A wall

Even in the most ordinary judgements about height, volume, mass, and overhang of a utilitarian wall, the same factors come into play, the same questions arise: whether it is connected to the self, or not, whether its individual centers are connected to the self, or not.

All of these questions allow you to form a judgement and to decide whether A or B is more like the eternal I. You choose from that pair — say you choose A. Then you try another pair, A and C. Again you ask these questions. This time, C seems a little better. Next you compare C and D. C remains better. Now compare C against E. Still C seems better of the two. […]

But one has to go on, finer and finer, refining and refining. You compare C with F, something you had not thought of before, a minor variation of height or thickness. And again you ask of F and C, Which is the one which is better picture of your own eternal self? Again, C remains the stronger of the two. By now you have perhaps concluded that you cannot find a G, or an H which does better than the C. So the decision to make C is settled.

Then once that is done, you go to another question. For example, once having the thickness and height of the top, there is a remaining variable — the dimension of the overhang. Does the top hang over by one inch, or one-and-a-half inches, or two inches from the wall? Since the top is already set, this is a judgement about the position of the surface of the wall. Using the same question as before, you can now make this judgement. In this instance, yet another center is involved, the center that lies in the angle between the wall surface and the overhanging top. As nearly as possible, you make that space positive, so make even this center which sits in the air next to the overhang as much a being as possible.

By the time you have done your best on each of these decisions, the wall begin to have the being nature — at least to some degree. It makes us all feel related to the I. Even though it is an ordinary wall, made of old hardened cement sacks, it has a touch of the eternal I in it.

And to this day, people like that wall. They sit on it, drink beer on it, children run along the top of the wall. All of them love the wall, because the wall is related to them, and they feel related to it. It increases the relatedness which people feel in the world.

I wonder what that process translates to in programming? There’s the strong indicator of correct function — often measured in the form of a test — which is not gradual; a test passes or doesn’t. If we assume that correct function is so important that the test has to pass, what are the different options left to compare to each other to determine more or less life or feeling?

(Pages 130-131)

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