TOOLBOX raspBerry Pi: What is an Experiment?, eJournal ISSN 2567-6466
Author: Gerd Doeben-Henisch
(August 12, 2022, latest change: August 12, 2022)


This text belongs to the list of experiments with the raspBerry Pi toolbox.

What is an Experiment?

Perhaps you remember those days when you have been a child and nearly all things appeared ’new‘ to you. Turning the light on. Making fire. Climb a staircase. Riding a scooter. …. To some degree it can happen in your present again: learning to drive a car; learning to cook a meal; learning to play an instrument; …

All these examples have something in common:

  1. There is a ‚given situation‘, a ‚NOW‘.
  2. You have some experience that ‚things can change‘ and how.
  3. You want to ‚produce change by yourself‘.
  4. You apply some ‚possible actions‘ in the given situation (onto your NOW).
  5. You experience either ‚it does not work‘ or you experience is ’something happens‘.
  6. That, what ‚happens‘ is either ‚known to you‘ or ‚unknown‘; in the last case you can call it ’new‘. ‚Known to you‘ means ‚confirmation‘ of what you know already. ‚New‘ to you means ‚expanding your knowledge space‘.
  7. Sometimes you have not yet an idea about a possible action onto the NOW. Then you have to ‚invent‘ some ’new‘ action to try.
  8. If you will no have new inventions the world will stay ‚old‘ in your mind (but probably not in the world outside your mind).

These statements circumscribe a little bit your ’subjective experience‘ being in a given situation and interacting with your NOW. We can translate these experiences in a kind of a ’schema‘, an ‚pattern for experiments‘ in the following way:

  1. Write a text, which describes a given state, where you are in. Let us call this our assumed NOW.
  2. Write a text, which describes a possible state which you want to reach some time ahead. Let us call this our assumed GOAL.
  3. Write a text, which describes possible actions, which are assumed to be able to change the NOW step by step in a way, which generates after finitely many steps a situation, which is sufficient similar to our GOAL (A ‚possible action‘ is either already known to you or you have to invent some). We call this our PLAN.
  4. Take these texts (NOW, GOAL, PLAN) and try to ‚realize‘ the listed actions in your given NOW if possible.
  5. After every action check, whether the ’new NOW‘ has sufficient similarities with the planned GOAL. If yes, you can stop, otherwise you have to continue.
  6. After a finite set of realizations of actions (the realization of your PLAN) you have either reached your GAOL or not. In the first case you can say, that your experiment was successful; the whole procedure lead you to the goal. Otherwise the experiment was not successful; you didn’t reach your goal.
  7. In the case of a not successful experiment you can think about it: why was it not successful? This negative result challenges your previous knowledge. This is the only chance you have, to ‚free you‘ from ‚old‘ knowledge to ‚improve it‘ by ‚changing it‘.