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Under review is a website.

This website is a collection of 234 koans about code. I've never particularly liked koans, although those from the MIT AI lab have pleased me, and these are naught but the usual grouping of sophistry.

Not unusually, but unfortunately, this is another collection of programming texts written in a total ignorance of the purpose of an automatic computer, and how to use one. It primarily concerns itself with Java language programs, with an Eastern tone and an unnecessary amount of violence. Instead of reading about choices of data structures to build novel programs, what's contained therein is a tale of choosing methods and classes, names and conventions, frameworks and libraries, and for naught but implementation of websites, of shells around databases, and of shopping carts and customer requests.

I know for what reason the automatic computers exist and I know the nature of code, and find none of it in these koans, for they preach of constant imperfection rather than of mathematical beauty, they compare code to architecture only in those convenient ways and in none which reflect the true nature of software, and they treat programming as a group activity to be fulfilled by teams without an end.

I suppose by what I'm most sickened about these koans is how I can so clearly see the world carrying on in this way. The blind lead the blind, imparting useless wisdom about supposedly beautiful work, never questioning it in meaningful ways, and not once stepping back to get a particularly good look.

I suppose part of it's a difference of view: Some believe all human endeavour to be fleeting, damned sooner or later by time passing; others believe perfect work does exist; that former group is wrong.

Let me imagine myself visiting these temples, perhaps a missionary, by my koan written off the cuff:

A wise and very handsome man from the occident did visit the temples one day. He had his method for proving software correct which he wanted to share with others. He knew programs could not only meet the reliability expected of other tools, but exceed them, for correct programs need no maintainence. He knew computers should forgive mistakes, do more, and how they could be used without text editors.

He decided to observe silently, and only spoke to tell them so. Over the course of days, he saw the monks lashing out at each other over trivial design decisions which were unnecessary, over rewriting the latest rewriting of a rewriting, and he saw them delight in this. He wondered whether they were as interested as he in programming, in hacking, or if their payment were what mattered most to them. He couldn't help but compare himself to a doctor up against religious voodoo and rituals hideous so.

He left. Still, he pointed some to them as an amusement.

They would write more code than he would ever be capable of crafting, he knew, but, unlike they did, he figured if he were to use his life well, he could continue writing code which would stand so long after theirs turned to rot, and in this way build progress for someone later like he, not more work. They accepted imperfection in everything, and would inflict this on their descendents. He wouldn't.