By Yonatan Gordon
Windows 8 hopes to reimagine computing “from the chipset to the user experience.” The starting point of this change is a completely redesigned desktop. Microsoft is replacing a landscape of static icons in favor of a lateral surface of tiled applications. What lessons can we learn from this? For Part One, Please Read Here.
Technology today goes hand-in-hand with mobility. Central to this theme is the transition from an isolated, unidirectional computing environment to a world of social interchanges. Whether gaming, chatting, posting or tweeting, user engagement today is one of duality. I am imparting something to you. And you my friend, are responding in kind.
The language Microsoft used to develop this new tiled desktop is called Metro. Inspired partly after metro bus signs, each title contains a “simple, modern, and fast” typography that’s “entirely authentic.”
Imagine for a moment beyond the borders of our screened computers. If we were to create a desktop based on the teachings of Kabbalah that would serve as a metaphor for how we interface with the world, where would we start? Presumably we would begin with the most summarized kernels of meaning, the two-letter Hebrew word units. We are taught that God recreates the world at every moment by means of the 22 Hebrew letters. By analyzing the 231 possible two-letter gateways, we facilitate our understanding of what a desktop essentially is.
Each tile is like our first glimpse on a specific lens of reality. Whether our interest is in weather, business, science, etc… the information presented on the desktop is the starting point. Each tile also has a specific color designated to it or a unique lens on reality. If my interest is in sports, then even when looking at other topics, my interest will often be how those topic relate back to my main interest in sports.
In Kabbalah, the highest level of understanding is the 50th gate, or the gateway (sha’ar) of crown (Keter). By learning this gateway we learn the secrets of how our superconscious insights can stream or download down to the desktops of this world.
The Wisdom of Digging Wells
The first root we will explore is dig (karah). The power to dig comes from wisdom. Where are we digging? Within the superconscious crown. Although the crown comes from a source of unknowability, through digging, we reveal the mysteries that stem from it. Each time the drill bit reaches the power of the intellect, we experience a lightning flash of insight.
These eureka moments come in the merit of the selflessness of the person (v’chochmah me’ayin timatze). Selflessness is the bit that excavates deeper into the crown to reveal insights. From digging into one’s superconscious, we deepen our understanding of the world.
The Kingdom of Cloud Computing
One may think this digging upward keep our focus in the “clouds” of the intellect. But the purpose of this excavation is for the sake of the world below. The area with which we dig is termed a wide arena (kar neirchav), like a field, This world also means a pillow or a mattress. Our explorations require wide open areas. The fact that our “digging” happens in the superconscious and is manifest below is reminiscent of cloud computing. While our search drills the bit further up to unlock the seal of the unknowable crown, the result is manifest down here below. While all my programs may be stored remotely “in the cloud,” in reality, they are all saved on some land-based mainframe server.
The greater our superconscious digs, the more thought seeds are planted in the world. Like a search engine that begins crawling the web from a selection of seed sites, our search or starting selection of sites (our titled desktop) also begins by revisiting the same starting point in the supernal crown. Each tile is a grouping of the treasures we uncover through digging. By tapping the panel, we start growing the seeds of conceptual ideas, into full-bodied subject of interest. The social aspect of any idea is when the world parlays around your idea. So too, the most compelling sites are those that generate the most interest from the public at large. We start by entering the gateway from the front, but end by observing our friend coming toward us with feedback and comments of his own.
Portals of Consciousness
We can now begin to understand why titles are so marketable. We mentioned the design typography is named Metro after bus signs. Instead of static icons, titles were intended to be active elements on the desktop. So too each two-letter Hebrew root is a sign or gateway into a specific realm of discovery. While digging (karah) the well relates the wisdom of our crown gateway, the wide arena (kar neirchav) we dig is the kingdom within the crown. By completing our excavations, we bring down a total of ten crowns for each and every activity we successfully complete.
Photo Credit: reuters.com