Modern Magic

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Tagged: ['scholastic', 'code'] 12/17/16 || 1:45AM

On my desk lies a modern tome; I once dared to open it, and was transported to a fantasy land. Suddenly, I was atop a horse, holding a longsword as the daring knight who became the pride of the kingdom. Evil warlocks and creatures of the night melt from the fury of my swing--and then it ends. I shuffle across the room, place this story alongside its brethren, and search for another... it is unfortunate that the spells sold at bookstores are all temporary.

Yet how could they not be? The English language is scarred--everything it composes must come to an end. To tell a story that is recurring, interminable and continuous, one must look to code.

In many ways, writing my story with code is the same as with English; the same letters, left to right, line by line. I still indent my paragraphs, I still use punctuation to denote the end of a phrase. Yet something has changed: I am no longer a knight who must slay evil and save the princess. I can be a knight, or something else, anything else; do I side with good or evil? Will the princess be kidnapped, will a dragon attack? I scribe my epic in a hundred lines, and yet it has infinite volumes, filled with words, pictures, animations, anything and everything ready to bring me fantasy as soon as I hit "Run."

Modern authors and literary critics fail to accept this new prose, but change has always been difficult. This is an egalitarian form of writing, no longer unique to a demographic. No one language dominates this new world of writing, and the stories can be read by everyone. The ancient tomes have all displayed bias and cruel corruption; for centuries at a time, one language and one form would dominate storytelling. To use the spell cast by literature, one has to discard all but the soul: one must conform to the language, the prose, the structure, and what the sorcerers who wrote it denotes as "sophistication." The times of "thee" and "thou" were accompanied with a scholarly movement, one which sought to prove that the complexity of the language corresponded with the critical acclaim of a piece. This brought us "eftsoons" and "obloquy," horrors that must be locked away. There have been 'revisits' and 'reformations' and 'revivals' of complex rhetoric, needlessly descriptive tenses that accomplish the same goal in more time.

Rhetoric has grown inefficient. The story itself remains the same length, yet the telling of it stretches out. Language needs its own revolution, and we bear witness to it today. Code has been dismissed as 'engineering,' a complex science that allows the human to talk to the machine; yet today, coding communities thrive. Software allows us to delve into different realities and accomplish any task; with one word, it can retrieve a million stories. Traditional language has brought us many things in the past, but in a fast paced, modern society, only programming languages have kept pace. In under a decade, we are redefining learning and thought, all with an unprecedented efficiency. No story in code ever ends; it runs endlessly until it is implemented elsewhere, and soon grows to be a small shard in a vast mosaic.

That's not to say I don't enjoy literature: I make it a point not to sleep before reading a new story. However, I have come to love coding as well. It is the act of telling a story that has no end, one that everyone can experience and none can control. These 1's and 0's are the language of modern spells.