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Opening my mind

Like I said in an earlier post, I'm about to begin working in C++. My question now, is more metaphysical than technical.

How do you learn? How do you prepare your mind to accept new concepts, new ideas, a new way to do things? How do you achieve a state of readiness where your mind goes blank?

Zen thanks to you all.

Spike Jonze
Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Do you really have to ask how to learn?  I mean seriously, you don't know how to learn?  I tell you what give me the job and I'll do it.  You obviously don't deserve it.  Imagine that, someone with a job they don't deserve while countless others struggle to find work.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

You learn.

You  do nothing but that..

Social Programmer
Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Porn, lots and lots of porn.

name withheld out of cowardice
Wednesday, May 26, 2004

C'mon, guys, give the man a break!  Ask a simple question and they flame flame flame!

Anyway... here's some stuff I do to keep my mind sharp and ready for learning:

Drink Tea.  Read a book.  Work on math exercises.  Do push-ups and pull-ups.  Think through common, useful, but complicated algorithms like RSA.  Think through special (or general) relativity.  Look at art.  Listen to music.  Play some music.  Do a crossword puzzle.  Step through some code in a debugger.  Play card games like spades, bridge, hearts, poker, etc.  Play chess.  Dig out your old physics book and work out the optics problems as they relate to digital cameras.  Then work out how the CMOS sensor works in that digital camera.  Figure out the relations between elements in the periodic table.  Figure out what those 19th century philosophers that everyone likes to talk about were thinking, and why they were thinking it.

etc, etc, etc.... just do mental stretching exercises, use different parts of your brain, etc.  Don't let it decompose over time....

Works for me at least ;-)

Michael Kale
Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Ask questions.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

The best way to learn C++ is merely to do it.  Just do exercises.  Make some up, get some from books and work through them.  Or, just driver your co-workers mad and learn by coding at work.  You'll learn fastest by doing.  Read a little, try alot.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

I have simply stated the truth and you can't handle the truth.

You learn by doing.  You learn by observation.  You learn by reading and attaining knowledge, you learn through trial and error... etc etc...

This stuff is trivial and if that is what you are concerned with then there is surely a spot for you in the 1st grade.

A more interesting discussion would be entitled, "How to get a job you don't know jack about and screw others who do."

Did you order the code red?
Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Yep, learn by doing.  Hit a roadblock where you can't figure out how to do something or where things don't work the way you think they're supposed to.  Then hit the manuals, help files, websites, newsgroups for answers. 

For most people I think the amount of learning you are able to "internalize" is greatly increased when you have a hit a roadblock and are focussed on finding a way past it.  That's the main reason why you don't want to waste much time reading books without actually getting your hands dirty on the real thing.  You won't retain or fully understand much of what you're reading.  Read the same thing, though, after you've looked it up to solve a particular problem you've run across while "doing it", and you'll really learn it.

Herbert Sitz
Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Read good code and figure out how it works.
Figure out what they are doing and why.

son of parnas
Wednesday, May 26, 2004

"How do you achieve a state of readiness where your mind goes blank?"

Read Getting Things Done.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

I mean, don't just _read_ it, but...well, you'll figure it out.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

With apologies to Alanis

You live you learn
You love you learn
You cry you learn
You lose you learn
You bleed you learn
You scream you learn

You grieve you learn
You choke you learn
You laugh you learn
You choose you learn
You pray you learn
You ask you learn
You live you learn

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

You should be apologizing to us for that drizzle, not Alanis. :-)

yet another anon
Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Why the hell would anyone want their mind to go blank? 

I knew a person who, from my perspective, had a blank mind.  He was like a zombie, oblivious to all enironmental input.  He was like a bubble-boy, insulated into oblivion.  I don't think he was a substance user.  It was like undiagnosed autism.

You don't want that, and its not a way to learn.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Learn by doing.

It is the only way.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Find a purpose in what you are doing, now you have a reason to learn something.

I want to live in Japan in the near future, so I am forcing myself to learn japanese.

If I don't ever make it, I can say at least I learned something new.

Berlin Brown
Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Go to barnes and nobles or public library. Or visit a local college or university, it will give you put you in the proper frame of mind for learning.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

One thing is to find a good book. On this list was recommended a book I think the title is "Practical C" from O'Reilly (I know not C++) and I've been reading it. I like the book. Everything seems well organized and broken down into simple and easy to understand sections and I can always practice what I'm reading (at least as far as I've gotten so far). So I say a really good book will help you learn. It can even motivate you to read. I always liked Greenspun's books because of his attitude. About "Opening my mind" ... ummm I guess the best thing for me was dropping out of school ... I feel I have to learn all the time to make up for not having finished learning (which unfortunately is what I tend to see from those who did).

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Good comments by all.  One thing I have discovered is the value of keeping your mind flexible by exposing it to different sorts of challenges.  A great way to do this is by playing different types of games: word games, puzzle games, visual/spatial oriented games, quick-thinking games, etc.

Plus, it's a whole lotta fun :).

Should be working
Wednesday, May 26, 2004

This is a good example of the problems in the industry. A moron like this shouldn't even have a job.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

> Why the hell would anyone want their mind to go blank?

I think he meant clear your mind of other troubles, not make youself an idiot. Think of it as tidying up your mental work space, putting all the unneeded gear away, to prepare for the next job.

Chris Pearce
Wednesday, May 26, 2004

A good traveller has no fixed plans and is not intent upon arriving.

A good artist lets his intuition lead him wherever it wants.

A good scientist has freed himself of concepts and keeps his mind open to what is.

This is called embodying the light.

Lou Tzoo
Thursday, May 27, 2004

I thought embodying the light was dressing like a lantern.

Lighty one
Thursday, May 27, 2004

A good bullshitter keeps his anal sphinkter wiiiide open.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Not zen, Tao.

Doug Withau
Thursday, May 27, 2004

> How do you learn?

Move from one thing to another (sequence).

> How do you prepare your mind to accept new concepts, new ideas, a new way to do things?

Know the need to do so.

> How do you achieve a state of readiness where your mind goes blank?


Also, literature on "flow" states that flow may be achieved if a task is not too easy (so that it requires your attention), nor too difficult (because anxiety is a distraction).

Analysis divides a problem into a sequence of tractable tasks. Experience, theory, and intuition guide the analytic knife.

The feedback that you give yourself (that you experience) in a flow state tells you the level of difficulty that you can cope with at a given moment: sometimes you should do the more difficult part/task first (i.e. now), or sometimes one of the easier parts.

Your body lives via cycles: asleep and awake for example. Sitting at a computer, I am restless if I haven't exercised. A commute by bicycle works well; now that I no longer commute by bicycle, I practice Tai Chi daily.

Christopher Wells
Friday, May 28, 2004

"I thought embodying the light was dressing like a lantern. "

"You are correct, sir." But you also need a power ring.

Hal Jordan
Friday, May 28, 2004

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