Tag Archives: travel

Death by GPS, part I

The girls and I traveled, along with my mom and sister, to Dallas this weekend for a girly getaway. On the way home, we turned to the GPS to get us back on the road. “Nancy,” our GPS, kept trying to get us on a highway blocked by large orange barrels and flashing lights.

Nancy continued recalculating, instructing us to “when possible, take a left” and (maybe it was my imagination), but seemed to get more and more angry and insistent the farther away from her path we tread. It’s tempting to take the GPS as an authority, and just follow that route.

A few weeks ago, though, I read this piece on NPR, that discussed our over-reliance on GPS and the flaws in that trust, especially in dangerous locations, like Death Valley, which was so named because of a wagon-train’s ill-fated “shortcut.”

Some have found themselves on long-forgotten logging roads, desert paths, ice roads, and a few each year die because help doesn’t find them in time.

Many people have been misdirected by their GPS systems because of over-reliance on the map, and as Korzybski says, “the map is not the territory.”  The green tree icons are merely representations of reality, a cheap simulation of the richness of nature.

‘Somebody had a map, and somebody said, this is a faster way to get to the gold fields,’ Callagan says. ‘Deep down back in the brain, the common sense says, you know, this is not the wisest thing.’

That’s what makes the difference between our trip home yesterday and dying on an unmarked road in Death Valley: common sense.

I’ve got this idea that following a GPS to your death (turning directly off a bridge into icy waters) is a lot like those who elevate Scripture above the Spirit.

“The Letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” – 2 Cor 3:6

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Legalism is following the map, not being guided through the territory. You can use the Scripture as a guide and SHOULD use it as a guide, but call it common sense, call it intuition, call it what it is, the SPIRIT should discern the best way to proceed.

Look for Part II of Death by GPS next week.

Has your GPS ever led you astray?

How do you know it’s the Spirit and not the Letter that guides you?