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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Reboot Remnants

The term “reboot” referring to the restart of a computer is used as metaphor for many other occurrences in which we wish to perform a restart.  On rebooting a computer, sometimes difficult to specify and define glitches can be made to disappear as good performance returns following the restart.  Unfortunately, “reboots” in other realms do not share the ability to dump memory so easily and start afresh.  Especially in human affairs (as in US – Russian relations) memory is long and retains its presence and influence well beyond any symbolic reboot.  “Feel good” seminars of many types face this same challenge.  Designed to reboot our attitude and outlook, enthusiasms of the moment cannot be sustained as entrenched memory and habits reassert themselves.  Elections are sometimes thought of as reboots in which an instant and reliable society-wide refresh is deeply yearned for.  But we inevitably find that society’s problems are ingrained and are in part deeply psychological.  They do not simply disappear with dispatch following election of new leadership.  In religious terms salvation is a reboot.  But many find after salvation the tendency to sin does not vanish but recurs to present daily diverse challenges.  Much in human behavior is deeply imprinted in the mind and shares in many respects the characteristics of addiction.  To break free of low self-esteem on the one hand or a strident self-confidence on the other can present a challenge easily extending beyond the ready purview of the will.  We are forced to conclude that reboots of the mind in a computer sense are more than rare; they are in all likelihood impossible.

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