An Eclectic Human
A newsletter about design, community, and being a human

1.01 Being wrong

One of computer programming’s big thrills is finding a general solution that satisfies multiple slightly different problems. Some schools of programming thought, such as object-oriented design, are even largely based around this ideal of software reuse. For many developers, it is a holy grail of sorts.

But Frederik Norén’s post, “On Generalization”, has started to change my perception. He argues that generalization in software may not be an unconditional good to be sought at all costs but a tool to be used as a last resort. I’m still learning where along that continuum I stand, but it’s been useful to consider this extreme. If you’re a software developer, I recommend reading Norén’s post. It may change your mind, but even if it doesn’t, you’ll learn something about your own philosophy of programming.

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Having my opinions and preconceptions challenged like this is humbling but also empowering. I’m a fallible human being, and I subscribe to the view that truth will stand up to scrutiny—if I do or believe something that’s not sensible or right, I ought to be proven wrong. The good things, the true things, will stick around through all of this growth and destruction and rearchitecting. Often I emerge from the rubble with a fresh perspective and a better mental model of the world.

That’s where you and this newsletter come in. I’d like to embark on a process of learning with you about how to be a better human. We’ll share serious discussions and humorous anecdotes. I’ll write things and probably change my mind. With any luck, we’ll gain some new insights and become better acquainted with one another and with humanity. Maybe we’ll learn something about philosophy or community or design.

For now, the format of this newsletter will be a short essay and perhaps some things that you, dear reader, will teach me about what I’ve written. Maybe it will become grand; more likely it will stay a simple little community.

But I’m happy to be proven wrong. Will you join me?

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I’d like your thoughts for next time. Have you ever been proven wrong and been grateful for what you learned because of it?

—Steve

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