Important U.S. and South Korean government agencies were attacked by cyber-terrorists a few days ago, leaving their servers inoperative for a brief period of time.
I had a similar experience a couple years ago. My computer was infected with a virus and rendered useless so I had to buy a new one.
At the time, I wondered, “Why would anyone want to destroy other people’s computers by spreading viruses when they don’t get any benefit out of it themselves?”
I think I now know the answer: people can’t stand the idea that their lives are meaningless, that it doesn’t make any difference whether or not they were even born. So they try to leave their mark in this world, however they can.
Several years ago when I was in Germany, I visited Heidelberg, the setting of the movie “The Student Prince”, my favorite movie in college. My wife and I toured a medieval wine cellar. As we walked down the long steps of the cavern we were surprised to see Korean writing on the wall saying, “Kim was here!”
Why do men leave graffiti, knowing that it damages property? People have the basic desire to leave marks indicating that they were there.
A good example of this desire to leave a mark is the Guinness Book of World Records. It includes all sorts of records: the tallest man in the world, the longest living person, the longest kiss, the largest number of people packed in a car, etc. Most of the records are meaningless. It doesn’t make a whit of difference to the world if the records are tracked at all.
But people spend a lot of time and effort to get their names in the book. I saw a TV interview with a person who was trying to build the longest graffiti-filled wall in the world. What drives him to do something so meaningless with so much passion? The basic desire to leave a mark.
I don’t think that most people care about world records except the record holders themselves and their close friends. And their records are only temporary; many are bound to be broken.
Men are made in the image of God. Since God is eternal, we seem to have a longing for eternity. I think that the desire to leave a mark comes from this longing for eternity. When people can’t leave their marks by becoming great or doing great things, they resort to inventing viruses and destroying other people’s computers.
If we truly want to leave lasting marks, it’s best to work for something that lasts forever. Human souls last forever, so we should work at saving souls. When you help save people, not only does your immediate work last forever, but you leave a legacy as their faith is in turn transmitted through their descendants. There is no better way to leave a mark in this world.
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