A Detour into the Total Perspective Vortex

In the previous post in this series on our Master’s voice, I wrote that: “We can’t see the reasons God wants us to trust Him because there is far more at work than we could ever imagine.”  Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction, but sometimes great illustrations come from strange fictional places, like Jim Carrey movies and Douglas Adams books for example.

In The Restaurant at the End of the Universe,[1] the sequel to the sci-fi comedy classic The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, author Douglas Adams imagines a technology that harnesses full awareness of the universe as a profoundly cruel torture device.  When Trin Tragula invented the “Total Perspective Vortex” to annoy his wife who kept accusing him of blowing things out of proportion, he found that when he tested it on her, “the shock completely annihilated her brain.”  A victim is placed in the TPV and presented with a realistic model of the entire universe, with a tiny dot on top of a tiny dot that says, “you are here.”  He concluded that “a sense of proportion” in such a massive universe would only make someone feel completely insignificant, hopeless, and insane beyond all hope of recovery.  It’s a sci-fi comedy, but still, be careful what you wish for.

Another example from a different angle is the Jim Carrey movie, Bruce Almighty.  This hilarious (but irreverent) comedy is based on Carrey’s character Bruce Nolan raging against God about his frustrating life.  God, played by Morgan Freeman, appears and challenges Bruce to do any better, giving him “the job” for a temporary period to teach him a lesson.  The 3-ish-minute video embedded here is my favorite part of the movie, where Bruce tries to figure out how to deal with his new awareness of all the prayers of the world.

If God thought it was possible, or a good idea, for us to know it all, we would.  After all, even Nipper the dog from the “His Master’s Voice” painting would be distracted and unable to get anything done if he saw this picture, even though it contains only good news:

Our Master speaks to us as our creator, knowing both our limitations, but also what we are capable of as His marvelous creatures if we trust Him!

This post is fourth in a series that started with this post on His Master’s Voice. More to come…


[1] Adams, Douglas. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.  (1980).  P. 79

In Search of a Winning Philosophy

In 1 Timothy 1:3-4 Paul writes to Timothy: “As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith.”

In his commentary on the verse, John Calvin adds: “He judges of doctrine by the fruit; for every tiling that does not edify ought to be rejected, although it has no other fault; and everything that is of no avail but for raising contentions, ought to be doubly condemned.”

When I came across Calvin’s note last week, it reminded me of the linked Monty Python video of philosophers philosophizing about soccer while simultaneously “playing” soccer.

Every doctrine and institution of the church should empower His people to live for Him. Are we playing the right game, and are we playing to win?