Without a doubt, grokking (as per Heinlein) is a major component of hitting home runs in programming. Certainly, that's why I included both users and management in my list of subsystems. I was actually thinking in terms of getting programmers to understand components of their 'system' (in the biggest sense) that are NOT designed by the same person. Your machine and your OS were not designed by the same person as your program, and your users even more emphatically so. The synergy that makes a TiVo or a Macintosh so intuitive comes from understanding the deeper action metaphors of human decision-making.
in reply to Re^2: How do you master Perl?
in thread How do you master Perl?
I'm not saying that grokking all of these are necessary to produce great (or good) code; but I'd suggest that such an understanding is a goal to strive for on a greater level than understanding the primary programming paradigms. I personally think a good Renaissance (wo)Man programmer is far more adept and far more useful than a hundred code-wankers.
I'd diffidently suggest that your Matrix example is an example of a breakthrough on a much lower level, where a programmer realizes his power on a level of control of an abtract machine which he thinks but is NOT the universe. It's just a movie, after all!
Programming Gestalt is the realization that the hardware IS, the OS IS, Perl IS, users and management ARE, but one can create a glorious dance that brings them all together in a synergistic fusion that creates accomplishment of goals. More like Kwai Chang Caine in Kung Fu. :D