A Note From Our Editor: “Steve Jobs’ Passing As Apocalyptic Event?” -- By: John Warwick Montgomery
A Note From Our Editor: “Steve Jobs’ Passing As Apocalyptic Event?”
I am a convinced Mac user. I also do the PC but only for primitive activities such as gaming. For anything really serious, such as programming, it’s an Apple Mac. I kid my Patrick Henry College students that if they want problems they have only to wrestle with the miseries of Windows operating systems—which have become tolerable only by shamelessly imitating the Mac OS.
Italian polymath Umberto Eco, in a celebrated article in the Italian weekly news magazine, Espresso, way back on September 30, 1994, argued that
the world is divided between users of the Macintosh computer and users of 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 ratio studiorum of the Jesuits. It is cheerful, friendly, conciliatory; 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 achieve salvation. To make the system work you need to interpret the program yourself: Far away from the baroque community of revelers, the user is closed within the loneliness of his own inner torment.
I strongly disagree. Ecco has never understood the Reformation message that we are saved by grace through faith apart from the works of the law. It is the PC (and not merely in its horrific DOS manifestation) that has required of the user conformity with an immense number of arcane rules and has promised early arrival in computer heaven only to those who have somehow reduced their time in purgatory by penitential acts of recovery after crashes due to viral attacks that cannot touch the Mac. True Christian faith in the Reformation spirit is the easiest religion in the world, since Christ has done everything for our salvation—but it is at the same time the hardest, since one must admit that, not being able to save itself, a fallen race needed Christ that much. The intuitive Mac user interface requires only trust that its Unix-based OS will deliver the goods; and that faith is so eminently justified that computer bookracks now feature a wide variety of change-over titles for those in process of conversion to the Mac from the woes of the PC.
The danger, however, is to turn a technical triumph into a religious phenomenon. Ten years ago, a religious sociologist publ...
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