in reply to Philosophical Perly Queues

I have a lot of thoughts on the deeper meaning in this.

Pearls before swine - they will only trample them. Wisdom is best kept hidden from the mass populace as they will mistreat it, abuse it, twist it, and ignore it. This is not to say you should not preach the Pearls of Perl - it means choose your audience wisely and be frugal.

Another thought is that the master has no use for scholarly discourses because they are too far advanced for the pupil to understand. It turns into cargo cult programming. "How do I do X" asked the pupil, "Simply by doing Y" replied the master. The student never groks the deeper meaning of Y and this is a complete waste of the master's time. For inevitably, tomorrow he will be asked how to do F. The student does not grow from the wisdom the master has passed him.

The final thought I have is another Zen quote: "Seek not the masters, seek what the masters sought". It basically boils down to passing out wisdom without substance yields complacency. The student is happy to have learned all the master can teach and stays at the same level of programming.

Teaching is the only altruistic profession left.

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Re: Re: Philosophical Perly Queues
by rir (Vicar) on Apr 18, 2003 at 18:53 UTC
    Wisdom is best kept hidden from the mass populace as they will mistreat it, abuse it, twist it, and ignore it.

    A foul philosophy. Elitist pigs never do these things!??

    Lay your wisdom before the masses. By the responses it evokes you may find

    1. you're just a bozo like everyone else
    2. the disciples or acolytes that are ready to learn
    3. others who are enlightened too (see also item 1)
    4. the world is not ready for such wisdom - move to another plane of existence asap
    5. something else
    You just dumped your tidbits of wisdom here for any random passerby to find. This was a good thing. You don't need to tell people they are too stupid to learn from you. Just start teaching and you'll scare them away real quick!

    the master has no use for scholarly discourses because they are too far advanced for the pupil to understand. It turns into cargo cult programming.

    Implying that a zen master would disapprove of cargo cult programming. This seems very wrong. Zen doesn't seem to elevate rational reason and understanding to such a height. Zen teaching would seem to have you cargo cult at times intending that your actions become you, that in doing good you learn the nature and details and essence of good. Note that no one complains of cargo cult programming when the code is unequivocally good.

    Does beauty and elegance in code come from reason or from other faculties?

    Teaching is the only altruistic profession left.


    Teaching is not especially altruistic. Certainly protectors, healers, feeders, and housers are all just as altruistic as teachers: hoteliers, restauranteurs, police and nurses.

    Age is a number maintained through life that we and others may celebrate our very existence at least once a year.

      While I hear what you are saying, and what the AM you are responding to is saying, I have to say my "personal opinion" puts me more inline with the AM, and I'll state why..

      Note: I'm going to attempt to keep this relativly concrete as opposed to the quasi spiritual/religious thread this has appeared to become, while addressing what I think needs to be said.

      First off as to the pearls before swine. His premise is they won't grok it, and will continue to come back (give a man a fish vs teach a man to fish, yada yada), your position is throw it out there cause you're never sure who will see it and benefit. From personal experience it is a *drain* on multiple levels attempting to convey an idea to someone who simply doesn't have a solid foundation in said realm. It can also lead to someone's harm (on different levels in different situations) to attempt to use said knowledge without said base..

      Case in point: There is an app being developed by a group. The members of this group know how to code in a particular language, and in a particular application. They have been hired as developers, and claim to be such. They then decided that the OS they were developing on didn't know how to manage it's own network stack, and that they were going to "grandfather" along code from a previous developer to handle their network communication. Problem was they don't grok it. So when something was going to go out the socket, they had an array as a buffer. The array was hardcoded at 2048 char elements. Sure no biggie. Instead of checking to see what was in the buffer to be sent the code looked along the lines of
      for ( i = 0; i <= ARRAY_END; i++ ) { if (array[i] != NULL) to_send[i] = array[i]; else to_send[i] = 0; }
      pearls before swine.. Every single transmition out of that box was 2048 null padded bytes in size, even if only say 10 bytes needed to be sent. Every single one. They couldnt figure out why the app at the far end was complaining about the packets it was receiving. They couldnt figure out why the VPN was timing out. They also have missed quite a few deadlines due to the fact that they think they grasp the problem at hand without realizing the basic onion structure of technology, especially in a networked environment. I had to provide code for them to simply be able to run commands on a remote system. Not complex things but simple things ala ping, nslookup. There lack of knowledge hurts many many people in different ways within just my organization. This is a quasi perfect example of simply not allowing the swine to become lemmings without realizing it.

