Creative Logic

It’s a sea of methods in Ruby.

Going through the process is the essence of creative work. And logic IS creative work, despite what dichotomized left-vs.-right brain evangelists may tell you.

It’s a sea of methods in Ruby. there are methods that do cool things, like make your whole sentence lowercase. Or! methods! that! can! add! an! exclamation! point! to! every! single! word! of! your! sentence! Some methods remove things. Some methods transform things. The main problem with methods is that there are SO many that it is tempting to spend hours and hours searching for the perfect one. The golden ticket.

If you method-hunt, like this article says, you will a) probably not find exactly what you need, and b) miss out on an opportunity to deeply understand something.

I had this experience with a Launch School problem that ended up being a good illustration of this. I could have probably figured out that they meant for me to look for a method because they said something like, “What is a simple way to center a string over a space with 40 characters?” They actually used the word “simple,” or maybe it was “easy.” I don’t know. All I knew is that it was late, and I didn’t want to spend an hour looking for an alternative of the word “center” if I could just write the thing myself.

So if the title is “Title,” I need to count the number of characters in the title, subtract that from 40, divide it by two, and add that final number of spaces to the beginning of the string to make it centered. I’ve never considered myself to be a very logic-minded person, so I was inordinately proud of my self-made method.

Of course, there IS a method for centering text. Guess what it’s called: center.

But no worries here! I had deeply understood the process behind the already-existing method, and I had proven to myself that I can invent the processes necessary to get me to where I need to go.

The ability to think deeply about something instead of depending on already-existing material is the difference between artists and performers. I shared my experience with my husband, and he compared it to acting: “That is why going through the process for yourself is so important. I never let myself watch another production of the same play before I give myself the chance to go through the process of developing the character on my own. A lot of theater productions do that, and they end up copying what’s already out there instead of making something new. It feels false and boring.”

To push the bounds of what we think we understand about the world and how it works is never easy, but it is always rewarding. Yeah, maybe someone else figured it out first. But I can now connect with their figuring on a much deeper level. Eventually, I can challenge the logic and create new processes that are all my own. Logic IS creative, because it is creation.