10/08/2005

The Kingdom in Reverse

I was at the Supertones’ last concert ever on Friday night with JD, who is back from Spain trying to iron out some visa nonsense. At one point in the middle of the show, Matt (the lead singer) summed up what he had been trying to get across through 10 years of ministry and songwriting: lay up your treasures in heaven, not on earth.

That is something I worry about periodically with regard to grad school. There are lots of warnings in the Bible about not laying up treasures on earth, the wisdom of men being foolishness to God, the first being last, etc. I’m somewhat afraid that I will wake up one day and discover that, instead of pursuing the kingdom of God, I have spent myself following after what I happened to enjoy doing, and in my pursuit of what the world deems first, suddenly find myself last by the only reckoning that matters.

Everything I learn about algorithmic time complexity and machine learning is excrement apart from the kingdom of God. This is not to say that learning about those things has no value – all elegant algorithms are God’s elegant algorithms. There is a lot in computer science which is both beautiful and useful. It just seems so much easier to find yourself last in the Kingdom-in-reverse when what you do is so involved with what the world considers wise.

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