Intro To Magic

An excerpt from the fictional tales of Way of the Wizard: Modern Magic

So the question becomes, how do we program our world? There are those among us that claim such alteration is possible and we have no cause to doubt them. Skepticism is certainly not reason enough, as that’s merely a form of stodgy conservatism. To make any change, great or small, we must believe in its possibility.

Typically, when we start using computers, we’re not even aware that computer-programming is a thing. The operating system, and the applications running on top, just exist. And when we learn that actual people wrote said software, we believe it to be a feat apart from ourselves, a task undertaken by geniuses tucked away in a laboratory. We could never do that, it’s simply not possible.

We wouldn’t even know where to begin. What do we write, where do we write it? And if we dare look it up, we’re deluged by complexity. What if we look for a book? Which book do we pick? And once we start, how do we keep our head above the sea of uncertainty? Plus, a simplistic step-by-step guide is one thing, an unguided project is a far different beast.

It turns out that software development is more art than math. It is not so much completing equations, but a constant treadmill of trial-and-error. We should therefore expect world-level programming to be quite the same. For instance, let’s examine a realistic scene from the desk of a software developer:

“Will it work? Let’s see. Nope. Okay try something else. Nope. Wait, why’s it doing that now!? Okay how about this. Hmm. Okay let me look something up. Ah, okay, I’ll try this. Ooh better. Ahh, nope, now the other part doesn’t work. Okay let me take a break and see if inspiration strikes. [Later that day…] Aha, that’s it! [Fervent typing ensues…] It works! Now onto the next problem….”

This common scenario plays itself out again and again. The solution so often comes from outside the programmer. Either it comes from an actual archive of answers (a forum for programmers), or from some mystical source of inspiration that’s accessed by the programmer’s subconscious once he engages in another task.

Let’s not gloss over this point, that the key to a programmer’s code comes from external sources. One source is a repository of discussion compiled by programmers over the years. And another source is some other-worldly well-of-knowledge that provides solutions for problems posed to it while the mind is no longer actively searching.

So a wizard should expect much of the same. First, he needs to grasp that magic exists. Second, he must believe it’s a process he can proficiently navigate. Third, he must dive into some introductory materials that provide a cryptic set of rules and steps for completing basic but essentially useless projects. Then as aspirations expand, on comes a contentious time of attempting to self-solve a particular problem. This is accompanied by research into the ways of others who solved similar issues, alongside bouts of inspiration from one’s own imagination. Voila! A wizard is born.

In programming, there is no set canon of introductory materials. Programmers learn their craft by various means. There are a myriad of languages and techniques and styles of programming. There’s countless sources of introductions. The common theme though, is the intent and determination of the practitioner. And there is one other commonality: every programmer begins by writing a small program that prints a simple phrase, a very telling phrase: hello, world

Ancient Bindings

An excerpt from the fictional tales of Way of the Wizard: Modern Magic

Okay Rich, blah blah blah computer-programming, but what about magic?

But don’t you see, if the world is a computer simulation, then programming IS magic:

But here’s the thing, the easiest programming to understand is typically the most restrictive. In the high-level environments you’re granted access to a few preset commands that aren’t very customizable. In order to tap into the low-level stuff that alters individual pixels of the interface, you’ll need to delve into the ancient API.

The problem with ancient APIs though, is their archaic format and overall complexity. For instance: in high-level programming, objects are managed for you, whereas in low-level, you need to account for their maintenance and dissolution. To call something with the ancient API typically takes more consideration and is much more prone to error.

And of course, if you attempt to build an entire program by invoking the ancient API, then the complexity and bugginess is going to compound. To account for this, programmers oftentimes use bindings that simplify access to the ancient API using a more modern parlance. This also allows the program’s heavy-lifting to be done in a high-level style whereas certain customizations can be made with bindings to the ancient API.

This is what we wizards seek, the bindings into the ancient API. It is simply not worth trying to create a program from the ancient API, the time and complexity are too much. We’d be decades working on a teetering foundation — we need instead to stand on the shoulders of giants. But this takes great discernment of course — because how can we recognize what we don’t know?

