the value of skills…

Should I say it? The last post of today? I don’t know but the subject is interesting: what are skills? What value should we give to them? Well, first, there are at least two ways of treating a problem: one would be to adopt the antique way, less formal but more connected to nature. Following this path you have to show what happens, measure, think at generalizations, verify them, etc. For example take a triangle. Its area is half the height from one vertex to the opposing side times the opposing side. This can be derived by thinking at a rectangle, calculating its area in the obvious way, taking half of it, finding out that is the area of a rectangular triangle and then deform this triangle by adding a sequence of small rectangular triangles on one side until you get the non-rectangular triangle you were looking for. You will see that adding everything up you obtain the same formula : half the product between the heights and the opposite side. This is one way of thinking. The other way of thinking is specific to modern times. It involves axiomatization and invocation of “magical rules”… Essentially you are taught that the area is half the height times the opposing side and are asked to put in the numbers. This implies some skills but no thinking. So, whenever you want to gain “skills” you actually want to repeat some magical formulas that allow you to obtain a result that could be in principle be obtained by any machine… This doesn’t mean skills are not important. It just means that they are path dependent… I will trust more a person that gained the skills via the first path rather than via the second, formal, “modern” path…

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