Taking Things Apart And Examining The Pieces

Sometimes it is simply not possible to understand something by taking it apart and examining the pieces, and the human mind is perhaps the epitome of such an irreducible system. If you take an animal apart to see how it works, the first thing you end up with is a heap of bloody entrails that don't work at all any more. Sometimes the only way to understand something is to start with a blank sheet and attempt to build it from scratch, beginning with a pile of bits that "don't work" and trying to find out how to put them together so that they do. Only then will you know what questions you should really be asking and what problems the system is actually solving. At worst you will come away feeling suitably chastened, with a healthy and informed sense of awe at the beauty and elegance of nature.

-- Steve Grand

from "Growing up with Lucy: How to Build an Android in Twenty Easy Steps"

Quoted on Fri Dec 23rd, 2011