We shape our tools and then our tools shape us. — John M. Culkin
Discussions about technology choices seldom consider who we become by using a tool. Different tools encourage different ways of thinking. Over time, different tools lead to different habits of mind.
4 thoughts on “Do you like how your tools are shaping you?”
You see this very clearly with photography, and not just over time either. Go for a walk with a wide-angle lens and you’ll see motives fitting that angle of view. Bring a tele and you’ll see motives fiting that. I bring an old medium-format film camera and I see still other kinds of motives. It’s not just that you look for specific kinds of scenes; you don’t even notice scenes that would have been great had you brought a different camera/tool along. Your thinking shifts in a matter of minutes just by picking a particular tool.
At the most fundamental level of tool use, I wonder who I would have been if I hadn’t chosen to spent all my working hours writing software. I can’t help but feel that constantly using my mind in a particular way has steered it in… some direction.
I think this is central to the idea of learning as many different programming paradigms as you can. When you can bend your thinking based on what it is you are doing, it helps to have as wide of an exposure as you can get.
I do wonder about the case this makes for emacs. Something about an editor made to be programmed being a great editor for programming.
Here’s an fun paper about how blackboards shape mathematicians :) http://www.sps.ed.ac.uk/__data/assets/file/0020/60518/Chalk.pdf