A classic aviation textbook — Stick and Rudder: An Explanation of the Art of Flying by Wolfgang Langewiesche (1944) — comments delightfully on the importance of understanding a system before trying to control it. From the introduction to Part I, "Wings":
The effort to understand how an airplane flies is sometimes called "Theory of Flight." Under that name, it has a bad reputation with pilots. Most pilots think that theory is useless, that practice is what does it. Yet you can't help having a theory: whatever you do, from peeling potatoes to flying airplanes, you go on the basis of some mental image of what's what — and that's all "theory" amounts to. And if your ideas of what's what are correct, you will do it well.