Intellectual Insurance Policy

Wise words from Bartosz Milewski at the conclusion of his February 2020 essay "Math is your insurance policy", re the need to always learn — and especially the value of being more meta, learning-how-to-learn, and seeing the Real World at deeper and higher levels:

I'm often asked by programmers: How is learning category theory going to help me in my everyday programming? The implication being that it's not worth learning math if it can't be immediately applied to your current job. This makes sense if you are trying to locally optimize your life. You are close to the local minimum of your utility function and you want to get even closer to it. But the utility function is not constant–it evolves in time. Local minima disappear. Category theory is the insurance policy against the drying out of your current watering hole.

(cf Do Meta (1999-05-08), Edge of the Universe (1999-06-08), No Concepts At All (2001-02-22), Hal Clement (2003-11-05), Key to the Treasure (2004-04-23), Greatest Inventions (2011-06-09), Cakes, Custard, and Category Theory (2016-12-14), Applied Category Theory (2019-04-24), More Meta (2019-08-31), Six Secrets of Intelligence (2019-10-10), ...) - ^z - 2020-03-02