Eddington’s Arrow of Time – describing the one-way direction (or asymmetry) of time – says that things in the real world can never be fully reversed. Unlike in the microscopic world, where things tend to behave a little differently, our world is governed by an obvious flow of time.
A drop of ink can instantly spoil an entire glass of water. Reversing the process would take far more energy and resources than it took to cause it, not to mention more time. The obvious solution: rinse it and pour a new one. In software, the more code you lay down, the more connections are made between components, and so it gets harder to change something without affecting the whole system. For those times when going back to square one isn’t an option, we should always keep the words of James R. Sherman in the back of our heads:
You can’t go back and make a new start, but you can start right now and make a brand new ending.
– James R. Sherman, Ph. D.
The quote is sometimes credited to Zig Ziglar (who, himself credits Carl Bard), but its originator is said to be James R. Sherman, who covered topics like rejection, burnout, fear, and procrastination in a series of self-improvement books. The above phrase stems from a chapter that was actually titled “How to Survive Rejection,” which encouraged readers to accept rejection as something that could not be undone. Sherman stressed that worrying about rejection only makes one lose sight of the present, and of course, he couldn’t have been more correct.