The Generous Jinn: Alan Turing

The Jinn who made materially real the virtual dimension.

*** Pre-final ROUGH DRAFT – In progress***

Today marks the centenary of Alan Turing’s birth in Chhatapur, Orissa, India – the land of the zero. For the many who don’t know this genius, you use the result of his conjure,  thought, ideas, inspiration, innovation – his work made materially real the computer, and among other things he helped the Allies win WWII.

What makes Turing so interesting is, one, in his sensitivity it seems he so loved Disney’s “Snow White” that he identified with the protagonist, Snow White.  Who did Turing identify as the wicked stepmother, and the prince of rescue? I have no idea, but it’s safe to note that a genius lives half-way in this world, and half-way in another. The evil genius and those of limited thinking combined with a mean streak are entombed only in this world. These kinds of people people draft bills of hurt and hate that become law.

In Turing’s day, even until our own, homosexuality represented to some a moral corruption requiring treatment or eradication. It was/is inconceivable that being gay could be a positive, even inspirational, part of an identity.  In this way of thinking, Turing was ahead of the world by imagining and being comfortable with himself enough so that he lay the foundations of computer science.

In the 1950’s, after the end of WWII and following Churchill’s destruction of the proto-computer, a British government with a disrespectful and an ungracious lacunae forced Turing to make a choice. When faced with jail or forced hormone treatment for his homosexuality, he ate a cyanide laced apple. A rebuke to a world without the magic of the realm of  dreams and intelligence as it once was in the creative destruction of preparatory and actual war. But, as there’s never an absence of the mystical unseen world, Turing’s apple as in the  legends of old appears as mystical fruit of knowledge, and loss of innocence.

Turing’s bitten apple has become the symbol of Apple Computer, Inc., but more heart breaking is that it may have been the comforting alibi for his mother. His willingness to protect her after death from mental anguish and torment by enabling her to deny that Turing committed suicide. In all appearances for his mother, it was another example of Turing being careless about the dangers of putting  food too closely to deathly chemicals; thus, an accident. That forethought and kindness remarks upon what a good genius does, even if they are not actively* calculating each step. Sometimes, genius is an emotional and spiritual flow of actions that result in material events viewed uncomprehendingly within a common reality.

In English, the word genie derives from the Latin genius (a guardian spirit of an individual

Only Jinns know who’s a Jinn.

or place). The French, when translating One Thousand and One Nights from the Arabic,  transcribed  jinn into genie. The word was triply adopted into English from two distinct Latin sources and a Middle Eastern one as well. In some ways the Latin mythology of the genius and the Arabic description of the jinn overlap. This is where we all jump off into the rather interesting. Beginning with Turing’s other quality of interest that links him to a whole host of others of the same ilk, but little perceived as a class.

The other curiosity of Turing, when combined with his intellectual capacity and his sincere  empathy and pathos for “Snow White”, is his mind. An instrument not of this world, or even this universe as it is conceived by most, especially large numbers of Westerners.

In India, Bollywood does a great job of providing the mental feast of the unreal to the masses, keeping alive imagination and creativity – a social jughar  (in Hindi) that keeps the world coherent. It will take something special to resurrect the visually rich cinematic musical in the West simply because people’s imaginations are not engaged and the lack of cohesion and mayhem are consumed as a norm.

Nevertheless, for Turing the imagination may have been the cause of his spiritual empathy as well as his  sympathy for humanity that guided him. Consider this decade – what human with a personal computer is out of touch with another human in any part of the world? A machine enabling the transmission of  thoughts and feelings, shared instantly and immediately, and without the aesthetics of literature or even the contrived rules of language grammar? Singlehandedly, Turing has enabled the fulfilling of  the doxology, Gloria Patri – 

Glory [be] to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, both now, and always, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

There was a city of towers, without language barriers so magnificent, it has been recorded in history, remembered as legend, recalled in movie titles, and pejoratively intoned at the pulpits of the ignoramus: Babel. As a sentient species, human have come around to another bend.

In the first half of the 20th century when racial, national, gender and class identities were very real in the majority of the world’s minds; impermeable, impossible and egregious barriers to human unity. And, in Turing’s imagination (and of those like him), in his naiveté and in his perspective as a homosexual – there lay the keys: a single ear of three aural receptors justifiably hesitant to join the majority of his era. A cohort that didn’t understand him in the end at all – and with some token remorse as they profited upon his death.

In the West, the identities we  would have softened with only the use and creativity enabled by the further development of Turing’s proto-computer, have been made much more disturbingly resolute due to poor educations and the ubiquity of television – a contemporary invention of the 1930’s.

