moka: the classics of philosophy (and self-help) via text

If you have an old cell phone program with unlimited text message usage (I am such a lucky person), one way to put it to good use might be to join the Moka network, short for Mobile Knowledge Assistant. Moka distributes mBooks, digital Cliff Notes for the Blackberry set. Unlike regular eBooks, mBooks are not actual books. They are “mobile teachers that help you apply the wisdom of world renowned authors,” according to Moka’s site. In layman’s terms, that’s quotes from business, religion, self-help, and other nonfiction texts (philosophy, relationships, and yoga are other available mBook topics) placed into SMS-sized messages.

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Here is a sample of some of Moka’s offerings:

In the philosophy section, from Chapter 1 of Plato’s Apology, from which Moka has only a mere 26 quotes:

If you ask me what kind of wisdom, I reply, such wisdom as is attainable by man, for to that extent I am inclined to believe that I am wise.

What a nicely circular argument for Moka that makes. mBooks are attainable by man, for to that extent I am inclined to believe I am wise!

In the business section we find The Type Z Guide to Success, subtitled “A Lazy Person’s Guide to Success,” (less lazy than Plato at 189 quotes) and this gem:

You can be lazy and still be persistent and once you learn how to do that, you can accomplish a great deal. It’s possible to be lazy and be focused on a goal.

Here the raison d’etre of Moka becomes a bit hazy. Is Moka for busy people who can’t spare the time to read an entire book (which begs the question, why would busy people be reading about being lazy?), or for lazy types who can’t be bothered to pick up 10 oz. of paper and binding and bring said weight to eyes and read? And in either case, doesn’t a book on laziness in Moka’s offering make both points moot? I’m confused. Maybe we’ll find the answer in the religion section.

None of Our revelations do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but We substitute something better or similar; knowest thou not that God hath power over all?

If this quote from Dr. Ibrahim Abdullah’s 365 Eternal Jewels of the Quran arrived via text message as I was debating the validity of Moka in conversation, I might be a little afraid a Moka agent was trailing me and applying psy-ops to prevent me from cancelling my subscription (after the one month free trial, of course).

Moka temps with some complimentary content, including the Blue Book of Alcoholics Anonymous by William Silkworth (Moka as mobile sponsor?), “Comfort After Lost Love,” a compendium of quotes compiled by Moka (not sure I’d want text messages about how to cope with a break-up coming unexpectedly. That’s content I’d prefer to control, thanks), and Aristotle’s On Longevity and the Shortness of Life (that crafty Moka, sending out free content that justifies its very existence!).

The financial plan is built around subscriptions ($5.95 a month, plus any fees you may incur for increased text load on your plan) and monetizing existing properties (like Plato, Aristotle, the Torah, and the Bible) and new titles (to be determined).

I can only imagine that philosophy professors and those who like a little thing called “context” will be alarmed at the invention of Moka, while others will think $5.95/month is nothing to pay for a little dark-soul cred when they quote St. Thomas Aquinas to the emo girls at the local watering hole.

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~ by Lola on April 17, 2007.

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