If I Didn’t Know Computers

by Mike Sententia on May 13, 2013

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Between ethereal software, debugging, and the computational complexity of manifesting, it’s obvious I work with computers. But what if I didn’t? What if I lived before computers? How would I explain magick?

A non-programmer friend asked me that recently. My reply: Probably as spirits. I’d say there were intelligent, sentient spirits, which are the same as what I currently call spirits. Then I’d also say there were less intelligent, non-sentient spirits that you could command, which are what I currently call ethereal software.

If you’re confused by the term “ethereal software,” just think of them as simple, programmable spirits.

Does that help the non-programmers among you?

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Chirotus May 13, 2013 at 5:45 PM

How about thinking of them as employee spirits? They’re capable of complex actions and are intelligent, but depend on you as their supervisor to offer instructions, give feedback, and approve requests for actions.


Simon May 14, 2013 at 5:16 AM

Employee spirits? ouch…. lunch allowance, pensions and sick pay – occasionally they file lawsuits for discrimination, engage in endless amounts of trivial gossip instead of working- and secretly wish they could one day walk in and tell you to stuff the job where it doesn’t shine…Would prefer to have self employed spirits myself


Mike Sententia May 15, 2013 at 4:49 PM

Indeed, this is the problem with metaphors: They might suggest something entirely unintended to your listener.

I prefer the software metaphor because (1) I don’t pay the software, so thinking of it as an employee is a bit confusing for me, and (2) some of my work involves reprogramming it. But, if “employee spirit” helps you think about problems, then go for it.


Ananael Qaa May 14, 2013 at 12:58 PM

I like to joke that computers were invented to give people with personality types like ours more job prospects than we had in the Middle Ages. Back then, we were pretty much stuck with “clergyman” or “mad hermit,” depending our social station.


Mike Sententia May 15, 2013 at 4:50 PM

:) I like it.


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