After having devoured three emails, I must say, the course has exceeded my, already high, expectations and surprised me in ways I didn’t anticipate.
Coming back to Dan’s email series, I’d not dare to comment nor criticize the content from a technical standpoint. I haven’t earned, not even close, the experience or knowledge to formulate such claims. Even less to Dan’s work, which I deeply appreciate and respect.
However, from an educational outlook, the content is extremely rich and instructive in a very novel way. It offers a unique viewpoint that I had never encountered in other educational programs or books.
arguing programming from first principles.
Yet it goes further than that. Its most surprising “feature” is the direct applicability to one’s daily work. I didn’t see that coming.
More often than not, I catch myself stringing lines of code without thinking, or “truly” acknowledging, what they mean, or do. But when it comes to coding, I’ve come to realize is that “each line counts” more than we think. With each line comes a lot of responsibility, because it will end up determining how something works.
I wasn’t paying attention. In general, not just with coding, we navigate the world riding on top of a huge abstraction we’ve made for ourselves. An abstraction we’ve built from experience during our entire lifetime. Relentlessly crafted by each interaction with our biased view of the world.
That’s how we assume the world behaves, but that’s not how the world truly works. In the same way, Newton’s laws give us a simple framework to think of mechanics and understand the world. One that works most of the time, but fails miserably when we push it against the edge cases of reality.
I never thought about coding like this before. I had assumed so much about how some piece of code behaved but failed to understand how it ultimately worked. As much as I like to reason by first principles in other areas of life, this one felt through the cracks.
We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.
This is the ultimate value and what education should be about. Generating new ideas, challenging the mind, and helping acquire novel points of view. Not just absorbing knowledge for the sake of learning.