Allan Thompson would love to talk about Information Theory. It’s the thing that drew me to this amazing man. We would sit on the beach and discuss the world through the lens of our shared Christian faith- the thing upon which, we concurred, all else rests. And like Al, yet at a much lower level of understanding or interaction, the concept of “information” itself and how such an idea intersects with God and the universe has captivated me since childhood.
Al was not afraid to question my understanding of the world which made me believe that I was up to the task of speaking with him on a level that transcended the average interaction. He didn’t accept, for example, that I could host a radio show or produce a television segment for air without knowing about the technology that allowed for the transmission of signals through the ionosphere. When pressed I replied that I simply knew that it was possible, the evidence being that we hear sounds and see images through the magic of that technology. My job was to create content and his was to find the means by which to convey that information to the audience. We each learned something of the other at those times, and how God uses our unique gifts and talents in ways that, when joined together, can do “more than we can ask or imagine”.
At its simplest, both the conversation specifically and the roles each of us played in the conveyance of ideas could sum up Information Theory. Anything that we were able to share with each other that added to the depth, breadth or quality of our respective understanding is what can be construed as “information”. It was in the challenge itself, the humbling or the question asking, that each of us was able to experience that profoundly exciting moment of realizing that there is so much more to know if only we are willing to allow vulnerability to take the place of imperviousness.
Anyone who knew Al or me as individuals would not have been in the least surprised by the attraction of those two magnetic poles- me, the inveterate questioner and he who, on a philosophical level, believed that nothing of any importance is gained without the new-to-me knowledge that can only be attained through relentless inquiry. In fact, my goal in creating this website for Al initially was to interview him exclusively on the topic he believed to be of no interest to others: Information Theory. The irony of him not believing that he had anything to impart as I created a platform designed for communicating his knowledge is not lost on me. This realization is particularly poignant now that there are only memories of those myriad undocumented conversations. Though never to be seen or heard by others, my blissful conversations with Al are only one facet of a man who captivated those who knew him by way of his vast intelligence, incredible wit, relentless faith, unceasing curiosity and myriad talents.
Al and I were developing ideas for this website, not the least of which being to discuss some of his mentors, influencers and, of course, the source of all Information, He who spoke the world into existence. We agreed that it would have taken spending the entirety of our lives together to even scratch the surface when it came to exploring the vast topics that held our mutual interest. That we shared a faith was a blessing I had always hoped for and believed should form the central cord of that marriage bond described in Ecclesiastes 4:12. That bond could not be broken by the worldly challenges we faced as Al travelled through this life and on to the next. His legacy will live on here through my own efforts at sharing his passions. It will live on through the many lives he has touched, through the images and words that are used to convey the things that others knew of the man, but more importantly perhaps, the things that were never known of him if you are meeting him here for the first time, if you are learning something new by way of this site, or if you thought you knew Allan Thompson in one of the many roles he played on this earth and are now seeing him in a different light. That, at its core, is what is meant by Information Theory and Al would be the first to agree that if there is anything of the as-yet-not-known-or-understood that can be conveyed by way of this website, it will not have been created in vain.
Joani Thompson – June 15, 2022