It is clear that in some cases, programming is poetry; it is an art; it involves a total commitment to language as a living energy, language as a crucially nutritive malleable living entity; language as capable of being expressive of the highest modes of awareness, language as an active presence which can modulate our world. In their physical actuality, acrobatic twists and plays of meaning shimmer through the surface of both disciplines. The words in each case become vessels of consciousness. Yet, will programming ever match the devout emotional commitment to raptures and the heart-centric luminosity of poetry? It is as if the descendant of a richly sensual creature has withdrawn from the excesses of its ancestor, withdrawn in reaction into a harder rigid style of being. Logic without emotional intuition, reason without passion, order without grace: it is easy to stigmatize programming as a dry barren offshoot of a flourishing source. It is easy to say: logic is plundering the human soul of spontaneity, sterilizing the seeds of authentic creativity, burying the radiance of innocent spontaneity beneath an obscene avalanche of technological commodities. Nonetheless, amidst this turbulence, there is a slender thread where programming embodies the living essence of poetry, and that essence is mysterious, a river of words evoking worlds, --and perhaps this earth is among those worlds; and we are the semi-autonomous, self-replicating aspects of a vast fiction, a vast tangible poetical-programming project.


David Johnston 4.12.02


Works Cited

Babbage, Charles, Passages from the Life of a Philosopher, (first published in London 1864 by Longman Green), Reprinted 1968, Dawsons of Pall Mall, London

Bezroukov, Nikolai, Portraits of Open Source Pioneers,

Deitel, H.M. and Deitel, P.J., C++: How to Program,3rd edition, Prentice Hall, New Jersey, 2001

Kurzweil, Ray,

Nezvanov,Netochka (a.k.a. Antiorp, a.k.a. =cw7abs )

Patchen,Kenneth, Sleepers Awake, (first published in 1946 by Paddell Book Co., New York) New Directions,1964

Rich, Adrienne, Arts of the Possible, W.W.Norton & Co., New York, 2001


Mechanical creation of a perspective image by Albrecht Dürer, 1525.