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Anthropologist 'Confirms' Apple Is A Religion

Zilch5

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Not entirely surprising for me - as a I am not an Apple fan, I find the devotion of some Apple users somewhat amusing.

Think religion, think ritual: history, perhaps sacred writings, proscribed sets of moral laws, and potentially a sacrifice or two. There are plenty of organizations and cultures around the world that claim they adhere to a certain set of beliefs, but could adoration and a cult following for a technology firm be the next step?

The University of British Columbia's Dr. Kirsten Bell believes that much of the aforementioned applies to Apple. After observing launch videos, and recently attending the iPad mini launch for TechNewsDaily, the social anthropologist said that Mac fandom has some strikingly similar parallels between a religion or cult status:

A stranger observing one of the launches could probably be forgiven for thinking they had stumbled into a religious revival meeting.

Before specializing in the biomedical field, the research fellow conducted fieldwork on new religious movements in South Korea until 2005. Based on this experience, Bell believes that Apple is "littered with sacred symbols" -- most notably, the iconic Apple logo. (Ironically, some believe the bitten Apple is "anti-Christian").


1) A charismatic leader who increasingly becomes an object of worship as the general principles that may have originally sustained the group lose their power;
2) A process which may include coercive persuasion or thought reform;
3) Economic, sexual, and other exploitation of group members by the leader and rulers.

So, what does Bell say? And are Apple fanboys really 'cultish'? etc etc etc[/b]
Source: http://www.zdnet.com/anthropologist-con ... s_cid=e589

There are a few old threads on this message board re Apple being "Anti Christian" by the way.
 

Ringo

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Zilch5 said:
1) A charismatic leader who increasingly becomes an object of worship as the general principles that may have originally sustained the group lose their power;
2) A process which may include coercive persuasion or thought reform;
3) Economic, sexual, and other exploitation of group members by the leader and rulers.
Interesting idea but based on that criteria almost anything within the mass market is a religion. For example: Wikipedia, politicians, musical artists all fit the criteria. Is Facebook a religion?

Post written on my Mac. Death to the PC infidels.
 

Sergeant_Pluck

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Not entirely surprising for me - as a I am not an Apple fan, I find the devotion of some Apple users somewhat amusing.
The fact that you even recognise the 'devotion' of Apple fans suggest to me that hating Apple is just as much a religion also. Online mesageboards are just as full of sneering holier-than-thou 'haters' as they are the so-called 'fanboys'.

Personally, I switched to Apple from Windows about three years ago, and I'm enjoying the computing experience a lot more. I don't think that makes me a devotee or a religious zealot, though. I don't understand why both sides get so heated up about it.
 

CarlosTheDJ

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It's tribalism for people who don't like football.
 

Zilch5

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Sergeant_Pluck said:
The fact that you even recognise the 'devotion' of Apple fans suggest to me that hating Apple is just as much a religion also..
Oi! Easy there sunshine... 8)

I don't ihate Apple at all - I am just not a fan and prefer using the other brand. The way you attack me, however, makes me think of another religious cult, who, whenever you doubt the literal veracity of their holy book, makes them call you "Anti-Christian" or "Anti-Islam" or whatever.

My 15 yr old son is an Apple devotee - he will learn IMO :D
 

EnolaGaia

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If Apple fandom is a 'religion' (which I dispute at face value), then I am one of the original 'converts' from the 1980's. (I've been a professional IT researcher from that era through today.)

I have no problem conceding the quasi-cultish devotion we Mac-heads held for our machines. However, this attitude - which seems an arbitrary preference today - was a serious issue back in the 1980's and early 1990's.

At that time the interface and interaction capabilities of the Mac were something PC's could not offer (and would not even begin offering until the second decade of the 'PC Revolution'). Those of us who were the earliest innovators and adopters of IT in the context of our work and creative endeavors - especially everything related to 'the Net' - were overwhelmingly Mac users and / or fans.

Here's an example of the difference ... In 1993 I was tasked to set up a collaborative technology testbed for experimenting with how people could cooperatively work via networking. I was only afforded a budget of circa $20,000. I bought Macs and leveraged their plug-and-play networking capabilities (unavailable out of the box on PC's at the time ...) to implement an experimental environment within which users could interact textually and graphically. A few years later I was re-tasked to set up the same testbed all over again using Windows PC's. It took over $100,000 to even emulate (not fully replicate) the functionality I'd achieved with the Macs.

At every turn, we Mac-heads were 'way ahead of the PC crowd in terms of being able to engage and leverage oncoming innovations - most notably 'the Net' and 'the Web'. Meanwhile, the Microsoft / Intel combine progressively ensnared their clientele onto a path of unduly constrained and user-unfriendly tech - admittedly facilitated by the economic factors (e.g., initial cost) acquisition authorities (as opposed to end users) prioritized.

Unless you were 'there' back in the 1980's / early 1990's, it's admittedly difficult to understand the basis for our fervor. By this late date - at which time most PC users' experiences have entailed features and capabilities belatedly adopted from Macs - it's just as admittedly difficult to understand what the essential difference might have ever been.

