Well, this will come as no surprise to OSNews readers, but as outlined in a recent BBC documentary, UK neuroscientists have studied brain scans of hard-core Apple fans and have found that their mental reactions to Apple imagery are quite similar to scans of religious devotees’ brains when shown images of their iconography. The DigitalTrends article summarizing the finding singles out Apple users, but I think we all know that, RDF aside, this is not an Apple-only phenomenon.As anyone who’s ever read blog comments or online discussion forums (or BBSes, or 18th century pamphlets, or cave paintings) knows, people tend to form strong opinions about their passions, and even though those opinions might have initially been formed based on objective factors, human nature gradually compels us to cling to our notions, defend them from attack, and build them into our identity over time. I believe it’s one of the cornerstones of the human experience.
Somewhere early in our evolutionary journey, our distant ancestors who were able to listen to the words of a charismatic villager and really buy into some idea (“We need to migrate to new hunting grounds”) then cling to that idea, even when faced with setbacks or difficulties (This river is full of crocodiles), had a survival advantage. Nowadays, it’s not just religion that people profess faith in and will defend from attack, but political ideologies, sports teams, allegiance to a group or family or ethnic group, patriotism or nationalism, and yes, OS preference.
And just as one religion professes disdain at other sects for their heresies, and one ethnic group makes up slurs about another, whether you’re a Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iPhone, Blackberry, Newton, Amiga, Sinclair, Nintendo, xBox, whatever user, you’ve certainly got a quiver of insults and stereotypes to deploy at a moment’s notice for anyone who doesn’t share your geekly passion.
Honestly, it’s gotten pretty old.
So yes, at some time in the past, we made a decision about which technology platform worked best for us. Maybe that decision was even made for us, by a parent or teacher, or at least influenced, by a friend. Maybe we responded to an organized evangelical campaign. But we made that decision, and even when things get hard, and we momentarily doubt whether we made the right choice, we not only have the substantial investment in money and time sunk into it, we also have our innate human nature to grapple with. Sometimes, like mid nineties Mac fans, or current Symbian fans, our loyalty and devotion is a little pathetic. But let’s cut each other a break. In most civilized societies, it’s considered very poor manners to attack or mock someone else’s religion. Maybe the OSNews crowd can finally extend that social more to the topic at hand.