Have a question or opinion about Zen Computer? Thoughts on spirituality and science? An insight to share? Poetry to offer? Proffer it here. This page is a place for members to meet each other, exchange ideas, suggest good reading and links, post their web addresses, and offer their writing/freeware/creativity.
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Through zen, we seek to find that place of poetry, where words go beyond the limits of words to evoke the indescribable. It may seem ludicrous to think of writing poetry when composing a simple memo or dashing off a note to someone. But the point is to be as mindful in these moments as in any other. Zen lies in the ordinary and the everyday. Just be natural; that is zen. As the master Nansen says, "Ordinary mind is the way." More than emanating from our brains, words should spring from our hearts. Let the words follow the feeling.
--From Zen Computer, Chapter 7, "Word Processing"
From: Michael Dean, "Multi-tasking Renaissance Dude" <email@example.com>:
"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him to use
the Net and he won't bother you for weeks."
From: James Jones <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I have just purchased Zen Computer. Having enjoyed Zen Guitar, I expect that I will enjoy Zen Computer at least as much.
There are two books that may be related, though they are written mainly for programmers: Geoffrey James's The Tao of Programming and The Zen of Programming. They contain sayings and parables that make their point via humor. An example:
There was once a programmer who was attached to the court of the warlord of Wu. The warlord asked the programmer: "Which is easier to design: an accounting package or an operating system?"
"An operating system," replied the programmer.
The warlord uttered an exclamation of disbelief.
"Surely an accounting package is trivial next to the complexity of an operating system," he said.
"Not so," said the programmer. "When designing an accounting package, the programmer operates as a mediator between people having different ideas: how it must operate, how its reports must appear, and how it must conform to tax laws. By contrast, an operating system is not limited by outward appearances. When designing an operating system, the programmer seeks the simplest harmony between machine and ideas. That is why an operating system is easier to design."
The warlord of Wu nodded and smiled. "That is all good and well," he said, "but which is easier to debug?"
The programmer made no reply.
Here are some new terms to add to your vocabulary from the '90s office environment...
* BLAMESTORMING - Sitting around in a group discussing why a deadline was missed or a project failed and who was responsible.
* PRAIRIE DOGGING - When someone yells or drops something loudly in a"cube farm" (an office full of cubicles) and everyone's heads pop up over the walls to see what's going on.
* TOURISTS - People who take training classes just to get a vacation from their jobs. "We had three serious students in the class; the rest were just tourists."
* TREEWARE - Printed computer software/hardware documentation.
* CLM (Career Limiting Move) - Used among microserfs to describe ill-advised activity. Trashing your boss while he or she is within earshot is a serious CLM. (Also known as CEB - Career Ending Behavior)
* OHNOSECOND - That minuscule fraction of time in which you realize that you've just made a BIG mistake. (See CLM)
* ADMINISPHERE - The rarefied organizational layers beginning just above the rank and file. Decisions that fall from the admini-sphere are often profoundly inappropriate or irrelevant to the problems they were designed to solve.
* DILBERTED - To be exploited and oppressed by your boss. Derived from the experiences of Dilbert, the engineer in the job-from-hell comic strip character. "I've been dilberted again. The old man revised the specs for the fourth time this week."
* SEAGULL MANAGER - A manager who flies in, makes a lot of noise, poops on everything, and then leaves.
* SALMON WEEK - The experience of spending an entire week swimming upstream only to die, and someone else get the benefit.
* 404 - Someone who's clueless. From the World Wide Web error message "404 Not Found," meaning that the requested document could not be located. "Don't bother asking him... he's 404, man."
* PERCUSSIVE MAINTENANCE - The fine art of whacking an electronic device *just right* to get it to work again.
The following claims to be a true story. If it is not it is still and interesting tale.
His name was Fleming, and he was a poor Scottish farmer. One day,while trying to make a living for his family, he heard a cry for help coming from a nearby bog. He dropped his tools and ran to the bog. There, mired to his waist in black muck, was a terrified boy, screaming and struggling to free himself.
Farmer Fleming saved the lad from what could have been a slow and terrifying death. The next day, a fancy carriage pulled up to the Scotsman's sparse surroundings. An elegantly dressed nobleman stepped out and introduced himself as the father of the boy Farmer Fleming had saved.
"I want to repay you," said the nobleman. "You saved my son's life."
"No, I can't accept payment for what I did," the Scottish farmer replied, waving off the offer. At that moment, the farmer's own son came to the door of the family hovel.
"Is that your son?" the nobleman asked.
"Yes," the farmer replied proudly.
"I'll make you a deal. Let me take him and give him a good education. If the lad is anything like his father, he'll grow to a man you can be proud of."
And that he did. In time, Farmer Fleming's son graduated from St.Mary's Hospital Medical School in London, and went on to become known throughout theworld as the noted Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of Penicillin.
Years afterward, the nobleman's son was stricken with pneumonia.
What saved him? Penicillin.
The name of the nobleman? Lord Randolph Churchill.
His son's name? Sir Winston Churchill.
From Mike O'Hara <email@example.com> :
I know very little of Zen. I was only introduced to the concept recently. But I would like to know more.
It strikes me that throughout our lives, there is so much that we can learn, yet there is still so much that we do not know. An eighty-year old man, having gone through a lifetime of experience and study, is still learning and will continue learning until his body dies.
If we understand this fact, then we understand that it is never too late to learn a new skill, or to accept a previously unconsidered point of view.
I know very little of Zen. But my mind is open and I would like to learn
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