Geek As Citizen: My Own Private IdaHell


Last week I discussed how trying to get to Heaven made us bad citizens.

Specifically, I discussed how there’s a desire to escape everything and reach some permanent paradise (that is never permanent nor really that great a paradise) that separates us from others. Relying on the unexpected tag-team of C.S. Lewis and the Buddha, I looked at how that desire to get to that special inner perfect area drove us onward yet disconnected us from others – and that getting to it was never permanent anyway.

Of course my intention was to look at how that was relevant to geeks.

My concern was that there is a distinct part of geek culture that focuses on the Great Escape, from the Singularity to the perfect job where you never work, that could disconnect us from our fellow humans and society. To try and get away and keep grasping the elusive ring, we missed what was important, and even in our success we became alienated from others. As we’re in an Age of Geek, it’s an important issue to address so we don’t become less human and worse citizens.

But there’s a flipside to this “Heaven Seeking” behavior that I’m sure we’re all equally familiar with. Some people are happy to have their own private Hell, and in some cases it’s easier and the rents are cheaper. Though we may not think of it as the same, it still creates social, emotional, and just plain human distance.

And we know hell all too well.

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