On the other hand ... I'm not a big fan (in fact - an active avoider) of mobile technologies, and I readily admit to wondering whether mobile-centric Apple-heads (as contrasted with us earlier computer-centric Mac-heads) are as substantively justified in their zeal. :twisted:
 

kamalktk

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CarlosTheDJ said:
It's tribalism for people who don't like football.
So it's a tribe of what, five people? :lol:
 

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I _was_ there. Had an Apple Lisa with the original - very cool but slow - operating system. My company tried to write some software for Apple kit about then but we found the Mac and the replacement OS - a cut down version of Xerox's X-Windows - that went with it too limiting.

The thing is, that the Mac was focussed on doing a particular job well, whereas the PC was more a general purpose machine (the BBC micro even more so). Obviously there were differences in power and commercial success between the various approaches, but I'm talking about the architecture.

As a programmer, I want to control the machine, not have it limited by others. Somewhere along the line you get into a discussion over is it a computer or simply a device.

But I quite understand the devotion of some Mac enthusiasts, especially if they work in the creative arts for which it was especially good. What I don't understand is the enthusiasm for iPhones - my years old Nokia does everything an iPhone does. And everything an iPod does as well!

What Apple seem to be good at these days is marketing rather than innovation.
 

Ringo

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Cochise said:
But I quite understand the devotion of some Mac enthusiasts, especially if they work in the creative arts for which it was especially good. What I don't understand is the enthusiasm for iPhones - my years old Nokia does everything an iPhone does. And everything an iPod does as well!

What Apple seem to be good at these days is marketing rather than innovation.
They are also good at making things look and feel sexy in the hand. I too had an old telephone until very recently but then I held an iphone and there was something about the form, the weight and the feel. It just felt quality. And I bought one.

What I found instantly appealing was that Apple know what you want to do. The phone didn't come with an instruction book. Rather than learn how to operate the device, it operates like you want a device to operate. It just works.
 

Zilch5

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Cochise said:
But I quite understand the devotion of some Mac enthusiasts, especially if they work in the creative arts for which it was especially good. What I don't understand is the enthusiasm for iPhones - my years old Nokia does everything an iPhone does. And everything an iPod does as well!

What Apple seem to be good at these days is marketing rather than innovation.
2nd that. iPhones? Bah - I still love my E71!
 

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I have outed myself as an Apple-user before but I'm not sure if I have confessed to having spent a week in training at Stockley Park. This was in the early 1990s when, as EnolaGaia has pointed out, the Mac's out-of-the-box networking was a strong selling-point. We were tickled pink with the opportunity to sit around the room, sending messages to each other. It was nearly as exciting as watching a fragment of Bugs Bunny in a postage-stamp sized window using an early Quicktime codec.

In practice, the machines met a high level of resistance from education-users, who were obsessed by the bottom-line. Those who did fork out for them, usually found they were a decent investment in terms of longevity. If the customer was still wavering, we waited for the Flying-Toasters screen-saver to activate itself: it became the must-have piece of software! I swear there were schools with networks who ran nothing else but it sold the IT facilities on parents' night!

The one person I successfully persuaded to buy a Mac was myself and I have been buying them ever since. I have to deal with Windows in most working situations and the modern operating systems seem to diagnose a lot of their own problems, albeit with long pauses for updates. Viruses are still rare on the Mac, though it is increasingly targeted.

I saw the brand struggle to survive in the nineties before its astonishing climb back to success as a portable status symbol. I've never really wanted an iPod or iPad so I can't be called an evangelical Mac maniac. Migration to a Mac Mini earlier this year had an assortment of irritations, including the abrupt abandonment of Apple Works and the withdrawal of any facility to run Classic software. Apple has also come to seem more of a corporate monster, especially in its treatment of workers overseas.

It is just as well that in day to day use, the machines are reliable since I long gave up trying to understand what goes on under the bonnet. I used to know more or less what every file did and where it was kept - you had to to keep some disc space! Now there isn't even a disc to reboot from. Come to think of it, there isn't an integral drive on the Mini anyway. Maybe I had better read the manual . . . I think it has twelve pages! :shock:
 

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JamesWhitehead said:
Now there isn't even a disc to reboot from. Come to think of it, there isn't an integral drive on the Mini anyway. Maybe I had better read the manual . . . I think it has twelve pages! :shock:
Dunno what you mean. All the Mac Minis I've handled have hard drives. Unless you are using a special model fitted with an SSD?
 

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The HD remains but there is no DVD-drive. Slimline profile or price-point advantage?

I bought it anyway. :)

For the first day, I could do nothing with the thing, except admire the screen.

No DVD drive meant I could not move my files onto it.

I did soon recall that networking was an option for that. Years since I sold the things!

You would need a separate modem if you wanted to do anything so crazy as to use a dial-up internet account.

It would take two weeks to get Broadband sorted.

The irony of it all is that the failing eMac responded to Disc First Aid and can still be used. I still use it for some database work and export the reports as PDFs to the new machine. Upgrading the software will have to happen strictly as necessary.

I hate the notion we are tied in, which we are if we scrap things prematurely! :)
 

Mythopoeika

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I guess you need to buy a USB DVD drive?
My HP laptop doesn't have a built-in DVD drive, but a slimline external USB drive was supplied.
I'm surprised the Mac didn't have one of those supplied. Shocking, considering the price of a Mac these days.
 

JamesWhitehead

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The Samsung external DVD drive turned out to be excellent. I gather Apple are at war with them now over patents but at the time they actually recommended theri peripherals! :)
 
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