THE IRREFUTABLE LOGIC OF THE MACINTOSH WAY

On February 3, 2000, in Features, by Roger Born

THE IRREFUTABLE LOGIC OF THE MACINTOSH WAY

There is no such thing as a PC.
There is only the Macintosh, or the absence of it.

OUTRAGEOUS STATEMENT
I know it’s outrageous. I believe I can prove it to be true by both an
emotional appeal and by
irrefutable logic.

THE EMOTION OF THE MACINTOSH
Have you ever wondered about the Macintosh? The way it seems to affect
so many people in either
a positive or negative way? The Macintosh has been doing this since it
first was introduced back
in 1984. Even back when it was just a little tan box with a nine-inch
black and white monitor,
no hard drive, and very few applications. You see, it is not the product
that moves people, but
its innate paradigm of freedom and creativity that the machine so
readily and intimately
provides to its users. The Macintosh, as a computer with a simple
looking graphical interface
has done this from its beginning, just as it’s creators Steve Jobs and
Steve Wozniak hoped and
dreamed it would.

We Mac users might argue over which Mac is best, or what feature sets
should prevail, or we
could argue the good or bad of Aqua. It doesn’t matter. The Mac, as a
machine, incarnates the
Macintosh Way. It is perfect at doing for people what it does so well,
regardless of which
iteration of it they happen to be using. In any form, the Macintosh is
the perfect computer for
people. Forget the fact that the Macintosh was the first real computer
on the market so long
ago. The Mac is the only real computer there is today.
So, what is this Macintosh way? It is a worldview, or paradigm, of being
easily able to do
work, with complete creative freedom, within the interface environment
of an extremely well
built and engineered computing machine. In some almost mystical way that
paradigm was first
incorporated into the computing machine called Macintosh. Bless Steve
Jobs for keeping this
paradigm alive in every Mac that ships today.

Any machine might have a little of this intrinsic joyful freedom
designed into it for the
supreme benefit of its users. An aircraft and a sports car come
immediately to mind here. The BD5
is a small, fast, push prop of a homebuilt airplane that has that kind
of innate and enabling
Freedoms of form, interface, and function. Blood rushes faster through
the veins just being near
it! The same is true of a chrome yellow Mercedes SLK Kompressor. You
catch your breath when you
first see it! – Fill in your own favorite product here. – Practically
anything that is well
made, of superior materials, which does what it does exceptionally well,
can have some of the
Macintosh paradigm about it. This is especially true if, in interfacing
with it, everything
falls easily and intuitively to hand! Only Macintosh Computers seem to
have this element of
esprit and freedom in spades. Listen to its owners gush about it -
you’ll see what I mean.
Everything else by comparison is either an expensive calculator, data
processor, word processor,
or variant appliance of the same lesser function. These are not real
computers. These are not
Macintoshes!

Another outrageous statement? No. A real computer will do more than
merely process things for
you. It will not forbid you. Rather, it will enable you, free you, and
forgive you for erring
against it, and give you a tiny bit more than you asked it for, in some
unexpected and
pleasurable measure. Working with it, you will gain confidence and learn
to trust your own
thinking and instincts more than you did before. A real computer will
Rock, and you will Rock
with it! If you have ever used a Mac, you know there is no experience
like it!
As with anything in life, there is always a bell-curve. Some people get
the reality of the Mac
right away and never look back. Others, the majority, perceive the Mac
to be very useful and
they enjoy it a lot. But they aren’t rabid about it and they rarely push
its limits. Then there
are the few who scratch their heads over the Mac, and wonder what all
the fuss is about.

What’s all the fuss about?!!

Ever see someone get passionate over his or her IBM? Ever hear them wax
poetic in rapturous phrases
of joy over their Compaq? Not likely. Why? Those machines have little or
none of the Macintosh
Way about them, regardless of how well built they are, or how well they
function. They are built
to quite a different paradigm. Theirs is the paradigm of order and
discipline, where creative
thinking is not condoned or appreciated. Mistakes are dealt with
harshly. No good deed goes
unpunished. Theirs is a dull paradigm of grey sameness, populated with
those drab anonymous
workbots who were depicted back in the first Macintosh commercial in
1984.

Because Macs and PCs are built to differing paradigms, the typical user
or new buyer, faces an
apparent duality about computers. That is, if they ever think about it.
If they do, they ask
themselves, “Should I buy a Mac or a PC?” Little do they realize that
one decision which they
are considering may deeply change how they work and play for the rest of
their lives. Mac or PC?
Freedom or conformity? Creative or safe? Joy or pain? I would help these
questioning people make
a better decision. It normally does not matter what people choose.
People get what they want.
Some people will always search for the best. Others will almost always
settle for something
less. The vast majority, however, may not know all their choices. They
may actually think that
there are no real choices. These people believe that there is only the
PC. That there is nothing
else. (A Mac is just a PC, right?) These are the ones I want to help in
understanding what they
are really deciding. Their decision is not “Mac or PC.” The decision is
between a real computer
or the absence of one. The reality is that there is no PC for them to
choose. There is only the
Macintosh, or the absence of it.

