Tuesday, May 08, 2007

getting a bit philosophical

Have you had the experience of struggling with a problem for hours, going to ask for help with it, and then realizing the answer to the problem while you're in the middle of asking the question?

Of course you have. It's an amazing phenomenon. It really shows how much the brain depends on language to think clearly. It's one reason I'm such a junkie for user groups and conferences! And it's not good enough to just hear it or read it - you have to speak it or write it to really engage your brain. Similarly, sometimes it seems like you never really understand a subject until you have to teach it to somebody else.

Meanwhile, it's become an axiom of conversational politeness that politics and religion are to be avoided in most contexts. Which means... which means that we're forbidding ourselves to use our most powerful means of stimulating clear thought... for some of the most important ideas we have to think about. Hmm...

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