Thursday, April 07, 2005

High vs. Low Church

I've said for years that the disagreements between the users of PCs and Macs were basically religious. We use Macs at home, but I've worked on both platforms, I've even taught software classes using both platforms, and nobody died. Just another instance of my inability to commit, I guess. However, I was delighted to read in Jon Carroll's column this morning that no less authority than Umberto Eco has come to the same conclusion:

"'Insufficient consideration has been given to the underground religious war that is transforming the modern world: the division between users of the Macintosh computer and users of the MS-DOS-compatible computers. I am firmly of the opinion that the Macintosh is Catholic and that DOS is Protestant. Indeed, the Macintosh is counter-reformist and has been influenced by the methodical path of the Jesuits.

'It tells the faithful how they must proceed step by step to reach -- if not the Kingdom of Heaven -- the moment in which their document is printed. It is catechistic: the essence of revelation is dealt with via simple formulae and sumptuous icons. Everyone has a right to salvation.

'DOS is Protestant, or even Calvinistic. It allows free interpretation of scripture, demands difficult personal decisions, imposes a subtle hermeneutics upon the user, and takes for granted the idea that not all can reach salvation."

This left me musing over what role other world religions play in the computer world. Eco considers that machine language is "the stuff of the Old Testament, Talmudic and cabalistic." Okay. But what is the Buddhism of computers? The Islam? The Hindu? Any thoughts?


Anonymous Caryn Cameron said...

I like that theory. I use both, but Mac primarily because, as Eco might say, with it salvation is easier to reach. This is important when deadlines loom.

Cool stuff; thanks for sharing it.

12:36 PM  

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