Stallmantown, eh, I mean the FSF, welcomes a new employee. And this is her story:
by Sarah Adelaida McIntire
FSF Campaigns Intern
“I am one of the Free Software Foundation’s newest interns, which is a little surprising because less than a year ago, I didn’t even know what an operating system was. While interning here, I hope to help myself and others to become more educated about free software. I also hope to introduce free software as something that is very accessible, easy to use, and most importantly, as something that does not restrict users’ freedoms.
As I mentioned earlier, I did not know what an operating system was less than a year ago, so as you probably can guess, free software and the ideas behind the Free Software Foundation are also fairly new to me. Actually, the term “free software” wasn’t even in my vocabulary last October. Basically, the only word in my vocabulary even remotely surrounding free software was “Linux”. I only attributed “Linux” to something that was impossibly hard to understand and used by angry techno geeks. I knew these “geeks” using Linux hated Microsoft. I could not understand this. Microsoft is everywhere, so why would anyone hate Microsoft? I thought it worked well enough.
After being introduced to a few GNU/Linux users, my views on Microsoft inevitably changed and my vocabulary was expanded after they gave me many thorough explanations of the reasons for the creation of GNU, the ideas the Free Software Foundation supports, and the problems proprietary software has created. After discovering this, I made a hesitant switch to GNU/Linux. I was afraid that because of my lack of computer skills, I was not going to be able to figure out how to use my computer, mess it all up, and not be able to take it back to the store for repair because removing Microsoft from my computer might waive my warranty.
To my great surprise, none of my fears were realized. I actually found that Ubuntu was easier to use than my old operating system, Vista. It had a cleaner interface, hardly ever crashed, and an incredible amount of benefits that were never offered by my old operating system. I was hooked and realized that my old stereotyped notions of GNU/Linux users were unfounded.
After learning about how proprietary software restricts my freedoms, and realizing that I am actually able to use free software, despite my painfully limited computer skills, I of course wanted to spread this information to others. This wish to help spread the knowledge of how our freedoms are restricted by proprietary software is how I found my way to an internship at the Free Software Foundation.
A lot of people, just like me less than a year ago, are completely ignorant of an alternative to proprietary software. Also, the level of general awareness about how our freedoms are restricted needs to change or else we will find ourselves cornered, and our freedoms limited even further. I hope I will be able to reach out to those who think, just as I did less than a year ago, that free software is not something just for techno geek geniuses. That it’s not necessary to understand how a computer runs in order to use an operating system that does not restrict one’s freedoms. That it is possible to understand how proprietary software restricts one’s freedoms with basically no background in computers. It is my hope that I will relate to the computer user.
It is vitally important for our future, not only individually, but communally and culturally, to spread awareness about free software and the ideas motivating the Free Software Foundation. As an intern here, I will hopefully help raise awareness about the freedoms proprietary software restricts to a wider audience, while learning more about free software myself. The freedoms that are being stripped away from users are too great for so many people to continue to remain ignorant. I do not want to see my, or anyone else’s freedoms restricted any longer.
I’ll be helping out with FSF campaigns like LibrePlanet and Defective by Design. If you have ideas for how we can better reach out to people along the lines I’ve described, please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
This sounds like some one just entered a cult. A characteristic of cults is to brainwash the new fellow into the belief, that the outside world is evil. This is exactly what happened here. This poor girl was perfectly fine with Microsoft and other proprietary companies. But now, after she learned “the right way”, she is convinced that proprietary software companies are TEH EVIL. And that they restrict “HER FREEDOMS”. She didn’t feel any restrictions of freedom before of course.
That’s exactly how cults work:
Their particular approach is slanted to prejudice you against other beliefs before you can investigate them. You learn to fear those who do not agree with you, and will run from them or avoid a confrontation with them. Because religious cults are seen as “extreme” in their methods and behavior, they are often maligned by others, and the recruiter capitalizes on this by claiming he is being persecuted for his faith. So from the start, the recruit develops “tunnel vision” when it comes to investigating all the facts. He is led to believe that the recruiter can be trusted to possess the truth, but the rest of the world cannot.
When a cult recruit crosses the invisible barrier in his mind when he enters the world of the cult and its doctrine at some point during his flirtatious sampling of the cult he is tripping the switch of his voluntary suspension of disbelief. Brainwashing or mind control then occurs naturally, sometimes effortlessly. In many cases the new cult member will struggle hard to brainwash himself. He must do this in order to balance the guilt he feels. When doubts rush in like a flood, he tells himself, “I am following the truth. The rest of the world may be going to hell, but I am following the truth!”
Let’s dissect some of her statements:
“After being introduced to a few GNU/Linux users, my views on Microsoft inevitably changed and my vocabulary was expanded after they gave me many thorough explanations of the reasons for the creation of GNU, the ideas the Free Software Foundation supports, and the problems proprietary software has created. After discovering this, I made a hesitant switch to GNU/Linux.”
This is the “scret truth”. She was a dumb sheep, until now. The cult posesses the “Sacred Science”:
The “Sacred Science”
The cult’s ideology becomes the ultimate moral vision for the ordering of human existence. The ideology is too “sacred” to call into question, and a reverence is demanded for the leadership. The cult’s ideology makes an exaggerated claim for possessing airtight logic, making it appear as absolute truth with no contradictions. Such an attractive system offers security.
The hate for MS is the “Demand for purity”, that cults often posess:
“Demand for Purity
The world is depicted as black and white, with little room for making personal decisions based on a trained conscience. One’s conduct is modeled after the ideology of the group, as taught in its literature. People and organizations are pictured as either good or evil, depending on their relationship to the cult. “
“After learning about how proprietary software restricts my freedoms”
The world was perfectly fine, until her eyes were “opened” by the FSF.
This is a common cult method:
Sudden use of a new ideology to explain everything: Like a harpist playing an instrument with a single string, a cult member uses his or her new ideology to explain the entire world–even when it’s wildly inappropriate.
” my views on Microsoft inevitably changed and my vocabulary was expanded”
The Nine Symptoms of Cult Influence:
Number 8: New vocabulary: Is the person suddenly using complex jargon to obscure irrational or simplistic thinking? (Although this could merely be a sign of attending graduate school!)
“This wish to help spread the knowledge of how our freedoms are restricted by proprietary software…. […] It is vitally important for our future, not only individually, but communally and culturally, to spread awareness about free software and the ideas motivating the Free Software Foundation.”
Number 9: “Insistence that you do what they are doing: Recruitment is one of the first duties a new cult member is given. It consolidates the recruits beliefs while it inflates the cult’s ranks.”
“the level of general awareness about how our freedoms are restricted needs to change or else we will find ourselves cornered, and our freedoms limited even further. …. It is vitally important for our future, not only individually, but communally and culturally”
The cult became to her the only saviour of the planet. She must help the FSF OR ELSE everything is going down the drain. Just like for this former scientologist:
“I don’t want to come back. I don’t want to go back to school. This is where I belong. I have a job here. I am helping to Clear the planet.There is nothing on this whole planet more important than Scientology. These writers are wrong about Scientology. Scientology is the only hope on this planet that any of us have.” I was beginning to get desperate. Could my father force me to go back with him?