Main / Thoughts


What would you think of someone who didn't know what car model they drive, what type of gas it takes or where the gas tank is located? That's exactly what I think of people who don't know what browser and/or operating system they are using. Or what those are, for that matter.


We use technology day-in and day-out. We enjoy its advantages. Shouldn't it be a matter of common sense to learn a bit about the things that keep us alive and enable a life or luxury?

Yes, luxury. Not needing to wash one's laundry by hand is a luxury. Getting limitless hot water at the turn of a tap is a luxury. Having cheap food sitting in piles at the supermarket is a luxury. We're all lucky bastards (not my words, can't remember where I read them), yet some of us can't be bothered to show a little gratitude.


In 1884, the Romanian poet Mihai Eminescu wrote a poem called To My Critics. I'm not one to learn poetry by heart, but the second stance stuck to my mind ever since I first read it:

Writing poetry is easy
When you have nothing to say,
Stringing hollow words together
Such that all end the same way.

My translation probably sucks, but hopefully it's getting the point across. You see, this greatest Romanian poet is famous for having used a very small vocabulary: less than 800 words! His verse, while wonderful, probably sounded woefully unsophisticated to his contemporaries. But nowadays, those same contemporaries are forgotten; I'd have to ask an expert to learn who got him so riled up. Eminescu, on the other hand, is considered Romania's best poet ever.

Ironically enough, I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. Instead, I became a programmer. But Eminescu's warning still applies: too much sophistication does nothing but detract from the software's primary purpose, which is to get some work done.

The poem's full text is available on Wikisource.


Page last modified on September 17, 2009, at 03:12 AM