The Programmers’ Cave

During the conquer of Syracuse, a Roman solider encountered an old man, who was fiddling in the sand. The solider asked who he was, but he only got this brief response:

Do not disturb my circles.

Those were Archimedes’ last words.

Regardless the accuracy of this story, it perfectly illustrates the notion of programmers’ cave. All of us has been there. When you are so determined to solve a problem or build something that you decide to go in, work all day and night, care little to nothing about your health or environment and a few weeks later you emerge with something magnificent. I am in that cave for two years now.

In 2001, I won my first Kyokushin Karate championship, in 2006 I was playing football with the bests of my country, in 2012 I was exercising 4–6 hours a day. In 2016 I was able to do muscle-ups, human flags and handstands. Today, in 2018, I kid you not, I am having a hard time, when I have to tie my shoes.

I went into the cave, when I started coding Bitcoin. Not when I heard about it, not when I became a hodler, but when I became a buidler. Today, I am the 177th most active contributor on GitHub, I am utterly curious how better ranked contributors are doing.

However a few days ago I came to Europe and it turns out I am allergic to it. Although I grew up here, and I was always a little allergic, the more time I spend away the more allergic I become when I come back. This time the sickness won and completely pulled me out of my cave. I cannot concentrate. I can do normal daily stuff and be productive that way, but high intensity brain activity is too demanding. Quick note: if you are knowledgeable in this field, I am happy to hear your suggestions, I am yet to research and fix this problem once and for all, since taking some standard stuff from the pharmacy does not work as well as I hoped.

I was never good at this “work-life balance” thing, but oh well. Nevertheless, this little skip made me think about the notion of how much productive activity can be just as addictive as drugs. Do you think it is a fine way to live? What more can someone get out of life than being as productive as possible?

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