Yet that is the wizard’s gift — the ability to recognize a source of power. It’s no different than how a chef recognizes a source of flavor — it’s a built-in attribute of the character. And like a programmer, a wizard conjures whatever needs programming. Either he sees a hole that needs filling or he’s the middleman between clients and their vision.

Through observation we can witness that this world is not merely a pre-compiled binary, there’s also some scripting on the fly. As in a scripting language, code can write code. But of course we must know the correct keywords and syntax as well as the appropriate method of code execution. Programmers for instance don’t simply open up a text document and write random words and symbols.

No, wizards must learn their interface, they must study syntax and keywords. They must seek out repositories of source-code, deciphering the instruction-sets within. They must understand where and when to apply such commands and obtain the tools by which to evoke their spells. This is the way of the wizard, programmer of worlds.

Toxic Division

An excerpt from the fictional tales of The Bytekings.

Can’t we just cut ourselves off from the rest of the country?

The problem is not regional, you’ll see the split sprinkled throughout a single street.

Then how can we get rid of the troublemakers?

Let me ask you this, if an undesirable substance mixes into a desirable substance, how do you separate the two? You employ a mechanism that catches and concentrates one, then discard the trash.

Just what are you saying?

I’m saying that the undesirable substance is currently concentrating, which will soon make it ready for removal.

Wait, you mean…?

Ha, no we’re not talking about people, but toxic ideas.

But now they have power to go along with those ideas.

How do you tame an unruly child? At first you show him that you understand his hurt. Then you bring him around, introducing him to productive tasks. You give him responsibility. You provide him the dignity he never thought he had.

But what’s to say they won’t abuse the power?

Then what hope is there for the whole? Should we lord over them as masters? Why should we want to become tyrants always at the ready with rod in hand? No, if we want the world we dream of then we must strive to instill maturity within all.

Prose of Personality

An excerpt from the fictional tales of Richard Lawrence Worcestershire.

Richard Lawrence Worcestershire (pronounced like the sauce) is quite the peculiar character. Richard Lawrence Worcestershire speaks in a most erudite manner within his own mind. Of course, he has enough self-awareness to refrain from an upper-crust English accent out-loud, but mentally he’s always conversing in a highfalutin fashion, with words such as “whilst” liberally sprinkled in.

If you ever the occasion to meet Richard Lawrence Worcestershire, and you suspect he believes himself your better, you are most assuredly correct. When describing this fellow, words such as abrasive, argumentative, and pretentious come to mind. Yet despite his loftiness, Richard Lawrence Worcestershire grew up amidst mediocre means.

His vision-board contains turn of the century mansions built by barons of the so-called Gilded Age. The toils of daily life are far beneath the dignity of Richard Lawrence Worcestershire. Labor is for the little people that enjoy such trivial responsibility. No, for our dear Richard Lawrence Worcestershire, the weight of the world rests upon his shoulders.

Yet funnily, with all his superiority, Richard Lawrence Worcestershire does’t seem to accomplish much at all. Yet in his mind, what little he does do resonates exponentially, influencing the world in ways that go unnoticed by those lacking faculties to understand. This poor fellow, I can’t help but to pity him, a personality with an incongruous context.

New Chief

An excerpt from the fictional tales of The Bytekings.

