How come that some people seem to know about everything about LaTeX? How do they get there?
In my experience, I use LaTeX whenever needed to produce a paper (by now my diploma thesis), but I never get into the depths of all this macro programming works and all this stuff I consider fancy. But I don't get the concepts very much, especially when using TikZ at the moment, I have no idea what is all possible and just use trial and error, copy and paste together some stuff and so on. I am sure many people can relate to that, since LaTeX is always "only a tool". When compared to e.g. C++ one would go into depth naturally, because C++ is not just a tool but the thing itself. I am really sorry, although LaTeX is really the best text formatting program ever, I never seem to find it necessary to dig deeper. By now I have written a few documents in LaTeX, but never got deeper into the fancy stuff. Where are the people that do dig deeper, and what motivates them?
Edit This is not exactly a question that needs an answer, I just want to hear some peoples thoughts on that topic, because this thought has been in my head for a while and in a way I only want to talk about it. I hope this is ok.
Edit. As response to Peter Flynns answer: I hope nobody is actually offended by my provocative statement, that C++ is the "real thing", while TeX is not. I am happy to see someone who is as enthusiastic about Latex as most people I know are about programming languages for example. A comparable thing in Germany is the Deutsche Bahn (public trains) which most people are always dissatisfied with. When you're late and say:"My train was late." You will most likely hear some ranting about how stupid and bad the DB is. If you are late, however, due to a traffic jam, people will not be as hateful about the streets here as they are about the DB. I think Latex is a little like that: If I am having a math problem, I would not blame math, that it's stupid and it's math's fault that I don't get it. When my software does not work as expected, I would rather feel angry on myself than on the language. But when my text-program does not deliver what I want, I tend to blame that stupid Latex. I could as well RTFM, but I have this strange feeling that some things just have to work as I intend, without me giving it the appropriate amount of attention.
The same applies for stealing: I think most people would not dare steal something from a shop, but I don't know anyone who has never dodged the fare (the direct German translation is schwarzfahren - black riding), or watched a movie online they hadn't payed for. Although both are "the real thing" (stealing) only one is considered as such.
I think, I owe Latex an apology for not taking it serious enough...
EDIT Thanks for all the comments. This gives me some insight on how you view this topic, and how you proceed with learning Latex.
My question is more about, what motivates you rather than how you do it. Thanks