On: solutions

Apr 5, 2023 - ⏱️ 1 minute to read

Last week I got stuck on a reverse engineering exercise (using GDB to analyze memory content is a lot of fun. The solution was changing the choice of the starting offset from where to start to view the memory. I was reading "no-sense" instructions, and I felt stuck).

I talked to the course teacher, and he didn't provide an immediate solution. He just told me to keep it simple. At that time, I felt even more frustrated. In theory, the steps I was taking were correct. I was missing a little piece.

Yesterday I finally solved the exercise, and I remembered a quote from a book I read last month:

...I once asked him why the Master had looked on so long at my futile efforts to draw the bow “spiritually” why he had not insisted on the correct breathing right from the the start. “A great Master”, he replied, “must also be a great teacher. ...Had he begun the lessons with breathing exercises, he would never have been able to convince you that you owe them anything decisive. You had to suffer shipwreck through your own efforts before you were ready to seize the lifebelt he threw you. ...

from: Zen in the Art of Archery - Eugen Herrigel

Had he told me immediately what I was missing, I could've concluded the exercise quickly, there's no doubt, but I would've completely missed the lesson that, sometimes, it's best to have a more expansive vision of the problem and that in many instances, answers are indeed simple.

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