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Francis Picabia: Machine Turn Quickly (1916–1918)
" … even more humiliation before me …"

I know of no more pitiful state than that of a learner. The learner hangs suspended between two states: ignorance and understanding, where the presence of the former becomes ever more prominent and the absence of the latter becomes ever more apparent. No resolution resides within the learner's space. Were there a process by which one might gauge progress toward understanding, the experience might feel different for the learner, but, alas, no such process exists, though competing theories about what that process might be continually add to the irresolution. The learner's experience tends toward the chaotic with resolution uncertain. It's a genuine wonder to me why anybody ever volunteers to learn anything. Ignorance being bliss seems a damned good argument against all forms of learning, and I mean this.

Once the learning's completed, one might hold some chance of being recognized as being learned, at which point the fresh scholar might lord their superior understandings over others, thereby earning their eternal enmity.
Few things better piss off others than knowing better than do those others. Once learned, it's generally better to let your understanding play dead, lest someone murder you for the sin of knowing better, or presuming to. A few dedicated students, every one of them a certifiable masochist, might earn degrees and enter professions, many of them in debt for life as a result. The professions, then, have become top heavy with practicing masochists, folks dedicated to doing themselves in as their primary means for advancement. Many, sadly, succeed. No degree or certification necessarily makes anyone a better person.

I'm grousing this morning because I find myself in the middle of some self-imposed Learnering. I got it into my head to accomplish some Authoring and quickly found that I'd need to acquire a few skills not covered in the typical writer's practicum, most prominently, facility with a piece of software designed to format manuscripts. The app's essentially a bloated word processor which fairly convincingly mimics the act of writing, but using virtual chop sticks. It's exacting. It features more drop down menu options than would outshine a palsied waiter convention, the bulk of them hidden unless some specific key is touched in context. The idea behind it insists that a compiler should be able to make page numbers, headings, and fonts consistent across a manuscript so that the budding writer or author won't have to use scissors and rubber cement to achieve that end. Rubber cement and scissors would be much easier, at least at first, but do not translate well into the current writing/authoring multiverse.

I spent yesterday watching tutorial videos, or trying to. I have only been using this software for a decade, so I'm still considered a novice user, still Learnering its functions and how to invoke them. Truth told, I've not yet developed an overall understanding of the real purpose of this package, though I've stuck with it through several paid upgrades, but only because I know of nothing else that does what it claims to be capable of doing, though those claims still stand as unproven by my personal performance. Perhaps another decade of more dedicated use might finally crack through the initial usage barriers. So I wandered out of any context, watching these finely produced video tutorials, backtracking some when whatever they showed went by too fast for my ignorant eye to register. I'd have to stumble away from the screen every hour or so to go and lay down just let the Learnering settle. The dizzy sensation would eventually disperse and I'd find courage enough to crank up a fresh tutorial. Another hour, and I'd be almost unconscious again.

I ended my day by posting a query to the user forum for the system. My experience had not matched the one shown in the all important Compile tutorial. I wondered why I wasn't getting the drop down template like the smarmy voice in the tutorial did. I slept poorly, the sleep of the student, and woke just after midnight to find two responses from more experienced users, one chastising me for ignorantly calling the drop down dialogue box a template, and the other figuring I wasn't running a current release. I was. Who knew there was such a thing as a drop down dialogue box? I now do and I intend to lord that insider knowledge over you, if I can. Otherwise, I remain as ignorant as when I started Learnering, but feeling it more intensely. One day I might understand how to compile that latest finished manuscript. Not nearly through the Authoring gauntlet yet, I sense even more humiliation before me ahead.

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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