An Instrument of God
Letters from Leopoldo Giordania to Arturo
Arturo, we are flutes with missing key pads, guitars with broken strings and pianos out of tune. I have often thought of us in this way, out of harmony with nature’s rhythms, discordant and atonal. But there is a better metaphor, that of the lens.
At one moment we see the world as if through a microscope, drilling into the finest minutia, lost in an argument with a friend or ruminating on a simple persistent compulsive behavior like staring compulsively into a mirror at blemishes, folds and wrinkles.
The next moment we are carried up into physics, unifying theories, the vistas presented by NASAs orbiting Hubble telescope. But it is all the same thing, bits of a whole, dependent on our focus at the time.
While gazing at stars an ant crawls beneath our feet. Looking down, a comet passes overhead unnoticed. We are limited, as the ancients tell us, by eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind. Even imagination is limited as it requires the connection of disparate ideas to understand the whole of a thing, to give our lives context and help us plot the next step.
In your lifetime, with the resources at your command, you will have access to quantum computing. Think of what that capability could do for the enterprise. Imagine the focus required to play three-dimensional chess as we do, but elevated to eight-dimensional chess. Imagine access to computational devices capable of winning that game, every time. I cannot. I am a human being who, like God, uses the instruments at hand to reshape the universe around me.
Do you remember our lessons with the slide rule? Your father’s engineers carried the ability to make complex calculations in their minds and breast pockets. Long before that, the abacus and Pascal’s mechanical calculator. The point I make is simple. Focus is limited to the resources and information at hand, and that body of information is always changing.
What is in front of you now that you have taken on the business, is dense nearly impenetrable amounts of information. Your father ran on what he called his gut, very often making horrible decisions based upon too little information, and then forcing square pegs into round holes to make it all work. He used and abused the people around him as if they were mere machines and disposable instruments of his will. He never understood, nor tolerated, weakness, believing at every step that he could force the outcome.
I thank God every day that you are not your father. Your spirit is genuinely curious. These traits lift you above the men and women in your life. Use your gifts. Be patient. Stay focused.