The Importance of Programming in the Modern Age

I found myself musing once again over my motivation for programming - I’ll save you the reading and tell you that it’s not the problem solving, but the potential for creative expression that gets me. Programmers are the wizards of the modern age, creating anything they can imagine out of absolutely nothing. And this lead me to a realization:

The ability to program is the great democratization.

It used to be that land-owners had control over society. Then, as our world shifted away from an agricultural focus, the very rich joined the power club. But now, with a little bit of learning, anyone can have the control over their own life they’ve always wanted.

When most people use a computer, they have to put up with the poor software they encounter. They may think to themselves, “Gee, it’d be great if I could do X”, but then they sigh and continue on with their lives.

As a programmer, I am exempt from this. When I get frustrated at a piece of software, or see a need not being filled, I am no longer powerless - I can change it, with the power of programming.

And it’s not just your personal life. Hacktivism is a growing trend. And if the lawyers for Anonymous protestors get their way, the power to influence politics will shift - from the owners of the media to the programmers who can replicate themselves a thousand times over.

It’s true that some have forseen this and amassed large groups of programmers under their command. But even here we are not without hope. As video games have become a larger industry than movies, an opposing force of small, independent game developers has risen up to meet it. These are studios of only a few people - often, two - creating the type of games they’ve been frustrated to see the hundred-person studios avoid. And many times, these have proven wildly successful, proving the individual can still take the path to control.

If you find this subject interesting, read up on Distributism, a social, political, and economic theory that advocates giving individuals control over their own lives, something very much in line with the indie game movement.