We all have a master, and should be humble

A Jewish tale tells of a mighty emperor, supposedly a “king of kings” who conquered so many nations and people, that he believed and proclaimed that he was unstoppable and not even God (the “King of the Kings of the Kings”) could stop him. God did not like him. So what did he do? He let a fly enter the emperor's head and keep buzzing there. The emperor could not stand the fly buzzing in his head, and ended up being driven to insanity, and then committing suicide. So his Hubris (= excessive human pride) caused him to be killed by a creature as insignificant as a fly.

While this is a folk tale, it illustrates the fact that we as humans are still at the mercy of forces beyond us. As the old thought experiment goes, tomorrow Linus Torvalds, who created and still maintain the Linux kernel, and is the poster child of the open source movement (and a really smart hacker, and a father to three daughters), can get hit by a bus. I am almost certain the Linux kernel development, and the open source world in general will survive this shock, but a wonderful and beautiful life will be lost forever. I can also get hit by an motorcar, and so can Chuck Norris, who may now be old enough to have a heart attack or any other deteriorating health problems due to old age. We are all fragile, and must realize we should not succumb to Hubris, because even if God does not exist, then Hubris will make us undertake some really stupid actions, which will end up causing our downfall.

As surprising as it sounds, even God has a master: logic. Aristotle codified logic in his Organon, which back then was not so taken for granted - “A is A, and A is not not-A? Of course A can be not-A. I want a little of what he is smoking!”. After doing that, mathematicians, scientists, engineers and other scholars, have used his logic to construct greater and better technology - both physical and “concrete” (like the tall buildings in various cities around the world, land, air and space travel, and naturally - computer and computer networks) and mental (like the various philosophies, idea systems, and mythological systems, up to this very essay and this very word).

Despite all the benefits that the Aristotelian logic gave us, logicians have proved that some tasks are impossible to perform, and that true omnipotence is not possible. Perhaps the most famous is “Can God create a stone so heavy that he would be unable to lift ?”. However, a more recent and more important one is the Halting problem, which specifies that one cannot write a program which will: 1. finish within a finite time, and — 2. will determine if any other arbitrary program will terminate (or alternatively run forever). While the formal proof is complex, there is a short and informal proof that most intelligent people can understand.

So the King of the Kings of the Kings, as mighty and wonderful as he is, also has a master - logic.