Learning by Ignoring Details

Lately I have been trying to see if I can program the Propeller microcontroller chip to act like a neuron. Using the Hydra kit—propeller chip, SPIN programming language, and peripheral drivers precoded for a game machine—I’m overwhelmed by the eight hundred page guide, the intricate links between the components, and the electrical know-how presumed but beyond me. There were often sentence after sentence using terms and ideas that I only had a flimsy grasp of.

Intuitive Method

Reflecting back on my method, I see that I am willingly, in fact pre-disposed, to ignore details, all the while searching for an overall understanding. Only when, directed by my shaky understanding, a possible path to neuron operations emerges from the fog, I go back to see how to accomplish its steps.

Black BoxInput enters black box. output exits

Underneath I am wishing some details are done by someone else, so that I can focus on the overarching problem. I’m desirous of treating much of the glue, holding the solution steps together, like a black box, difficult but not of intrinsic interest to me.

I generalize more readily that I learn details.

Finite Brain

This can be viewed as an intuitive acceptance of the limitations of a finite brain—that is, working memory can only hold so many aspects at once. Too much attention to sub-problems and I’ll never be able to solve my prospective use.

My tendency to generalization also indicates that my Almost Gate is not high.

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