THE LOGIC OF THE MACINTOSH
That outrageous statement again! Time to really prove what I am saying.
OK! First, some
dualistic premises are deeply flawed, logically. People say “hot or
cold.” light or dark,” “Mac
or PC.” I will explain this by way of an old college logic game. (In
fact, I saw this same logic
game in an email the other day. I was not able to discern the true
originator, sorry. However,
it seemed so appropriate to use here, I will run with it to prove my
point.) Therefore consider
the following train of logical thought:

Does heat exist? Yes. Everyone can agree on this, because it is provable
by observation and by
various methods of testing. Does cold exist? No, it does not! Surprised?
Heat is measurable and
you can have all kinds of heat, but there is no substance or energy
called ‘cold’. Heat can be
measured down to 458 degrees below zero, Fahrenheit. At this point there
is no perceptible heat.
There is nothing lower than this temperature. This is why I say that
there is no such thing as
cold, otherwise we would be able to go to any temperature lower than
minus 458 degrees
Fahrenheit. Cold is really only a word we use to describe the absence of
heat. We cannot measure
cold. We can measure heat in energy units because heat is energy.
Therefore, cold is not the
opposite of heat, just the absence of it. (You already see where I am
going with this, don’t
you?)

Does light exist? Yes, light exists, because we can see it, and measure
it. Does darkness exist?
No! Darkness is not something; it is the absence of something. We can
measure all kinds of
light, even the kind we cannot see with our eyes. If there is no
measurable light, then you have
nothing, and that nothingness is what we call darkness. What we mean
when we say it is dark, is
that there is no light. In reality darkness does not exist. If it did,
you could make darkness
darker, or give me darkness in a container. Therefore there is no
darkness, there is only the
absence of light.

Does freedom exist? Yes. Do jails exist? No. They do not! There is only
the absence of freedom.
You can argue that there are real prisons with bars and locked doors, or
you could say that
there are self-imposed prisons that perfectly free people voluntarily
put themselves in, as they
are driven by their habits or neuroses. There could exist every kind of
prison imaginable, to
your dualistic way of thinking. Yet in my reality, freedom is a state of
mind. Anyone who is
truly free cannot be imprisoned. No one can restrain my freedom of
thought, and the freedom of
my mind, regardless of how many restraints there might be on my body. In
the final analysis, it
is the person who makes the choice to be free, regardless of their
circumstances. Therefore I
maintain that only freedom exists, or its absence.

Ok. Now we can look at the outrageous statement I made about the
Macintosh. Does the Macintosh
exist? Yes. Do PCs exist? No! They are processing appliances, but they
are not true computers.
In spite of having roughly similar operating systems and forms, their
built-in paradigm of
information processing is closed, forbidding, and offers its users
little freedom. They do not
give their users what a Macintosh gives its user. Of all the computers
built, there is only one
which is built to this wonderful, magical paradigm of genius and
creative freedom that a true
computer supplies its user with. That is the Macintosh. Do the other
so-called computers have
even a little of this Macintosh Way about them? No. Those computing
appliances are miserable
failures at imitating the Macintosh, because their intrinsic conformist
paradigm is still
solidly in place. Such a closed paradigm will not allow a user to make
mistakes, try new things,
or be free and unafraid to create something. Therefore, they are not
real computers. There is no
such thing as a PC. There is only the Macintosh, or the absence of it.

Enough of logic. Let’s dial back to the here and now:
“I am an informed customer making a decision to purchase a computer. By
the numbers, I know
about how much I can afford, and how big and how fast I want my computer
to be, and what
software I want to use, in a general sort of way. I look at these curvy
grey and beige boxes in
front of me, with their few purplish and blue accents. They look safe. I
am a safe, conservative
kind of person. I look over to the other side of the area and I see some
brightly colored
computers called Apples or Macs or something. They look enticing, but I
heard someone say they
weren’t compatible. That’s not safe. I am ready now to make my choice,
but something in the back
of my mind is plainly screaming. This bothers me. I wander over across
the room and look at the
video ads on the screens of these Macintoshes. Wow! Something begins to
click in my thoughts as
I start to play with these computers. Hmm. They are no more expensive
than those other PCs, but
there is something FUN about these machines. No. Not ‘FUN’ . . . what is
the word I want here?
Unrestrained? Yes! These computers somehow are unrestrained, perhaps
even less forbidding and
more forgiving than those other ones. I understand this interface! Maybe
I’ll take a chance on
this iMac. I do like the color. . .” Another person who believed there
were only PCs in the
world has discovered that there really are no PCs. There is only the
Macintosh, or the absence
of it.

Or maybe I’m sitting in a corporate cubicle with a Windows box in front
of me: “I work here
because I need the security of a job. They need lots of people to
maintain these machines. The
frustration level is high here. We are all trying to get work done, but
its like we are always
fighting the machine to do it. Yet, joyfully, I know the truth! What do
I see all around me?
These aren’t real computers. These are non-thinking appliances of a
non-thinking,
go-by-the-book, keep-in-step company. I am not bothered by this. I am at
peace. In my mind I am
free. I am free because I have understood the Macintosh Way! I know I
have an old Mac waiting
for me at home, so that later today I can work on it to create a better
future for myself and my
family. I will be working with a machine that bends to my will, and gets
out of my way, so I can
be creative. I know the truth: There are no PCs. There is only the
Macintosh, or the absence of
it!”

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Read more about this subject at http://forum.borngraphics.com
or contact me Roger@Borngraphics.com

 

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