Be Your Own Meta-Programmer
by Sanjay Wellington
computers aren't useful because they
help us get more done and faster.
that's a myth. if it were true,
wouldn't you feel like some portion of your day at work could be used as
nap time or quake-playing time? since, if you're getting so much
done now that it like doubles your productivity, you should be able to
take some time off, right?
what really happens is that you're
still compelled to sit waiting for things to happen, and frequently.
if the slogan for these graphical operating systems was "please wait",
it would be a little more honest. what i think the real benefit
of computers is is this; at some level, the human brain performs like a
set of cooperating automata. i'm not trying to limit our beings to
this little device, no, i'm just saying that the fact that we've created
cybernetic technology means we're capable at some level of our brains (whether
virtual or physical) of thinking like a computer.
the productivity i was belittling
is real in a different way; almost as soon as you can think of something
to do on the computer, a few clicks later you can start that something
percolating. if it's an automated process, like printing out a document,
you can start it and forget about it until it's ready to pick up.
if it's a more involved project, you can still start mapping it out incrementally
using graphing, scheduling, development and other tools....
now, compare that with going to the
grocery store. at the store, there's a huge delay between what you're
trying to do and how quickly it gets done. you can't accelerate your
process much unless you map out the rows ahead of time and categorize your
grocery list by the items you need, and possibly sprint through the store
pushing other customers out of your way to acquire comestibles as efficiently
and speedily as possible. compared with starting these little thought-caterpillars
chugging around through your computer, this is like playing golf using
a fly swatter and a bowling ball. or, wait, wait, it's like...
it's more like going parachuting with only a bag of dirty laundry, an awl
and thick thread. or maybe it's just like the difference between
making a phone call to order a pizza versus running down to pizzamutt and
hand-tossing it yourself. but the point is clear.... it's time
on the computer, maybe you can start
a new project or idea running, let's say, every 5 minutes or so.
there're always added delays due to formulating the next most important
thing to do, and some tasks are long running and can't be completed with
just that 5 minutes of your time. but if you break up a project into
separate threads of ideas, you can sequentially work on several different
parts of them in bite sized chunks. it could be like a game, where
the next thought you complete is on a truly unbiased roulette wheel, or
just play round robin with project ideas in a strictly hierarchical fashion
if you must.
that freaking computer is constantly
engaging you to feed it new projects and bits of completed task pieces,
except of course when it's churning like the washing machine. at
this point of course one should move to the next computer over and start
feeding it your thoughts instead. if you don't have enough
computers to keep doing this without returning to the original churning
computer that dissed you in the first place, then maybe you just don't
have enough computers. if you consider that you're ready to
add a new task, but the computer can't keep up, then you realize
that not all of your mental bandwidth is being utilized.
so, computers benefit us by reflecting
our own creativity and initiative back at us. if you're moving in
the direction of building consciousness, using a computer as an information
router can accelerate your progress a great deal. if you need a nap,
it can also accelerate that goal.
out on the internet, computers can
completely zap your sense of time; suddenly, waiting an hour to see each
frame on a tv screen makes a lot of sense, while having it take more than
10 seconds to write a letter to your friend in zimbabwe (and know that
it was delivered to his mailbox) seems intolerable. this is a sure
sign that the mental clock is something that can be affected by computers,
and once you have control of your clock, you can start ramping up those
megahertz and hear the neurons crackle like bacon.
does understanding how computers work
help us to understand how some of our own mental processes work and perhaps
maybe even allow us to reach deeper levels of the mind / brain / body machinery,
maybe even allowing us to edit our genetic codes using nothing more than
stay tuned for an exploration of this
in episode 2.