EU-regulations are long-term upgrades

Lately I can’t help but constantly see analogies between programming, politics and law.
Recently I was in the situation that many programmers are finding themselves in from time to time. I had to upgrade a system gradually, meaning the old version had to keep functional while I was building the new version underneath it. Then one piece at a time I could switch off the old parts and have their function be taken over by the new code – if something brakes I can quickly locate the source of error because I go step by step. Much much safer than trying to jump straight from old to new.

As you can imagine, during the transition the volume of code is twice (or even more because of temporary transition helper methods) the amount of what it was in the old version and what it will be in the new version. And depending on the degree of difference in the concepts of the two versions you might have fundamentally different logics operate side by side. For me this feels like building up to a complexity that can be absolutely exhausting and error-prone. A bit like having fever while having to concentrate really hard.
So it is SUCH a relief when I can finally comment the old code out one by one and eventually erase all traces of it. It’s like a healing process for the code that I was the doctor for! :) I know it is now set up more elegant, robust and future-proof and this feels really really good.
Maybe the emotional (and functional) curve is comparable of having a difficult conversation with your partner. While it happens it might feel overloaded and heated – but once you settle on new common ground it feels (hopefully) like a meaningful relationship-upgrade.

Ok, where am I getting at?

I see the described dynamic as parallel to what is happening in many European minds and anti-EU parties regarding yet another highly granular “regulations from Brussels” that should be a sole matter of “national regulation” instead.
I don’t think that way. On the contrary, I am so happy about every little piece of regulation that comes from Brussels because it reminds me so much on my code-upgrading process. I can’t wait to experience how things shift to more elegance and higher integration as the old “code” breaks away while the new is being build.
Yuval Harari writes in his excellent book “A brief history of humankind” how the one trend in human history that is evident over the centuries is the trend towards unification of humanly created cultural structures. I totally support the idea of a strong Europe and see the regulation-pain as part of an upgrading process.

Happy voting tomorrow :)


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Benjamin Aaron Degenhart

Currently pursuing a Masters in Computational Science and Engineering at TU Munich.

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