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Computers: a Truly Magickal Tool

By Sunfell

Psst. C’mere. Yeah, you. I want to tell you a secret. Ready? No matter what people tell you, computers run on magick.

Ok, ok- so they do have to be plugged into a wall to power up, but just think about it for a moment: What other device pretty much manipulates a lot of nothing (software, which is magnetic or digital bits) and manages to turn it into something? I mean, we’re playing with the equivalent of Rumpelstiltskin’s ability to turn straw into gold. To the dot-commers, that straw is raw imagination and lots of bluff and guts- call it 21st Century straw. But computers are more than money machines. They are the matrices of tiny universes.

A programmer writing code literally creates a universe. She understands the rules for operation, and uses her imagination, lots of sleepless nights, and large doses of caffeine to ‘make it so’. The result: Quake, Microsoft Word, or PGP. Pretty cool, eh? In the case of game designers, they literally do create universes- consider Ultima, Everquest, and the Sims.

The Sims even allow us to play at being God/dess- we control these little people, influence their lives with our actions, guide them to success, or more often with many players, ruin. Do these little electronic people truly live? That’s a good question, but several orders of magnitude out of this essay.

Games like the Sims make me marvel at the complexity of this universe. We were created with a God-particle inside us, and we in turn attempt to pass it down into our own machines. Is there a particle of divinity in a Celeron chip? Is God/dess silicon? Do our computers have souls, or spirits?

Questions like these may explain why a large number of Pagans are also techies of one sort or another. I started out as an electronics tech, and got interested in computers as a hobby. Both of my monitors- at home and at work, are little shrines. I have quartz crystals, Bast figurines, Ankhs, feathers, and Intel Bunny People ™ ranged along the top.

My colleagues call me their Computer Hexpert- because not only do I know what the ‘hex’ going on with their systems, I can generally remove any ‘hexes’ they might have. I have studied PCs, learned machine language, stripped systems to their bare cases and put them back together again, restored hard drives, ran LAN cables, installed and debugged software, and have stuff that was printed on old dot-matrix printers with Commodores. I can remember when 64K of RAM was a lot.

Still, even with 15 years of experience under my belt, and a nice IT job, I wake up on workday mornings and boot up my systems, thinking, as I log on to that vast multiverse that is the Internet…this truly is magick. And I get to wear the pointy hat with the little stars and cursor arrows on it. Life is good.

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The Law of the TechMage:

Here is what you have to do

To be a great TechMage:

Read the frickin’ manual, you!

And we mean Every Page!

 

1999 by Lorie A. Johnson

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