I’ve just watched an interview by Quanta Magazine with Leslie Lamport, the Computer Scientist, titled The Man Who Revolutionized Computer Science With Math [link to Youtube] Youtube kept shoving the video’s thumbnail into my face so I said, “Stop it already ok ok I’ll watch it.” Leslie Lamport said, “Coding is to programming what typing is to writing.” Well, before I spend a whole lot of time paraphrasing let me just copy-paste a snippet of the transcript (spoken in a rather dramatic voice):
Writing is something that involves
mental effort. You’re thinking about what
you’re going to say. The words have some
importance but in some sense even
they are secondary to the ideas.
In the same way programs are built on
ideas. They have to do something. And what
they’re supposed to do, I mean it’s like
what writing is supposed to convey.
If people are trying to learn
programming by being taught to code… well,
they’re being taught writing by being
taught how to type. And that doesn’t make
So I wonder, “Could something similar be said about movement?” Typing is to writing, what movement is to …? dot dot dot? And… should I place movement into the spot of typing or writing?
Quanta Magazine’s Youtube video is a great viral video, and works really well as such. However, from my point of view, as a writer, my definition of writing would be very different from his, if I gave one. Does writing really involve mental effort? Is a writer really thinking about what he is going to say? Is the purpose of writing really just to convey ideas? For example, when I google for “Writing saved my life,” I get about 1,390,000,000 results. What’s going on here? And how would this compare to movement? What is movement?