“The will develops in a warrior in spite of every opposition of the reason … The body must be perfection before the will is a functioning unit.”
Carlos Castaneda

Tales of Power

Sequence: The Difference Between a Novice and a Master

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The experienced carpenter keeps going … every action he performs, is calculated in such a way that some later action can put it right to the extent that it is imperfect now. What is critical here, is the sequence of events. The carpenter neves takes a step which he cannot correct later; so he can keep working, confidently, steadily.

The novice, by comparison, spends a great deal of his time trying to figure out what to do. He does this essentially because he knows that an action he takes now may cause unretractable problems a little further down the line … The fear of these kinds of mistakes forces him to spend hours trying to figure ahead: and it forces him to work as far as possible to exact drawings because they will guarantee that he avoids these kinds of mistakes.

The difference between the novice and the master is simply that the novice has not learnt, yet, how to do things in such a way that he can afford to make small mistakes. The master knows that the sequence of his actions will always allow him to cover his mistakes a little further down the line. It is this simple but essential knowledge which gives the work of a master carpenter its wonderful, smooth, relaxed, and almost unconcerned simplicity.

Christopher Alexander – A Pattern Language
Pattern 208: Gradual Stiffening
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