Tablet computers: The second coming

Another example of what Jacques Ellul describes as “proliferating sacred”: Religious objects of worship never die but metamorphose into other forms of ultimate devotion.

In the article the Economist describes people’s adulation to Apple computers as “quasi-religious”. The term was originally coined by Paul Tillich, meaning a genuine similarity to religion –i.e. grasped by ultimate concern-, not necessarily intended, but based on points of identity. He distinguished it from “pseudo-religious” in terms of an indicated an intended but deceptive similarity.

If the object itself is the thing worshiped, then it would qualify as idolatry. Whereas the new tool being described as “the Jesus tablet” would more likely fit into the category of pseudo-religious. If the iPad is used as tool of enhancing self-communication and improving communication, then it falls into the category of quasi-religious medium.


Apple’s revamped iPad will be hard for its competitors to beat
, The Economist.com

“WHEN the iPad was launched last year, it was dubbed “the Jesus tablet” because of the quasi-religious fervour with which it was greeted by consumers worldwide, who have since snapped up more than 15m of them. Now Apple wants to create even more converts. On March 2nd Steve Jobs, its boss, returned briefly from sick leave to introduce the iPad 2, a revamped version that will compete with a host of rivals now coming to market…”

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