Software Development Allegory

8am Monday morning. You arrive at work to metaphorically walk down the empty hallway that represents the clearly defined project before you.  All you have to do is walk the length of the hallway, metaphorically, to get through the day.

There are doors along the hallway and the first one you reach bursts open and an avalanche of paper pours out, engulfing you.  While you’re trying to dig yourself out, Janine stops by to spread the latest gossip.  The only thing more disturbing about Janine’s NSA-level of knowledge on everyone’s personal lives, is how readily she distributes the most sensational bits.  She distracts you for a good hour before she must return to the rumor mill.

Finely, you extract yourself from the heaped documents, which gives Lewis the opportunity to “ask you a quick question”.  He drags you to his office, the opposite way down the hallway, and proceeds to give you the entire history of acoustical resonance before finally asking you if you can hear a weird ticking coming from the vent.  You do hear something, its not your job to fix it, but you’re a sucker and you open the vent.

3 hours later, after crawling through the oldest, deepest labyrinths of the HVAC system, you arrive at the vent to Jerry’s office.  Jerry has placed a metronome in the vent “because it seemed better that way.”  You don’t ask questions, you’ve learned not to ask.  You inform Jerry the next metronome will be shoved into a very special place of his.

This is when the fire alarm goes off.  You follow the billowing smoke to the kitchen where people are running to and fro screaming.  You spot the source of the smoke and panic coming from the microwave.  Someone has packed 27 microwave popcorn packets into the electric oven and set it to run for 4 hours.  You press stop button and ask who did this, but by this time everyone has already wandered off, disinterested from the lack of drama in the last .75 seconds.

At this point, the boss enters the kitchen and angrily tells you that the smell of burnt popcorn is putting off the clients in the board room and you better do something about it.  No, he doesn’t care you didn’t do it, just fix it.  While removing the charred remains of Redenbacher’s Variety Pack from the microwave, you notice a hive of wasps behind the fridge.  You think about fixing that too, but the insects aren’t currently hurting anyone and decide to leave it.

You arrive back to the hallway, exhausted.  Finally, back to where you were started at the beginning of the day.  There’s still time, you can do this, you can get to the end, you tell yourself. You walk, distraction free, to with in a few steps of the goal.  As if on queue, that’s when Clark, head of sales, leans out of his office and yells “Think fast!” You are just able to register what looks like an anvil as it collides into your chest sending you flying.  You blast backward through several offices before erupting through a window, tumble across a street and smash through the wall into another building.  You land amid a shower of sheet rock and glass at the beginning of a new empty hallway.  The dust begins to settle, you sigh,  pick up your anvil, and realize it’s going to be another long one tonight.

What You Really Are

You are not an intangible soul created by divinity for a purpose.  There is no substance to these myths.

You are not the matter that makes you up at this moment.  You shed and gain matter throughout your life with out losing yourself.

You are information.  A dynamic pattern emergent from a complex interaction of chemical processes that have run continuously, uninterrupted, for the last four billion years.  Like a wave on a lake.

Your individual wave moves through space and time and matter, changing as the environment affects you.

What makes “you” has less to do with the momentary shape of your wave, but the continuity of it’s pattern from its formation. You are the only thing to have been born and lived in the places and times you have.  That is you.

One day, your wave will wash against the shore and the pattern will be lost.  It’s nigh unavoidable, there’s no where else for a have to go. But as long as the lake has water, there will be more waves that follow.