After my 9 out of 10 post, Erik let me know that (a) I misread him and (b)
utterly failed to make a point. On re-reading my text, I fear (b) turns out to be right. Everything made sense and was joined – loosey, perhaps – before I wrote it down, I promise. The attempt to get everything in while having a reasonably short text, failed this time. Heading right for the 90% basket, I suppose.
However, I don't think I misunderstood Erik. I just didn't believe him, claiming to be average – and this isn't just teasing him for the disclaimer on his page. Of course only Erik himself can decide what his opinions are. He seems to really believe in being average as he clarifies in an update to his original article as well as a followup spurred by the rich feedback on the original post.
Before I start mixing everything up again, I'll just throw in a couple of points related to the discussion:
- If it's not (true or false) modesty, it's Erik's fallacy to think of himself as average. The average is pretty low. Erik's c.v. seems to contain some 'higher education' etc. Wanting to be average would mean aiming really low in this situation. And I don't think he does.
- If you're keen on average people, go and meet them. Shop at the cheap supermarket etc.
- It may be worth to discuss talents, gifts, social class, etc. But it's not really important for measuring someone against the average.
- If you feel bad because you've come out above average due to social unfairness, use your position to lessen inequality. Depending on your salary, buy university grants for poor kids or a president for large-scale changes.
- The English language lends itself to work well in computer programs. It's not all that hard to make OK sounding programs in English, particularly if it's the original. Use foreign language software, particularly that without a separate localisation department to take care of these issues. Reconsider opinion on programmers' language skills.
- Language is more than syntax or semantics. How boring would life be if we were constrained to formal languages? What about æsthetics?
- Do we have more opportunities than Einstein? Probably not. The genius was "thinking differently" (interestingly, Erik refers to this a few paragraphs later on) and changing physics. To trigger a similarly significant change in physics would probably require not using the opportunities Einstein gave us. – – Ahem this sounds a bit like Einstein's theories were very accessible. That is not the case.
I am intrigued, not merely curious
as to why it takes so long to change your mind.
I am competent, not merely adequate,
its impossible for me to be unkind.
This is embarrassing, not merely awkward
and I have ignored much greater feelings.
Hefner, We Love The City
P.S. Even with the neatness of Trackback, it's quite tedious to keep track of a discussion like this and it's equally easy to get lost and lose track about who's involved and how things link. Perhaps one of the smart programmers should come up with a way to find out how posts on different blogs are related, possibly even visualising how the various blogs are interrelated and giving a timeline. Something like a 'Show related posts' button.
May 9, 2003, 21:07