Zen Computer

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Excerpt below: Chapter One

Excerpted from Zen Computer, a Simon & Schuster publication, by Philip Toshio Sudo. Order your copy here.
Release Notes for Zen Computer, Version 1.0

Thank 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.

In 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 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. But if such thinking can be said to be a virus, Zen Computer software will counteract it, acting as a humanizing agent.

We 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)

Zen Computer

Table of Contents

I. Read Me: Release Notes for Zen Computer, Version 1.0

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 Computer

X. Shut Down: Beyond Zen Computer