This Is the Way

The following article, written John Baltzer (prior to marriage and taking the name of Kintree), was published in the October 1988 issue of "A Plea for Sanity," the monthly newsletter of the St. Louis chapter of Clergy and Laity Concerned.

By the way, the price/performance of computers has improved by a factor of tens of thousands in the 28 years since this article was written.

We love because God first loved us. That is trying to say something which goes beyond our ability express in words. It has also been said that love isn't taught, it's caught. That's something like "caring is sharing."

More than twenty people gathered at the Salvation Army office at noon, October 11 for the presentation and discussion, "From the Information Age to the Age of Peace." Some brought their own lunch, and some came without food. By a show of hands we learned that some who had no food did want to eat.  We had a maldistribution of resources.

After several suggestions, we reached consensus that those who had food would place it on a table, and anyone who wanted could help themselves to that food.  At the end of the program, there was still food on the table.  We had more than enough to meet our needs.

What does this have to do with computers?

In a manner of speaking, they are a way to put all of the world's food on the table.  They are a way for us to "see" all of the world's resources, and to communicate with other people to find a way to "make the world work for 100% of humanity...without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone."

A complete computer system with a modem and a printer can be purchased today for about $1,000.  Significant reductions in cost are still possible.  We could purchase 500 million computers, that would be one computer for every 10 people in the world, for as little as $500 billion.  That's about half of what the nations of the world spend for military purposes in one year.

Of course, there would be additional expenses for the installation and training in the use of these computers and communications systems.  This would be a good job for the armies to do, and they could leave their guns behind while they do it.

There will be no need for weapons because we will only install the computers in the villages and communities which want them.  We will respect the right of self-determination of those who might not want to have anything to do with that kind of technology.  It would probably be a good idea to include training in human relations for the workers who will be installing these systems.

I'm not joking.  This is a serious proposal, even if it sounds funny.

The hilarious thing is that it's possible.  The technology is the easy part.  Natural language front-ends have already been written that allow computer users to extract information using conversational English rather than a programming language.

Incompatibilities between different kinds of computers (IBM vs. Apple, and micro vs. mainframe) are being eliminated.  Digital transmission and fiber optic cables are being installed which will allow the integration of millions of computers into a global whole.  These computers can not only store and transmit statistical information, they can also store music and art, all of which will be available at terminals anywhere in the world.

What will we do with this technology?  This is the difficult part.

It's so difficult that we can't do it on our  own.  And all of the computers of the world can't give us the answer, either

Hopefully, we will come to know what the seers and the mystics all through the ages have known, that we are One; that there is an interconnectedness to all life; that there is a home.  There is a place which has been prepared for us, from the beginning it has been prepared for us.

Yes, the lesson is learned not so much by technology, but by the way the technology is used.  It is learned by the love we share with each other.

It is for this that Jesus prayed the night on which he was betrayed, just hours before he was crucified.  He knew it, and that more than words are required to communicate it.

All praise be unto God!

John Kintree

republished June 4, 2016