Never stand begging for that which you have the power to earn.

— Miguel de Cervantes

Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616) was one of Spain’s most famous writers. Author of Don Quixote, Cervantes created one of the most simultaneously fallible and divine super-heroes. Making the phrase “Tilting at Windmills” a common term for doing something completely pointless and self-destructive, yet providing us with the archetype for the occasional necessary insanity to make changes happen and win the day.

For me, this is amply captured in Randall Munroe’s XKCD comic: Alternative Energy Revolution showing in the last panel, our hero waiting to battle the modern day windmills run amok.

Never Stand Begging For That Which You Have the Power to Earn

This continuously comes home to me lately in the amount of spoon-feeding some people beg for on some of the mailing lists and IRC channels I attend to. I’m not sure what it is, but there seem to be just relentless requests not for help in learning or understanding, but in utter reluctance to learn even the basics. It’s quite possible, in fact, I feel it highly likely, that the typical person attending these venues is perhaps on the spectrum of asking a lot more than looking things up and researching answers. It’s entirely possible that this is a cultural and language difference. It’s hard to say for me. But Cervantes’ quote really rings true for me.

Never ask for an answer you have the power to find out for yourself

is my corrolary.