Thursday, December 20, 2007

What is the Perfect Computer?

As a computer programmer, I was intrigued by the opening chapters of Dianetics, the Modern Science of Mental Health, by L. Ron Hubbard claiming that man how the "Analytical Mind" is in fact a perfect computer. It makes calculations based on the data it has. It is ALWAYS RIGHT.

But like a computer program with unfortunate bugs, the calculation may come out with a wrong conclusion, but based on data it has, the program is still "right".

There are two parts to one's mind. The Analytical and the Reactive Mind. Dianetics says that the Analytical Mind IS the Perfect Computer.

"What would you want in a computing machine? The action of the analytical mind—or analyzer—is everything anyone could want from the best computer available. It can and does do all the tricks of a computer. And over and above that, it directs the building of computers. And it is as thoroughly right as any computer ever was. The analytical mind is not just a good computer, it is a perfect computer. It never makes a mistake. It cannot err in any way so long as a human being is reasonably intact (unless something has carried away a piece of his mental equipment).

"The analytical mind is incapable of error, and it is so certain that it is incapable of error that it works out everything on the basis that it cannot make an error. If a person says, “I cannot add,” he either means that he has never been taught to add or that he has an aberration about adding. It does not mean that there is anything wrong with the analytical mind."
- L. Ron Hubbard, Dianetics, The Modern Science of Mental Health

If this were true, how is it possible that people make mistakes, wrong decisions and don't live "perfect" lives? Or more to the point, how does one prevent writing buggy computer software? The answer lies in Dianetics and specifically in the chapter on the Reactive Mind. Dianetics should be required reading for any software developer. It would not only result in less buggy software being developed, it would make for a world of less stressed out programmers!

Anyone interested in Dianetics can get a copy of this book here.