Understanding Microsoft

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 of faith.

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.

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