I'd really love to see more posts like these about stuff like the gradient.

So thinking about pace layer--I think the shear is when you mistake Level 1 for Level 2, ie. one level for a phenomenon on the other. I come to this from art and the humanities: while I've been doing user research for 15 years or so, I originally was on track to become some flavor of cultural historian.

My eyes were opened in the "drift years" between the humanities and going back to grad school for UX. I was working as a board member for a small gallery that put on about 500 art shows and performances per year--if Meow Wolf is the DoorDash of this concept, we were the Webvan. I went in expecting to discover the Next Big Thing. I found *two* such potential things out of a couple thousand contenders. Neither artist of the Things, as far as I know, is represented by a NY gallery or is even a working artist two decades on.

What I came to realize was that the gallery was a site for mulch. Any particular scoop of mulch isn't valuable or even particularly useful. Having it *there*, in quantity, has the potential to grow something, maybe something you never planned. In other words, all these art pieces and performances, which were by no means naive or crude, were a necessary condition for the deeper pace layers of Art or a Scene or a Culture.

Perhaps most of the code is *supposed* to be dead code. After all, we do still have art and successful pieces of art, and Excel still boots and does SUMs when you ask. It may be we're focusing on the wrong layer when we speak, and are confusing the mulch layer with the tomato, to mangle this metaphor even further. Just a thought.

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I have a similar reflection to TW's, but from the perspective of comparing ~15 years of school assignments and how they've served me in my education.

It seems that the biggest work of each day can often be simply getting through the day. Ideally, we want more than that -- not just kids kept alive in classrooms until their parents can collect them, arts filling the galleries until newer arts have been fabricated, mulch on the ground so the soil stays moist and the opportunistic weeds suppressed. But in the absence of an explicit dream that demands to make room for itself to become real, mere aestheticization of near timeless/aeonic presence appears to be the natural human vacuum filler. Maybe you are writing code for a reason you don't know, code that will die very soon, but writing it gets you through the day and lets you keep calling yourself a Programmer. That's clearly a very real need a lot of people still have. I disagree with it, but I have to acknowledge it. Digging even a little bit below the surface can unearth massive writhing worm colonies of raw human needs.

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