Tell me, are you familiar with the concept of air supremacy?
Yeah, it has something to do with controlling the skies in battle.
Those who control the sky, determine who will die. I assume you’ve heard of the rockets my company produces?
Yes of course, they can even land themselves.
That’s right. And you’ve probably also noticed that my company makes semi-autonomous automobiles as well?
And I’ve seen the solar work you’ve been doing, it’s all quite fascinating.
Decentralized electrical power is decentralized political power.
There seems to be an underlying theme to all this.
Indeed there is. The way in which humankind is currently organized is outdated. I am going to fix that.
And those currently on top will allow you to do this?
How easy would it be for me to weaponize my rockets? How quickly could I weaponize autonomous vehicles? And I need no electrical grid to produce my power.
Just what are you saying?
Relax, I’m simply telling you what I could do, not what I will do. Tell me, are you familiar with the Simulation Hypothesis?
Yeah, the idea that our world is only a virtual reality.
Exactly, and I’ve been well aware of this condition for some time, hence my recurrent success. I lack the the fear and doubt that plague those that believe themselves living in an organic world.
Then what are you going to do?
I am an engineer by nature, a creator of systems, I am designing the foundation of the next era. I have my hands in banking, robotics, energy production, as well as transportation: terrestrial and beyond. Think of how early industrialists made their money, I have seeds in all those fields and soon my crop will establish itself.
But then what?
Then power goes to the people.

Frightful Sight

An excerpt from the fictional tales of The Winter Warren

Tom the timid rabbit spoke: I can barely see, can you help me?

The wise wizened rabbit replied: Your eyes are blurry because you’re afraid of the world. As a child you perceived something very frightening and from that moment distanced yourself from scary sights. But this is an error. Yes you were scared, but the cause of that fright was not an actual impending doom. You were scared because you had a negative reaction to a scene that played out within your mind.

The world is a dream. Your eyes never saw trueness — it is your mind that believes in vision. It is your mind that creates every scene within fictional surroundings. If you believe yourself myopic to shield yourself from ugliness, then it becomes so. But the contrary is also true, if you believe in beauty and so want to see it, then vision clarifies.

Your lack of clarity comes from your distrust of life. You so fear hideousness that you are willing to shut everything out. As a child immaturity is expected, but now you must leave those childish worries behind. The images you imagine scar only when you believe yourself solid. Deny this lie of solidity and henceforth be healed.

Do not be skittish of what lies behind each corner, for you are the author of interpretation. It is within your power to discern the elegance in all things. Shrink not from life because of an anxious idea, instead choose to see the beauty that surrounds. You can see as well as you want to, now create within yourself the desire.

Rise, remove your spectacles, and look.

Exiting an Era

An excerpt from the fictional tales of Solve For X.
Life from the perspective of Generation X.

Truth be told, many of us hated the lives our parents led. We wanted nothing to do with the confinement it promised. They worked as drones for decades to delay enjoyment of life until their eventual retirement. Long-term corporate careers and pensions seemed like indentured servitude to us. Neck-ties were the leash by which corporate masters towed their underlings along.

Many of us despised the oppressive conformity of schools. The factory-like setting of indoctrination and rote memorization. Many saw these institutions as prisons constructed to house the bodies and minds of upcoming generations, actively crushing their creativity. And factional warfare amongst the uninspired prison-populace made it a miserable place from all angles.

The jobs we were offered were a mere handful of lackluster options, each more soul-sucking than the next. Accountant? Lawyer? Salesman? Cubicle dweller? Cashier? And for what? Certainly not for personal fulfillment, but merely a paycheck to maintain a preapproved lifestyle. Our role-models became those that rejected this false facade of a well-ordered society.

And that way of life has been crumbling apart for a while now. It would be hypocritical of us to lament such an event. We should be smiling as video-game playing has become a prominent career path. See mom, it wasn’t a waste of time. Yes there’s going to be bumps along the way, many will go without and see dreams unfulfilled. But this has been the case throughout all ages.

It’s funny to see some from younger generations glorify the life of that generation. At that time entire towns dedicated themselves to factory life — everyday the same. Yes, those particular places have been gutted and yes the transition could have been less cruel — but change comes with a price, sometimes steep — we must look forward though and assume the bigger picture is better.

Many of my generation are so used to perceiving the worst of our surroundings because we witnessed the end of an era. But now is the dawning of a new way of life, so we must shed our pessimism and embrace this newness. And as we go through this transformation, let’s not fight for scraps and cling to what never really worked — let’s help one another up, progressing along this path together.