Computer as Religion

Mac Apart, photo by Roger Vincent Jasaitis,, Copyright 2015

Do you presume to criticize the Great Oz? You ungrateful creatures!

Think yourselves lucky that I’m giving you audience tomorrow, instead of twenty years from now. Oh — oh oh!
The Great Oz has spoken! Oh — Oh —….

LS — Shooting past the Four at left to the Wizard as he pulls back the
curtain —

… Oh …. Oh ….

MS – The Wizard peers out from behind the curtain –

MS – Tin Man, Lion, Dorothy and Scarecrow react as they look at the Wizard
o.s. to right – Dorothy speaks

Who are you?

MCU – The Wizard peering out from curtain – he ducks back out of sight and his voice booms out again –

Oh – I – Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
Go – before I lose my temper! The Great and
Powerful —….

MCS — Dorothy pulls back the curtain to reveal the Wizard at the controls
— he reacts as he sees Dorothy — Dorothy questions him — the Wizard
starts to speak into the microphone — then turns weakly back to Dorothy —
CAMERA PULLS back slightly as the Lion, Scarecrow and Tin Man enter and
stand behind Dorothy —

… — Oz — has spoken!

Who are you?

Well, I — I — I am the Great and Powerful
— Wizard of Oz.

You are?

Uhhhh — yes…

I don’t believe you!

No, I’m afraid it’s true. There’s no other
Wizard except me.

The Wizard Of Oz, By Noel Langley,Florence Ryerson and Edgar Allen Woolf.

Cutting Continuity Script Taken From Printer’s Dupe. Last revised March 15, 1939

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain…have you ever stepped back from this virtual world to consider the whirring gears and spinning spindles that make this machine in your hand work? I know these metaphors are industrial age vintage, I should have said these flowing electrons and particles of light…in any case, this virtual world is man-made.

Every bit, byte and pixel is programed. Sometimes created with good intentions, sometimes made with malice of intent and many times with no thought given to the unintended consequences of creation.

Do you find the fact that virtual reality has become the primary reality for many people surprising? Here we are virtually face to face. When you are in a public space notice how many people are looking at screens. How many hours a day do you log on?

My old laptop stopped working recently and I took it apart to see if I could fix it. How 20th century of an idea… As I disassembled the familiar interface, screw by clip, into it’s various plastic, aluminum and circuit board parts, the idea that a computer as a metaphor for religion came to me.

Religions are man-made in their various parts, e.g. institutions, rituals, ideas, dogmas. When assembled, they create their own reality of the world; good, bad and unintended. Computers and religions are both vehicles of communion and communication.

The idea that these virtual worlds can be accepted without thought as to intent is dangerous both psychically and spiritually. Let’s be clear that man is behind the curtain of these machines. Be aware of how you use them…and more importantly, how you are used by them.