Post #1034 • August 15, 2007, 11:13 AM • 8 Comments
In a 15-year retrospective on work at NASA's Software Engineering Laboratory, McGarry and Pajerski reported that the methods and tools that emphasize human discipline have been especially effective (1990). Many highly creative people have been extremely disciplined. "Form is liberating," as the saying goes. Great architects work within the constraints of physical materials, time, and cost. Great artists do, too. Anyone who has examined Leonardo's drawings has to admire his disciplined attention to detail. When Michelangelo designed the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, he divided it into symmetric collections of geometric forms, such as triangles, circles, and squares. He designed it in three zones corresponding to the three Platonic stages. Without this self-imposed structure and discipline, the 300 human figures would have been merely chaotic rather than the coherent elements of an artistic masterpiece.
Update: Scroll down to the comments on the Atwood post, where someone asks an important question: "I always thought laziness is a virtue for programmers. Maybe the two aren't mutually exclusive... Can one be lazy and disciplined?" Someone replies, "Being disciplined would actually help you be lazy."