There Is No Time For This

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My latest posts can be found here:
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I don't have the time ... - 2015/04/03

One of my
Random Writings
I'm finding these days that I just don't have the time to do everything myself. I need reliable sources that I can trust to do my input filtering, reliable advisors to whom I can entrust the task of doing some of the analysis of the huge flood of data available. I don't have time to evaluate everything on its merit, to research in depth the sources, and to compare details. Most likely people have done it before me, and some of them are better qualified, better informed, and better suited. Why should I throw away the information about their skills and redo their work less well than they did?

Hackers have a deep loathing of repeated, wasted effort. "Three strikes and you automate" is a horribly mixed metaphor, but it captures the idea that you shouldn't waste your time repeating the same actions over and over. You should use your time constructively, inventively, creatively, and not repeat work needlessly.

But at the same time there is also a culture of disregarding authority and judging everything solely on merit. The problem is, doing so requires that one has the ability, knowledge, time and capacity to do a better job than the author. But why discard information only to re-cover the same ground? Why continually re-invent the wheel?

Of course, there is merit in re-inventing wheels. Doing so is a way of acquiring skills by practice.
In medicine they say:
  • Watch one,
  • Do one,
  • Teach one.
Ideally one would then turn to teaching wheel-making to further improve one's own wheel-making skills but, quite bluntly, I don't have the time. There are better things for me to be doing, and therefore I will buy my wheels, taking care to buy them on occasion from those who are still learning their craft of wheel-making, thereby aiding their process of learning.

So I have now decided to trust the judgement of selected others, those who have proven themselves trustworthy in their area of expertise. I will no longer reject out of hand the pronouncements made by others, saying that I will not accept "Argument from Authority". I will accept that I don't know everything, and that there are things that cannot be deduced quickly and accurately from a combination of first principles and the limited things I already know.

I will gracefully accept the hard-gained wisdom of others (tempered with a critical eye) and not refuse it simply because I cannot immediately see why it must be so.

I will accept these things because, at their heart, they are gifts of time. There are risks involved in this course of action, but I will accept those risks and deem them worth taking. I am no longer a teenager, so I no longer know everything. My life is probably half over.

I have a lot I still want to do, and I don't really have a lot of time left.

See also: Random Writings

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