      Within this situation, (forgive the assumption on my part) I am the master ( better is I am a senior student.. ). I look at the acolytes and wonder why they think they are enlightened. So I passivly drop phrases, or initiate direct conversations to see the depth and breadth of their domain, and simply find them lacking, or thoroughly convinced of their "enlightenment". I shake my head and move on. Until they open their eyes, review the situation, and realize they don't grok it, anything they attempt to code up is simply going to flop. Plain simple fact. Now there is another "master" I deal with on a regular basis. I look at the problem, the other master looks at the problem, and we look at each other. Rattle off module names, 1, 2, 3, say "one hundred lines", I counter "probably, maybe 75, or some whizbang in 130". We nod. and that is that.

      In an ideal world this situation would be an exception, but its not. Its the common occurance. I think in another couple of years I will be comfortable calling myself a programmer and developer. While right now I can perform some small pieces of each of those domains, Im simply not good enough to feel comfortable giving myself those labels. To tie this last paragraph in with the thread, I have been expelled from the monastary and am presently begging on my own. There are things I very well may have learned at my "master"s feet, or through his words and actions, but it would have taken too long, and I would have been fundamentally flawed as an individual if I always had a crutch to lean on. There are a depth to things I simply could *not* appreciate without pulling them apart myself. If I were to attempt to transmit what I know, and what I know I don't know yet, I could ruin alot of peoples projects..

      Case in point: $class = $in || ref($in);

      Yeah its right.. but why? when? where? If you shrug don't use it. How many modules will break for no apparent reason due to that one singular line?

      pearls before swine

      At this point I will avoid the other topics as I have rambled.. Feel free to message me at some point and we can talk at depth about this. Also note I never once in this situation attempted to go below generalities. Any of the things I said above can systematically be proven false at the individual level. Which just reinforces the point in my mind.

      MMMMM... Chocolaty Perl Goodness.....
        $class = $in || ref($in);

        Yeah its right.. but why? when? where? If you shrug don't use it. How many modules will break for no apparent reason due to that one singular line?

        I don't think that would be right anywhere, and certainly not in a consturctor. Perhaps you meant the opposite?

        my $class=ref($proto) || $proto;

        which AFAICT, wouldnt break any code at all. Why would it? The primary objection to this idiom (assuming you mean when it is used in a new()) is one of semantic meaning. Class->new() has a clear meaning, but $obj->new() doesn't really. Does it mean to copy the object? Does it mean to create a new object of the same type as the old? Does it mean something deeper?

        This is primarily an issue that detailed documentation resolves nicely. I would say that you could replace my $class=shift with my $proto=shift; my $class=ref($proto) or $proto; just about everywhere without a failure.

        One trap with using this idom (and about the only real trap regarding that I am aware of) is when someone accidentally mixes indirect notation with direct notation, or calls new in a strange way

        my $Obj=new Class->new(@args); my $New=Class->new(@argS)->new()->foo(); # probably an error

        most likely will create an initialized object, then use that to create an unitialized object. A hard to track down error that is thankfully rather uncommon as well.


        <Elian> And I do take a kind of perverse pleasure in having an OO assembly language...
Re: Re: Philosophical Perly Queues
by Anonymous Monk on Apr 18, 2003 at 22:54 UTC

    What a load of elitist, pretentious shit. You suck at teaching so you must be smarter than "the mass populace." Well, I beg to differ. If you can't teach it to "the mass populace", you obviously don't know it that well.

    Kind of reminds me about this guy in university, always went around quoting the art of war, and other such useless texts in reference to his "advanced software engineering endeavours." Always went around telling people they were using the wrong tools, or taking the wrong approach. Guess what? He couldn't program worth a damn (don't think he got beyond "Hello, World"), couldn't ever explain his position on anything, and ultimately flunked out. See how far it got him?

    Teaching is the only altruistic profession left

    Yeah, all teachers are great, all lawyers and politicians are scum, riight. Maybe it's time you stopped watching TV and took a step out into the real world. You'll find there are so many exceptions to each rule, there aren't really any rules. Enjoy.