Covert Social Conservatism

Geeks, or more specifically hackers1, used to treat their craft as a source of meaning2, going contrary to the normative values likes “sex, money, and social approval”3. In modern times, where “tech” provides financially stable careers to plenty, this dynamic has somewhat reversed among a growing group of people. It has become fashionable to undermine one’s geek interests, so as to normalize what’s already “normal” outside tech - by, for example, belaboring the importance of the social instituitions4 of love, family, children.

Why the desire to normalize at all? Does it not go against the much touted, but rarely followed, value of “diversity”?


Some examples:

Underlying Psychology

  • The human “need”5 to belong
  • The strong desire for love, and to be loved
  • The believed inability to break free of these bonds
  • The perceived lack of freedom to do the things one would want to do in life, if it not for the instinctual constraints
  • The rationalization of one’s bondage; and downplaying of anyone that contradicts that belief by living more freely

See also

  1. hacker: n. An expert or enthusiast of any kind. One might be an astronomy hacker, for example. –The Jargon File

  2. Or more generally, as their ikigai.

  3. If you aren’t the kind of person that feels this way [a basic thrill from solving problems, sharpening your skills, and exercising your intelligence] naturally, you’ll need to become one in order to make it as a hacker. Otherwise you’ll find your hacking energy is sapped by distractions like sex, money, and social approval. –How To Become A Hacker

  4. Here, we are referring only to the whole (brainwashed) social identity formed around the otherwise carefree and idiosyncratic acts like raising children or sharing roof with fellow human beings.

  5. It is of course more accurate to describe this as a “desire” than a “need”. The need to belong is unlike say the need for air and water; as you can live without the former (happily in fact).