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Coding Life

It is incredible how and where we find connections in the biggest aspects of life. The ancient philosophers were right. The guides and signals are all around us, and the answers are within us.

Tech. How many times were we called to use it? Nowadays, generations have grown up unaware of how life is without it. Some would refer to the 70s & 80s as the “era of darkness”. If that is the case, then I suppose many people should be exhibits in a museum. Myself included! Little did I know back then, that understanding the workings of technology would set the foundation for understanding myself.

Naturally, to achieve the latter, philosophy and psychology are an integral part, regardless of the belief system. As long as our mind is inquiring, not bound by the cages we are placed in, for the purpose of easier control – and of course, marketing. So, what is the foundation of tech? 1-0. Those two magic numbers. One stand for allowing electrical current to flow, while the zero does not. From there on, instruction sets are formed, interpreted back and forth to programming languages, and end up to our known graphical user interface.

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Today, we are used to conveniences, including our tech.

Diving down to the core code of a system feels like entering one’s deep self. On the level that composes our very identity. Despite the much higher complexity of the human psyche, the relation is there. When one of us changes the desktop picture of our operating system, may it be Windows, OSX or Linux, we essentially send out a set of commands that do a minor alteration in a code variable, implementing that alteration. The same thing goes with life. However, when the core of the system is damaged, faulty or corrupt, no matter how beautiful we try to make it look, it will still produce problems, crash and generally be of little use. In the real world, we call that superficial.

Programs work in a similar way a human does. That’s because a human built them. First, we set the constants, which is our nature. Then the variables, which is our environment (i.e. people). Last, but not least, “the loop”. That very last one is the cycle of “if & then or else”, which means that when something happens, there is the X or the Y reaction, which activates a different response subroutines the same way as we handle situations and challenges in our lives.

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If we had the knowledge, the courage and the determination to dive into that “code” of our own selves, what would we become? I know it is not like picking up the “source” list of our inner program and change it at will. We evolve differently, through stimuli. Our brain rewires itself according to the external input, with our subconscious constantly rewriting our own programming. This is what we call “rewiring the brain”. This is where motivation and inspiration come from.

During that process, our IQ receives the information, and blocks or transfers parts (or all of it) to our EQ (or emotional intelligence), which returns the response that is then delivered, filtered or halted by the IQ. Essentially, it is our mind that is in control. The one that makes the choices. It allows information in and out with a level of processing that can either make or break a person. Feeding the emotional intelligence can evolve a human being, but feeding it without allowing it to return its result out in the world, creates the so called “bottling up”. We all know what that does, no?

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This is how Arch Linux looks when it prepares its package list for the Graphic Desktop Environment. Kind of like the neurons of our brain.

Lately I’ve been obsessed with rewiring my own brain for a good number of reasons. While doing it, I instinctively felt drawn into doing the same thing with my tech, as some form of test. I took out a lot of technological conveniences out of my life and tried things the harder way. No more Windows OS for example. I took the full dive into Linux about a year ago, and the past three days I’ve been tackling one of its hardest, yet most freeing expressions: the Arch.

For someone without a strong coding background, diving into that environment should feel like suicide. However, it was a challenge I decided to take. Yes, I almost exterminated parts of a project I was working on, but I found a way to salvage everything within an hour and a half. Also yes, I was able to set up both a desktop and a laptop to run flawlessly and actually do productive work on both (hey, this entire site was created on it). Thinking back on it, everything started with a four letter word: Root.

What if we also could travel into the root of our very being and take control of our lives? Is that not the very essence of cause and effect? How we build, how we handle and how we evolve ourselves? Because if an operating system can start with a few words, in a daunting black screen with no icons and no buttons, can turn into a beautiful tool to work with; imagine what it can do with our lives, should we be able to perform in an respective way.

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One of the dual-screen setup. Nothing like the daunting black screen with text, eh? To the left, my Plasma laptop & to the right, my Gnome desktop (testing a video editor). Both run on Arch Linux.

Think about it. The programming language we have is called philosophy and the interpreting application is named psychology. The latter rarely alters the former, but the former can determine the nature of the latter. Now, imagine where philosophy revolves around.

That’s right! The “Know Thyself”!

Once we fix that core, it will be the end of superficiality and the beginning of integrity.

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