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Learning Something New (Lua, in This Case)

Lua keeps popping up on my radar lately:

So today I decided to start learning the Lua programming language. I bought a copy of Programming in Lua by Roberto Ierusalimschy and am currently reading it from start to finish.

I haven’t learned something completely new in a while and I am not talking about TILs or the accumulated experience gained from day-to-day work. I mean this feeling of sitting down with a book—or any kind of resource that floats your boat—with the intent to broaden your horizon. It‘s a magical feeling!

The episode Anfänge (German for „beginnings“) by the wonderful podcast Anekdotisch Evident (German for „anecdotally evident“, the whole podcast is German only, sorry) finally gave my longing for this feeling a name: I am a scanner personality which means that I emotionally feed on new beginnings and sampling new topics. This makes me a Generaldilettant (German for—you probably guessed that one—„general dilettante,“ another word that I learned in the podcast episode), who in my mind is not someone who is dangerously mediocre at everything, but who wants to be good enough to be dangerous at potentially anything. It is also a refreshing alternative to the worn-out terms multi-talent, jack of all trades, or—my least favorite—polymath, because general dilettante means plunging into topics without the aspiration to become an infallible expert. The journey is the reward. (Forgive the cliché.)

The two hosts of the podcast, Katrin Rönicke and Alexandra Tobor, go into much more detail about what it means to be a general dilettante. For example how society and even friends and family can get confused by them. (Does “When will you ever settle down in life?” ring a bell?) Or what the mild childhood trauma of not being allowed to abandon hobbies has to do with it all. If you speak German, I highly recommend this episode.

Sorry for this slight detour. If you came here because you are also starting with Lua, I want to close this note with some resources I have used to whet my appetite:

Now excuse me, I need to feed my scanner personality.