Let us begin with one near-universal life experience: the way that gadgets and systems let you down just when things are most critical, when you are in a hurry, when an important person is present, or when the deadline is pending.

It does not matter wether it is red traffic lights on the way to a late appointment, or a car that won´t start, or an office copier that grows cantancerous - in every case I recommend recourse to that very obvious question "how does it know that I am in a hurry?". (s.21)

When we think of the copier as a conscious being, instead of a mechanical object, we are vastly expanding our sensibilities to embrace mood, purpose, affection, commitment and a multidimensional infinitude of additional factors. The copier could be malfunctioning because it is an undercover agent for a rival organisation, it might be a revolutionary fanatic wishing to sabotage the business, it might simply hate me, or it might equally have fallen in love with me and be trying to attract my attention...(s.22)
The tiny trickle of mental activity represented by logical thought has expanded into a torrent of parallell processes as the brain gears up to tackle the most challenging object in the universe - a fellow conscious being. (s.23)

So look at the copier and simply ask "How does it know that I am in a hurry?", and a new , more complex relationship develops between you and the copier.

But surely, isn´t complexity at the heart of the problem? What you want is to simplify the relationship back to master and obedient, mechanical slave? The answer is that complexity is a nightmare when thinking mechanistically, but it is a richness when personifying. For our personifying skills are nourished by complexity in relationship: handling complexity and multiple parallel processing are what personal interactions are all about. (s.24)

How does it know I'm in a hurry? Maybe I slam the lid down harder when I'm rushed? Or maybe I don't allow time enough to warm up? Or maybe I press the buttons so impatiently that a loose connection is displaced?

Mechanical answers are not the antithesis of the personifying approach, but merely a small subset of it. For even when we deal with real human beings and ask, say, "why does this person become a murderer?" the answer may prove quite mechanical - along the lines of a bullying father plus a genetic disposition - but the same principle holds: namely that the answer will generally reveal itself more quickly to one who treats the subject as a human being rather than an object for experimentation. (s.25)

Uncle Ramsey's little book of demons.
The positive advantages of the personification of life's problems.
A light hearted yet deeply serious look at how to recognise, bargain with and ultimately control one's personal demons.
Ramsey Dukes (2005)
ISBN 1-904658-09-1

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