Belief System Meets Operating System

Hendrik-Jan Grievink
February 6th 2014

The image above depicts two seemingly Indian men sitting in front of what looks like an improvised temple or shrine for the hindu goddess Saraswati. What makes the image curious, is that the façade of the temple is constructed from a large-scale print of a Facebook Wall, dedicated to the deity. Do we have a Boomeranged Metaphor here or is it time to coin a new term: the Reincarnated Interface?

Saraswati’s social network seems to consist mostly of peers in the realm of gods. Judging by the sidebar activity, her online social life is quite active but not so much concerned with us mortals; we can see that Brahma likes his own photo, Kali just updated her profile picture and Durga, in return, just liked Shiva’s status. Lord Shiva is also avaiable for a chat conversation, by the way. Oh, and Krishna also just came online. Quite some unanswered messages, status updates and invites also.

Wat fascinates me about this image, is that it seems so weird and exotic for me, but apparently not at all for the guys posing in the picture. When we visit the Saraswati page on Facebook, we can see that the admins changed the profile picture into that of the guys in the Facebook Temple.

In the western part of the world, most religious belief systems have been replaced, or updated if you want, by a belief in technology. But for the biggest part of the world this hasn’t been the case. India is one of those places in the world where traditional values meet future technologies. Or, put differently: where Belief Systems meet Operating Systems. For the people in the picture, there might not be a contradiction here. Should we reboot?

Page of Saraswati on Facebook

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