code and the oracular

The Lessons of Debugging, Canto vii

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Is that really an evil deity up there persecuting you?

Or is it not more likely that the universe surrounding you is still behaving deterministically as usual, and that you have not been cruelly removed from it into a prison created solely to confound all your efforts to understand.

Yet, when debugging, you still feel this on occasions when you simply cannot work out what you’ve done wrong…

Of course this applies plenty to other areas of life than programming, but in these you’re perhaps less often faced by such absolute accountability. The recipe for mini-hell is complete when you lose all balance and your obsessional tenacity sucks you into the gravity well to your cognitive doom. You cannot admit defeat even when you are battering and bruising yourself against the diamond-hard laws of logic…

Do not despair, pull back and take a break. The harsh yoga of coding will keep its promise to bestow the great lessons we coders hope for, as long as you keep your side of the deal and remember patience. The magical unconscious will work for you as soon as you disengage from the wrestling bout and lighten up.

And what great struggle, once survived, cannot be recollected later in safety and glorified? Each debugging where you are so cruelly tested is a story to tell others, and a sparring session that tightens your sinews and resolve.

I wish you luck in your journey. 🙂


Written by Luke Dunn

March 1, 2014 at 5:11 pm

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