Most Westerners have such a thick wall between the fantasy of the imagination and the material reality that, as a poor substitute, many retreat into the television every night. Once the realization is quietly accepted by an individual that the material reality has culled out their imagination, then the desire to watch to TV with its horrible programming fills the resulting cavity. This represents the closure to intuition, inspiration, and even spiritual revelation of the unseen reality of the world around them. For those who are poor, lonely, orphaned, and widowed such a construct appears no different from the synopsis of the Golden Compass. In the book and film, poor, socially marginalized and orphaned children are stripped of their Daemon’s – or their external souls. And, as it was in Turing’s day -it can surely be counted upon to be present in our own – there are seen powers of authority exercising the same role.

The desire of any society is to maintain structure. Those who do not seem to fit into it require some form of discipline, rather than being appreciated and respected for who they are and their possible contributions. In New York, for example, the stopping and frisking of hundreds of thousands of youth represents a direct attempt to prevent any social development that may be perceived as disadvantageous.

This warfront to restrain the insecurity wrought by the social developments of the 1960’s means that the spirits and the confidence of children are under ferocious attack. This aspect of their lives is not necessarily sanctioned by the elite – whose only interest remains to be the prime beneficiaries of any change, but by those disrespectful, doltish, unwise underlings whose livelihoods and medical benefits result from the practice. And, in many cases, some in the elite will be the protectors of those who have come through horrific experiences, and in this way be the first to utilize a genius (it may be of the heart or venal). After all, those who escape the horror of poverty in US’s urban and rural areas are thought to have “gotten out,” as if they escaped a prison.

Indeed, there are those operating with authority, who in the evil interest of making windows into men’s souls, capture like biologists people who have come through the maze of US’s urban and rural decay, ply them with substances that disarm them in order to destroy their spirits, souls and person hoods. I cannot imagine it happening to an immigrant recruited to the US, or a to person whose loyalty is automatically assumed (even though it is well-to-do white men who have successfully carried out the majority of terrorist attacks in the US). Such methods maybe perceived as a proactive action to maintain law and order, or it may rather be done to secure their pay check and medical benefits for another generation.  After all sadly, some professionals need enemies to justify their employment. So, why not do something so morally reprehensible, (i.e. monstering children, the marginalized or weak) and disrespectful that creates a negative reason to stay necessary? Craven.

It is these people who are without morality. It is these kinds of people who persecuted

But for the sake of love, who would put themselves on the frontline of hatred? Is this not the nobility of the princes of old? Chivalry, cut short in an republican era? Does that make us ignoble?

Turing, because they are either jealous, disrespectful, suspicious, fearful or hateful of genius. And they cannot think beyond the dogma of their loyalty. CS Lewis noted in “Mere Christianity” that even the love of a nationality may come at the expense of others. He also noted that pride is the greatest of sins because it competes in all manner of ways until another is vanguished.

When Martin Luther King, Jr., in his love and compassion for the the US marched, many in authority grew deeply suspicious and pondered revealing his womanizing – to not only hurt his cause or his reputation, but because their racism was American. Those who were not racist were not American, just as  those today who are not suspicious of Muslims are not American, and so it goes. Are any of us without fault? No, but the arrogance of some authorities makes for an inability to see the common base of all people. And, this is a caution of Alan Turing’s life.

More importantly, fortunately, is that it these kinds of people who deserve the greatest compassion because for them the absence of hot anger is the suspicion of cold anger (which anyone feels in fits after being violated). It does not occur to them that they are also subject to the violated’s feeling of infinite sadness, pity and sympathy. This is arrogance as well because they cannot see why they should be pitied. These people are the philistines of this era, if you will, who will gladly show you a Rolex they purchased by the commission of spiritual and physical violation of defenseless adults and children. How can those who uphold the law be so like those who break the law? It’s a fiction to think that criminal gangs and  professional gang mentalities don’t operate alike.

All you need to know, if you wish to see the very real and obvious presence of racism and elitism in the US, are the numbers of poor and vulnerable children stopped, frisked, abused in various forms in cities across the US by  those tasked to protect, serve and safeguard them.  And, if stop and frisk in New York is to be believed, many in authority are profiting from the spiritual destruction of black, latino, asian and white children for the sake of their retirement plans, and jobs for their own children. This is only the first source of profit. I dare not even ponder the social networks of profits that occur when a missing child is deliberately not sought or advertised as missing. And, for those children abused and harmed, picked up and harassed by the police it is a demonstration of  how our society creates quarry to prey upon, to imprison, throw away and rubbish. Look at the numbers of people in jail, for example. How is it that 70% of foster children end up in jail.  This is a kind greed that makes an evil genius because it is so successful in its rapacity.

