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Monday, August 11, 2003

Recursion and Rigor

I just took the Landmark Forum Advanced Class. I have often heard successful people say that they were "constantly in the process of reinventing themselves". I never really understood that phrase until now. It's such a simple concept, but somehow it had eluded me.

It's clear now that all they showed me about myself were things I was doing all along, but had not been fully aware of. They turned me on to one way of thinking that allows me a new way of understanding this "invention process", that I have been going through anyway. The process, by the way, is also known as "my life".

If you understand memetic theory, the books of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, the plays of Ionesco, and the stories by Rudy Rucker - you might have an idea of what it's about. However, the shocking thing for me, especially as a computer programmer, was the elegance and simplicity of their system.

When I see that someone has managed, in three lines, to do what took me a page of code, I know that as "elegant". That is the kind of elegant I saw. And it's precisely the feeling I have about Landmark.

It's not, so much, my personal insights and observations that turned me on, although they are certainly worth the course if that's all you get.

It's the sheer elegance and completeness of their system that makes it superior to the other ways I have seen people and organizations try to describe the same things.

What really I'd like so see... is for someone to come up with an even more elegant version.

If you are a computer programmer, philosopher or linguist, I highly recommend that you not only take the Advanced course, but, after you've understood it, see if you can come up with a more elegant series of distinctions that capture, as fully, the essence of the program.

It's, both, a serious thought challenge, and a lot of fun.

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