The intersection of literature and tech

Lacey Williams Henschel on the intersection of literature and tech:

When you're writing good tests, you're doing world building: Accessibility requires empathy, and empathy requires imagination. You can leverage that awesome feeling you get when you get lost in a book and identify with the main character by putting yourself in the shoes of the people using your code. Imagine their struggles and frustrations. Create a persona for them. Fix the things that hinder or annoy them about your app.

The world presents us with a composition in which a multitude of meanings and realities are available

We abide by cultural directives that urge us: clarify each thought, each experience, so you can cull from them their single dominant meaning and, in the process, become a responsible adult who knows what he or she thinks. But what I try to show is the opposite: how at every moment, the world presents us with a composition in which a multitude of meanings and realities are available, and you are able to swim, lucid and self-contained, in that turbulent sea of multiplicity.

— Richard Foreman, Unbalancing Acts: Foundations for a Theater.

Solnit on the value of darkness and the unknown

Rebecca Solnit on embracing the inexplicable:

Most people are afraid of the dark. Literally when it comes to children, while many adults fear, above all, the darkness that is the unknown, the unseeable, the obscure. And yet the night in which distinctions and definitions cannot be readily made is the same night in which love is made, in which things merge, change, become enchanted, aroused, impregnated, possessed, released, renewed.
As I began writing this essay, I picked up a book on wilderness survival by Laurence Gonzalez and found in it this telling sentence: “The plan, a memory of the future, tries on reality to see if it fits.” His point is that when the two seem incompatible we often hang onto the plan, ignore the warnings reality offers us, and so plunge into trouble. Afraid of the darkness of the unknown, the spaces in which we see only dimly, we often choose the darkness of closed eyes, of obliviousness. Gonzalez adds, “Researchers point out that people tend to take any information as confirmation of their mental models. We are by nature optimists, if optimism means that we believe we see the world as it is. And under the influence of a plan, it’s easy to see what we want to see.” It’s the job of writers and explorers to see more, to travel light when it comes to preconception, to go into the dark with their eyes open.