To live our lifes and not merely exist, we, the humanity, must create. Otherwise it’s just a pointless surviving of yet another day. Emptiness.
I’ve been making things since… well, since forever I guess. My earliest and fondest memories is me trying to do a paper tie at my grandfather’s desk. Later in my life I tried different things and today I say that if I wasn’t a programmer, I’d be an artist. In high school I learned to play a guitar. Tnen, much later in my life, a little bit of piano. I have tried drawing, writing books (novels specifically) and poems, woodworking, gardening, embroidery (my wife would laugh at my poor attempt at this one) and calligraphy. I sing every day, even though I don’t have a good voice I whistle. I write this blog, I write a personal journal. And finally, I code.
I believe that I started coding, even if I didn’t realise it at that time, because it’s a form of art. It is, in fact, an act of pure creation. Putting yourself in God’s shoes, where one creates something from nothing. We start with tabula rasa, an empty file which slowly fills with instructions, eventually leading to something beautiful: a program. But those instructions can be beautiful by itself. They often are and the satisfaction of writing beautiful code is what keeps many programmers involved.
Today I try to stick with creating small to medium-sized programs which do very basic things. Even better if they compose other programs or use the features of the underlying system (like shell) to produce desired output1. I have lost faith in finding a beauty in big, heavyweight applications. Even the most beautiful and thoughtful architecture always turns into the pile of hacks and workarounds for use cases added long after the initial plan. It takes a very special kind of people who can say “no” to propositions of changing program’s scope and I admire these people. I’m not one of them, not yet.
In my free time I code less and less every year, but I fill that time with other things. Recently I bought a microphone and I plan to record audiobooks for my son, maybe even attach some images to them and make simple clips. Maybe I’ll start recording myself playing guitar again, who knows (although I reaaally should have bought a dynamic microphone - noises around me are awful and removing them takes a lot of time).
I can’t imagine life without creating things. Things which are useful to me or the others. Things which aren’t very useful, but are pretty. And finally, things that just are - and which weren’t before.
My latest program is called encrypt and it simply runs gpg with the most useful parameters.
echo foo | encryptis beautiful. ↩︎