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Excerpt below: Chapter One
Excerpted from Zen Computer,
a Simon & Schuster
publication, by Philip Toshio Sudo.
Release Notes for Zen Computer, Version 1.0
you for choosing
Zen Computer. May it give you a lifetime of good use.
The software contained herein is designed for
anyone, from computer novice to workaday user to veteran
hacker. Its function: to upgrade your life every time you
turn on the machine.
The program works by applying the ancient principles
of zen philosophy to the modern science of bits and bytes.
One run through the application and you'll never look at
your computer the same way again.
an age of rapid technological advance, where computers keep
changing the way we work and play and even
think, Zen Computer offers a way of living calmly amid constant
upheaval. The very underpinnings of zen philosophy assume
a world of continuous, unbroken change, in the cycles of
day to night, season to season, birth to death. "You
never step in the same river twice," goes the zen adage,
for in zen thinking, everything flows and changes at every
How to live with constant change, manage it,
and deal with the fear it brings--especially if the change
seems overwhelming, as it can today--lies at the heart of
zen study, and thus, at the heart of Zen Computer.
Visionaries may paint a fantastical future driven
by technology, a wired planet of cyberspace and virtual worlds
with unprecedented access to information and knowledge. But
cyberspace and virtual reality will offer no escape from
the problems of the human heart. Information and knowledge
will not supplant the need for wisdom. Rather than create
a user-friendly virtual world, Zen Computer seeks to make
a real world of friendly users.
Luddites fear that technology will dehumanize
us. But if such thinking can be said to be a virus, Zen Computer
software will counteract it, acting as a humanizing agent.
lose our humanity when we become an extension of the machine--rigid
in our thinking, unfeeling and uncaring,
treating others as nameless, faceless numbers. We ignore
common sense and begin uttering phrases like, "I can't
deal with you because you're not in our computer," or, "The
machine says the answer has to be this." We stop acting
from the heart and start becoming drones.
We must fight the forces that make us drones.
Much as people may long to turn their backs on technology
and return to a simpler life, in truth, we cannot retreat
from technology any more than we can unlearn how to split
the atom. If we are to live in this brave new world and keep
from becoming drones, our true battle lies not with technology.
It lies within.
We must accentuate the fact that we're human
beings, and that as such, we differ from other species in
three distinct ways:
* our communication skills
* our ability to use tools
* our self-awareness
Zen Computer seeks to cultivate all three qualities--improving
our communications to promote better understanding, turning
our use of tools into an art, and elevating our self-awareness.
In short, it views the computer as a means to elevate our
humanity, rather than the other way around.
The computer is perhaps the most powerful tool
ever put in the hands of the individual. Only the gun may
rival it. But if the pen is mightier than the sword, then
PCs should outperform the Uzi. Think of the personal computer's
ability to amass and analyze information; present ideas in
word, image, and sound; to store, replicate, receive, and
globally transmit those ideas instantly. These capabilities
put enormous power in the hands of everyday people. A lone
voice can now communicate a message to thousands, even millions,
with a few simple keystrokes, connecting with other computers
in every corner of the globe.
Such power demands responsible use. Just as
a gun can be put to ill purposes, so can a computer. There
are people who would invade our privacy, spread mistruths,
embezzle money, even spread chaos by hacking into air traffic
control and other safety systems. Giving individuals more
power does no good if they don't know the proper way to use
it. Here is where Zen Computer offers a framework for living
with such power.
For as much as technology transforms our lives
and society, Zen Computer says true transformation--the kind
that's authentic and profound--will not come through technology
alone, but through the transformation of people's souls,
one by one by one. It says salvation arises from self-awareness,
not better tools and faster communications; that world peace
stems from inner peace; that freedom for all people demands
first the self-discipline of each individual. To cultivate
self-awareness through the use of tools and communications--this
is the hard work Zen Computer seeks to support. Only then
will we elevate our humanity.
Toward that end, the software in this package
includes the following:
* The Seven Rules of Zen Computer
* A mindful way to look at your machine
* Tips on responding calmly to program bugs
and system crashes
* Advice on learning and teaching computer skills
and life skills
* Suggestions on how to interface with people
on the Internet and in the world at large
To install Zen Computer, read on.
(end of excerpt)
Table of Contents
I. Read Me: Release Notes for Zen Computer,
II. System Requirements: Prerequisites
for Zen Computer
III. FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions
About Zen Computer
IV. Boot: Starting Zen Computer
V. Install: The Seven Rules of Zen Computer
VI. Zen Computer User's Guide: Hardware
VII. Zen Computer User's Guide: Software
VIII. Maintenance: Upkeep for Zen Computer
IX. Trouble-Shooting Guide: Fixing Zen
X. Shut Down: Beyond Zen Computer