This might be called "virtual thinking"; where sequential thinking imagines a line of nodes, subjunctive thinking sees each node as a branchpoint from which a thousand possibilities emerge. The workload of keeping track of all those possibilities is too much for the human brain to handle, but now we have a medium that is ideally suited for subjunctive thinking: the computer. Thus, the computer will permit the full exploitation of subjunctive thinking in the same way that writing permitted the full exploitation of sequential thinking. We are about to enter a new period in the human story every bit as brilliant as that of classical Greece.
The point I want you to take home is this: recursion is high-powered intellectual stuff, that makes perfect sense in the world of programming, allowing you to think about problems in a completely new color. You thought that red, green, and blue were the only primary colors? Think again -- programming gives you a new set of glasses to wear, glasses that allow you to see the universe of ideas in a new light.
So here we have in programming a new language, a new form of writing, that supports a new way of thinking. We should therefore expect it to enable a dramatic new view of the universe. But before we get carried away with wild notions of a new Western civilization, a latter-day Athens with modern Platos and Aristotles, we need to recognize that we lack one of the crucial factors in the original Greek efflorescence: an alphabet...
My analogy runs deep. I have always been disturbed by the realization that the Egyptian scribes practiced their art for several thousand years without ever writing down anything really interesting... Compare the hieroglyphics of the Egyptians with the writings of the Greeks and the difference that leaps out at you is humanity.
You can see the same thing in the output of the current generation of programmers, especially in the field of computer games. It's lifeless. Sure, their stuff is technically very good, but it's like the Egyptian statuary: technically very impressive, but the faces stare blankly, whereas Greek statuary ripples with the power of life.
What we need is a means of democratizing programming, of taking it out of the soulless hands of the programmers and putting it into the hands of a wider range of talents. What we need is analogous to an alphabet...
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