Mysticism at the Keyboard

Mysticism at the Keyboard

I read a beautifully written post by Seph, "Home is where the bits flow" The first lines drew me in:

Most of our day exists outside our body. Our minds slip out through our eyes, out into our screens. We become a different kind of organism, living in a weird symbiosis with reddit and whatsapp and gmail. – Seph

I'm a programmer. I, and many others I suspect, have a similar experience but when we leave our body we go into code. We inhabit a place with autonomous actors; some are robots, some algorithms, some bits of nasty code of our own creation, others are humans of a sort. The world has become more rich over the years so that I can easily be drawn into it all day with no idea of the passing time.

Sometime's I go to a glorious act of creation. Coding something complex requires you to enter a sort of fugue state where you transcend your own limits to juggle ideas too complex to even name, stretching back and forward in imaginary time from config to launch to happily working away forevermore. Words in a programming language flow through our fingertips with the aid of auto-complete and is patched together with the result of directed code theft to produce a construct the has a sort of life all its own. And it is good indeed.

Other times it's like beating your head on a wall – sometimes for days on end. At first you don't even know the size or shape of the obstacle. You try to find shortcuts around it but for the most part only a full frontal assault will do so you keep chipping away as you get new tools from occasional forays into the vast halls of the internet library for research. Eventually the wall dissolves all at once in a rush of comprehension. And it is good indeed.

My wife and I talk in the morning about many things but at some point she sees me glance at my laptop and the light goes out of my eyes as I slip into an unresponsive trance – my mind is no longer exclusively human and is no longer entirely in my body.

I guess this happens to most of us that are connected with technology.

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