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Friday Philosophy – Tech Writing Is Like Religious Art July 8, 2016

Posted by mwidlake in Blogging, Friday Philosophy, Perceptions, writing.
Tags: , ,

I’m putting together an article for Oracle Scene at the moment – I’ve delayed it for a couple of issues as we wanted the space for other tech articles, but my time has come. And I’m finding it very hard going. Why?

I’m not an expert on religious art (or religion… or art) but one thing I know is that with religious artifacts, especially things like sculpture, furniture, and plaques, they often differ from non-religious art in that the back of them is as well done as the front. I.e. if there is an ornate plaque to be created and put on the wall of a secular building, all the effort goes into the front. The back is likely to be simple or even rough. With a religious plaque, the chances are that the back will be just as well crafted as the front.

The reason is that God can see the back of it. God will know if you skimped on your devotional art to him/her/them. The whole piece has to be of quality. If it’s a secular piece then no one generally sees or cares about the back and, if someone was to try to take your plaque off the wall, you’d smack their hands and tell them to leave it alone.

When I present, teach or (to a certain extent) blog I mostly care about what my audience will see. If I do a demonstration script I can put it up, show the results and move on. The chances of you actually running the script are low so it does not matter if I had to tickle things a little (fiddle with the SGA settings, alter my session, pre-warm my cache) to get it to work as intended. Similarly I can tell you the message I have and not worry too much about the messy details (but IO have to be ready to answer any awkward questions).

But with something written and published, which is going to be there for a while and people can refer to it and test it all out with ease – you can all potentially see “the back of it”. This raises my normal fear about making mistakes in public to the level of paralysing paranoia.

There you go, I think of you all as Gods. That’s a nice place to finish the week, don’t you think?



1. Brian Tkatch - July 8, 2016

>The reason is that God can see the back of it. God will know if you skimped on your devotional art

Using Jungian terminology, religious art is more like to reflect an archetype, and the urge to make it (or the satisfaction from making it) will not be felt if not complete. It is not a superficial item, the creation itself is the point. Hence, it must be complete.

mwidlake - July 8, 2016

Maybe I try so hard for that reason too – so I don’t care what you lot think really 🙂

Brian Tkatch - July 8, 2016

Well, Jung also wrote 🙂 that those who don’t believe is a deity will believe in an “ism”, as the urge is there in each person. He termed this “the god image”. And cause can fit the bill though. And, the work produced by these people can be phenomenal. 🙂

mwidlake - July 8, 2016

I never said I believe in a God. I never said I did not believe in a God. But I can categorically say I certainly do not believe in anything to do with “the force” and Jedies, as that was dreamt up in the early 1970’s. And very little from the 70’s has stood the test of time (Abba allowing)

wesleyscott79 - July 8, 2016

Neil Tyson has some interesting thoughts on -isms, any of his responses on being a humanist

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