Well, ‘Black Hat’ Hackers anyway. You guys (some gals too I know) have been on my mind lately. I’ve been thinking about how gifted, talented and altogether resourceful you are…and then also about the things that seem to drive you. Obviously it isn’t much different from the driving forces behind those engaged in more legitimate forms of enterprise; just for some reason it’s you who occupy my thoughts on this. Anyway, as I think about the world you live in and the things that drive you on a few things occur to me and I just wanted to pass them along to you. I suppose what I mean is, you may as well know:
Proving intellectual acumen, superior to your contemporaries will, as you know, inject satisfaction, pleasure and no small amount of pride. Yes, I do see the appeal of that. But the feeling will be only temporary as it is a technological [and statistical] inevitability that sooner or later someone even more talented, creative and ambitious will outdo your accomplishments and steal your thunder. What is the worth of a moment in the spotlight? It’s a question to consider, maybe for all of us.
Consuming massive quantities of pornography, as a form of substitute for actual human closeness, will bring limited – potentially empty – pleasure…and ultimately (this I can assure you) will only make you miserable. Pornography is no substitute for the actual effort and subsequent rewards of building real relationships, face to face, moment by moment, with real people. It doesn’t compare by miles.
Amassing wealth, consumer goods and the appearance of social prestige will probably be fun for a while. It might even convince you that it reveals your relative “worth” in the world, and you might, just maybe, find some moment in which this translates to something similar to happiness from it…for a little while. In fact, money and nice stuff may even make it easier to attract human-to-human connections that resemble something akin to an actual relationship (maybe even with someone attractive who might not otherwise give you a moment’s glance). But I suspect that in very little time the illusion of it all will begin to melt away, as it becomes more and more difficult to convince yourself that there is anything meaningful to be had in these acquired things (and self-interested persons who’ve attached themselves to you).
The thrill of the chase you say? Alright. I’ll buy that one. There you have me. I do see the appeal of getting the attention of the media, and corporations, law enforcement, your own contemporaries and others. Set all that other stuff aside and give me only this…yeah…I get it. I do. And maybe, if you’re really good, you’ll build a sort of legacy around your many exploits. Let’s say for a moment you do that, you actually persist and rise to that level, having caused events, or altered them, or nudged an issue or moment in your favor or desired direction. When you get there, to that moment, how will you feel then? I imagine, in your own way, pretty good. And so there you are, feeling fairly [and perhaps even deservedly] satisfied with yourself. You’ll step back and see what you’ve accomplished, what you’ve become, the feeling of power, prestige, the sense of victory and cunning. Pretty neat. Take in the moment. Grand. Almost indescribable.
…and then? What happens? How long does the moment last? Does it persist? Having reached the pinnacle, the euphoria of becoming a living legend in your chosen domain, what is the reward? Is it possible that all of it…all the years of work and coding and dodging and sparring and rising above the morass – amounted to a stupendous moment of inexplicable pleasure…only to see that thing, just as all the other forms of pleasure went, melt away. How quickly did it dissolve before your eyes? Days? Hours? Moments? And then, even having grasped it, so fleeting, to find that it didn’t have much meaning whatever in the scheme of it (not to mention your life – fleeting and fragile as it is).
Why do I talk of this word “meaning” anyway. What is that nonsense. Life is only about the pursuit of pleasure anyway right? Is that what you believe? Do you really? Don’t be too sure. Ask yourself. Is that really all there is? Is it really possible that things like pleasure, prestige, superficial human associations, WINNING, money, more pleasure…all that, is trumped by elusive (almost ethereal) Meaningfulness and actual Happiness. Are those concepts so silly and trite? Tell you what. There’s a way to test this proposition. This isn’t a joke. It’s not difficult. Maybe after you’ve burnt yourself out on pornography and empty “relationships” (they’re really just arrangements) and spending money and surrounding yourself with a bunch of cool stuff and tried [I’m guessing in vain] to enjoy it all…you could do something totally far out. Try doing something actually good.
Huh? Alright, I’m not even talking about super mega high-brow charity just for appearances good. You have to pick something that has some kind of significance to you, that you can buy into as ‘this is kinda important and can help’ good. Do the thing, and don’t tell anyone about it and don’t even let yourself be publicly recognized for it. That is so played out in this world. I’m talking about do the thing, don’t take any credit, just do it and give it a little time for the thing (the good) to be accomplished, to have a little effect. And then do something else that you’ll probably think is totally crazy. Look at, think about what you did and take just a moment to see how it makes you feel. Here’s a hint: It might include pleasure. It might also extend to something beyond it, something you’ve experienced very little of in your life. Ever.
If you’ve read this far it’s possible something inside you recognizes there may actually be some substance to what I’ve been saying. Although, outright dismissal is a typical reaction. But it’s just a conversation between you and me and probably you know if it’s you I’m talking to. A lot of this stuff about the unfettered pursuit of pleasure being ultimately, soul-crushingly empty and depressing…people will have to discover for themselves. They’ll move on. Maybe they’ll come back to this and give it another glance. It seems a lot of us have to find stuff out for ourselves (because if you’re anything like me you really hate it when people try to tell you how things are or how to think cause you can do that just fine for yourself thank you). I get that too.
But, like I say…It just might be possible that doing something meaningful, could actually bring actual happiness into your life, and all the prestige and ‘stuff’ and pleasure in the world can never substitute for it. At the very least, it could open the doorway to a version of you that you never could have imagined possible.