[rmatz@localhost ~] whoami
Have you ever tried playing Dark Souls? I have. The aptly-named video game is soul-crushing; it gives you a simple set of actions and a plethora of reasons to throw your controller against a wall. That’s cool, but have you ever tried creating a big software from scratch? Or perhaps writing an essay? Maybe you have, but what about living in a complex world, with limitless possibilities and limitations, written in a language we still don’t fully understand using an interface unique to each user? I’ve tried those, and in each of these games I’ve grown frustrated with with the iconic [YOU DIED], `internal compiler error`, *a sentence that just doesn’t fit*, or having “one of those days”. The beauty behind these frustrations is that only through them do find your playing style. And this search is my favorite game of all.
I’ve noticed that the activities that most entice me are broad, with few clear-cut rules and cost me a piece of my sanity. I didn’t know that when I started teaching myself how to code, and being perfectly honest, it took me a couple of tries (with a couple of years in between them) to finally get through “if-else” statements in a documentation. Interestingly enough, what got me through that barrier was having something to fail at. When I started learning how to code for real, I had about four months to build a data processing pipeline for a social media (long story). Perhaps the worse part of this whole situation was finding out the language I chose to learn (R) was pretty trash as a back-end. I have similar stories for anything I find myself to be decent at.
This whole workflow hasn’t changed too much, though what’s changed is how common I found this to happen with other subjects. I came to Canada set on specializing in computer science, though that changed soon after I took an infamous introduction to economics course. Lately I’ve been noticing this quality in a lot of other subjects. Writing is one of them. I’ve recently had the chance to fully document a software project, and found that a couple of inline comments just won’t cut it when you’re hoping that actual humans will use your tools. The challenging part was trying to communicate with humans using *thunder* well-structured sentences. I though that was tough, yet for some reason here I am, rewriting this sentence for the third time.
While my interests have grown fairly expansive, my human brain remains very limited. I don’t have the time or storage capacity to learn every single subject out there, but I do have the ability to appreciate them. What I aim to learn by learning is not how to beat a game, but play just enough of it to feel how it’s unique. I’ve also noticed that when we start looking under the bleachers, we find that seemingly separate subjects are built on the same core. This might sound obvious when saying out loud but it sure doesn’t feel like it. Take writing an essay or a software, for example. Crafting clear and concise statements in a manner that efficiently achieves the writer’s goal, with speed and beauty in mind, is a task that fits oddly well with either. Appreciating these similarities offers me a much greater set of sources to draw inspiration from, and ultimately helps me to maximize the profits of my cerebral investments. My goal goes beyond just contemplating the color pallet of human knowledge, it goes into mixing and matching colors as well.
My interests thus become broader as my goal becomes narrower. The more I understand about my playing style, the better I can make it by borrowing from the other ones. Life is not only far too short to go through them all, but also too short to fully get to know everything there is to know about any one of them. Frustration becomes infinite, and that’s just beautiful. Of all the knowledge I can acquire, I hope, most of all, to get inspired, then get fed up with it and then (hopefully) inspired again. Now is the part where I admit my lie. I’ve only played Dark Souls a couple of times, and I don’t plan on playing it soon either. My favorite games have unlimited bosses, and no end to the joy of feeling [VICTORY ACHIEVED].