Part 81. The New Priests
Back in the old Dark Ages of Europe, all intellectual activity was carefully controlled
by a tiny group of elite scribes in the Catholic church. There were several reasons
for this monopolization of mental ability. For one thing, inheritance was almost
exclusively according to the rule of *primogeniture* -- the firstborn son inherited
all land and its related capital. As a result, later sons were without the physical
access to capital necessary to become self-sufficient. If they did not learn a trade
or skill (which were almost unheard of in those days before the growth of a commercial
economy), they often found earning a living very difficult. As a result, the option
of joining the priesthood became quite appealing to any who had the intellectual
capacity to learn reading, writing, and history.
Another reason for the centralized control of intellect was the lack of free, public
educational facilities. Since most education took place in church-sponsored classes,
the educational curricula naturally gravitated toward the ecclesiastical. In addition,
there was the fact that learning requires leisure time beyond the time expended
on day-to-day necessities of work, eating, and rest. Outside of the churches there
was little time for leisure in a society built on agrarian work cycles and controlled
by kulak-style taskmasters loyal only to the landowners and to their own selfish
interests. There was no incentive on the part of the wealthy to expose the underclass
to education and intellectual pursuits, since this would detract from their usefulness
and willingness to participate in the boring, mundane work of low-tech farming and
construction activities. It was in the best interests of those who controlled society
to maintain an underclass of uneducated serfs. And of course the fact that there
was no competing large-scale religious institution to challenge the authority of
the priestly class meant that there was no need for public discourse on the tenets
Historians of the future will come to view the late twentieth century as the time
in which human society came full circle, returning to its European roots of intellectual
elitism and public ignorance, along with the centralized control of the workforce.
However, unlike the agricultural foundation of the serf class, today's new underclass
is participating in an economy that is built on silicon-based, computerized serfdom
instead of carbon-based, food-oriented economics. And unlike the ancient priestly
class that taught only religious traditions and theories, today's new priestly class
indoctrinates the masses in the culture of Windowism, hiding the grammatical structure
and logic of programming and keeping this intellectual power carefully cloistered
among the elite, highly-paid world of the computer consultants and the corporate
big-shots who hire them.
The new priests are thus building a world in which ignorance is maintained by excluding
open discussion of the architecture of the global information infrastructure. The
vast majority of desktop computer workers are indoctrinated to believe that Windows
is a high-tech product, and that Microsoft is a master of innovation, an "enlightened"
class. From our historical perspective, we can see that the same viewpoint of the
unquestioning, obedient serfs kept the Dark Ages mentality alive for centuries.
By controlling the labor force through hiring requirements that focus on exclusively
Microsoft-oriented computer skills, the clergy-like rulership of Microsoft hides
the truth of their decadent and despotic nature from a misinformed populace who
sink further and further into intellectual serfdom. The source code for the Windows
operating systems is guarded as jealously by Microsoft's upper management as the
text of the Bible was guarded by the ancient priesthood.
Microsoft is thus becoming a new form of religion, intent on excluding such "heretics"
as Luddites, users of superior computer operating systems, and decent people of
strong religious faith. You may not get burned at the stake for opposing Microsoft
-- yet -- but you will likely be considered a social pariah and an outcast from
the commercial sphere of life.
Most recent revision: July 18,1999
Copyright © 1999, Tom Nadeau
All Rights Reserved.