Product: Photocopier
Zen copier   (+27, -1)  [vote for, against]
What? - That was important, that document you were copying?

(Inspired by the "Black White Reverse Copier")

This copier copies your documents in special grey ink on special grey paper, in order to teach you about the fundamental futility and transience of existence, about how a copier can copy and yet not copy, and to ask you to question the need to copy that document in the first place.
The output tray is situated conveniently next to the blank paper tray.
-- hippo, Nov 05 2003

Closely related technology
printing, yet unprinting... [hippo, Mar 15 2012]

I was invisioning a copier that translated a document into scrawling in the sand, or popped-out a pruned bonzai tree corresponding to the data scanned-in

[+] because I like the Idea of a Taoist Kinkos
-- Letsbuildafort, Nov 05 2003

Maybe it should just aggregate all the blackness into a vertical stripe down the page. The more black it finds in the original, the thicker the stripe.
-- PeterSilly, Nov 05 2003

Nothing can ever be "copied". Each document is a particular and unique event in itself, equally as unlike its "master" as it is like it. All is, at root, empty and marvellous.

That said, if a paper-shredder hums in a forest, do the surrounding trees get nervous?
-- lostdog, Nov 05 2003

((( - If Milli Vanilli fall down in the forest, does someone else make a sound?
(Sorry. I couldn't resist it) - )))
-- hippo, Nov 06 2003

Ah ha! but if I take the zen copier output page and then copy it on your Zen coper I will get exactly the copy I was expecting (and that I would have got from a normal copier). Thus the copier will have copied and yet still not actually copied my sheet. Oooh I like this idea. +
-- dobtabulous, Nov 07 2003


Since my ego is jumping up and down and requesting acknowlegement (most unzen-like), let me propose a couple of possible alternatives:
> The copier meticulously scans the original, copying it line by line, while bleaching the original out of existence. If you get a paper jam, you have to cut and paste the two halves together.
> The document is scanned, OCRed and alphabetised and printed. The output has the same content as the orginal, but removed of its meaning.
> You push the big green button. A line of text appears stating 'push the green button for a copy'. The innards of the photocopier are fully working and carefully maintained, but never used, as it is a machine not capable of the creative act.
-- st3f, Nov 07 2003

Alternately, the copier could make sand-art copies of the document, using toner, but without affixing it to the paper. Once you pick it up, you can appreciate the transience of all material things.
-- Overpanic, Nov 07 2003

You can do that already if the heater part isn't working.
-- DrCurry, Nov 07 2003

Ah, a transcendental copier. I like the idea because the author copied it from another idea, and is original.

But gray on gray is perhaps too subtle for Americans like me. For American users, the transcendental copier should copy or not copy, based upon the random output of a radioactive source. The output is then sealed before the user can see it, so the user doesn’t know if the original has been copied or not copied, and as long as the seal is unbroken, the package contains both copy and non-copy.

Taking this a step further, by copying or not copying all of the pages of a book onto a single page, the entire book could be shipped for the cost of a single first class stamp, and it would all be there until it was opened.
-- ldischler, Nov 07 2003

Schrodinger's copier?
-- krelnik, Nov 07 2003

In fact, you could copy every book in existence into a single binary bit—an almost infinite compression ratio, and it would all be there until you looked at it. Kinda similar to a stock portfolio.
-- ldischler, Nov 07 2003

So peaceful a concept it almost makes one wish for the tranquillity of the photocopying room. +.
-- Mistress Bling, Nov 07 2003

Schroedinger's Copy Cat !!!
-- riskyrisk, Nov 08 2003

hippo, I'm flattered my idea could provide so much *inspiration*...anything to release me from the dullness of black on white over and over and over and over and over...
-- Native Dancer, Nov 08 2003

adding to [St3f]'s anno: the copy machine could just pass the original to the output tray, and replace the original with a blank sheet.
-- Ling, Dec 02 2004

If a tree fell in a forest and no one heard it, and it was made into printer paper paper that no one could read....
does the printer make a sound?
-- energy guy, Dec 02 2004

Soft and cohesive your offering flows... This is one of those 'why can't we give multiple croissants?' moments.

I will support (with croissants) any other pieces of office equipment that pose fundamental questions about life and refute the supposed importance of what goes on around them.
-- wagster, Dec 02 2004

Hey, my monitor just did that!
-- Worldgineer, Dec 02 2004

Other variations:

prints black on white as per normal, but ink evaporates and disappears.

Document goes in one end. noises ensue. (Original) Document comes out other end.

Printer shines a bright light through the paper, projecting its image onto a nearby wall (bonus points if the light is so hot it eventually ignites the paper).
-- 5th Earth, Dec 03 2004

Document goes in, document comes out. You can't explain that.
-- Custardguts, Mar 15 2012

+ And this copier makes a noise like one hand clapping...
-- xandram, Oct 01 2015

What is the sound of one hand copying ?

"Sritch scratch srip zz scrid scrill sruomp"
-- popbottle, Feb 07 2017

I would have thought the noise on startup would be kaotic and discontinous moving to serene and harmonious after scrolling more and more zen.

The menu too, would change from complex and frustrating to an easy going use that puts a smile in your heart.
-- wjt, Feb 08 2017

random, halfbakery