Bootstrapping a New Computer – Day 9

Thanks to the generosity of my employer, I picked up a brand new laptop and am in the process of getting it ready to use for work. Since it had been a while since I had set one up, I dusted off an old script and spent some time getting it up-t0-date.

As an experiment during the development process, I switched from my usual Vagrant setup to using Quickemu for testing. The entire process was incredibly painless, and I'm now wondering if I should up-end my normal development process to use Quickemu.

For those interested, I've put the bootstrap script up as a GitLab snippet:

Time to finish getting that laptop set up!

Truth and Authority – Day 8

I want to expand a bit on the final statements that I made on Trust and Truth. One of the difficulties with having an external source of truth is that it must be independently verifiable, that it must be consistent, and that, as human language and society changes, it must find new ways of expressing the same truths. Giving that role to a Person, even if that Person is God Himself, requires either that He speaks the truth directly to every person, or that He works through other people to communicate that truth. I happen to think that He does a bit of both.

Now, for the first we must start with "Thick" moral realism, and believe that God created us with an innate sense of right and wrong which we can, through contemplation and rational thought, come to recognize and practice. While self-deception is possible, it never truly squashes that sense of right and wrong. Based on this understanding, God has directly communicated the truth to every person, which is why many pagans in the pre-Christian world would agree that a god or gods must be worshipped, elders should be honored; murder, stealing, and lying should be punished, etc. However, this innate sense is not enough.

For the second, we start with the person of Jesus Christ, who claimed to be "The way, The Truth, and the Life". Based on this and other sayings, it is clear that Jesus claimed to be God Himself. All these sayings are written in the Gospel books of the Bible, the authenticity of which is corroborated by a number of other sources. Jesus intended to found a church, saying to Simon "You are Rock and upon this Rock I will build my Church. " He also gave a teaching authority to all the apostles saying "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations". Jesus also spoke of the Holy Spirit coming to strengthen the apostles and guiding them in the truth after His death. With the selection of Matthias to replace Judas Iscariot in Acts, and the anointing and laying on of hands in the letter of the apostles, it is clear that the teaching authority of the apostles is handed on to the successors of the apostles. Based on this information, we can see that God does communicate the truth through other people, so long as they remain true to what was originally communicated by Christ to the Apostles and by the Apostles to their successors.

All this to say:

  1. We do have an innate sense of right and wrong (though we may deceive ourselves)
  2. The Church founded by Jesus Christ has the teaching authority needed to correct our self-deception and point us again towards the truth.

A Truly International Woman – Day 7

This is going to be short, since I need to be up very early tomorrow.

For International Woman's day, I would like to recognize a woman who is truly international: Mary, the Mother of God. She has appeared on all continents, except Antarctica, and has always sought to bring unity all peoples by directing them to her Son. An incomplete list worth looking up.

  • Our Lady of Akita
  • Our Lady of Guadalupe
  • Our Lady of Kibeho
  • Our Lady of Lourdes
  • Our Lady of Fatima
  • Our Lady of Velankanni
  • Our Lady of The good event
  • Our Lady of Knock
  • Our Lady of Cuapa

The Religion of Business Culture – Day 6

A line that I've often heard repeated in my industry is "Culture eats strategy for breakfast". The core thought behind this idea is straightforward. No matter the plans laid by the chief executives, the rest of the organization will stick with "The way it's always been done". I always found the culture phrase a bit odd.

A few years ago, I noticed something with the language used within the business world and I haven't been able to unsee it. With the emphasis on developing and improving the culture within a business, many of the words have taken on a decidedly religious tone. Considering that the word "culture" comes from the word "cult" this is not exactly surprising. But considering the large rise of the "nones", that is, those who have no religious affiliation, this is rather surprising.

Some examples:

  • In sales and marketing, a new paying customer is called a "conversion"
  • In scrum, the core activities of "standup", "Sprint review", retrospective", and "sprint planning" are referred to as "ceremonies"
  • I've recently begun seeing references to daily routines before beginning work or a meeting referred to as "rituals"
  • Another practice that I've heard about is creating a "sacred space" before a meeting, where people can ask each other how they are feeling.

Now, I'm not against these activities or the use of these words, they have a deeper meaning that too often are left at the surface level. It does lead me to wonder about the direction toward which we are changing the business culture. It also makes me wonder about the current tendency that I see with business taking on more and more humanitarian causes and people acting in ways that would make more sense in a cult than in a business. There is a concerted effort to drive organized religion out of the public square through such things as reducing the freedom of religion to the freedom of worship. However, it would seem as though the goal of ridding society of religion is utterly failing. The individuals in society are turning to another organized entity, businesses themselves, and then placing in them a kind of religious fervor.

