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The Parable of the Network

Once there was a network of personal computers.  The PCs in the network were all connected to the Internet, as well as to each other. In addition,  each had a special dedicated connection to a uniquely powerful Server.  The connection to the Server gave the PCs enormous flexibility and power.  They could rapidly download  programs from the Server's huge memory: or, when faced with a particularly difficult computation, they could send data to the Server to be processed there, and have the results shipped back over the dedicated connection.

One day, one of the PCs downloaded a certain program from the Internet and executed it.  Had the PC been connected to the Server at the time,  the Server's screening software would have blocked the execution: but unfortunately, the PC-to-Server connection had temporarily been deactivated.  The downloaded program contained a pernicious virus, which immediately attacked the PC, both its software and hardware.  Furthermore, the virus took over the PC to the extent that it forced it to re-transmit itself, so that almost instantaneously every PC on the network was infected.

As a result of the infection, the dedicated connections to the Server were all rendered non-functional.  The PCs' hardware was so altered that it was impossible  to re-connect to the Server.  Whenever  a direct  PC-to-Server connection was attempted, the PC's damaged hardware was so overwhelmed that the PC would shut down permanently.   The only remaining connection which the PCs had to the Server was through the internet.  The connection was sporadic, and any data received from the Server was subject to corruption through  the virus resident within the PCs.

The insidious virus worked incessantly and progressively.  Even the most powerful PC could not resist, but eventually shut down, its hardware riddled by the virus' attacks.   The Systems Administrator made several attempts to solve the problem. But every time he tried to use one of the PCs to try to get at the virus, the PC locked up, being itself infected.  So he could make no headway, until

One day the Systems Administrator  added another PC to the network.  This PC  was absolutely unique, for this PC alone was untainted by the virus.  This was because the PC had an unbroken connection with the Server. At the time of the initial infection, only this PC had been connected to the Server. In fact this PC was the Executive PC for the network, and had been instrumental in setting up the network in the first place.

As soon as the Executive PC was connected to the network, the virus attacked it furiously.  But this time the virus could make no headway .  Time and again its encroachments were thwarted.  Whenever the virus attacked, effective antivirus software was requested and downloaded from the Server which specifically squelched the attack. The Executive PC was subject to every form and variant of the virus, but remained uncorrupted.

It was evident that as long as the Executive PC's connection to the Server was intact, there was no way the virus could prevail.  So the virus focused on destroying this connection.  Eventually it succeeded in accomplishing its objective, and  the connection between the Executive PC and the Server was severed.  Once the connection was destroyed, the PC was dead meat.  Soon it was nothing but a case full of burned-out junk.   However, before succumbing to the virus, the Executive PC succeeded in accomplishing two things.  First, all of the PC's software was shipped back to the Server over the dedicated connection.  Second, the Executive PC had succeeded in transferring a zipped software package to several of the PC's.  Once the package was unzipped and executed by these PCs (a process which took about a week), an amazing thing happened.  The program opened up a new dedicated connection to the Server -- a wireless connection! Through this wireless connection,  these PCs could receive the same anti-virus software which had been tested and proven on the Executive PC.

This new communications link could not reverse the hardware damage already caused by the virus.  However, downloads from the Server could now clean up the PCs' software.  The cleaned-up PCs could then join in the battle against the virus, transmitting antivirus software to other infected PCs, which repeated the cycle.

Though the PCs' hardware was irreversibly damaged, those PC's with a wireless connection had another recourse.  The PCs' essential software (now cleansed of the virus) could eventually be shipped over the wireless connection back to the Server, and the same software was installed on new, powerful workstations which were untouched by the virus.

"For God so loved the World that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."

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Copyright © 2001 CrossPollen
Last Revised: August 12, 2001

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