| Friday October 24th 2014

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Hackerism, ethics, and the best dad ever.


I’m currently reading The Hacker Ethic. It’s a great book, but if you don’t have the time for it you can just read a blog post made yesterday by Kevin Bush, called: Why I Want My Daughter to be a Hacker.The Hacker Ethic book

That post is so inspiring, so perfect that it’s really hard for me not to copy and paste it in its entirety. How’s this for a list of rules to live by:

  1. Hackers are not consuming lemmings;
  2. Hackers avoid “The Knowledge Trap”;
  3. Hackers can hack anything;
  4. Hackers favor open systems.

See what I mean?

But seriously, go there now and read the whole post. Share it with everyone you know — I mean it, the world needs more parents, teachers, citizens like Kevin Bush. Go ahead, do it now. I’m not going anywhere.

All done? Cool. Now back to the book…


It’s probably not the best idea to attempt a book review when I’m only halfway through the book, but The Hacker Ethic is similarly inspiring (if a little more long-winded). The author, Pekka Himanen, uses “hackerism” as an equivalent to that third point in Kevin’s blog post — that hacking is a methodology towards anything rather than a specific feat accomplished on an electronic device.

The first few chapters might just blow your mind a little bit with an explanation of how the Protestant work ethic elevated the ongoing doom of your typical office drone to near saintly-hood, and how a generation of hackers and other 21st century inhabitants have refused to resign themselves to the same fate.

On the subject of religion Himanen updates the allegory of The Cathedral and the Bazaar to The Academy and the Monastery, with this telling pair of quotes to illustrate the difference:

Plato: “No free person should learn anything like a slave.”

Saint Benedict: “Shut up and pay attention.”

I may have paraphrased that second one a bit, but you get the idea…

Since The Hacker’s Ethic qualifies as a “classic” (it was first published in 2001) I might write about it again should any more revelations come to light. In the meantime, you need to understand that whenever you see hackers demonized in newspapers and on television, it’s just the old guard of the 20th century trying to capitalize on your ignorance.

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