I’m not a guy who knows computers .
I checked a book out of the Arcadia library recently that might make me a little more knowledgeable . It’s a big book and it has colorful flow charts on almost every page . Almost is written as if for a child . Perfect. Just what I need .
Oh, I’ve owned computers , of course . I bought my first with a teacher discount in the 1980s . It was a cute little white thing , and it crashed for good after a year or so . It could store about as much information , as I remember , as might be crammed into a shoebox . You might think that I exaggerate on this point ; but , be informed that I wear size 15 ( U.S. ) shoes , so it’s a little less of an exaggeration than you would think .
My feet , by the way , most of my adult life , had been size 13 , ever since I was fourteen years old . But then , several years ago , they stretched out to size 15 . For years I suspected that shoe companies , most of them in Asia , were shorting us all on sizes — a ‘ 15 is the new 13 ” type of thing . “Large” labelled clothes no longer fit , too . I found myself having to buy ” X-Large ” . I know what you’re thinkin’ —- I gained weight and stretched out . Yeah , true ; but not enough to account for this shoe/clothing size-label conspiracy . No way .
I gave up the conspiracy theory , though , some time ago . I’m not much of a conspiracy theory type of guy . Lee Harvey Oswald for example , as far as I’m concerned , was the lone shooter of JFK . Not the CIA . Not Lyndon Johnson . Not the mafia or the KGB . Just Lee Harvey . O.K. , so it’s almost certainly impossible to get off two accurate shots from that angle , with his shooting experience , at that distance , with that weapon . So was it really the Secret Service guy in the following car who accidentally discharged his weapon into the President’s head ? Was there , then , Secret Service cover-up ? I’m not pursuing it .
Remember old discussions of discussions about , for example , how many angels fit on the head of a pin ? Want to spend time talking that conundrum out ? Not me , man . I prefer to wallow in my ignorance . Reminds me now of that UCLA philosophy class : ” The Philosophy of Knowledge “. How do we know what we know ? I say : Who cares ! You either know it or you don’t . If you know it , fine , then you won’t need to talk about how .
I don’t hold myself up as a shining example of how to be or how to think about things . Someone , I guess, needs to explore the truth , hypothesize, develop theories , test theories , etc. Someone needs to philosophize , perhaps . Someone , I suppose, needs to explore space , for example , and capture bits or planets to study . Someone needs to expand our knowledge so that civilization can advance . Don’t wait for me , please , though — you go ahead .
But , have we advanced all that much , by and by ? Sure , technologically . We’ve found more and more effective ways to destroy one another , of course ; but have we explored and discovered ways not to destroy one another ? Call our conundrum human nature , if you want . Maybe that’s what’s holding us back .
Anyway , I know how to look some stuff up on my computer , but I don’t understand much else about it . I don’t understand hacking . I don’t understand the entire network mechanics , really , despite the flow charts in my library book . I’ve found through experience that the true geniuses of computer technology begin with one simple rule : Turn it off , wait 20 seconds , and then turn it on again . That almost always works .
Can this technique be applied more generally to the world ? Anybody waiting for WWIII ? How about this for the world ? : Turn it off ; wait a half-life of twenty million years , and then turn it on again ? Maybe . Maybe not . I think GOD had something like this in mind when Noah was around . Nuclear weapons could turn us off one of these days .
Meanwhile , I’m clicking the keyboard of an old Dell computer that I bought used a couple of years ago over the internet. The NSA is , no doubt , listening to my blabbering and writing my name down on some list . It gives them something to do — a purpose . GM , General Mills, B of A , Shell Oil , and Ralphs Markets are doing the same , I’m sure ; making their own lists . Good luck getting anything useful , guys !
But , of course , I’m simply speculating about all of this . I’m certainly not a philosopher , and, as I’ve said , I’m not a guy who knows computers . I’d like , at least , to be able to say with confidence : ” At least I know what I know ” ; but I took that Philosophy of Knowledge class at UCLA , remember , and so since then I haven’t even been sure of that .