The title encourages visions of nubile young things dancing around a tree in an apple orchard waiting for the first buds of fruit to appear long after the blossoms have fallen. It happens every Spring when an old man’s fancy turns to thoughts of youth and vitality. Let me sit with that mental scene a moment. Yes, it is true, I really don’t get out much. This story, which is still being written, is about another apple orchard, the Cupertino garden variety of Apple and the cult I ascribe to. Yes I am a Macintosh. A 2005 study by a Utah-based consumer psychologist named Russell Belk talks about the “quasi-religious” aspects between Apple and it’s loyal customers.
“We find several key sustaining myths, including a creation myth, a messianic myth, a satanic myth, and a resurrection myth,” an introduction to the report said.
And I say to Russ, “…and your point?” Of course it is a quasi-religion of sorts with thousands upon thousands of followers, both active and passive. I am one of them. They are a group who are joyous except when the iPad doesn’t connect to WiFi. There are countless user groups and bulletin boards out there on the Web who are willing to help evangelically people who have questions/problems with Apple products…and all for free. We are not alone. Previously on 24…you could tell the good guys from the bad guys, because the good guys used Apples and the bad guys used PCs. Clever product placement I thought at the time.
We faithful are “called to service” with a chime that tells us everything is working fine with the proprietary system talking to it’s proprietary machine. We have permission to play (a form of prayer in action). We open a window to the world using the sacred instrument of the “Safari,” searching for the truth using the mystic “Google” (do no evil) or silently yelling “Yahoo” when we have found our hearts desire. It all works seamlessly and with little fear of blue-screens-of-death mucking up the free flow of visuals. We all have become evangelists. (And a younger generation of males have mastered the ritual of typing with one hand.)
A cult you say? Don’t you PC users tout the latest Vaio or H-P computer running someone else’s operating system? Don’t you stand in line for days waiting for the new piece of wizardry like an iPhone or iPad or iTouch or Snow Leopard? Don’t you get excited every January when new devices or upgrades are introduced at the San Francisco pilgrimage site? It’s what keeps us going during the dark days of Winter. It’s no matter that upgrades to products come out 6 months after money has changed hands. It was so long ago, that the price has been forgotten and we are dazzled yet again.
In an article called Characteristics Associated with Cultic Groups – Revised by Janja Lalich, Ph.D. & Michael D. Langone, Ph.D. both PhDs give a “warning sign” of what to look for when one suspects they are in a cult:
The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s) and members (for example, the leader is considered the Messiah, a special being, an avatar—or the group and/or the leader is on a special mission to save humanity).
The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which may cause conflict with the wider society.
To both PhDs I add “…and your point?” Of course we’re elitist claiming a special exalted status for ourselves. Isn’t that the point of being a “Mac.” We are the Davids (10.9% market share) to Microsoft’s Goliath (86% market share), thin wiry, hip, young (at heart). We are not clunky, slow and bland. We pride ourselves in causing conflict with the wider society. We look better on TV and in the movies as well…but that should be a given.
From Psychiatric Annals-April 1990 by John Hochman, MD comes the ultimate warning about cults:
Cults promise salvation. Instead of boredom – noble and sweeping goals. Instead of existential anxiety – structure and certainty. Instead of alienation – community. Instead of impotence – solidarity directed by all-knowing leaders.
Yes doctor I have given the salvation of my soul to a man who now has a new liver and can last forever, Steve Jobs. Dressed in black on a stage in January he proved the critics wrong about his mortal being…He has been rebuilt, better than ever with an operating system that can work blazing fast. Sexy, useful and immortal. Apple has been near death in the past (When shares were $9.00) but has risen over and over again. I will rise also.
Yes I am a believer. Yes I love the power-on chime. Yes I am blinded by the light. And yes, I am still looking for those maidens in the apple orchard and a WiFi service for my iPad.
And so it goes….