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Chaplain's Corner

Photo by Anthony Summa

For Your Information

8 Jan 2021 | Lt. Dwight Dunlap Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune

In August of 2018, I had an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take rafting trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. The name “Grand” does not even come close to describing the depth and expanse of this natural wonder of the world; the sheer magnitude of the canyon exposes the limitations of our spoken language to capture the very essences of this geographical marvel. I remember feeling small as the canyon cliffs scaled many thousands of feet on either side of me at heights which would dwarf the tallest skyscrapers. At night, I would feel even more insignificant as I gazed up at the myriads upon myriads of stars in the desert night sky, counting the shooting stars as I slowly drifted into a restful slumber by the river. 

There is very little debate to the natural beauty of our world and the massive expanse of our universe; both of which illicit wonder. But may I suggest that there is something even more awe inspiring than all the vistas this world has to offer, a concept that expands beyond the universe that should make us gasp, a quantity that cannot be measured but without nothing can exist.  What is this amazing thing? Information.

Information is what makes any system not only function, but to exist. Without information, your handheld device would serve no purpose outside of a paperweight, same as your personal computer, television or any other tool which requires code to function. Without information, the very words of this article would be without meaning and serve no purpose to convey any message. Images in a painting would represent nothing in reality, form with have no connection to function, and beauty would have nothing to compare. Information is the driving force behind life, the universe and everything. More beautiful than the Grand Canyon and more breathtaking than the stars, is the fact that each one of us is coded with a word that is over 360 billion letters long, our DNA sequence. You are unique and even at the most basic level, your life has meaning and purpose. Contemplating the concept of information should add further perspective to the opening words in the Gospel of John: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” (John 1:1) As you celebrate the holidays this season, may you know and realize how truly unique you are and the real value that your existence in the universe represents.