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Re: learning

Re: learning

I've been learning more lately, catching up on the last few years of web development tools and frameworks. It's mind-numbingly complex at times. There are solutions that are an absolute overkill for most sites. But anyway.

I think a lot of the coding tools out there are a result of: "Wouldn't it be cool if...?" And it might be cool, and it might not be useful to anyone, or be so complex that the ratio of time spent learning to time spent utilizing is way out of proportion. But the usefulness is beside the point.

I agree that man is an animal predominantly constructive, foredoomed to conscious striving towards a goal, and applying himself to the art of engineering, that is to the everlasting and unceasing construction of a road – no matter where it leads, and that the main point is not where it goes, but that it should go somewhere, and that a well-conducted child, even if he despises the engineering profession, should not surrender to that disastrous sloth which, as is well known, is the mother of all vices. Man loves construction and the laying out of roads, that is indisputable.
—Notes from Underground, Fyodor Dostoevsky

Funny how a work written over a hundred years ago can connect to something like the cutting edge of the coding world today. Evergreen content indeed.

I'm also reminded of what true learning feels like. Frustration. Confusion. Rereading of the same paragraph for the 5th time, waiting for it to click. Frankly, I think it's been too long since I dove into the technical intricacies of one of my chosen crafts. Just thinking about it brings the familiar fear of not pushing yourself hard enough.

While learning brings frustration, it's also thoroughly satisfying when you resolve it. You get to the top of the mountain and the sun shines just right, and you're simply content for a moment. The whole process reminds you that you can learn, you can change, and you're more capable than you might think. Perhaps I've been too busy building and planning, and not straight up learning something.

That's what's magical about puzzles like Wordle. Wordle is an atomized essence of learning. You get a couple clues. You try something. You try again. You get frustrated. And then... it clicks.

Write last your guess.
Hold your breath.
Hit send.
You've done it! Sweet!
Now, go on with your day.

Like many things in the modern time, it's a crystallized and atomized form of learning. It's like a tweet. A tweet hints at the true depth of literature. Wordle hints at the true struggle of actual learning, but it barely scratches the surface. It's a release valve for people who probably don't do enough learning (like me a month ago). That's not to say that puzzles are evil. It's like Twitter. 5 minutes is fine. 30 minutes probably not. And it also depends on what you do with the other 23 hours and 30 minutes. Context matters, as much as or more than the content.

Anyhow, I think I've reached the end of this reflection. I'll go on, learn something highly complex and maybe, maybe also useful.