Whether Iteration or Recursion

By Stephen L. Hall

Without a doubt, when programming computers algorithms, the single most powerful format is the use of the recursive process, whereby a subroutine calls upon itself in a circular reference loop to solve the problem presented.

This is opposed to an iterative process where one sets up a loop to perform a function for a set number of times, though that number may be variable, it is a finite number where once that number is reached the loop is automatically exited.

Of course you are asking yourself, “if recursion is so much faster and more powerful an algorithm, why would you ever choose something as imprecise and inaccurate as iteration”? And that would be a very good question, but with a very simple answer.

All problems are not amenable to a recursive solution. ‘Tis much the pity.

In order to use recursion, several key factors must be present or the programing loop will get stuck in what is known as an infinite loop, the computer programming equivalent of mathematically dividing by zero. You never divide by zero!

The two key factors in recursion to avoid the dreaded infinite loop is that 1) the problem has to get smaller every time the function is called; and 2) that there has to actually exist a final solution to the problem.

If the problem does not actually get smaller, whether it stays the same size or even gets larger, then the problem could, and probably will, devolve into the infinite loop because the problem will just continue to grow. It is not moving towards a solution.

It is not necessary to actually know the solution, if you knew that there would be no need to try to solve it, but you have to know with certainty that such a solution actually exists.

(For example, a solution commonly cited where an object is getting closer, but we look at the half way point, then the halfway point from there, and so forth seems to mathematically indicate that the object will never make contact with its destination, but that is only because we are artificially cutting the time interval in half with each recursion. It is a classic example of intellectual frivolity or nonsense.)

Why, you ask, have I gone afield upon such an esoteric mathematical computer programming topic? I haven’t. I’m talking about politics and culture. Yes, I am, don’t argue with me!

By that I mean to say that the problems we experience in life are always of the nature that they can be solved. There are thing which we often refer to as problems, but they are of the nature that they can never be solved. These things are troubling, sometimes upsetting or even devastating, but they are not actually “problems” by the proper definition of the word.

It is upon this contrivance of labeling all “bad” things as problems which the left has been built through pseudo-intellectual foolishness, particularly focused on bad things which are not actually problems.

It has been said that liberalism is a solution in search of a problem. That is not true, it is a solution which looks for a non-problem, because an actual problem could be solved.

Think of liberal “causes” for a moment,, in a more abstract sense then the cause d’jour. Every “problem” which a liberal will espouse in desperate need of a solution is never actually a problem at all for which there is no solution, government or otherwise. Their opponents are lamely left trying to argue that the best solution to this non-existent “problem” is to leave it in the hands of the private sector rather than the government.

Liberal “problems” include: the working conditions within the factories, the farms, the mines, and everywhere else work is performed; he state of the environmental health and cleanliness, the weather, the climate, the glaciers, the tree frogs, and all the rest; the elderly; the children; the poor; the homeless; the ill; the criminal aliens; education; medicine; insurance; the media airwaves; health and safety of food and drugs; and even individual sexual proclivities.

What do they all have in common? Not one of them is a problem. Not one of them can ever be solved. The liberal causes are states of being, not problems.

“For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.” – Mark 14:7. By which is clearly meant that poverty is a condition or state of being, not a problem which can be solved.

Government regulation is not a solution to a problem, just a different method of managing those states of being, an authoritarian method.

There are those who engage in something abstractly called life, not SJWs of course, but actual real people. In life, people seek to improve upon their daily functioning through practice and repetition.

The artist, whether in martial arts, dance, drawing, or crafts, seeks to improve and hone their skills, to get just a little better each day through that process called iteration, or a repetitive procedure for a number of times. The practice everyone employs in their respective arts is the iterative process which gets us just a little closer to correctness.

Living is very much a process of iteration, not recursion.

I do not mean to say that some solutions are not amenable to being solved through iteration, just that life is not a process to ever be subject to recursion. Only problems are amenable to being reduced to a solution through recursion, never states of being.

The liberal solution to existence is regulation.

Yes, that is what I meant to say.

There is an old mathematics joke I’d like to relate: A father, who was a mathematician, was talking to his friends, the physicist and the engineer, when his six year old daughter came in and asked him and his friends, since they were so smart, if they could answer her homework problem which was giving her fits: What is 2 x 3. The engineer pulls out his charts and tables looks it up and says that according to his reference materials 2 x 3 should be 6. The physicist ran some experiments, calculated the statistical variances and concluded that it was 5.998 with a confidence interval of 0.010. Her father, the mathematician, takes a long 2 or 3 hour walk in the woods to ponder the question. When he returns, he tells his daughter, “I have proven mathematically and conclusively that there is one and only one correct answer. Now you have only to figure out what that is.”

The reason government is limited, and limited to certain provisions of recognizable venues concerning only public goods and public ills it because life is a continuing process where w strive to do better, but not one where we can ever solve those things which are not problems.

The war on poverty can never be won. The war on terror can never be won. The war on crime can never be won. The existence of bad things can never be solved. Be not distracted with false claims of “problems” because the government is not a solution.

Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Public Housing, the FCC, OSHA, school lunches, Pell Grants, and dozen upon dozen other government “solutions” will never solve the problems . . . because there are no problems to be solved.

Anytime anyone mentions the foolish words “government solution”, ask yourself if they are even talking about a problem which can actually be solved. The mathematician was correct.

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