Programmed to Sickness

posted on 9 Apr 2023

I come from a place where analysis and predictability are prized. Where anything that comes close to creative bursts of energy are controlled, honed into finely tuned cybernetics, tested over and over from every possible angle. Optimized, stripped of all of its humanity, barren and desolate in its mechanical prose; I come from software development.

When I began writing fiction again, I realized that my mind had been literally programmed to be tightly wound, thorough, and logically consistent to a fault given the amount of time I’d spent studying programming and writing software professionally. This disturbing conundrum was my biggest obstacle - the fact that I’d attuned myself to a thinking paradigm that was out of touch with the channeling of emotional and intuitive leaps needed for writing fiction. The kind of situation where you begin to write and you stop, thinking, “Well, this is stupid and doesn’t make any sense.”

After having spent so much time with it, I can say that programming is not my definition of “creative” despite what our culture would like one to think. Creativity, to me, is being able to conjure worlds and concepts that are unbound by reality and our laws even in their implementation. It is illogical, contradictory, paradoxical. The conceptualization must inevitably take some medium to manifest, but when it takes a medium that must work within the bounds of something as constrictive as a machine, it decays into the machine itself. Human language does not restrict nearly as much, as it is unbiased: its reception takes place only within the infinite brain that receives it, not the finite semiconductor.

Continuously and iteratively refining code that you write typically makes it better, but it is quite the opposite for art. Too much refinement, too much compartmentalization and logically delineated ideation and organization can destroy the outpouring of all that is idiosyncratic and true to its original birth. When your concepts and words must be coated in raw humanity to have an impact and speak to the unconscious mind, you must not inhabit the cold vacuum of a machine where everything must make perfect sense and follow a pattern.

Breaking off the boundaries of what is possible, what is logical, was freeing. It takes me back to the time that I was just a child and everything was so new, the possibilities were so tangible. When you finally have it “figured out,” when you’ve created a system for everything, when you narrow your reality to such a small and neurotic set of causal rules to keep yourself safe, you have effectively killed your ability to create and even to live.

There is nothing as satisfying than the chaotic, the incomprehensible, and the abyss of the unknown.

There is nothing quite as sickening as modern humanity’s fetishization of technology and software.

It is antithetical to our true nature, just as it is unnecessary for our happiness.

Categories:  #essays