Daniel Miller

Just a Bunch of Avdi Grimm Quotes

Listen to Greater Than Code 069: Identity Is An Arrow with Avdi Grimm

And maybe one of the ways that we do find identity, one of the ways that I find identity anyway, is I think it’s almost defined externally in a way. Because it’s not found in, “I decide to be a certain way.” It’s not found in, “I write a list of values and mission statements.” It’s found in what people see in me in those moments, what people take away from me in those moments. That’s the real identity.

Read Retrospective 2007-2017: Losing the Joy of Coding

But as I started to dig into the all-too-obscure literature on the intersection of computing and humanities, I really started to worry about whether the programming industry was creating a net good in the world. Our software doesn’t just assist in getting things done. It doesn’t just mediate, either. Increasingly, it defines the boundaries of reality. It tells people how to categorize the signals they perceive. It lays down the channels and chokepoints for human connection and information dissemination. It arbitrates, more than ever before, what is a thing, and what is not a thing.

It occurred to me that programmers are, by and large, manifestly unqualified to be constructing reality. But that’s what we are doing, at a ferocious rate…

The joy hasn’t gone away, despite all my misgivings. I love writing code. I especially love seeing other people’s eyes light up when I share the empowerment of coding with them; as elegantly expressed incantations on a screen take on a life of their own and become part of mutual reality.

What we do as programmers is wondrous, and thrilling, and powerful, and just plain fun. Going forward, I want to share the joy of code in a way that keeps it intimately connected to the joy of living.

Read Some thoughts and feelings on RubyConf 2017

Ruby is a language created in love: love for its linguistic heritage; love for the joy of coding; love for the hackers who write the code; and love for the goofy-ass shit hackers do when they feel trusted and empowered and safe from judgement.

Love and joy, trust and emotional safety: you can argue that these language values influenced the community which formed around Ruby. Or that it has attracted people who already value love and trust and safety. I don’t know which is [more] true.

But it is this environment of trust and safety that has led, I think, to a community that threw conferences featuring talks about empathy, and depression, and burnout, and activism and other squishy-but-scary topics. And that did it long before most of the rest of the software industry got up the nerve to talk about those things in public…

In this century, programmers will build the software that mediates relationships and that shapes humanity’s perceptions of reality. That software could be written from a place of fear and distrust, judgement and contempt. Or it could be written from a place of love and joy, trust and safety.

I am not passionate about Ruby. I am not passionate about programming. But I am passionate about this community. Not the Ruby community specifically. The community of programmers who value love and joy, trust and safety.

I present the 2nd and 3rd links in reverse chronological order and also quote large chunks because I think there is an important narrative in those bits in that order (it’s also incredible writing). But it’s still really important to go read the entire posts.

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