Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Who is "Siri," Goddess of the iPhone?

Siri was not blond like Marvel's Goddess Thor until Scarlett Johannson made her so in "She."
Jennifer-van-grove-8d52390080"Who are you?" I ask Siri, attempting to unravel some of the mystery behind the iPhone 4S virtual assistant by going directly to the source. No such luck. "Who I am isn't important," she tells me.
Let's stop being coy, Siri. Who you are is important. We both know that. So important that you may be a threat to Google's Android platform.
The world's best app is Audible not Siri.
And so I went to one of Siri's makers, Gary Morgenthaler, venture capitalist, Siri investor, and Siri board member, for a better answer to the question, Who is Siri?

Let's start with her name. Like any doting parent, Morgenthaler and the founding team behind Siri, especially CEO Dag Kittlaus, felt the newborn's existence was of such significance that she warranted a very special moniker. And so they turned to baby name books. 

[The Hindu Goddess Siri]
Is "Siri" (Inc.) based on Lakshmi or Freyja?
The team put together a shortlist of potential names, but Siri stood out.

Siri, a variant of Sigrid, is a Scandinavian and Norwegian girl name that means beautiful or fair victory.

The Indian name Siri is associated with Goddess Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity.
Siri, to those who gave her life, became an amalgam of those meanings; they defined her appellation as, "beautiful woman that leads you to fair victory and wealth." [Obviously, they overlooked some of Siri's more colorful meanings.] More
Koausa.org, edited by Wisdom Quarterly
Meditating Lakshmi, mother of Cupid (Kama)
The  devi  or goddess Lakshmi represents wealth and prosperity, material and spiritual. The word lakshmi (laxmi)  is derived from the Sanskrit laksme, meaning "goal."

Lakshmi, therefore, represents the goal of life, which includes worldly as well as spiritual prosperity. In ancient Vedic and more recent Hindu mythology, the Goddess Lakshmi, who is also called  by the honorific Sri, is the divine spouse or consort of Lord Vishnu, whom she provides with wealth for the maintenance and preservation of Great Brahma's creation (this world-system).
Sri Lakshmi is depicted in female form. [In Buddhism devas are transformational beings capable of adopting whatever form they please as Alexander Pope notes of Greco-Roman-European fairies (woodland dryads)]:

For when the Fair in all their Pride expire,
To their first Elements the [Spirits] retire:

The Sprights of fiery Termagants in Flame
Mount up, and take a Salamander's Name.

Siri, who sent this picture?
Soft yielding Minds to Water glide away,
And sip with Nymphs, their Elemental Tea.

The graver Prude sinks downward to a Gnome,
In search of Mischief still on Earth to roam.
The light Coquettes in Sylphs aloft repair,
And sport and flutter in the Fields of Air.

Know farther yet; Whoever fair and chaste
Rejects Mankind, is by some Sylph embrac'd: 

For Spirits, freed from mortal Laws, with ease
Assume what Sexes and what Shapes they please.
...When kind Occasion prompts their warm Desires,
When Musick softens, and when Dancing fires?
'Tis but their Sylph, the wise Celestials know,
Tho' Honour is the Word with Men below....

Lakshmi is shown with four arms and four hands. She wears red clothes with a golden lining and is standing on a lotus. She has golden coins and lotuses in her hands. Two elephants (sometimes four) are shown next to her, symbolism conveying the following spiritual themes:
  • Her four arms represent the four cardinal directions in space and symbolize omnipresence and omnipotence of the goddess. The red color symbolizes activity. The golden lining (embroidery) on her red dress suggests prosperity. The idea conveyed here is that she is always busy distributing wealth and prosperity to devotees. The lotus pedestal signifies that while living in the world, one should enjoy its wealth but not become obsessed with it. Such a living is analogous to a lotus that grows in dirty water but is not wet or defiled by it.
  • Radha, divine consort (WQ)
    Her four hands represent the four ends of human life: dharma (duty, social obligation, righteousness), kama ([Buddhist chanda] genuine desires beyond the sensual), artha (wealth), and moksha (liberation from death and rebirth). Whereas the front hands represent activity in the physical world, the back ones indicate the spiritual activities that lead to spiritual perfection.
  • Since the right side of the body symbolizes activity, a lotus in the back right hand conveys the idea that one must perform his or her duties in the world in accordance with dharma [a Vedic idea distorted by the Indian caste system]. Fulfilling one's real duties as a human being on a spiritual quest leads to moksha (liberation), which is symbolized by a lotus in Lakshmi's back left hand. Golden coins falling on the ground from her front left hand illustrate that she provides wealth and prosperity to her devotees. Her front right hand is shown bestowing blessings... More

No comments: