Saturday, March 16, 2013

God's Algorithm : Part-1


Originally Written by me and posted at www.aasthik.com on August 29 2010. Re-posting this article for new followers.

GOD is known to be almighty. He is believed to be omnipotent, omnipresent etc. Still we find bad things happening to people around us. We often wonder, if he exists why doesn’t he do something? Why doesn’t he perform some sort of a miracle? Why does he let us commit mistakes for which we need to pay a price? Why didn’t he warn us before we committed that very mistake or walked down that path?

One day, when I was trying to help my friend (and batch-mate) with programming related issues, I had the feeling that I got some answers; answers to the questions I had been searching for so long. And I was shocked to know that the answers were so simple that I never looked for them or rather I overlooked them!

He was from a non-CSE branch but wanted to learn basic C & C++ Programming. I taught him a few things. Then taught them again after some days and then once more yet again. But he kept repeating the same mistakes. Kept forgetting the very basics. It really frustrated me at times, coz I had spent so much of my time, often, even though I would be busy.

Every time he repeated the mistake I felt like banging my own head on the walls, on the other few occasions I felt like I should be banging his head on the walls! Every single time he would say that he had understood every thing I taught and would remember it, but the very next day he would forget. I told him that you must write the program! You just can’t read it and understand & remember it. But he kept doing the same stuff.He used to study from a book. He kept asking me questions and I used to clarify his doubts. But this was a tedious job; because when I tried to explain, he would not remember a thing about the previous programs & concepts and hence would  not understand the program at hand.

 Finally, I understood that this is not going to work. I had to do something different.

I thought about it. I told him that I would ask him to write the 20 different programs that would cover all he was trying to learn. I made him code for the 1st problem. Although he had handled and wrote a similar program all by himself in his notebook a few days ago, he wasn’t able to code this one. I asked him to re-read his program from the notebook. Still he wasn’t able to code. That frustrated me further. But I had no choice. I had to teach him, since his career depended on this. He needed to learn to program. I really didn’t have a choice. I had to get hard on him.

I simply gave him a book and asked him to read the sections involved in the program and code. I simply sat there - watching. I saw his program had errors(or bugs, technically) but I did not interfere -  I let him think. I even asked him to try to run that program though I knew it wouldn’t run (coz of the bugs in it).

This I did for a purpose. Previously I used to tell him about the errors, but that way of teaching didn’t work as he kept forgetting them. So this time, I wanted him to indentify the bugs on his own. At times, I knowingly asked him to add a piece of code that would create errors, just to let him learn ’How not to program!’. With every change I modified the question and asked him what are the things he had learnt. I found this way to be much better. The obvious disadvantage was that I had to go hard on him. Push him to the last limit. Let him commit the mistakes or at times even made him commit mistakes.

When I was satisfied, I told him that I was sorry that I was hard on him and that I really did not have a choice, coz that’s the only way he could learn. I was glad to hear his reply. He said – “Don’t loosen your grip. Its good that you are hard on me. Keep it that way. Coz I know its gonna make my future.” Now that’s what is ATTITUDE. It was something to learn from him.

In this experience, I had a lot of things to learn. Firstly I came to know that we often knowingly do bad things. We know in our hearts that whatever we are about to do isn’t moral, isn’t legal or shouldn’t be done. Often we are warned by family/friends/strangers/situations/intuition about the consequences; however we are not bothered. This happens many a times. And when GOD decides to get hard on us, he lets us commit mistakes; maybe sometimes he makes us commit mistakes, so that we learn from our mistakes. He knows that this is in our best interest. We can say this is the “GOD’s Algorithm”. He uses this algorithm on humans!!!

Secondly, our attitude towards such situation should be like that of my friend. Instead of crying,begging and blaming GOD and/or others for the mistakes, we should be patient and thankful and ask GOD to prepare us for what he wishes us to achieve; for His dreams for us are bigger and better than our dreams for ourselves.

Thirdly, it was a  perfect example to understand what Thomas Alva Edison meant when he said – “I did not fail. I just came to know a thousand ways of how not to make a light bulb!”

Last but not the least it showed me that the proverb “Knowledge shared is knowledge gained” is valid every single time. I was there to teach him. Instead he taught me a lesson of a lifetime. He also helped me answer the questions that had haunted me for sometime now.

GOD tussi great ho!

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