TITLE: Fulfill God's Plan. Write a Computer Program. AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: May 29, 2015 11:20 AM DESC: ----- BODY: In his entry for The Harvard Guide to Influential Books, Psychologist Jerome Kagan recommends the novel The Eternal Smile by Par Lagerqvist. He focuses his recommendation on a single sentence:
After an interminably long search, a large group of dead people find God and the leader steps forward and asks him what purpose he had in creating human beings. God replies, "I only intended that you need never be content with nothing."
Kagan sees this sentence as capturing a thematic idea about the historical conditions that shape humanity's conception of morality. He is probably right; he's a deeply read and highly respected scholar. When I read it, though, I thought about how lucky I am that I know how to program. When you can write a computer program, you never need to be content with the status quo in any situation that involves information and a problem to solve. You can write a program and reshape a little part of the world. So, in a way, computer programming is a part of how humanity achieves its destiny in the universe. I hope that isn't too much hubris for a Friday morning. -----