Tag Archives: tao

Friends for the life

        There was once a programmer who worked upon microprocessors.  "Look at
how well off I am here," he said to a mainframe programmer who came to visit,
"I have my own operating system and file storage device.  I do not have to
share my resources with anyone.  The software is self-consistent and
easy-to-use.  Why do you not quit your present job and join me here?"
        The mainframe programmer then began to describe his system to his
friend, saying: "The mainframe sits like an ancient sage meditating in the
midst of the data center.  Its disk drives lie end-to-end like a great ocean
of machinery.  The software is a multi-faceted as a diamond and as convoluted
as a primeval jungle.  The programs, each unique, move through the system
like a swift-flowing river.  That is why I am happy where I am."
        The microcomputer programmer, upon hearing this, fell silent.  But the
two programmers remained friends until the end of their days.
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"


"Technique?" said the programmer turning from his terminal, "What I follow
is Tao -- beyond all technique! When I first began to program I would see
before me the whole problem in one mass. After three years I no longer saw
this mass.  Instead, I used subroutines.  But now I see nothing.  My whole
being exists in a formless void.  My senses are idle.  My spirit, free to
work without plan, follows its own instinct.  In short, my program writes
itself.  True, sometimes there are difficult problems.  I see them coming, I
slow down, I watch silently.  Then I change a single line of code and the
difficulties vanish like puffs of idle smoke.  I then compile the program.
I sit still and let the joy of the work fill my being.  I close my eyes for
a moment and then log off."