The power of a god in the back of an office

It often occurs to me to think about the contrast between the result of any creative process and its making. Mozart scribbled small symbols on his infinite staves, William Shackespeare filled delicate sheets of paper with his texts and, between blots of Chinese ink, a torrent of freshness emerged. The contrast… The great abyss between the gray reality and the wonderful world of ideas that we process in our imagination…

We are taught that computer science is an engineering; a discipline closer to mathematics or physics than to literature. Reviewing the job offers we can see that they are looking for structure builders, routine testers, graphic designers and, occasionally, mathematicians who are experts in three-dimensional calculations. It is striking that no one seems to be looking for creative minds.

Now think of a notebook; a block formed from sheets of white paper chained to a metal frame. What is a notebook? It is an information support. What is a computer? A machine that processes information. What is an algorithm? A recipe for manipulating data. A notebook, a computer, an algorithm… They are simple tools, like a humble hammer. A hammer is used to drive nails, to break walls, even to commit crimes!

However, Michelangelo Buonarroti used a humble hammer and chisel to sculpt Moses; one of the most beautiful sculptures of all time. Have you ever wondered if Michelangelo knew how to drive nails? Would Shakespeare know how to write tax returns? Would Mozart be capable of copying dull music that someone had lent him?

Do not think that I am comparing myself with Michelangelo, or with Shakespeare, or with Mozart. I wanted to give these examples to try to demonstrate that there is something much more important than perfect technique or mastery of handling tools. Humans have the ability to open paths to the future. We all have the gift of dreaming of a better world and some privileged people can even transform part of that world of dreams into realities that we end up adopting in our lives. In the end, the notebook, the staff… the hammer… they are all simple tools and, in the right hands, they have the ability to become the support of our heritage.

I think it is too much responsibility for simple material objects. The notebook that contains the story of Romeo and Juliet is not very different from the one used to keep the accounts of any business. Several centuries later, no one wants to know how many coins its owner earned with a loaf of bread, and yet the great literary works will remain the same, transcending from paper to magnetic disk, from there to optical disk, and from there to semiconductor memories, in a process of years and millions of copies.

No one doubts that genius still exists. Computer marvels continue to be developed like precious pearls that we all admire. From the algorithm of an asymmetric key to the process of a graphics engine or the Artificial Intelligence of a car with autonomous driving. Turns out those profiles aren’t advertised on job seekers and they aren’t covered in college classes either.

We live surrounded by great talent, but we don’t look for them; we don’t want to believe that they are there and that’s why we look for bank account updaters, front-end designers…

I think that Shakespeare did not see that empty notebook; he simply dreamed up a great story and used white paper to make it last. Please: Don’t give up on your dreams just because they don’t seem to interest anyone.

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