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This is the first "blog" of any kind I've ever had, so it's probably not the greatest...

Just a little snippet about me:

I'd like to consider myself relatively tech-savvy; obviously I use Linux (Arch to be precise; K.I.S.S. FTW), and I enjoy learning new things about computers in general (both software and hardware-related).

This blog is mostly just for whenever I feel like telling the world about my experiences with computers/Linux (or just life in general), or just posting for the hell of it.
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Culture shock, maybe?

Posted 11-13-2010 at 04:44 AM by MrCode
Updated 12-28-2010 at 08:29 PM by MrCode

Maybe I'm just stereotyping (and please forgive me if I am), but I get the impression that many programmers are very...err...shall we say "negative" when it comes to the old "free will vs. determinism" thing, i.e. they tend to lean towards the latter...

To me this is perfectly understandable: if you're doing something like programming, you've got to have a very logical mindset, and I suppose that if you applied this mindset to life in general, it would tend to lead one to believe that people are computers, least, from a very abstract point of view. In fact, I remember seeing a link in a member's signature about "Managerial Stack-Mode Brain Theory", which I kinda thought was funny at first, but in the long-term, it really isn't anymore.

Basically, I'm facing a slight crisis here: I have an interest in computers/programming, but I haven't been able to find motivation to actually write anything useful because of what I guess you could call "computer culture shock", in that I'm a guy who wants to believe that peoples' actions are up to them amongst a crowd of people who are more than likely against that proposition. I read a post that sort of helped, but that was more related to general usage of OSes (Linux in particular) based on differences of opinion. Keep in mind here that I'm not religious, but I'm still rather frightened by the idea that everything is predetermined...and yet for me it's hard to deny the concept.

Mostly what I'm afraid of is eventually getting into a collaborative project with someone and somehow getting on this topic (don't ask me how; this fear is probably completely irrational), and getting all worked up/frustrated again about the subject, and going into yet another period of constantly mentally chugging away at the debate, getting more and more depressed while doing so.

Is this fear irrational? Should I be worried about having a difference of opinion with the majority of the programming community (doesn't matter what language), and having trouble participating/maintaining an interest in programming because of it?

(I was going to post this as a thread in /General, but I already said I wasn't going to litter that forum with any more of my whining in my previous entry, so I decided to put this in another blog entry.)
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  1. Old Comment
    In a nutshell, yes, your fear is irrational on multiple levels.

    1. Nobody walks around looking to start a free will versus determinism discussion. I'm 33, and I can count on one hand how many times that kind of discussion has popped up. Couple that with the fact that I took a Philosophy course in undergrad, and you should get an idea of how often it pops up in casual conversation.

    2. Who cares? I don't mean that to sound rude, but really... you believe what you want to believe. Nobody has been able to conclusively determine free will versus determinism in all the years philosophers and theologians have discussed the matter. Trust me, el1t3haxx0r in whatever collaborative project you work on is not going to develop the earth-shattering proof to answer that ageless question. The consequence of that? Who gives a rat's butt what el1t3haxx0r thinks? He cannot prove his side anymore than he can disprove yours (and vice versa). You believe what you want to believe. You don't need an elegant, mathematically-sound proof to justify your beliefs. And realize, even if you were in some bizaro universe that did require it, the same would be true for the other side. I'm pretty sure they can't offer that elegant proof for that side either.

    3. You need to come to grips with the idea of putting aside intellectual and philosophical differences with people so you can work together. Seriously, something as abstract as free will versus determinism? You might have an aneurysm when you meet someone that thinks differently than you about DRM. If you refuse to work with people that hold differing views than you, you should really plan on doing solo projects for the rest of eternity.

    4. You derive your interest in programming because you enjoy getting a computer to accomplish a specific task. Your interest and enjoyment is not tied to an underlying philosophy anymore than you are interested in a first-person shooter because you believe in a monotheistic religion as opposed to polytheistic/atheistic. The two are completely unrelated.
    Posted 11-13-2010 at 05:03 PM by Dark_Helmet Dark_Helmet is offline


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