On Computers

What may not be known is that the word computer, was in fact referent to a human first. Compute-er, like bake-er, cobble-er, candlestick make-er, basically one who computes.

With the advent of slide rules, electro-mechanics, semi-conductors, and integrated circuits, the word computer lost its human element (sound familiar?). Now hearing the word “human computer” is an example of attribution error, sociology, marketing, and public relations. The human was abstracted and machine took its place, the human was replaced, and whenever something becomes convenient, something really is lost. The machine augmented these humans and then replaced them and that work to compute which sharpened perception and gave rise to innovation was dulled, by the advent of the consumer economy driven by machine.

In hindsight, maybe the conventional human realm would have been better off if machines would have been called electronic computers, to leave room in the public perception for human computers, and perhaps mathematics by humans would still have been celebrated and enjoyed. And indeed it is so in the branding International Business Machines that these are machines. And so it continues this creative tension of illumination; heat, fuel, and oxygen.

On the topic of helping NASA, another fact is that most of these folks were farmers, and that they had been taught computing, mathematics, trigonometry, calculus, and more. Farmers, straight out of the farm and into math, there is a curious relationship between spatial and temporal reasoning and mathematics, so the correlation makes perfect sense.

So these women, have always been silent role models, and I am happy they were there in the background, having done the workless work. Having met and felt the strong effects of this early compelling innovative industry when young, and standing in their shadows today, I will say this… it is not gender, it is not bias, it is not we, it is not they, when in the flow of math and science. I have always taken comfort in that these people made space, for difference, since that is what integration and differentiation needs, room, and lots of it, take the self out, look at it directly.

The worry, the peeling back, the need for identity is what obstructs one’s ability to compute, and that’s why I enjoy the space I work because it rolls up the sleeves and abstracts “I AM” out of the equation, and arrives at something more direct. It is conducive so easly to jhana. Though now knowing, this too is not self, and that allows one to compute… this cause, this condition, [will]arrive[d] at this result, and this, just this is very compatible with dhamma, and wisdom having computed a sum of imaginary squares, can see the inverted stairs toward nibbana.

As right view is the forerunner, so there is right intention, and having been rightly tilted, inclined, directed, there is speech, and having spoken, there is deed, and having deeds, as the heaps, this flame expressed, there is livelihood, sustaining this flame, this burning up of ignorance, and having this flame burning the hindrances, these obscurations, these afflictions, there is right mindfulness, and rightly minding, abstract self, abstract other, abstract essense, abstract nothingness, abstract we, abstract they, abstract all, abstract none, there is absorption, and having been absorbed, withdrawn, upright, ardent, pulled in, there is unbinding, and unbound there is release, and having been released there is rapture, there is bliss, there is further bliss, there is equanimity. And having progressed beyond equanimity there is limitless space, and beyond limitless space, there is limitless consciousness, and beyond this… … …, conception, non-conception, superpositioned, waves within waves, summations of summations… like a flame…. put out…

for the benefit of all beings…