Tacit relation between algorithm and pattern

Sorry another half-formed thought… I’ve been reading Polanyi’s classic “The tacit dimension” while learning konnakol, and generally thinking about the relationship between an algorithm and its pattern.

Tacit knowledge is where you ‘know more than you can tell’. For example you know a face that you can spot in a crowd of thousands, but can’t describe its particulars. The knowledge of the particulars is close (‘proximal’), which you use to attend to the face which is further away from you (‘distal’). Similarly when poking an object with a stick, it feels like you are touching the object. You’re feeling from your hand (which is proximal) to the object (which is distal).

With notation this gets a bit counter-intuitive, because we think about the notation describing the music. But our knowledge of music is proximal - we know more about music than we can tell (or notate). On the other hand we can explain how the notation works perfectly well, it’s distal. The notation does not describe the music, rather we understand the notation from our experience of the music.

I think this relates nicely to Korzybski’s idea that “the map is not the territory”. I guess we can only really read a map once we know the territory that it describes.

So how can this apply to algorithmic pattern, when we are writing an algorithm that generates the pattern? If we only know an algorithm from the particulars of the pattern it generates, how do we write it in the first place?

On the face of it, this riddle is impossible to solve, but still we manage to make patterns from algorithms. I think the answer is to not see the process of writing an algorithm as separate from the process of using it to generate a pattern - we can do both at the same time, asking ‘what if?’ at each step. We change an algorithm, see what happens, then with this tacit knowledge of experiencing/perceiving the pattern, can understand the change we made to the algorithm. Writing an algorithm then is as much as applying our knowledge of pattern to the code, as it is about applying our knowledge of coding to pattern.

One thing I’m confused about though is what happens if/when we ‘interiorise’ the code. When we feel our way around a room with a stick, the stick becomes an extension of our body. We’re no longer feeling ‘from’ our hand to the end of the stick, but rather feeling from the end of the stick to the objects in the room. The stick has become proximal. But if over time code becomes a proximal extension of ourselves, and we’re using it to explore something like music which is also proximal, then is everything proximal? It can feel that way…