Dear fellow seekers of Perl wisdom,

the poll "The title least worthy of being used in the perlmonks experience system is" sports "Know-it-all" as a candidate, among other funny and interesting ideas. This term provoked some thoughts in me that I would like to share with you. They might be deeply subjective though, so I put it under Meditations, not knowing any better.

Considering the many natures of knowledge and learning, people tend to become less "know-it-all" the more they know.
That is because they start getting an idea about things so big, complex and manyfold that they will never possibly be able to learn all about in a lifes limited time.

Some years ago, when I still had an average self-taught MS Windows users narrow view, my first attempts with Perl were a depressing experience, to say the least. Though Active State installed like a charm (but I remember the installation dialogs confusing me still), I did not do much more than trying the "hello, world" example, which still took me some hours to figure out. Trying to start learning Perl with the online docs, my "know-it-all" dogma was challenged so much that I was effectively frightened away from Perl for some more damn years.
Perl clearly was too complex a tool for my passive-demanding windows users attitude - things just had to work "out of the box" for me to consider them working at all, and it was never my own fault if they didn't, so I thought.

It was not until I did an installation of Gentoo Linux (after some more years of Windows agony) and learned the basics of SQL and PHP, a bit of Python and Bash, that I was able to drop my fear of things far too big for me to learn in a lifetime. Nowadays I rather embrace those things happily, as I know they will provide me with enough interesting stuff to keep me learning for the rest of my life! No more boredom - Open Source just saved me again!

I figured that my old unconcious "I need to know-it-all" paradigm caused my fear of things far too big for me.
The fear caused unconcious repression of the fact that such things exist at all - so I could start feeling comfortable again.
Hence I (unconciously again) assumed that I was a "know-it-all", at least a "know-it-all-that-is-worth-knowing" to me. How ignorant and stupid...

Today I try to think of myself as a "never-possibly-knows-it-all-but-often-tries-to" - this should be much more realistic and better for learning.

Did this kind of paradigm shift happen to you as well? Would you consider it vital for learning Perl? Can it be deliberately provoked in others? I'd like to read your thoughts ;-)


Thank you all for your kind answers.
I would just like to add my beginners advice to other beginners:
Do it every day!

And yes, I picked this one from Wilson ;-)
If you think I sound like bashing Windows in general, that was definitely not my intention!
I might have expressed some discontent with some of its features though.