Peter Kreeft

Confessions of a Computer Hater—Proof

Confessions of a Computer Hater

An infallible Proof of the Morality and Rationality of Hating, Despising, Loathing, Fearing, Cursing, and Entertaining Fantasies of Revenge, Torture, Dismemberment, and Annhilation Toward Computers

 



 
Proof of the Major Premise

The authority of (a) Scripture, (b) common sense, and (c) nearly universal human tradition, outside of the tiny coterie of uprooted ‘intellectuals’ who constitute the guardians of the Endarkenment in the halls of power (academia and media) in what used to be called Western civilization. The Endarkenment called itself "the En|ightenment" because, ”the Big Lie" is much more likely to be believed, especially by "educated" people, than little lies, as one of its most spectacularly successful (for a little while, at least) endarkeners so sagely taught in Mein Kampf. "Enlightenment" thinkers believed in Good but not Evil, God (well, maybe, sometimes, minus the claws  and teeth) but never Satan. Neville Chamberlin was an "Enlightenment" thinker. Jesus was not.

Proof of the Minor Premise

A mere inorganic machine, not animated by either a human rational soul nor an animal soul, and not controlled by an evil spirit, does not have a free will.

An entity without a free will cannot disobey human commands; nor can it invent an unlimited plethora of new, creative, clever ways of thwarting the desires of its commanders. Therefore a mere inorganic machine, not animated by either a human rational soul nor an animal soul, and not controlled by an evil spirit, cannot disobey human commands; nor can it invent an unlimited plethora of new, creative, clever ways of thwarting the desires of its commanders.

But my computers do all of this.

Therefore my computers are either

  1. animated by a human, rational soul, or
  2. by an animal soul, or
  3. controlled by evil spirits, or else they
  4. do that which computers cannot do. (1) and (2) are impossible because neither human nor animal souls cannot operate without bodies. Cut a man's head off and he will find it significantly more difficult to think, especially after the first moment of surprise.

(4) is impossible because it is a direct violation of the law of non-contradiction, which is the only thing that computers “know,” really, and the basic principle of all their programmed activities. Since either (1) or (2) or (3) or (4) must be true, and since neither (1) nor (2) nor (4) can be true, (3) must be true.

Therefore my computers are infested with demons.


There are only two eternally unfathomable mysteries in this world. One of them is how the Boston Red Sox continue to fool their foolish fans and invent new ways to lose, even after the world ended in 2004. The other is how computers do something startlingly similar.

I am truly in awe of the new ways IT invents of disobeying my commands. I'm almost certain I hear it laughing at me, down there in the War Room In Hell.

I call this spirit, or the association of evil spirits, IT in honor of Leo Tolsoy’s great short story "The Death of Ivan Ilyitch." IT is what absolutely terrified poor Ivan as he was dying. IT was not death itself but nihilism, the total meaninglessness, randomness, purposelessness, hopelessness, and arbitrariness of life, "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." IT is the face of facelessness. Or, if IT has a face, IT is a sneer wider than the universe.

IT possesses my computer. I do not.

When you press a certain key, or sequence of keys, on Monday and do nothing else, your computer reacts in a certain way. When you do exactly the same thing on Tuesday, your computer reacts in the same way—if and only if it is not possessed by IT.

For at least fifteen years I have performed this experiment many hundreds of times, in hundreds of varied ways. The results are invariable. The only predictable thing about IT is its unpredictability. The only variation is how long IT takes to invent its new ways of disobeying after lulling me to sleep by hundreds of obedient days. It was there all the time, lurking and leering and laughing.

 

Since I have identified the disease (the diagnosis) by carefully observing the symptoms, logic dictates that I identify the cure (the prognosis) by prescribing the remedy. These are the four steps of medical pathology: observation of the symptoms (the bad effects), diagnosis of the disease (the bad cause), prognosis of the cure (the good effect), and prescription for the treatment (the good cause). The only thing that cures demon possession is exorcism.

I call, therefore, for a new order of cyber-exorcists.

I call loudly.

I call painfully.

I call with a voice that becomes ever weaker and more distant, as my mind is dragged farther into the Black Hole of cyberspace.

The invasion of the body-snatchers was only fantasy, but the invasion of the mind-snatchers has begun. The Gates of Hell cannot prevail against the Church, but unless the Church sends exorcists, the Hell of Gates will prevail against the world. Mine, anyway.