Truth Is a Weird Shape

This is a distillation of an analogy I've found surprisingly applicable to very disparate things. It goes like this:

Suppose hovering about 3-or-however-many feet in front of you is some asymmetric 3D object, maybe about a cubic foot in size (you don't need to do the math).

Oh, also, cover one eye, depth-perception is cheating. While we're at it, assume the shape is somehow evenly colored and evenly lit across its entire surface, physics be damned. To be a bit more explicit in our requirements here, lets imagine we can only ever have a purely 2-Dimensional perception of this object, i.e., we can only ever see a 2-Dimensional picture of it.

Is it possible to grasp the complete topography of the shape by just looking at it from one angle? Well, lets consider a simpler shape: your average cylinder. If you look at a cylinder side-on, you won't perceive the curves of the surface, all you'd be able to visually parse is a rectangle. Likewise, if you look at a cylinder from its base, you would perceive a circle! We must view the cylinder from a multitude of angles in order to begin to understand its actual complete shape, each new angle helping us refine the 3-Dimensional approximation in our heads.

I argue that there is a parallel here to any non-trivial concept. How many times have you ever needed only one tutorial or example or attempt to fully learn something new? It's quite likely that you pick up on things quicker than I, yet I still wouldn't believe any response you might give that was something besides “never”.

I have noticed this pattern in how I learn things, after my first few tutorials I will feel pretty much as lost as when I first started, and possibly even a bit disheartened, because I will still only have these poor 2D images of what I'm working with in my head, and I can't yet intuitively see where they might fit together. As time goes on, however, and I keep looking at more tutorials and examples and arguments and books, that composite image in my head starts to form, it starts to take shape. Slowly, almost without me realizing it, I begin to get this actual intuitive understanding of the subject matter, I begin to see the theory underneath.

Every tutorial, idea, tool, and technology is another lens, another approach, another attempt at the core Problem beneath it all, another angle. And as you keep looking, keep looking through these different lenses, you slowly begin to see more and more of the underlying structure, and you get closer and closer to the Truth, a real intuitive understanding of The Thing, the real shape of it all.

When you read some blog post, some tutorial, it is itself not the truth, but a distillation of a perception of the Truth from one particular angle. It is only through gazing at the truth from as many different angles as possible that we may, finally, begin to see it's shape.

TLDR: I find it easier to acquire an understanding of a given non-trivial concept if I view as many different perspectives and explanations of the concept as possible.