Stereotypes / Social Life

Note: This entry is very personal. You have been warned.

Sometimes I really see the difference between certain stereotypes of people. To be honest, from my standpoint, there are only 10 types of people. Those who are like me, you could say “geeks” and those who are not like me, let’s call them “people that I can never really understand”. Well, ok, let’s take a shorter name for easier reference, so what about naming them just “people”.

For me, as I’m generally into computers and as I enjoy their fields of appliance, the whole geek culture is something I take for granted. For people from other subcultures, digital life isn’t something they can identify themselves with. Let’s be a bit more precise. Especially programmers have a certain point of view, a way of life and an approach to everything that people don’t have. The reason for that is probably the nature of programming itself. Programming isn’t just writing some code that solves ridiculous problems – it’s an art form. It depends on analyzing a problem and solving it, of course, but the way how something is done, that is art. It is a very special form of art, as its beauty is never directly visible for its end users. As the creator, however, you manifest yourself and your mind in every single line of code. It is you who can’t stop thinking about optimizing some methods or replacing a piece of code with a smarter one.

An interface through which these two stereotypes can communicate is a thing not easily found. Maybe I’m not much of a social genius guy, but being interested in completely different areas in life and having completely different points of view as well as priorities logically results in some weird ways to exchange information that is then not properly understood. You see? ;)

So I was asking myself if it was a certain kind of motivation that keeps a geek going – a motivation that is different from the motivation of people? Maybe, but maybe not even a bit. However, personally, I think if there is this kind of special geek motivation, that is the only source of energy left that keeps me going if my “retarded social life” just sucks. And I can think of some moments where it really, really sucks. Maybe I’m pushing too hard, but as I see it, being a geek saved my life once, and hopefully will now do it again.

Talking about the factors of my motivation, I have to admit that, in such a situation, distracting myself from social kind of problems is a very strong one. If you’re willing to draw a conclusion out of this statement, you’ll definitely recognize the nature of a vicious circle here. By distracting yourself and not paying attention to social life, you will be able to forget or push away some sad things from your mind, but you will fail even worse.

By showing yourself the dedication to a project or program or just a little piece of code, you step away from the real world into a self-built virtual one. By making others aware of this dedication, you make them believe that you are just busy getting something done that is important for you and that is also some kind of a higher goal. In fact, this dedication is not 100% real – instead, for yourself, in the first place it is to protect yourself from questions that you do not want to hear, neither from yourself nor from others.

So what is the right thing to do in this situation? I guess there is none. You can’t do something that seems to be right. You have to let the right thing happen to you instead. Now this is another aspect of the aforementioned vicious circle. By locking yourself out of real life, you’re blocking this possibility. The harder you push, the more you block.

I do not believe that people are bad, I never did. It’s just not easy to be open for some kind of questions or discussion, because you feel too vulnerable.

Being in deep provincial backwater results in another lack of social possibilities. On the one side, it is definitely good for your work, because you can really concentrate on the code world, on the other side, from a social standpoint, it is the worst thing I can think of. So life gets seriously unbalanced, a fact that I always refused to admit. It is important to know the influence on your efficiency, another thing I refused to admit. If there is the right balance between social and code life, your mind comes up with fresh ideas a lot quicker. If there is no balance, you seem to work harder, which means doing long hours, but less efficient.

So the overall conclusion is, in my opinion, that it is worth to repair a damaged social life, however I still have to think of the tools that are necessary.

2 thoughts on “Stereotypes / Social Life”

  1. To start with I wouldn’t divide people in different categories. I mean, sure, some people won’t understand why you are spending a lot of time coding, fixing equipment, etc. But that’s normal in our society. Be honest, do you understand people that are keen on … let’s say … gardening? They are talking of nothing else, spend every hour of their spare time in the garden cleaning leaves of plants with toothbrushes *g*.

    I would say people are different, they do have different interests and different reasons to get up in the morning. I personally see this as a good thing, would be boring if everyone behaves in the same way. However, the problem is that a lot of people do not (want) to understand people how do not share their FOI. Unfortunately, in our society there are some some FOI (fields of interests) that are “cooler” than others. For example, if you are into sports, you are the “hero”. If you are into computers, games or programming, then the stereotype says you are a freak that is probably gonna wipe out a whole school sooner or later. Sad but true…

    Coming to balance in life: I guess this is a very though topic. One, I must admit, I’m also struggling in the moment. On some days you are looking back over the last few days/weeks/months and saying to yourself: “What the hell am I doing/have I done in the last xxxx?”. For myself I think this is something positive, something that kicks of the process of re-evaluating your life. Is it going in the right direction? What do I want? What will I have to change? Sure you feel like shit for a few days but after this little fight with yourself your rising of the ashes like a phoenix and your motivition is back. At least that’s how it works for me.

    That’s one part of the equation on balance. Another part are friends. These are probably the most important part! But I am not talking about random friends you see every so often – I am talking about real buddies. Guys you can trust. Guys that will tell you when you suck or when you have done something stupid. I for myself sometimes need somebody who I can trust to be honest to me.

    I totally agree with you on the fact that it is worth repairing a social life. But what is a broken social life anyway? I mean people are different, some are more social than others but as long as you have some people you can talk to, can do stuff with, you can just hang around with and watch a silly movie, or get drunk – I guess you’re alright. Maybe a “geek social life” differs from a “sports social life” – but even a gaming/coding session with your friends would count as a social life for me. The only problem I see on myself is how you manage your time and how you choose to spend it. If you are in danger to drift of into your coding 24/7, then I would say: Yes, that’s a problem. But, from my perspective, that’s where your friends come into play. They should be able to kick your ass out of your room and into the real life ever so often.

    my 2 cents

    PS: looking at the text I just wrote: dammit, see – that happens when I am bored @ work :P
    I wish I had as much spare time at home!

  2. one interface through which the two stereotypes can communicate would be curiosity

    imo the motivation of geeks is the same as of other people who enjoy what they do. everything you’re passionate about is a source of happiness or more generally, mental satisfaction. so naturally u seek to preserve it.

    as for the dedication part, why should the dedication of a software architect be any different from a building architect? also i think if you dedicate yourself to something you do, you don’t move to a self-built virtual reality as you say, you’re already in it from the very beginning, you merely just expand it and push the boundaries of your personal horizon ;)


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