The monitor ran a CARTOON a while back with this caption: "In preparation for the year 2000 glitch, the government urged everyone to take refresher courses in simple arithmetic and writing longhand" (July 22, 1998). (This is a reference to the widespread concern that some computers may not be able to properly distinguish dates beyond the year 1999.)
While some people believe that the transition to the new century will cause only minor inconvenience, others seem convinced that many essential utilities and infrastructures with date-dependent programming will utterly fail at the stroke of midnight Jan. 1, causing mass confusion.
What might one do to be prepared? There are many computer people working diligently to foresee and correct problems before the clock ticks the last second of this year. And I believe the rest of us can do things to support them in their efforts.
Even if you're not a computer expert yourself, you can discern the fundamental truth about the nature of all useful things.
What does that mean? Well, I like to think of computers as representing the quality of intelligence. Their function is to perform tasks precisely and consistently, without emotion or deviation. They can be used to communicate, to create, to calculate, to compose. And their utility, reliability, and precision have served humanity well for decades.
What is the source of this usefulness? Certainly not the chips and circuits, or even the programming, although it is all reflective of intelligence. We might argue that the source is the collective contribution of all the inventors and programmers who have incorporated their ideas into computer development. But what is the source of those ideas?
Isn't it God?
God is Mind, the only Mind of the universe. In the words of the Monitor's founder, Mary Baker Eddy: "All consciousness is Mind; and Mind is God, - an infinite, and not a finite consciousness. This consciousness is reflected in individual consciousness, or man, whose source is infinite Mind. There is no really finite mind, no finite consciousness. There is no material substance, for Spirit is all that endureth, and hence is the only substance. There is, can be, no evil mind, because Mind is God. God and His ideas - that is, God and the universe - constitute all that exists" ("Unity of Good," pg. 24).
I find much comfort in the concept that "there is no really finite mind." Divine Mind is infinite, and all the manifestations of intelligence that we see in daily living reflect this Mind to some degree. All legitimate thought proceeds from this Mind. And whatever is of God must be good and productive and harmonious. There are no little minds governing creation, not even inanimate ones. Creation is governed by one Principle, the Mind that is Love.
The computer may have been invented by humans, but again, who gave them the intelligence to come up with this incredibly useful invention? God is the only real Mind, and gives us dominion over all things. The book of Job in the Bible speaks of God this way: "He is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth. For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him" (23:13, 14).
Back to the question of how we can help with Y2K. We can pray, now, that those in the position to take action about the coming millennial transition will be able to do whatever needs to be done. Will discern how to cover the essentials beforehand. Will know how to correct quickly any surprises that arise. In praying, we can mentally turn aside from fear of disaster or confusion with the silent or spoken declaration that God is in control, since He is the only Mind. We can trust that God is directing and guiding all who are earnestly striving to make the transition to the next century a smooth one.
This enlightened thought will help dispel the fear associated with the year 2000. And when fear is out of the way, God's perfect intelligence, always at hand, will inevitably shine through.
You can visit the home page of The First Church of Christ, Scientist: www.tfccs.com