navigon 2100 and installed it the next day.

On his first drive, the young man set out to the grocery store. It was a Friday afternoon at rush hour. The Navigon proclaimed "Turn right at the next intersection". He complied, and found himself turning the wrong way onto a one way street. Cars rushed towards him, he veered, and pulled into a vacant lot, mud splashing his passenger windows.

Hmm. He thought. I hope the salesman kows what he's talking about. I must have done something wrong or misinterpreted the directions.

On his second drive the next day, he set out for his girlfriend's house. The Navigon piped up "turn left here" and, though he was certain the direction was wrong, the young man complied. He found himself on a dead end back street, lost, and found that the Navigon had no further advice to give. He spent that whole saturday backtracking his route. After much trial and error he found his way back home.

This is ridiculous, he thought, and that night he tore the Navigon off of his dashboard and took it back to the electronics store. "This system is exactly backwards!" He shouted. "Everything it tells me is the exact opposite of what I know I should do! It's going to get me killed!". The salesperson sneered "You just don't understand electronics."

The young man left the store, determined to never make the same mistake again.

The next morning he went to church. He was told that the teachings of Jesus were time-tested, infallible, and never made an error.

How do you know? He asked the preacher. "I just feel it in my heart." Was the reply.

And the young man went out into the world with his Bible in hand. It told him to love his enemies, forgive those who stole from him, to sacrifice his values, to spurn money, to feel guilty about sex, to give up, to be meek, to 'consider the lilies of the field' and not be productive. He was taught that pride goeth before the fall, that this life was a veil of tears to be suffered through, that death was the true aim of life and that happiness after death was the greatest goal to be achieved. He listened, and turned away from this life and towards the next. He turned away from joy, veered from success, avoided pleasure, backed away from self-esteem, gave the right of way to others, yielded to authority, and found himself at the end of his life at a dead end having never reached any destination.

Hmm. He thought. I hope the preacher kows what he's talking about...

And he never saw the connection.

-Richard Gleaves
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