Why can’t I code?

On the inner beauty of the things we don’t know

My parents taught me that no one can teach you everything you need to know and that’s why I studied languages even though it was predicted to me a monolingual future. Not that Italian wouldn’t be enough to express my anger - I do feel like that’s exactly the right language for me to speak in daily life. Nevertheless, I’m guilty of a rebellious tendency to do exactly what I’m not capable of doing - that is even worse than doing something I am forbidden from.

We are pushed since a very young age to think for our future selves and focus on hobbies, studies and means towards the definition of our own personality waiting for it to delineate not only who we are but also what we can do. My dissertation drama has been leading me towards this majestic issue: what can I do?

What is there in me that people may find useful enough to hire me, and what should I answer to those who ask: if you can’t produce a thing, what is that you are?

‘What am I, if I can’t do?’ is a question that brings me back, again, to the old 12 years old me hearing the teacher saying “you can’t learn English, you’re just not good enough”. Funny would it be if she’d read these words now, in my shaky but functional English. I feared that there was in this world something I couldn’t learn, because that’s worse than realising there’s something I cannot do.

I cannot build a bridge, but I can learn how to do so. Even though I might never get to the point of actually understanding it fully (lack of commitment to architectural studies and lack of a mathematical mind are to be blamed),I could still use the word “learn” in this sentence.

Then, here it goes the second dilemma: I cannot call myself a digital humanist, if that makes any sense in itself, because I can’t code. Here the hard truth comes: I know how to, I have learned the basics, I have produced my own material (even though it might be a straight line on Processing), but I simply cannot code. Now, there are different levels of what it means to know coding and to do coding, as much as there are different levels on how to define learning.

Here it comes my writer block, where I wonder if I should start referencing all the authors I agree with, or just keep it easy and vomit what I, as Bella the wanna-be digital humanist, think of it, which is:

Coding is simply not that hard and everyone can learn it.

I believe this to be true for (almost?) everyone. There are out there people who will be told as I was that they cannot learn concepts, they cannot translate those concepts into words, and they will not be able to do as much as others - but that’s simply not true. I thought I couldn’t learn English, nevertheless speak it, or even write a short post on the importance of learning it.

In the end, though, I did learn English, maybe I even learned a bit of coding itself and mostly I finally understood that my parents were right: not everything can be taught to me by others, but I do not need to know everything to appreciate the beauty of it.

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