Engineering a New World

Something Can Be Done About It

Computers Themselves Don’t Change the World

“Let’s face it, we’re not changing the world. We’re building a product that helps people buy more crap – and watch porn.” — Seagate CEO Bill Watkins

DailyTech – Flock 1.0 Released to Users

That quote itself sums up why I stopped working just computers full-time, and poured efforts into more remunerative endeavours at the Church of Scientology.  Working computers, and only computers, you know that an unfortunate number of people will just use them for ill. 

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4 comments on “Computers Themselves Don’t Change the World

  1. John Davis
    November 8, 2007

    Jettero, your comment about computers seems to be particularly negative. A lot of people use them for good purposes too. The current revision of our materials (The Basics) couldn’t have been done without computers. Compared to really helping people, as you seem to be doing at the Church of Scientology, though, I can quite understand. People last an awful lot longer than computers ever will!

    By the way, do you really mean “remunerative?” You might check the word in a dictionary, it seems a bit low on the Scale of Motivation.

    John

  2. jetteroheller
    November 9, 2007

    Mr. Davis:

    An extremely astute point.

    (a) You’re entirely correct that computers have an outrageous number of good uses. I still do work computers on a daily basis, just the usage and purpose is different.

    (b) Youre also correct on the usage of the term “remunerative”. I was sparse with my words, and meant to infer personal and spiritual remuneration, rather than the monetary sort.

    Unfortunately, I had a much bigger post in mind when I first read that quote, and had a whole concept for what I wanted to communicate. I unfortunately then got tugged in 6 different directions and didn’t end up finishing it.

    See, many years ago, I was working as a network engineer at a major hosting company back East, and had the task of setting up about $300,000 worth of hardware to set up the Sony Playstation website. Sony USA was putting together a new, cutting edge site to launch the PS2, and I was tasked with setting it all up.

    Now, while this is a cool one to tell all your friends about and say, “dude, I’m working on the Sony Playstation website”, the unfortunate truth is what I was actually creating by putting that up.

    Being a part of driving more people to veg out in front of video games, while not evil, is not exactly in the same direction either as getting a ton of people to go over to be Volunteer Ministers or to go learn how to do Dianetics to solve why it is they yell at their wife all the time.

    I think that’s my point.

    Nobel didn’t want TNT to be used for anything else other than mining, and Einstein wasn’t thinking with Hiroshima when cooking up relativity, so likewise I think anyone involved with computers in any capacity should be at least somewhat responsible for the effects their product can take, and do what they can to be able to ensure it’s used for the right thing.

    Obviously the Seagate CEO’s soundbite above is probably taken out of context, but still – even a big hard drive manufacturer could do what they could to see that an amazing piece of technology like a 1TB desktop hard drive could then be used to better people’s lives instead of the other degraded possibilities.

  3. John Davis
    November 12, 2007

    Jettero, I totally get where you are saying. It’s quite obvious that there was a lot missing from your post.

    The first book I read by L.Ron Hubbard was 8-80. A pretty heady first book, you might think. I was a hippy at the time and hippies of course, have no money. Well, many years ago, I wandered into the Scientology organization in London and I had about 30p in my pocket – my train ride home. The cheapest book they had was 30p and it was a rather shop soiled and battered paperback copy of 8-80. I bought the book and walked to a friend’s place. We sat up for several hours poring over the book. Hubbard’s work, more than the writing of many others, builds. You really should read it in sequence as one concept develops into the next and so on. But in spite of this, I actually got a lot out of the book. Perhaps the major thing was the scale:

    AESTHETICS
    REASON
    EMOTION
    EFFORT

    I am a musician and this suddenly made it all clear. I now had a way to evaluate music. At the bottom level, there is music as EFFORT – in other words, just a simple beat. Then there is emotional music, Tschaikowsky, Brahms and so on. Above this there is music at the level of REASON, like Bach, Chick Corea and just occasionally, music at this level reaches moments of pure aesthetics.

    Music at the lowest levels lasts a few years at most. It’s popular for a while then it’s gone. Music at the level of reason and aesthetics just goes on and on and on. Bach’s music is still going strong, 300 years after his death and will continue I’m sure for hundreds and thousands of years, possibly more. You can jazz it, pop it, rap it, but it remains Bach.

    I wonder if people ever watch the same pornographic movie twice. I don’t see pornography lasting for very long. Video games are somewhat the same. Once you’ve played the game, you’ve reached the top level of Myst or whatever it is, you wouldn’t want to do it again.

    These things are not aesthetic, they are effort.

    Villages, towns, cities come and go. What was a gorgeous natural view can be turned by a team of bulldozers and construction crew into houses, offices, shopping malls and so on.

    But PEOPLE go on. People are more important than any of these things.

    In many ways, this is a horrible world. Things are not what they are said to be. A person who loses someone and goes into a deep depression holds out his hand for help. And, instead of a sympathetic ear – just someone listening to him, without comment or judgement, listening and understanding – he gets a psychiatrist and drugs. What started with a loss and plea for help turned into a habit. Great for the psychiatrists and drug companies who make money out of it, but not for the guy who just wanted help but was given betrayal.

    Jettero, you are going in the right direction and I applaud you.

    People need help – real help. Not drugs or more confusion. You are in a position to give them real help and that is a tremendous thing. And the real help, of course, is not telling people what to think – they get too much of that all the time, but just getting them to look. Because when they do so, they figure it out themselves.

    And that is Scientology.

    Knowing how to know.

    What a tremendous gift.

    Go for it.

    Love,

    John

  4. Ralph
    May 16, 2008

    How can you talk about music, without talking about the world’s most astounding musician, LRH. His music is so awesome it will outlast Bach’s for sure.

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This entry was posted on November 7, 2007 by in scientology, technology.
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