In his later years Knuth was increasingly concerned with morality.
His thinking along these lines was eventually reflected in his mathematical
writing, as in the quotation above. But his concern with sin and
punishment was apparent even as early as *The TeXbook*, where he
imposes a wide variety of \penalties for poor typesetting---the worst sin
of all, in his view.

There is evidence that ultimately Knuth even attempted to give a rigorous
mathematical treatment to these matters. His efforts along these
lines, if any, have been lost, but vague references have been uncovered to
a book entitled *Axioms
of Hell* or something similar, which would seem to support the
possibility.

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Copyright © 20002 Larry Denenberg