Saturday, January 12, 2013

Thoughts of the future in the wake of death

Before today, I had no idea who Aaron Swartz was.  Until today, I sat content with the ideal of an amazing life ahead of me.  Something in that ideal has broken.

I'm a certified genius with an IQ of 135.  I've also been identified as "special" thanks to my brain also running ADD and borderline Aspergers.  Most of my life has been attempting to use the former to conquer the latter.  Only recently have I come to realize what needed to be done to capitalize on my strengths to overcome my weaknesses.

It's been a lot of work.  Like Aaron, I had to battle against the demons of depression[0].  I've had to find and break habits that have been there for my entire lifetime, and then beat them back when they resurface.  I'm gaining ground against my own shortcomings slowly but surely.

One of the things that motivated me to begin this massive path was Paul Graham.  I'm attempting to start a company with the goal of being funded by YCombinator.  Aaron co-founded reddit and was funded in YC's first batch.

I wish today didn't happen.  I wish that Jan 12th could have a redo.  I want to change the world.  I want to stand at the walls of bureaucracy and academia itself armed with technology and innovation and charge until they are walls no more.

I'm trying to fight for change in a world solidly against it.  It's a lot of work, and I haven't even started.  I'm often tempted to give it up and get a simple, well-paying job and take it easy.  I haven't.

Aaron Swartz's suicide has provoked a strong reaction from the hacker community.  Suicides usually cause an intense emotional reaction.  In part, I think that this particular response is due to the fact that Aaron was in a position that we could all see ourselves in (save the pending litigation): Child genius who grew up to be a successful startup owner who didn't sell out and kept true to his hacker roots.

His death, like all deaths, tells a story.  It's an incredibly sad one that does not bode well for our future.  I know I'm not the only one who is striving to build and accomplish something with my life.  Now, I look at Aaron's choice and once again consider that desk job where I don't rock the boat.

I want to arrive at success.  What will be waiting for me?

[0] If you're struggling against depression, tell someone.  I don't care who, so long as you know them in real life.  Writing also helps enormously.  If it gets serious, see a professional.

1 comment:

  1. This is exactly the way I feel, though I find it reassuring how the loss of one person I can relate to has shown me others...