“there appear new laws and even new kinds of laws, which apply in the domain in question.”David Bohm, quoted by Alicia Juarrero
He’s talking about the qualitative transformation that happens in a system when certain quantitative transition points are passed.
I notice this when something that used to be a pain gets easier, sufficiently easier that I stop thinking about it and just use it. Like
git log. There is such a thing as
svn log but it’s so slow that I used it once ever in my years of svn. The crucial value in
git log is that it’s so fast I can use it over and over again, each time tweaking the output.
git log --oneline
git log --oneline | grep test
git log has way more functionality, because I can combine it with other shell commands, because it’s fast enough. This changes the system in more ways than “I use the commit log”: because I use the log, I make more commits with better messages. Now my system history is more informative than it used to be, all since the log command is faster.
The REPL has that effect in many languages. We try stuff all the time instead of thinking about it or looking it up, and as a result we learn faster, which changes the system.
I love the part about “laws, which apply in the domain in question.” There are laws of causality which are not universal, which apply only in specific contexts. The entire system history (including all its qualitative transformations) contribute to these contexts, so it’s very hard to generalize these laws even with conditions around them.
But can we study them? Can we observe the context-specific laws that apply on our own team, in our own symmathesy?
Can we each become scientists in the particular world we work in?