Re: Right/Left Brain Ratio

Eric Watt Forste (
Mon, 28 Oct 1996 07:59:43 -0800

Natasha wrote:
>Today, more and more computer programmers refer to themselves as
>engineers. Today, more and more computer graphic architects refer
>to themselves as engineers. In the past, an engineer was thought
>of as someone who designs, for example, a Golden Gate Bridge.

I used to put up a lot of resistance to the idea of being a
professional software engineer because it seemed so cold and
abstract. But as the demands of the market and my own desire for
income combined to draw me into that profession like a tractor
beam, I found that creating software or modifying existing software
really does feel much like writing poetry or sculpting (or, as is
unfortunately most often the case, like editing someone else's
poetry or modifying someone else's sculpture). The audience is a
bit limited because the only people who get to really appreciate
the work of most software engineers is other software engineers...
the exception to this last rule is the user-interface engineers,
and I suspect that that's one reason why that is such a popular
line of work within software engineering.

Certainly, in my occasional attempts to struggle for a good
perspective on the changes that are sweeping through the global
economy, it looks to me that as we get better at producing physical
things with fewer and fewer resource requirements, what most of us
*people* will have to be "specializing" in is producing information
that is of value to other people. And that seems to be what most
of us on this list (researchers, artists, engineers, writers,
mathematicians, consultants, managers, lawyers, philosophers,
musicians, etc) are already doing.

Art and science are often contrasted. But two things that Dali's
painting "Raphaelesque Head Exploding" has in common with Maxwell's
theory of electromagnetism is that both are information structures
that required incredible effort of their developers, and that both
are of inestimable value to me.

Eric Watt Forste ++ ++