Why GPS – Why Internet – Why Cell Phones

GPS Internet cellphonesWhy GPS?  Why the Internet?  Why Cell Phones? Are these amazing technologies being used wisely in relation to the fundamental question, “Why are we here on earth?”

Over my 57 career years, I have been privileged to help in the development of GPS in the area of precise timing which is necessary for telecommunications, the internet, and the precise synchronization of cell phone towers. It has been an exciting ride. These three technologies have made an enormous impact on society. Technically, they are well described in the world wide encyclopedia, Wikipedia. (see links below)

But none of the descriptions in Wikipedia touch on fundamental consequences of these wonderful innovations, whether productive or counter productive. Or, whether they are tearing down or building up society.

Specifically, we see them as extremely useful tools, but we should also consider whether there are some destructive elements affixed which adversely affect the good of society.  If we ask why these three technologies are meaningful in the context of why God sent us down to earth, we find some eye-opening and major insights that offer a broader perspective than just a mortal view.

My experience

The following personal experience will illustrate this important point.

Two years ago I was invited to give an anchor talk and chair a panel discussion for the proceedings of an international navigation conference to be held in St. Petersburg Russia. Also, I was to present a paper on the “Historicity, Strengths, and Weaknesses of Allan Variances and Their General Applications”  Although, they would pay for my first class transport, food, and accommodations, it represented a lot of work for which I would receive no remuneration.

I was inclined to decline the invitation, but felt to ask the Lord. I was impressed that He wanted me to go. To deal with the jet-lag issue, I left a few days early so I would be alert at the event. I arrived in St. Petersburg on the Saturday before the conference.

Since I would be there on Sunday and wanted to go to church. I found the nearest meeting place and had a taxi take me there. For some reason, I had a feeling I might have to walk back to the conference hotel (about five miles), and asked my heart if that would be okay and felt some assurance that I could do that if needed in this beautiful city of five million people having many islands and 342 bridges on the Neva River.

When I arrived at the meeting place, I could see that the address was correct, but I could find no sign of anything for my church. After poking around for about half an hour trying to find a fellow member with no success, I decided to head back to the hotel.

I had no street map and couldn’t read Russian anyway, and so following my gut I headed back. As it turned out, I walked directly back to the hotel without any difficulty. It was like I was guided by a spiritual type of  GPS. Trust in the Lord and not the arm of flesh (Psalms 118:8).

The next day at the conference, I was joking with one of my colleagues that I had found something better than GPS and described my experience. I know the Spirit of the Lord will never lead us astray.

The meeting was fascinating and my Christ centered book was well received among my colleagues from around the world. I quickly sold all I carried with me.

What are Our Priorities?

Most everyone agrees we are greatly blessed by modern technology and especially by the above three.  It has been fun to help in their development.  But, if these technologies take us away from God, family and proper healthy personal relationships, then we have a major problem.

Had I had a GPS receiver, it could have guided me back to the hotel, but I would have missed this sweet experience of drawing closer to and trusting in the Lord.  Plus, I enjoyed the amazing beauty of that city, instead of continually checking the receiver to see if I was on course.

The Question is “Why”?

Business leadership trainer and author, Simon Sinek, is in high demand for his unique marketing and leadership perspective by asking the question “Why?” Why does a company exist? Why they do what they do? Why does one company become successful and another fail.

In this particular insightful video he discusses why most businesses are frustrated with the “Millennial” generation, as he calls it. He addresses the imbalance of dependency on technology over forming meaningful face to face relationships and finding workplace satisfaction, which seems to plague the youth of today and frustrate employers.

Simon Sinek makes the profound observation that the dopamine kick that the youth get from texting and spending a vast amount of time on social media is addictive and can be detrimental to healthy personal relationships and productive integration into the workplace and society.

So, I ask the question “why” do these three technologies exist in the grand scheme of things, and what can we do if they are capable of hindering relationships?

Staying  Christ Centered

I have determined that if we stay centered in Christ first, then the “Why” for all technology comes into clear focus. We are to use it first to magnify His Glory and second, to serve our fellow man. Trust in the Lord and not the arm of flesh (Psalms 118:8).

I find it fascinating that when you divide the Paslms’ chapter and verse number, 1188, by 2 it equals 594, which is exactly the number of chapters before and after this pivotal chapter.  So we have the center chapter, the center verse, with the center message as a focal point for this paramount verse of the Bible. There is no doubt that the Lord’s hand is in the details of His work and can and will be in our lives if we will but invite Him in.

When we use these amazing technologies to draw closer to Him in learning to live the first two great commandments, then we are in balance, and God will guide us to maximum purpose in our lives and to a fullness of joy in the life to come:

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with with all they soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and they neighbor as thyself.” (Luke 10:27)

This includes loving our enemies, as the Savior admonished in the Sermon on the Mount, which sermon is the recipe for the ideal society.

Although our earthly relationships are extremely important, I believe that the most important relationship is with the Lord.  I believe the main reason “why” we are here on earth is to come to know our infinitely loving Heavenly Father through faith in Jesus Christ, His teachings and His atonement and as well as coming to know our Savior.  They in oneness offer the greatest joy in this life and a fullness of joy in the life to come.  They offer a perfect plan of happiness in time and in eternity in the midst of a very imperfect world.  Using these three technologies wisely, as well as any technology, to help build these most important relationships, brings us fully into balance.

Use of Great Technology Tools

We see the internet being used as a great tool for many things including the spreading the gospel of Christ. My wife and I use it for doing genealogy research, which pulls families closer together as they get to know their roots and relatives. She is related to 39 of the US Presidents and can trace her ancestry back to Adam with no monkeys in between. 

I find my cell phone very useful to communicate with family and friends when I cannot be with them, but it stays in the car when we meet. There is nothing like the bonding warmth of face to face communication.  Prayer and feasting on the word of God require no technology and are most useful in in building those most important relationships, which bring peace, love, and joy into our lives.

David W. Allan

P.S. Attached is a downloadable PDF on the History of GPS and how I, with the many others, were united in bringing this fantastic technology forth.  PDF Download: My Involvement With GPS Development
Three Amazing Technologies:
Wikipedia: GPS (Global Positioning System)
Wikipedia: The Internet
Wikipedia: Mobile Phone

The “Time Lord Award” given to David at an international telecom meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland: