Living in a virtual machine

We programmers are a proud lot, aren’t we?

We can do things our family members and friends can’t do. We can take lifeless bits, wave our hands, and make the code live! We have logic. We have design and problem solving skills. We have honed our technical prowess.

All this is good — but there is a problem: We imagine that we live in a larger world than the non-technical people around us. Brothers, let us not be deceived: our world is a smaller world.

What do I mean?

Our technical expertise does not help us prolong the life of our sick child — we thank God for the doctors and pray for grace.

Our design skills do not give us boldness to warn those who do not love Jesus of the judgment they face if they do not repent.

Our logic does not teach us how to live with our wives as with a weaker vessel, leading with honor, gentleness, and strength.

Our ability to do what others can’t do does not confer on us a special ability to honor our father and our mother as we know we ought.

These are matters of eternal import where we are no better than anyone else — and often worse!

Brothers, in our daily work we’re living in a virtual machine.

Yes, let’s continue to work to solve problems, to help people with our software, to work as unto the Lord — but let’s never forget that the rules are simpler inside this machine. The hard problems are out there. We don’t know how to solve those problems. Sometimes we don’t even try to deal with those problems — we hide inside our virtual machine, where the universe is smaller and the rules are better defined.

It’s not wrong for us to do our technical work. But we should be the humble ones, not the proud ones. Brothers, let us remember this.


2 thoughts on “Living in a virtual machine

  1. Pingback: Life, death, and broken software | Our Craft

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s