Hi --

On Fri, 30 Jan 2009, Tom Cloyd wrote:

> David, Brian, Robert - THANKS!
>
> I'm fascinated to read your thoughtful responses, this morning - that, and 
> gratified. You each responded in different ways, and have offered me 
> considerable material to think on, and resources to explore. This is 
> precisely what I was hoping for. I think you "got it" that I'm genuinely 
> wanting to see this matter from the inside out, and your serious responses, 
> coupled with my coding adventures, will get the job done, I'm sure.
>
> My "overthinking" (I've been accused of that before on this list!) is due to 
> my background in philosophy. To my mind, making sense is the most important 
> thing we do with our minds, and it often requires a lot of analytical 
> probing, until all the meaningful dimensions of a problem space are explored. 
> Only then have you mapped the domain adequately. That approach has often been 
> my default method, with important things. Not everyone's style, to be sure, 
> but it is mine.

I definitely would not discourage exploration of this kind. I'm 100%
in favor of fully understanding the techniques you're using, and
knowing exactly what Ruby is actually doing. But I still think you're
overthinking it :-)

By that I don't mean that you should stop trying to understand. It's
more that you're multiplying the complexity beyond what it actually
is, for example by positing a kind of substitution relation between
classes and methods.

That said, I think it's true that people learn and grapple with new
things in different ways. I tend to learn in what I think of as the
"Polaroid" style: I start with a breadth-first but very faint
perception of a technology, and gradually the whole picture comes into
view. It's actually kind of weird, because I can know that I'm going
to understand something by the end of the day, and yet not be able to
accelerate the process.

By the same token, I think that what I call "overthinking" is, as you
say, your way of getting there. I just wanted to clarify the point
that I'm not discouraging a deep understanding, just sounding the
buzzer as you cross the invisible line between the road and the
shoulder :-)


David

-- 
David A. Black / Ruby Power and Light, LLC
Ruby/Rails consulting & training: http://www.rubypal.com
Coming in 2009: The Well-Grounded Rubyist (http://manning.com/black2)

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