How would our world be if he'd been sacrificed for Herod's longevity?What makes the Biblical story about the birth of Christ and the massacre of the innocents resonate throughout the ages is not its gore, or even the rescue of Christ. It is of a king seeking to destroy a genius. If there are a class of people, or even a political party (looking at you political parties) willing to inflict pain, ignorance, poverty and mercurial punishment (this alone would displace the need for an abortion as such a strain would compel miscarriages of children) upon a population, then it begs to question: what is the objective? The argument isn’t about lower taxes and social stability – the aim is preventing the entrance into this world a jinn who could cause its development and change. Even oil could be considered a jinn as its discovery prompted the development of a new society and a way of thinking as any influential spiritual leader has

The very idea that Christ was led by a spirit is the very definition of a jinn. Even, the

How many people could not deal with the sorrow of this life without his thought? Who could even see a glimmer of the Nirvana beyond?

Buddha and in his inspiration is a genius and one with a great and unseen spiritual guide – a jinn. What the presence of Turing represents is not the mere creation of a technological wonder, but think of his legacy. He put the world of the 20th century and beyond on notice: We all are no longer living in the land of the living, we are in the land of the jinn. All bets are off. Even an observation of Woodrow Wilson in the early 20th century still rings  true today:

“Since I entered politics, I have chiefly had men’s views confided to me privately. Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the field of commerce and manufacture, are afraid of somebody, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it.

For those who wish to arrest this progress, there are many among us around us and even within us who do it when it suits us to do so, a tension is introduced into our world.

Even before humans dropped out of the tree, as our marauding evolutionary cousins the chimpanzees show without fail, the challenge of managing change smoothly has always been humanity’s greatest, and unforgivable failure.  Even after we fell to the ground – gaining the mental, spiritual, psychological and physical achievement of civilization –  and walked far across the Earth (for our most brutish siblings – not very far at all in a sense). But, consider one genius invention that does manage change very well: the television.

The strategic use of a homemade sex tape can make you overnight a well-known, rich celebrity.

In the US, what disturbs any abrupt change is the ability of television to cause its audiences to notice, feel, and be aware of the change without agency. While extremely brilliant, it does beg to wonder – does this make the equivalent of Edwardian Europe, where ancient monarchies arrogantly assumed the genius powers of the previous eras would undisturbed usher them into the 20th century? Could history’s greatest example of a successful republic be dead and unawares upon its arrival into the 21st century because of an asymmetrical agency of revolution operating out of sight in a closed cabal within a computer network? Is this the reason behind the effort by Facebook and Twitter (in the West at least) to drain the swamp of the virtual so that the plain of the Internet can be populated in structures that facsimile our physical reality? I know naught. What I do know is that with the Internet information is cheap and a homemade sex tape pays the bills. So…what’s the value of any secret anymore? People post pictures of their genitalia on dating websites. No one cares.

The litmus test for any thriving society is always the strength, vigor, flexibility, awareness and investment of its ruling and middle classes – and, if the majority of US politicians are to be believed according to their leadership in Congress, well, think about the longevity of the republic – if Senator Lugar  or Hagel can lose their seats – what isn’t for grabs?  No longer is it the time to seek individual saviors. A friend once tried to weave about me the spell of interest in a political career, I said – point blank – I would leave. If I couldn’t leave physically, I would leave in my mind. So, that’s a big fat endorsement for insanity. After all look at US cities, it’s perfectly acceptable to be mad on the streets. People walk past it and accept it as normal. Honestly,  international development through the private sector is my heart. Everyone has to find their jinn, if they are open to it, somewhere. But, when people aren’t allowed to, well, that’s the brewing problem.

Turing’s beneficial presence during the Second Great War can be easily contrasted with the evil of other geniuses – Hitler, Stalin (who had some redeeming qualities*), Mussolini and their supporters. What is easily missed about war is not the fact that a great deal of technological advancement results from war (if we have another great conflict the tele-porter will be created simply because the Earth will be uninhabitable), but the spiritual aspects. War is not a physical exercise – the physical aspects of war are a facsimile of the spiritual contest being waged as it always has been. This is why war should be dealt with very carefully and with great humility. And, even with some of the most recent conflicts – the obvious material benefits, at least for the US, don’t seem to add up to the intangible benefits pursued. What are those? Who knows.

