Random   •   Archives   •   RSS   •   About   •   Contact

Programming is like Alchemy

This image comes from Michael Maier's 1618 treatise on alchemy. It combines music, image and text to communicate alchemical knowledge to adepts. Note the combination of Pythagorean imagery with alchemical practice.

Programming is like Alchemy except instead of exchanging matter, we programmers exchange time. Also depending on the program the exchange of time worked (coding) increases the productivity (time) of its users.

On second thought, perhaps programmers correlate less with Alchemists and more with Time Travelers; Or at the very least time manipulators. For example, on a good day a programmer can easily complete a task that would take one thousand men. See, time created! On a bad week we can procrastinate and do nothing at all. Time lost!


Programming embodies other magic like wizardry. For example, our programs typically live as golems performing one task, repeatedly, over and over. Golem programs, without a soul, stuck in a loop of servitude.

Recently we have started coding creations with artificial intelligence. These smart programs act like familiar spirits (Wikipedia) and assist their creator in conjuring even more magic.

So we settled it! Programmers are like bad ass, time travelling, wizard alchemists!

Or maybe not ...

It is more accurate to group programs with technology then magic, but less fun. Programs are leveraged tools born to save people time and energy.

Thanks for reading, you should follow me on twitter here

time traveling wizard alchemist

Want comments on your site?

Remarkbox — is a free SaaS comment service which embeds into your pages to keep the conversation in the same place as your contentr. It works everywhere, even static HTML sites like this one!

Remarks: Programming is like Alchemy

© Russell Ballestrini.