“Programming is just like drugs…”
– D. Auerback, New York-based Software Engineer
These days David Auerback writes more than he codes, but one of the things he misses about programming is the coder’s high: those times when, for hours on end, he would lock his vision straight at the computer screen, trance out, and become a human-machine hybrid zipping through the virtual architecture that he & his co-workers were building. Hunger, thirst, sleepiness, and even pain all faded away while he was staring at the screen, thinking and typing, until he reached the point of exhaustion and it came crashing down. In his own words, “It was good for me, too.” Coding had a smoothing, calming effect on David’s psyche… much in the same way meditation impacts those who master it.
In a study Zen and the Brain, neuroscientist James H. Austin speaks of how one’s attention will shift into “a vacancy of utmost clarity, a space so devoid of the physical self.” David isn’t sure if programmers get all the way there, but he’s confident in his remarkable ability to tune out the world while working, coding.