Man is only a computer if you ignore everything
that distinguishes him
from a computer. - David Galernter, in The
Closing of the Scientific Mind
Understanding Man--A Systems Approach
An analogy only partially relates to reality. It is like a map, which only
reflects the terrain in two dimensions. No one would confuse a map with the
terrain to which it relates. No one would try to build a real house on a
portion of a map. Just so it is with the following analogy.
The Computer Analogy
A computer is crudely analogous to man as an organism, in that it has a
triune structure consisting of three basic systems:
- It has a physical
structure that is called the hardware system,
- It has an intangible structure
that can be loaded onto the hardware, which is called the software system
- It has a bi-directional communication capability called an input/output
system that can take information in and transmit it out, doing both in
A fourth dimension is needed to make a computer functional, and that is a
supply of energy in the form of electrical current that must be matched
rather closely in amperage, voltage and frequency to what the computer can
use effectively without damage. Without such a source of power, a computer
is just a very complex boat anchor.
Man as an organism analogous to a computer:
- He has a physical system called a body
- He has an intangible system
called a "soul" (mind/psyche)
- He has a bi-directional communication capability.
Man also needs an energy power supply to be functional.
Although other comparison can be made, this is where the analogy
stops being very useful, because the most important aspects of
Man--sovereignty, choice volition, romance and sex, desire, purpose,
values--are beyond computer properties.