Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Book of Sand

Argentine literary genius Jorge Luis Borges ('magic realist') is one of my favorite writers. Borges unravels the many human uses of information within a universe that is mystical and mathematical at once. His work illuminates the way we, as human beings, struggle to capture meaning - any meaning - from infinite quanities of data. Borges explores ideas such as the recursivity of mirrors, points in space containing all the universe (The Aleph) and man's struggle to find meaning in endless information (The Library of Babel & The Book of Sand).

For many software developers, creation of software, while frequently mundane, is still very much an aesthetic pursuit - an art. When a piece of software is 'beautiful' it is so in the same way that a Borges short story is beautiful, and in a very different way than a Dostoevsky short story is beautiful (which is the gut-wrenching, depth-of-human-suffering-and-existential-torment sort of way) or in the way a Hemingway story (the depth-of-human-suffering-but-don't-actually-ever-say-it sort of way) is.

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