Skip The Religious Brainwashing

Brainwash

So my wife and I took this picture yesterday of this Spongebob outside a matress store, but which you frequently find at places like a car wash.  


It gets some attention when your driving by. 


This cartoon fellow reminded me of something I heard in a movie trailer recently.


It was about people of faith, but rather than relying on being genuinely thoughtful about their beliefs, instead they adhere to a form of brainwashing, where the people in the community are kept in the fold by closing out any and all outside influences. 


When one of the ladies in the community was asked about this, she replied “You know what someone told me about brainwashing? What’s wrong with a clean brain!”


While I am a huge proponent of devotion and service to G-d, I think that relying on intentionally keeping people sheltered is not the path to G-d. 


Especially for the Jewish people, who are known as the “People of the Book” for their intense learning of the Torah, intellectual pursuit and challenge is a source of true faith.


Of course, there are bad influences in society–addictive drugs, alcohol dependence, indiscriminate sex, violent and deviant people, and more–and we want to keep our families away from these things and safe.  


Interestingly, when someone is free from drugs and alcohol, they often say that they have been “clean” for so many months or years. 


If that is what a “clean brain” is–then that is a positive thing. 


But if a clean brain is truly cutting people off from education and legitimate worldly pursuits just to force them to follow and keep them in state of brainwashing, then that level of a geder (i.e. gate or limitation) is destructive to the person and community. 


Recently, a 30-year woman, Faigy Meyer, “who broke free from the iron-tight grip of her ultra-conservative Hassidic community” and had been shunned by her family, leapt from a rooftop to her death.


The term iron-grip used in the article sounds like a medieval torture device used to force or keep people at bay, and if that is what the “religious” community is doing so-to-say to limit free choice of their members, then that is not honest belief and practice. 


For myself personally, I lived for some years in a highly religious community that despite having many wonderful people and families was for the most part not very accepting of anyone who believed or practiced not exactly like them–there was no room for that. 


One time, the legacy Rabbi on the pulpit (not the current one who is an extremely fine person that I greatly respect) even warned the members to beware of people in their midst who were not true worshippers (and could be a harmful influence). 


In a closed community thinking, one can feel quite alienated and a huge void of spirituality. 


Thank G-d, in our community with the Magen David Sephardic Synagogue, we have found not only a beautiful love of Hashem, but that mixed with acceptance for everyone to come and participate.


Now we actually love to go to synagogue and look forward to it. It has become a central part of our lives (similar in our own way to how it had been for my beloved father). 


Take away the iron-tight grip, the forcing, the brainwashing and fear of the regular outside world, and you have people from many walks of life, intellectual pursuits and experiences come together to seek and worship G-d with a pure and open heart. 


In a way, it is similar to technology: if you have a closed system (not connected to the Internet and the outside), you have a safe tool, but it is very limited as a standalone. Alternatively, hook the computer up to the Internet and while you take some risks browsing the limits of the virtual world, you come away with so much more you can do and richness in the experience. 😉


(Source Photo: Dannielle and Andy Blumenthal)

Platforms – Open or Closed

Closed_open

Ever since the battles of Windows versus Linux, there have been two strong competing philosophies on systems architecture.

Many have touted the benefits of open architecture–where system specifications are open to the public to view and to update.

Open sourced systems provide for the power of crowdsourcing to innovate, add-on, and make the systems better as well as provides less vendor lock-in and lower costs.

Open Source —–> Innovation, Choice, and Cost-Savings

While Microsoft–with it’s Windows and Office products–was long the poster child for closed or proprietary systems and has a history of success with these, they have also come to be viewed, as TechRepublic(July 2011) points out as having an “evil, monopolistic nature.”

However, with Apple’s rise to the position of the World’s most valuable company, closed solutions have made a strong philosophical comeback.

Apple has a closed architecture, where they develop and strictly control the entire ecosystem of their products.

Closed systems provides for a planned, predictable, and quality-controlled architecture, where the the whole ecosystem–hardware, software and customer experience can be taken into account and controlled in a structured way.

Closed Systems —–> Planning, Integration, and Quality Control

However, even though has a closed solutions architecture for it’s products, Apple does open up development of the Apps to other developers (for use on the iPhone and iPad). This enables Apple to partner with others and win mind share, but still they can retain control of what ends-up getting approved for sale at the App Store.

I think what Apple has done particularly well then is to balance the use of open and closed systems–by controlling their products and making them great, but also opening up to others to build Apps–now numbering over 500,000–that can leverage their high-performance products.

Additionally, the variety and number of free and 99 cent apps for example, show that even closed systems, by opening up parts of their vertical model to partners, can achieve cost-savings to their customers.

In short, Apple has found that “sweet spot”–of a hybrid closed-open architecture–where they can design and build quality and highly desirable products, but at the same time, be partners with the larger development community.

Apple builds a solid and magnificent foundation with their “iProducts,” but then they let customers customize them with everything from the “skins” or cases on the outside to the Apps that run on them on the inside.

Closed-Open Systems —–> Planned, Integrated, and Quality PLUS Innovation, Choice, and Cost-Savings

Closed-Open Systems represent a powerful third model for companies to choose from in developing products, and which benefits include those from both open and closed systems.