[NTLK] Newton metaphysics [OT] [WAS: "Re: RES: Case for a Newton and a hardcopy calendar"]

From: Lord Groundhog <LordGroundhog_at_gmail.com>
Date: Sun Dec 02 2007 - 12:54:09 EST

~~~ On 2007/12/02 01:28, Adrian Marsh at mynewtonlives@mac.com wrote ~~~

> ... I've been fascinated to read some of
> the more discursive comments posted recently, and I wonder if we have a
> developing philosophy or meta-physics of Newton use and experience? Seems
> especially apposite given the great alchemist, natural scientist and
> physicist these machines are named after...

Funny you should mention that, Adrian. I've been interested in this kind of
thing since I was young, and I noticed the way we -- especially men -- think
of and refer to our "pet" gizmos personally. Some of my uncles had been in
the Navy, and cars (and working on them) were a big part of my growing up,
so I got to see this in action. I learned early that vessels in which we
travel often get called "she". And when a car or plane or ship performs in
an erratic and undependable manner, we often say "'She' is acting up" or
"'She' let me down" or whatever. This has been going on so long that it's
normal to name a boat or ship or plane, and sometimes people even name their
cars. (It's also traceable anthropologically through the centuries,
regarding favourite weapons and such, but that's another story.)

Over the last couple of decades, electronic gadgetry has become a huge part
of our lives, as our cars had been in the past. In the process, some of us
seem to have taken to personifying our gadgets. But only certain ones --
only the gadgets that we perceive as able to express something of our selves
while also having a kind of persona of their own, that in some way act as
extensions of us, and with which we can form a bond (as our vehicles -- and
weapons -- did in the past).

I don't remember meeting many folks who talk about an old IBM XT-286 or
Amstrad PC2386, as if they were describing a good friend and companion.
OTOH there was something about an Atari or an Apple SE30 that seized the
imagination (and dare I say "affection"?) of many of their users. And it
seems obvious that the same is true for many of us here about the Newton.

Naturally, it isn't common yet though it does happen. My theory is that
most of our electronic gadgets are not yet sufficiently "sympathetic" to us
to evoke such responses. But the Newton is. Its design makes the Newton
behave as if it knows what we want even before we know, and its functions
are designed to make it feel like an extension of ourselves and at the same
time with its own way of interacting -- like having its own character.

And that's why Newt comes with me everywhere now, even when I don't want my
Pismo with me. And it's why I don't just appreciate Newt, I enjoy it and
feel bound to it in a way I can't otherwise explain.

It must be love ...

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

łAny sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from a Newton.˛
            -- What Arthur C. Clarke meant to say

(With thanks to Chod Lang)

~~~ ~~~ ~~~
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Received on Sun Dec 2 12:54:33 2007

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