1 Oct 2001 mstarch   » (Journeyer)

Spent the weekend at my fathers new house away from the computer (well almost :-)). Read an annotated book-style danish version of Dantes "Comedy". Reading the entire book in verse form was just a bit more than I dared, but reading the revised version was interesting, because the author had intermixed comments that related the original story to Dantes contemporary history. One of the most interesting things I realized was that the part about being "lost in a dark wood" which was also the thought that was the central aspect of "in a dark wood wandering", was also one of the central themes in "Comedy". Ah well, I may be a litterary nimwit, but I still find it fascinating :)

I have been following the debate about "recovering from a morale slump" with interest. Although I wouldn't say I suffer from writers block to any bad extent generally, I know the feeling of not being motivated. I think one of the most true points made was the one about the necessity of feeling that the work one does matter somehow. I think thats one of the central problems of software construction as it is today.

Everyday thousands, in fact millions, of programmers write software that share so many similarities that it would be a far stretch of the imagination to talk about the "art" of software development. An analogous example from "real life" might be the contrast between an art painter, and a painter of walls. Both use paint, but the big difference lies in the artist making a unique work, whereas the painter of walls is simply painting "yet another wall".

Perhaps the average everyday programmer just has to come to terms with him just being a "painter of walls" in that sense. It's tempting for the everyday programmer to think he's an art painter. But there can only be so many art painters. We must strive to become art painters, and use this striving to avoid thinking about that what we're currently painting is walls.

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