Sadly, this is not what business is for. Business is about serving others through work, but not by being a religion itself. No business venture can satisfy the religious needs of the human heart, for as St. Augustine puts it "Oh Lord, our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee". To truly satisfy the human heart, we should instead look to the Church that God Himself built on solid rock and filled with His Holy Spirit.

It’s Sunday! – Day 5

The Gospel for today's Mass was from Luke 4. In his homily, Father focused on Satan's repeated conditional: "If you are the Son of God..." and how Christ is not insecure about or brought to doubt His purpose by the Tempter.

What came to my mind was that the three temptations of Christ are three different archetypes of the temptations that all of us face. These three may not be exhaustive, but they do cover many, if not most, of them. The first temptation is an archetype of temptations to our carnal appetites: food, sex, etc. The second temptation is an archetype of temptations to control and dominate others and the world. The third temptation is an archetype of temptations to intellectual pride and believing that we can somehow control God.

Each of Christ's responses is a perfect response for they point back to our complete and utter reliance on God. First, merely fulfilling our natural needs is insufficient for our lives. Second, God is the ruler of the world and we should embrace Him as the ruler of our own lives. Third, God's Providence transcends our limited understanding of how the universe works.

Slowing Down – Day 4

A few days ago, I removed most of the news sources from my phone. The lack of constant FOMO has been very uplifting so far. I've been far more focused on the tasks at hand, more available for my family, and I was surprised that my ability to take in the details of a book was sharpened. I'm hoping that this lack of constant information flow will lead to me being more interested in the people around me.

It's funny thinking back to when I would hear others say something similar about disconnecting from the firehose of news. I always thought that somebody needed to stay up on what was going on, so that problems could be addressed as they came up. However, I'm starting to wonder if there is something to be said about only staying abreast of what is going on with the people around you. Also, the importance of studying permanent and transcendent realities rather than knowing in detail the current zeitgeist.

This post ended up being more of a ramble. We will see if tomorrow I end up with something more directed.

Quick Thought on Integrity – Day 3

Just received an ergonomic keyboard and I'm still figuring out exactly how to use it. All the modifier keys are in different places and the keys are not offset the same way. So I don't think I'll be able to do a long post tonight.

Besides yesterday's question, I've been mulling over the word "integrity" and how it is supposed to indicate an internal alignment between beliefs and actions. For most business or self-help books that seems to be as far as it goes. However, it doesn't take much to uncover historical instances of that kind of alignment that is truly horrifying. (I wish I had more time to list a few). Suffice to say that it was the fundamental beliefs that were wrong. so integrity needs to include alignment with the reality outside us. And the reality outside is only properly understood in relation to its Creator. Thus to have true integrity means that a person's actions arise from beliefs that are aligned with those truths revealed by the Creator within His creation and His revelation.

Trust and Truth – Day 2

A question that has been bothering me for some time now:

Can you trust someone who lies to you?

Seems pretty obvious at first, but let's dig deeper.

Can you trust someone who tells a lie, but who believes they are telling the truth?

Deeper Still.

Can you trust someone who says something he thinks is false that makes you feel better?

Even harder.

Can you trust someone who says something he thinks is false and you think is true?

The only way I can see a path out of this quandary is if we find something outside of us that is true when we are not. In fact, I don't think it is something but Someone who said "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life".

Lent – Day 1

Because it's a struggle to post on this blog due to laziness or perfectionism, I've decided to start posting every day for Lent. We will all see just how long I can keep it up.

As it is Ash Wednesday, Mass was a little longer than is usual. A section from the Responsory during the distribution of ashes caught my eye:

"...[L]et us not be taken unawares by the day of our death, looking in vain for leisure to repent."

Responsory on Ash Wednesday

This reminded me of a truly terrifying truth: God is the absolute, perfect being and we cannot come into His almighty presence after death unless we ourselves are perfect. I am imperfect because of my sins. Only when I rely on Him to give the required grace, only when I seek to love Him above all else do I have even a chance of making it. I cannot bring even the smallest pet sin with me.

With this reminder of the nearness of death and the urgency to repent, the Catholic Church begins 40 days of preparation for celebrating the most solemn event in human history, the Paschal Mystery. Let us take advantage of this time to die to our sinful selves so that, by the grace of God, we can rise with our Savior at Easter. Know that you are in my prayers.