I had excellent chemistry teachers and professors in high school and college. They were tough and thorough. What I learned there paved the way toward being a successful computer programmer. Writing software is easy. Writing successfully software is a challenge. Successful software is resilient, durable and stable. To get there, a developer has to be exceptionally adept at debugging. Finding a bug often comes down to recognizing what isn’t happening.
This is probably true for any complex field. Tracing network hardware issues can depend on noticing where date is isn’t being routed, fine tuning a medical diagnosis may depend on noticing which symptoms aren’t present. I find it can also be true of people’s beliefs. The things they don’t say often reveal how thoughts are being process inside their head.
An example of how this “insight by absence” idea is reflected in people came by way of one of my friends who remarked that another friend had noted “all those right wing nuts” in my blog roll.
They’re there all right.
Hmmmmm. But what about these?
- Advice Goddess
- Ann Althouse
- Daily KOS
- Democratic Underground
- Eric Umansky
- Huffington Post
- Lawrence Lessig
- Liberal Oasis
Interesting filter in play. The sites bulleted above are also in my blog roll and are anything BUT right wing. So presumably, they are not “nuts.” But by including the “right wing nuts” I’ve revealed myself as a “right wing nut?” I’ve just learned a great deal about this particular person – how they perceive the world, where they draw lines, how they discriminate, what bothers them.
Well, my friend, you are not alone in such criticism. I’ve also been dinged for “polluting” my blog roll with “left wing nuts.” Forming such at-a-glance beliefs is dependent upon not actually reading this blog. Doing so would reveal I throw stones at both sides of the aisle. I’ve stated more than once on these pages I’m a registered Independent, preferring to listen to both sides, dive deeper to find the source facts (or lack of them) to my own satisfaction and form my own opinions. That may sound like work, but it’s much easier than towing any party’s line.
Alas, you can neither teach nor expect people to step back for the bigger picture.
The greatest obstacle to discovering the shape of the earth, the continents and the ocean was not ignorance but the illusion of knowledge. – Daniel J. Boorstin
Oooops. Took “Protein Wisdom” off the bullet list. Didn’t intend for that one to be there.