Gnōthi Seauton

Posted by Tyler Maxwell on January 26, 2018

Know thyself _- transliteration from Greek courtesy of _Wikipedia. I wrote another draft of this blog attempting to answer the question: Why did I decide to study programming? I decided that no one really cares why some old bald guy in California decided to study programming.

I guess I should start by writing about myself, which is extremely difficult for me. I am the quintessential introvert. I find it hard to write anything about myself that anyone can read if they choose. “Know thyself” is motto that I try to live by. I think it is such a deep and difficult philosophical concept. What does it mean for the knower to know itself?

This is where I guess I am stuck in OO Ruby. The complexity of the relationship between and among objects and the notion that an object “knows” something about itself is confusing and fascinating. I am sure I am over-thinking this, but it is a guilty pleasure of mine.

I love philosophy, but I am, admittedly, not very good at it. I love the Fran Lebowitz quote:

“Think before you speak. Read before you think.”

I guess I read very slowly and I tend to get bogged down in what I don’t know yet. I seem to get stuck here. The reading. The pondering. Navel gazing is the term of art I believe. So, one of the first lines in the introduction made me fall in love instantly with Flatiron:

“Over your career as a professional developer you’re probably going to end up programming in languages that haven’t been invented yet. The most important thing we’re going to teach you is how to learn.”

It’s the “giving a fish” verses “teaching to fish” paradigm. I believe that learning how to learn is a lifelong process. I don’t believe anyone that says they’ve got it down. I certainly don’t.

I think the first step is introspection. Thus, the pithy and extraordinarily clever title of this blog: Know thyself! The question is a personal one. “How do I learn?” verses “How does one learn?” The answers to the latter can only provide hints to the former. I like writing cryptic sentences like that. It makes me feel so smart. What I am trying to say is that there is no one-size-fits-all recipe for learning. We each do it differently using different modalities and at different rates.

This is the point of Avi’s Youtube video about learning to program. I don’t know Avi Flombaum, although he is my only friend on the Learn platform. I must say that I have developed a bit of a man-crush on him over the last few weeks! There are fundamentals that I need to keep in mind.

What I need to focus on is the task at hand. One could drive through a thousand miles of desert with only the ability to see what is illuminated by the car headlights(assuming one drives only at night and sleeps during the day for some reason!) . So, a theoretical journey of a thousand miles can be traversed and all you need to see at any given moment is the few hundred feet directly in front of you.