The biggest roadblock to world domination is free will. That’s exactly why Religion is fascinating – billions of people spontaneously giving in to groupthink without much resistance or doubt. Of course, one might prefer to use a friendlier term for it: faith. It’s a bit like referring to Gollum as an eccentric snuggle-bunny, but whatever you say.
The only entity that’s close to replicating God’s success today is Apple. Those folks at 1 Infinity Loop have it all figured out – “Entice and Enslave”. I bet there is a secret Apple mission statement that goes something like that. And I bet it’s more carefully guarded than Coca Cola’s recipe or Donald Trump’s comb.
Of course, Apple is not the first company to try and take over an entire generation. Disney has been doing it for years. They visit kids as soon as they are born – literally, in the hospital maternity wards – to give away free Mickey Mouse blankets and hotel discounts for the kid’s first trip to Disneyland. Five years in advance. That explains the Hannah Montana fan base, doesn’t it?
While poor Disney is still figuring out how to push ads into mommy’s tummy and how to retain its market share beyond the age of 14, Apple has already found the golden-egg-laying goose. It went the other way, by first targeting all the young adults.
And then Apple went after an even younger group – teenagers – who are thrilled at the slightest opportunity to act like young adults. Of course, by that I mean spending money and showing off stuff. Not going to work, paying taxes or buying groceries.
After the first caveman picked up a stick and clubbed a sheep to death, can you imagine what the rest of his tribe did? They all went looking for sticks, of course. Now you know what happens when you put a sleek iPod into a teenager’s hands, stick white earphones into his head and show him to other teenagers. The rest is history, which we have all witnessed the rewriting of:
Music player iPod
Computer / Watch / Camera / GPS / Mirror / Friend iPhone
Einstein / Santa Claus / God Steve Jobs
Tirupati / Mecca / Jerusalem Apple store
Diwali / Ramzan / Christmas / Birthday / Anniversary / Sex Apple product launch
A few months ago I was on a plane waiting to take off, when I heard two loud voices behind me at once, “NO iPAD!” I turned around to see a stern-faced couple and their sulking daughter. She wasn’t old enough to even get her own seat. Or talk.
Ooh, what fun times ahead for the missus and me! I can now see what the future looks like for most people like us, who decided to make new people:
- The baby will achieve a high score on Angry Birds before she even visits a zoo or playground for the first time.
- Mom and Dad will walk into the living room to find the TV screen smeared with tiny, chocolate-covered fingerprints, because she was trying to ‘unlock’ it.
- When she finally learns to talk – How high can a giraffe jump? Where do babies come from? What is a hooker? Why can’t we eat pizza every day? What does Spiderman do when he has to go to the bathroom? – naturally, she won’t be talking to her parents, because Siri never says “Not now. Can’t you see I’m busy?”
- For her 5th or 6th birthday she may get a bike or a puppy, but she won’t be happy because what she actually asked for is an iPod Touch (“But all of my friends have one!”).
- When she wants to sneak out of the house to party with her friends, there will be an app for that.
- When she decides to get her own phone, she will pick an iPhone of course, having grown up with the same user interface.
You still don’t buy the argument that a profit-making organization can command a religious following without messing with free will? Consider for a moment the famous child of Apple and Disney. Now go find one person – of any age – who has a genuine hatred of what Pixar does.
I think I have made my point. Dear God, you have some serious competition.