The process of really understanding something sometimes takes years. Real understanding is more of a coherent, connected world view, which turtles all the way down, than "the right words".
With this in mind, I'd like to encourage people to spend some time on alan kay's article - Our Human Condition "From Space" (and his other writings and presentations)
Everything about it is beautiful - the illustrations, the writing style and most importantly, the ideas
I like his idea of the unsane, the mental state where our ideas don't fit reality, the map doesn't represent the territory. We like to think of ourselves as mostly "sane" and contrast that with a few "insane" personal moments or the more permanent state of a few unfortunates. But the "unsane" idea makes room for a different self perception. What if more often than not we are unsane?
When alan kay said in his writings from time to time that computers were not all that important, I couldn't really believe that he meant that. Computers have been his career, so I couldn't take him seriously. Even now I feel a strong pressure to qualify this observation.
But in this article he explains it clearly. Most of modern science (400 year tradition) can be done with simple tools - to grasp it requires point of view, effort, time but not money or computers
One of the first quotes I heard from him years ago was "point of view is worth 80 IQ points". Initially, that sounded quaint and elitist, "how old hat to be talking about IQ", I thought. But having read this article and some other of his writings I now see it as an important insight. Point of view changes everything. So what happens? From the outside you look the same but from the inside everything looks different, you see the world through different eyes. My feeling is that the important thing is to pursue the non universal powerful ideas more rigorously.
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