Zen Computer; Mindfulness and the Machine

Overview

Anyone who has ever cursed a computer will benefit from Zen Computer, with its soothing approach to living calmly amid the constant upheavals of the modern world. Using the principles of Zen, Philip Toshio Sudo helps the technologically savvy cultivate qualifies to cope more effectively with everything from major life changes to computer viruses. Including a user's guide and a tutorial, the book is organized along "The Seven Rules of Zen Computer": expect the unexpected; it always takes longer than you think; do ...
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Overview

Anyone who has ever cursed a computer will benefit from Zen Computer, with its soothing approach to living calmly amid the constant upheavals of the modern world. Using the principles of Zen, Philip Toshio Sudo helps the technologically savvy cultivate qualifies to cope more effectively with everything from major life changes to computer viruses. Including a user's guide and a tutorial, the book is organized along "The Seven Rules of Zen Computer": expect the unexpected; it always takes longer than you think; do not waste time; learn and teach, teach and learn; warm heart, cool head; do good work; and know when to turn the machine off.

Sudo provides exercises on working toward a mindful way to coexist with computers, tips on responding calmly to program bugs and system crashes, and suggestions for interfacing with people on the Internet and the world at large. With inspired illustrations, Zen Computer encourages appreciation for all the computer has given us...as well as what it has the potential to take away.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Japanese-American musician Sudo () assumes the reader has just acquired a new piece of software and needs to learn how to install and use it. Drawing from eastern philosophy, he sets out seven principles to avoid frustration: Expect the unexpected. It always takes longer than you think. Do not waste time. Learn and teach, teach and learn. Warm heart, cool head. Do good work. and Know when to turn the machine off. He has not indexed his series of short articles. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780684854090
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 7/6/1999
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.78 (w) x 7.81 (h) x 0.94 (d)

First Chapter

Chapter 1

Read Me

Release Notes for Zen Computer, Version 1.0

Thank you for choosing Zen Computer. May it give you a lifetime of good use.

This application marries the ancient principles of zen philosophy to the modern science of bits and bytes. Anyone who uses a personal computer can benefit, regardless of technical know-how. One run through the application and you'll never look at your computer in the same way again.

In an age of rapid technological advances, in which 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 moment.

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, even enslave us, as we become increasingly dependent on machines for ourose ideas instantly. These capabilities put enormous power in the hands of 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 untruths, 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 people's souls. 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 first demands 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 can we elevate our humanity.

Toward that end, the software in this package includes the following:

* The Seven Rules of Zen Computer
* A mindful way of looking at your machine
* Tips on responding calmly to program bugs and system crashes
* How to interface with people on the Internet and in the world at large

To install Zen Computer, read on.

Copyright © 1999 by Philip Toshio Sudo

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