Programming and discovery



Someone says something on Twitter about the consequences of the way they grew up. I imagine some people would criticise the person for complaining instead of being grateful for what he got.

Then I realised: The person’s argument is not one of complaint, but of creative process.

Point 1. Accept you are programmable.

Point 2. Assume you were indeed programmed as a child and even as a young adult, and that this programming is a normal aspect of life amongst members of the same species (other animals do it too). Also, assume that as an adult you continued the process by internalising and confirming your earlier programming, even hardening it.

Point 3. Eventually you confront your programming, and you identify “mistakes” – things you accepted as truths that are not in fact truths.

Point 4. You start the process of programming yourself for the world and the environment where you are living your daily existence.


You discover yourself as you get older. But remember: Your parents – the primary programmers in most people’s lives – also discovered you as you got older.

You were not born with an instruction manual: “Don’t scare little Jimmy with something slippery. He’ll develop a lifelong phobia …”

Your parents couldn’t wait to get to know you before they started programming you with basic beliefs, preferences, dislikes, and so on. Of course they were going to make mistakes! Time was not on their side. If they had left you a blank canvas until they discovered your unique composition, or until they knew exactly what programming you would need to function optimally as an adult, you would be a bigger screw-up than the one you are today because they had made some mistakes.