Beyond computer skills into the realm of empathy

In this computer age it is difficult to imagine how Hans manually and mentally performed a job which to most of us seems impossible without the help of a computer. How much easier and swifter it would have been for him today to screen Emily’s poems for words possessing the potential of being identified as symbols. How tiresome and tiring it must have been for him to search methodically through all 1775 poems manually and, finally, after tentatively attributing a secret meaning to a given symbol, to cross-check his findings throughout all poems!

He copied some poems up to forty times, a tedious job, but one which must have given him almost total knowledge of all of Dickinson’s poems and permitted him to feel their “hum” and let his intuition take over. Even the most sophisticated computer designed today could never match this.

What is more, while analyzing poems, Hans would include general comments, some of which cast an additional light on the problems he shared with Dickinson in creating and deciphering her secret language. One might almost say that a third entity arose from their union—the spirit of empathy.