Is there an insoluble dichotomy between studying the minutiae — immersing yourself in it–, and creating something of value for others?
To some extent:
- deconstruction deepens understanding
- codifying knowledge makes it easier to teach, and possibly to work with
- passion for the minutiae carries over to other areas
- the minutiae aren’t useful for most people
- it’s easy to lose sight of what the layperson actually understands about your subject
- you might lose your desire to tend to the layperson if the minutiae is where the value is for you
The Curse of the Scanner
I love ideas. I like to play with them like a toddler plays with blocks. I’m enchanted with their possibilities, especially with how they interlock and form patterns with each other— but they have to be able to withstand some pretty rigorous handling.
My favorite posts are the ones that lure commentators out of the woodwork who show me a new block, or a new facet of the ones I’m playing with.
But I’m coming to realize that it has to be grounded, somewhat. As it stands, the ideas I’m playing with are only useful or attractive to people who’ve already been around the block a time or two. People who’ve got most things figured out, and they’re comfortable. They’re focussed on deepening their understanding of the subject matter and trying to integrate it into their lives more fully.
But it’s not accessible to the novice. And that’s not where I want to be. I love my round table here, but I also want to be continually fostering people at all stages of their path. Teaching is where the value lies for me. Not the minutiae.
The minutiae is where I refine my ideas and my conceptions. Cross pollinating with my readers, particularly the more experienced ones, is crucial for me in order to progress myself, but I need to swing back around and relate it to lower-order issues, instead of simply admiring the new shiny ideas that my friends have gifted me with.
So I’m going to concentrate on circling back, revisiting more basic stuff that I don’t talk about very often because I’ve absorbed it so completely. Because I’ve noticed, lately, that some of the stuff I’ve got completely nailed, are things that other people are still working on. And simultaneously, I’m noticing that some issues surface in my own life that are pretty basic — and it’s so blindingly obvious when someone points it out to me.
So I’m going to go around, looking for the obvious. Want to join me?