27 December 2008

Comfort with meaninglessness?

Comfort with meaninglessness the key to good programmers, from Boingboing.

Is this true for mathematics as well as computer programming?

3 comments:

Derek Jones said...

These results were discussed on the psychology of programming email list and a lot more was being read into the results than was warranted.

thanuir said...

In my (relatively brief) experience things are easier to remember and understand when assigning meaning to them.

AgainstWords said...

Assigning meaning to content would be equivalent to the 'consistent' group: they do not show comfort with meaninglessness, but rather a desire to detect meaning, accompanied by a high standard for what meaningfulness looks like.

Meaning comes from relations and interplay, of people or of texts. The richest meaning comes from those systems which are all-encompassing. This is why we have religion, for example. Not coincidentally, this is also why we had a Pythagoras, a Euclid,
a Whitehead and a Russell, and several Bourbakis.

Those who seek to discern consistent meaning behind what initially appears structureless are those who are ready to become acolytes. But this is exactly the opposite of those who are "comfortable with meaninglessness". They are patient with it, perhaps, but far from comfortable; they seek to eradicate it.