Monday, October 31, 2005

Infinity

Whenever I see the word "infinite" in print, I always try to figure out how they're using it. Do they mean infinite, as in unending, limitless, extending without end, or do they just mean really really big?


Well, here's a passage from Thomas Friedman's The World is Flat that made me happy:


"People are always assuming that everything that is going to be invented must have been invented already. But it hasn't. If you believe human wants and needs are infinite, then there are infinite industries to be created, infinite businesses to be started, and infinite jobs to be done, and the only limiting factor is human imagination."


Friedman was quoting Marc Andreesen, the cofounder of Netscape, which was the first Internet browser 'way back when that got us all online. This is a man who genuinely understands the unlimited nature of infinite.


The World is Flat is an amazing book. I'm about two-thirds of the way through it, and I keep coming to things that just make me say out loud, "Uh. May. Zing." Its title comes from the concept that the world is becoming a level playing field, or flattening, due to many factors including instant communication.


And it's filling me with hope. There's a lot in the media about outsourcing and how harmful it is, and about immigration and how we should curtail it, protectionism, etc. And, without getting too political (because I'm no expert), it seems to me that a lot of that rhetoric is based on fear. But there are also thousands of entrepreneurs quietly going about adjusting to the current landscape, re-forming their businesses to meet demand and employing the best and the brightest.


Case and point: Remember Y2K? The date, 1/1/00, when the year would change from 99 to 00, thereby possibly confusing most of our computers. I remember it well. I knew we were talking about millions and millions of lines of code, and that it would take extreme patience and willingness to go through all that to find the spots that were vulnerable to the date change. I remember a surge of end-of-the-world scenarios and panic, and a lot of money being made on selling survival kits to the frightened.


It bugged me at the time, so I began to pray about it. And at first I didn't know how to pray. Do I pray for the computers? For the infrastructures, that they not be affected by the date change? That didn't make sense to me, for if there was a glitch, it had to be fixed. Then it occurred to me to pray for the programmers, the people tasked with finding the problem and creating the code that would fix it. I prayed that each one, wherever they were, would be governed by divine Mind, and that Mind would show them what they needed to do. I did this for months, even wrote about it at the time. I'm sure many other folks did as well.


Y2K of course was a non-event, but not because it was never a problem to begin with. It was solved by the diligent work of thousands of programmers. And it turns out with all my prayers, I was praying for India.


Friedman's book points out that the Y2K computer work was done largely by low-skilled Indian programmers right out of tech schools. This one golden opportunity got them contacts at companies in the United States, and proved how communication was making it possible for people across a world to work together.


Friedman says that Y2K should be considered a second Indian Independence Day. August 15, the day of separation from Britain, gave independence to the country; January 1, 2000, gave independence to Indians.


I was never more thrilled to see the result of prayer than when I read this in his book. India has always fascinated me, and the individual Indians I've met have always impressed me. Nothing would make me happier to see India in ascendancy now, partnering with companies here to make the world flat. And it appears this is happening even as we speak.


I love reading about all these new opportunities and how the world is changing. To me, what is happening is a deeper, wider, broader revelation of the overarching divine infinite selfhood. God is truly infinite, and we are witnessing the unfoldment of that infinity. It can't be stopped; it shouldn't be stopped. And it doesn't need to be feared.


Infinity is big enough for all of us.


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