In the photograph there are a series of letters painted on the side of a German steam locomotive. They show information that the Reichsbahn bureaucrat thought would be useful, namely the amount of coal and water that the machine can carry,
its weight and a few other things.
But this is how a bureaucrat sees the locomotive, and they see something very different from the people driving and maintaining the things on a daily basis.
The computer is something that can enthral us all, with its ability to provide us with the very things we desire. Well, it can as long as those things are visual and audible; the computer cannot manage such things as smell, taste and balance with such ease. There are reasons for this, only this post is about what it’s like to provide such visual and audible signals to us.
So inside our computer is a 32 or now, as common, a 64 bit processor. That is to say, the computer is able to see 32 (or 64) pieces of information at one time, which are called bytes. Everything that passes through the computer needs to be sliced and diced until it becomes a stream of 32 bit inputs. This is qualitatively different from a human’s experience, but this is the point of this post: why does a computer work in such a radically different way than the human brain?
Actually, Shakespeare wasn’t a cat, for they famously have nine lives. But he is known to have signed his name with eight different spellings. Actually, it is more like six or seven, but I’d forgotten that and, well, creativity isn’t tied down by evidence of that kind any more than a cat is limited to a single life. What’s more, the way we spell his name today isn’t even amongst them! Historical reality is not all it seems.
Because this is about how to work with inspiration, which is suffocated by the fixedness of spelling.
This post isn’t about spellings as such, it’s about inspiration, and if ever there was an inspired person, it was Shakespeare. Or Shakspere or whatever he did call himself. Actually his friends probably just called him Bill to save any confusion. Mind you, few of them could read, so it probably didn’t make much difference to them how he spelled his name.
Inspiration, like cats, does not come to call. It comes at the oddest moments – like Shakespeare chatting with his friends in the Boar’s Head when he’s nudged from behind by the innkeeper. Turning, he sees the man pouring ale – and at the same time two of his characters enter his imagination and the accidental nudge is replayed in their setting.