To Iterate is Human, to Recurse, Divine.
–by L. Peter Deutsch, creator of Ghostscript. (I also love his saying “_The best thing about a Boolean is even if you are wrong, you are only off by a bit_”)
I learned this quote from Tony Barr, designer and developer of SAS (the Statistical Analysis System). He also used the Recursive Descent method to develop SAS complier. Now Tony is working for AMOR (A Model of Reality). AMOR is the self-defining system for modeling ideas and concepts (or human knowledge).—Recurse again: in AMOR, the type is defined by the type of type, and, the type of type is also defined by the type of type of type …
To help to understand the DIVINE part of recursion, Tony gave two examples from the Bible:
- The Golden Rule is recursive.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. (see Matthew 7:12, or Luke 6:31)
- God indentify himself in a recursive way.
Moses asked God for his name. Then God said to Moses, “I AM THAT I AM.” (see Exodus 3.14)
I’d like add two items (from a programmer’s perspective rather than Biblical Theology):
- Recursion at the very start
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (see John 1.1; also see here)
- The Trinity recursive way
First, there is only one God in Christian doctrine. God the Son duplicates the nature of God the Father in every way exactly, and so God the Spirit. And what’s about God the Father? see above.