... I. The Matrix ...

values paradoxes

The news media reports of Enron, a leading oil tracing company from 1990-2002, would have us believe so. This is certainly not the case with most individuals in oil exploration. Most lead a quiet, peaceful, honest life. Yet, I have come to the conclusion the biggest difference between the technical and the business side of the oil and gas exploration industry is the data the different sides of the business use. Oil exploration deals are largely valued based on packaging. The most important data on the business side is money, and money is transitory. Money's value can change overnight.

The technical side of the business uses seismic, well logs, cores, cuttings, geochemical measurements, aeromagnetics, gravity, electrical, satellite, and related types of scientific data. These data are measurements (instances, usually numbers) with specific meaning (high seismic amplitudes often means the presence of hydrocarbons, while a low gravity measurement means low density, as would occur over a salt dome since salt has less density than surrounding sand or shale) in the real world (located at line "x", trace "y", and at two-way travel time "t" or depth "z"), and the measurements are repeatable and predictable. The business side of the oil industry is based on money. Too often money's measurement is neither repeatable nor predictable. Money's value is in transisition, and largely driven by perception. In addition, the value of money is often driven by greed, which, unlike integrity, is not a value.

One of the significant values of most religions is placing money in a reasonable perspective, and in relative importance, compared to long-term relationships, such as can be found in families. Both the scriptures and data show family is more important than money. So if we have faith does it mean there are no problems with family, and no interest in money? Certainly not, at least from my experience.

In 1996, my wife of 23 years divorced me. It has been hard and sad to experience the resulting pain and issues. Divorce takes two people, and although I am now willing to be more vulnerable, I do not want to air dirty laundry. I mention this most personal failure to stress an open mind, or faith, does not mean there are not trials of faith. In fact, it sometimes appears as though those with faith have more trials than those not concerned with spiritual things.14 And our personalized trials never come easy. Otherwise, they are not trials.

It seems, as part of earth life, each of us, at some point in our life, are tried to the limit of our endurance. Not unlike the scriptures description of how Job was tried to the limit of his ability to endure. As we are going through these personalized trials, we learn how all these things give us experience and are for our good.1.28 And, sometimes, as in my life as well as in the scriptural account of Job's life, we are even blessed far beyond what was taken away.1.29

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