From the 1994 edition of Steven Levy’s Hackers (p. 118) comes this elegant description of what it means to program:
Looking at Gosper‘s programs, Sussman realized an important assumption of hackerism: all serious computer programs are expressions of an individual. “It’s only incidental that computers execute programs,” Sussman would later explain. “The important thing about a program is that it’s something you can show to people, and they can read it and they can learn something from it. It carries information. It’s a piece of your mind that you can write down and give to someone else just like a book.” Sussman learned to read programs with the same sensitivity that a literature buff would read a poem. There are fun programs with jokes in them, there are exciting programs which do The Right Thing, and there are sad programs which make valiant tries but don’t quite fly.