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3Complete Solution vs. The Sum of Its Parts [was Re: Zen and the art of Hacking]

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  • Shlomi Fish
    Mar 11, 2002
      If I understood your post correctly (next time please include a one line
      spacing so it'll be easier to read), then you differentiate between two
      different approaches: the Classical one which considers a complete object
      as the sum of its parts, and the Romantic one which considers a complete
      object to be a complete, inseparable solution.

      I'm not sure whether this is the meaning of Romantic and Classical in the
      technical literature, but I'll skip it.

      My point is that I'm not sure either approach is superior all the time. If
      we want to treat a patient, than sometimes we have to take a holistic
      approach and try to inspect other things beside his symptoms. I'll give
      you an example:

      My father had a co-worker who got a high blood-Glocuse levels. My father
      being a biologist who became interested in complementary medicine advised
      him to stop eating a lot of pastry (Borekas and the such) at work. A few
      days later, his Glocuse level was still rather high, so my father asked
      him what he ate the last night. He told him that he ate grapes. Naturally,
      grapes contain pure glocuse, so my father advised him against eating them
      or anything similar.

      After that, his glocuse level dropped to a more-or-less normal level. My
      father colleague who was a Phisician, thought the other co-worker should
      be given medication (insulin, etc.)

      My point is that such symptoms can be caused by behavioural or cognitive
      patterns. In many times we cannot treat the human body as a group of
      distinct organs.

      Likewise for computer programs. Sometimes, a bug is caused by lack of
      proper integration between two or more subsystems, and we need to think of
      the program as a whole to find out what it is and overcome it. Sometimes
      it is even caused by an improper model, altogether.

      But of course, the other approach makes sense too sometimes. If a program
      does not compile, then tweaking the makefile or playing with the
      "./configure" parameters may solve it. Similarily, many diseases can be
      treated by dealing with the particular organ in which they happened.

      I believe a good professional should think in both ways, because the
      solution may be found in either one.


      Shlomi Fish

      Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
      Home Page: http://t2.technion.ac.il/~shlomif/
      Home E-mail: shlomif@...

      "Let's suppose you have a table with 2^n cups..."
      "Wait a second - is n a natural number?"
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