By Yonatan Gordon
As the preview for Windows 8 rolled out last week, we decided it was a good time to reflect on this most famous operating system.
Windows on Reality
More than a digital overlay of DOS, Windows marketed itself as an opportunity to engage in new realms of discovery. While computers were first viewed as best relegated to corporate settings, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and others showed us otherwise. The common theme of Windows then is that of clarity. That clarification in general, and clarity in particular, can now be obtained on a personal basis from the comfort of one’s home.
Kabbalah teaches that clarity is a prerequisite for any new discovery. Successful scientists or inventors know that true moments of clarity produce eureka insights. When the mind is cleared, then the ideas start flowing. There was some sort of mental or psychological block. But now the confusion has vanished in favor of a more lucid reality.
Light Filled Interface
Aside from specific graphical elements, Windows overlayed the DOS operating system with light. Initial commands and prompts gave way to screen-wide interfaces. Clarity also means to be able to tell the difference between light and darkness. Our exploration from DOS to Windows then signifies our entrance into light-filled experiences. Our example in the Torah for this concept is the first day of Creation. The first thing that God saw to be good on this day was the brilliant light. Immediately after seeing this light, He differentiated it from the primordial darkness. So too, in our efforts to bring light and goodness into the world, we endeavor to fill our windows (views on reality) with light.
Hebrew is termed a clear language (safa berurah) because at its core is a system that relates to all modes of communication from the way we speak, think and act. This also includes “body language” or the manner with which we perform actions. The fact that Windows also included graphics laid the groundwork for future video communications. Ideally all elements of communication should be manifest in our computing time. From written correspondences, to phone calls, to video chat.
To understand then the movement of computing in general, and Windows in particular, we should first appreciate how Hebrew (the clear language) is structured and organized.
From Windows to Gates
In order to generate meaningful units of language in Hebrew, there must be a minimum of two letters paired together. In Kabbalah, the two-letter units are called gates (sha’arim)–meaning Hebrew is a bidirectional language. Two people passing through a gateway from either side will see two permutations of one two-letter unit or gate. In total, there are 231 gates or pairings of the 22 Hebrew letters.
These pairings could well serve as the basis of a programming language for our present day social media platforms. Imagine for a moment that a new version of a Tablet allowed two people to view the same screen from opposite directions. Now what happens when one person types a letter. In a standard programming language, his friend would see the letter backwards. But if we were able to create a bidirectional language, then he would also see the letter as the typing friend sees it.
This is the secret of the 231 gates of the Hebrew language. While it is true that I enter the gateway from one direction (A on the left and B on the right), and my friend from the opposite direction (A on my right and B on my left), there is not a irrevocable difference between the two. While perspective is important, for the programmer, it’s all the same gateway.
For a computing language to be “social” then, it needs to allow for the perspective of my friend. If Windows signified our search to discover the outside world, mobile computing is all about connecting with friends through gateways of correspondence.
Part II God WIlling Next Week.
Photo Credit: The Verge