Are Coders Poets?

Everyone at some point reaches the obvious conclusion that putting keyboard to screen (pen to paper, brush to parchment, chisel to wood and marble, etc) is very similar across disciplines.

For example, a fresh long article asks us whether coders are similar to poets:

I considered that, despite their difference in earnings, poets and coders followed similar processes in their work, playing with images and symbols to make something happen.

The problem in this article is that “make something happen” is a false equivalence.

That’s like asking is a graphic designer on contract is making something the same as an unconstrained artist.

Both are making something happen, yet one is tasked with a particular outcome on a particular schedule for someone else and the other can make whatever they like.

Does that difference in inherited versus controlled outcomes matter?

Of course! Who is that “something” for?

Unfortunately it is summarized in this fresh article by a poet using a manner that misrepresents both poets and coders:

Poets aspire to use language to uncover intention and surprise, both secrets and revelation. Code, on the other hand, sticks to the program, arriving at a predicted end no matter what innovations have led there.

Consider that early in one’s learning phase the student sticks to the program… and only later after mastering the predicted end (meeting a teacher’s lesson plan, like hitting a product manager’s backlog target) do both advanced poets and coders use their language to uncover secrets and revelation.

This adherence to a plan is somewhat of a contradiction, I realize, to the famous writings by H.P. Lovecraft and his statement:

Our amateurs write purely for love of their art, without the stultifying influence of commercialism.

Amateurs are not so pure, it can be said, hopefully for obvious reasons. Lovecraft seems to have underestimated modern commercialism. Some may choose to be poets or coders because they see others being successful and seek similar ends, whether it be for social entry, influence, money, etc..

Consider also that inherited systems imply someone can be judged right and wrong, whereas controlled systems can never be wrong. Big differences between people operating in one versus the other, whether coders or poets.

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