An article that should appear in our local paper in due course:
The thought of a driverless car or autonomous vehicle seems quite attractive when making the long drive to Adelaide and back. But it seems the technology still needs quite a lot of refinement to function in the real world. Accident reports involving autonomous vehicles being tested by Google in the US reveal an unexpected source of accidents: vehicles with human drivers.
It seems that human drivers don’t factor in the same degree of caution as autonomous vehicles are programmed to exercise. So, the accidents these vehicles are involved in largely happen because human drivers don’t expect other vehicles to be quite so careful. For instance, autonomous vehicles will break for a yellow light rather than accelerating through the intersection, and the following car will run into them.
The answer to the problem is programming the autonomous vehicles to drive more aggressively, and so better reflect the driving patterns of humans. For all that, I’d still love to see the day when they test an autonomous vehicle in Coles’ car-park; or in the car-park at the old Woolworth’s, where people love driving up and down the lanes in the wrong directions.
There is something in human nature that loves to push and go beyond limits. Not only in driving, but also in all of life we seem more and more determined to cram some sort of activity or another into every minute of the day.
It’s not unusual for people to treat unoccupied time as a lack of fulfilment or waste. Rather than remain in silence with our own thoughts, we crave activity, audio or visual stimulation; and, if all else fails, we scroll through our phones to find out what other people are doing. If our children’s days are not completely packed with activity we might feel guilty that we are denying them full opportunity.
Lives lived without any pattern of rest and reflection can lead to burnouts and breakdowns of various types. We were not designed to spend every waking minute in some form of activity. We not only need rest, we also need precious time to spend self-reflection and consideration of our lives and the circumstances that confront us day by day.
The Bible talks about Sabbath, a time of rest that intentionally takes the individual away from their everyday pursuits and causes them to engage in conscious rest and reflection on themselves and their relationship with their God and their neighbour. The weekend penalty rates that are guarded vigilantly are a reminder of a time when society in general recognised the benefit of a day of rest and rewarded those whose work involved them having to sacrifice this special time.
One of the ways that the Bible talks about Jesus is that he is the ultimate expression of rest. Knowing him means that we no longer have to struggle and work to earn God’s acceptance, but can rest secure in our relationship with him. The Bible bids us be still and know God. The next time you have a second, don’t automatically try and fill it with some activity. Take time to pause and think.

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