What makes the public not support or remain ignorant of this aspect of war is the complete politicization, bastardization and outright abuse of the humane and universal contracts of religion and ethics for narrow partisan purposes (again, political parties). It is used to hurt people, blind them, bind them and intellectually strip them into obedience and anti-intellectualism. Will it be any wonder if the US becomes an odious destination for the brightest geniuses? Alternatives, with proper material outlays, could easily be Europe, China, India or anywhere because the environment of free inquiry will destroyed in the US for the sake of social, economic and political stagnation. This will be a signature loss of the jinn to the US. In any case – there’s two aspects of Turing’s life that should be mentioned: he spent time at Princeton, and the unique aspects of British society.

In Britain, as recently witnessed, the Crown does co-opt the use of television to include acceptable religious observances (royal weddings), the obvious support of the military services (the changing of the guard, processions) and, by extension,  conflicts (sanctioned by elected leaders). However, this constant reminder of the mystical within Britain’s society continues to make it a place of greater free inquiry at the social and political level. Due to current budgetary considerations, the UK’s research universities don’t have the endowments of American universities (some of the few places in the US where free inquiry remains) to execute research. The British remain far more intrepid internationally than Americans, and through the Commonwealth they retain light, familial linkages to the skeleton of the once full bodied empire because in many of these places the royals and nobility exist. This kind of mysticism requires a belief in the spiritual because in pre-mechanized contests of odds, how can the winner of a hand to hand contest not feel divine favor?

While many in the developing world decry the British for their past deeds, its usually done

Brilliance comes in all forms, even in those who do not excel academically but, listen to their intuition.

so with some admiration (may it be the same for the US) given the puny size of the island with its horrible climate (Note: Iran’s First Great Satan Was England). But, with the recent  presence of Diana of Wales, it can be wondered if something truly mystical occurs in Britain that revives it in a way a republic may fail to do. Given Diana’s role, her genius had an impact in a way akin to any spiritual leader.

During the inquest into the circumstances of Diana, Princess of Wales’s death, an unexpected, but not particularly extraordinary statement by a former Royal Household butler came to light. Paul Burrel retained some of the late Princess’s effects, as requested by the Queen. However, the Queen ‘warned’ Burrell of the danger of his close relationship with Diana.  Allegedly, the Queen said “There are dark powers at work in this country about which we have no knowledge. Do you understand?” I do not believe anyone in the Royal Household wanted to kill Diana for the simple fact that Diana revived what was a fading 1,000 year old institution. And, if anything, the Queen would be especially concerned, despite weathering very well the negative effects of her death, because there are unseen powers and the fickleness of people’s hearts. This is the genius of Diana – the Queen of England’s hearts – the resurrection of medieval romance within a modern context. She ushered the monarchy into a new century and spiritually revitalized it. I wouldn’t describe it as a sacrifice as so much as result of giving love in order to seek it. Turing also sought love, for his prince to come, perhaps, once glimpsed to disappear, only to give into the temptation of the apple.

Diana, like Turing, was an outsider. Though rich, privileged and an aristo – she was an unloved child. Charles, while loved, but little hugged, didn’t know how to meet her emotional needs. This lack of emotional intuition is a problem. In fact, it is a fear and a hold over from previous era where love belonged in church or at home, but not in public view. Diana broke that paradigm in Britain, as Michelle Obama does in the US. But, this is a spiritual development that happened within an established institution rather than outside of it. The change was captured within the system, which means the system yet works, but can it sustain a disaffected, unimaginative, dislocated, poorly educated, non-believing, impoverished, fearful and abused society? Maybe, the poor in the developing world can teach the West something. It is in the mother of necessity that innovation occurs – where  the jinn are incubated.

“…the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love…” If you see someone in despair is your response to punish, ostracize, hurt, discard or ignore? What is compassion if a human cannot know what it is to feel human?

Mother Teresa noted, “The greatest disease in the West today is not TB or leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for. We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more dying for a little love. The poverty in the West is a different kind of poverty — it is not only a poverty of loneliness but also of spirituality. There’s a hunger for love, as there is a hunger for God.”

So, as the 21st century marches forward, maybe we can all take some time, be a little more jinn with an imagination, and an insight into our interactions (there’s no story of a jinn, good or bad, that didn’t want to interact with humanity), and we can further the roles and depth of impact possible within our multilateral development organizations, our national institutions and communities. If we want to wish it so, after all it is in magical thinking that all things are possible, where the eyes haven’t seen, or the ears haven’t heard.

This requires a new jinn to sort out – they’ll be born soon. Thank you, Alan Turing.


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