Friday, May 20, 2011

The Apple iGod

Mac-ily crack-ily
Apple Enthusiasts
Think about gadgets, and
Light up their brains,

Piquing the interest of
Glad to discuss what
The picture explains:

Sexily, vexily,
Newest technology
Shows an analysis
Just a touch odd;

Macheads don’t suffer from
Rather, their brains see the
Gadgets as God.

Apple-ish, Chapel-ish
Came to conclusions
A bit front-to-back;

God was their yardstick, but
Truth is, Jehovah is
Merely a Mac.

So, yeah, CNN is reporting about a Beeb documentary on the Secrets of the Superbrands. The big news that CNN takes from it is that Mac devotees' brains (as measured by MRI) light up when they are viewing Apple gadgets the same way that religious devotees' brains light up when they see images of their god.

But of course, the interpretation is all wrong. They say that iPads, for instance, benefit from MacHeads' "god-like devotion"... No, actually. God (whichever god you choose) inspires Mac-like devotion. I doubt very much that an area of the brain evolved to deal with stuff that is not there. I suspect, rather, that it developed to deal with stuff that is actually there, and was hijacked by a fiction.

I have often wondered whether the areas of the brain that light up for religious devotion, might light up for pop stars, movie idols, favorite authors, or the like. It would surprise me greatly if the feeling of awe inspired by a god and the feeling of awe inspired by a Van Gogh are differentially located in the brain. Evolution is a notorious tinkerer, and re-uses stuff all the time: "Love, pain, money, cocaine light up same area of brain", suggests one title. So, no surprise that iPads and gods are similarly wired.

What would have been extraordinary would be if god-perception was utterly unique. That would be remarkable, actually. But that, I suspect, would require intelligent design. No such luck.


Thinker said...

I have to admire a marketing organization that manages to create such a cult-like following among its customers -- in this, Apple resembles many churches. (I'll leave it up to you to decide who has learned the art from whom, and who is currently the best):

Willfully, skillfully
Fruits of the Apple tree
Preach from the Book of Jobs:
“What should you buy?”

Macheads absorb it all
Hone to perfection their
Eye for an i.

P.S. My first attempt at a double dactyl!

Cuttlefish said...

Your first? Then... you wrote a cuttleverse before you wrote a double dactyl?


Thinker, if I ever get to Sweden--espresso, single malt, and ink. You and me.

Thinker said...

It's a deal ... and I've got the espresso and single malt!

entropy said...

@ Thinker

It wasn't just Apple and Jobs inspiring a cult following of their products. They had a lot of help from the competition. ;) ;)

Cuttlefish said...

And, apparently, from evolution!

entropy said...


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