Not For Sale
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Go back in history and watch a group of Chinese men experimenting with an ancient form of the printing press as they attempt to print a Chinese document for the first time on a piece of “rag” paper. An older Chinese man is teaching a young seventeen-year-old to print, while the others watch.
“All ye gat tu duu his attach zi paper tu a tick and zmuthe board!” shouts the manager. “Hits heasy, boy!”
Nearby carving workers cut away white space and then Chinese letters or characters come into being. Other Chinese men and women busily work at spreading ink on these characters, then cover a paper on them. A few feet away, others slowly brush paper with their hands. Finally, writing appears on the paper.
Very primitive by today’s standards of printing. Nevertheless, several things had to be in place before a sheet of the first text of Buddhist scripture could be printed.
Now watch as in 1440 Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of movable type printing, supervises a trainee as he experiments with the first hand press.
“These are moveable hand-set block letters, Hans!” He points to some blocks shaped in some fancy type German letters.
“Alright, and then?” responds the young man.
“Then, you’ve got to roll ink over the raised surfaces of the letters.”
“Alright! Let me do it!” he rolls ink over the first sentence in the German Bible: “Am Anfang schuf Gott Himmel und Erde.” (In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth).
“Now press that line of text against the paper!” Gutenberg almost trembles with excitement.
As the first sentence is printed, Guttenberg, ecstatic with joy, jumps up and down, hugs the youth, grabs his wife who is watching, and dances around the room in a glad frenzy.
Now visit a more advanced printing press today.A number of things are needed before a readable printing becomes acceptable. The press must use a combination of several rollers, which take ink (usually in a gel or liquid form), and then the press must spread it uniformly over the surface of the roller as they spin. Once the ink is rolled out on the rollers, the color is transferred to the plate cylinder, one of three rollers that turn in a synchronized manner at the exact same rotation speed. The image goes from this roller to the blanket cylinder. Afterwards paper is fed through the machine and between the blanket cylinder and impression cylinders.
Then the image is transferred to the paper and pulled through these two rollers. These cylinders are all touching each other, and they must turn at the same speed or else there will be sliding between them, which will cause a blurry image that could tear the paper.
One morning when the manager of the press arrives, a worker peeps in through the door and says, “Sir, something is wrong with the rollers! They’re not rotating at the right speed!”
“You’re joking!” the manager coughs. “We’ve got to produce the Evening News in time for the streets!” He leaves his office and enters the press room, examines the large machine and touches a button. “Looks alright to me! Try it again, Tom!”
When Tom tries it, it rolls, but sluggishly.
“O.K. Just a minute!” the manager pulls and pushes a lever somewhere in the back of the press. “It will work now!”
The machine begins to print, and the first page comes out, then stops abruptly.
“Now, what’s going on?” the manager screams. “The ink is too thin...the letters look like ghosts…!”
The manager calls a meeting of the workers. “We’ve got three problems. One...the cylinders MUST ROTATE AT THE SAME SPEED or we can’t print! Two...the ink must be well-balanced...it’s like the atmosphere we breathe. If we don’t have the right percent hydrogen and oxygen, we cannot survive. This newspaper cannot be read unless Tom mixes the ink properly. THIRD...The impression assembly MUST push the paper onto the inked type. There can be no distance between the paper and the ink. CORRECT POSITIONING will give life to our newspaper. The print will be bold and arresting! A combination of several things will produce a printed text. Each department in this company must fulfill its role, gentlemen!”
Here then is the crucial question? Could the printing press operate without a manager, who knows all the intricate functioning of each of its delicate and necessary parts? Without such a manager, complete chaos and confusion would reign supreme and reveal discord not only in the printing, but also in the circulation of so important a work.
How necessary then is the need for a skilled and qualified manager, who knows exactly what he is doing and what to do in every emergency?
Like the printing press, the universe is extremely complicated. If we have personal grievances against the Creator, we may wish He never existed, and willingly believe everything evolved out of a series of natural accidents. On the other hand an objective analysis would lead us to reduce that theory to the trash heap of history.
To Job of old in his affliction, God declared Himself to be Manager of the universe, “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding!”
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