The Many Differences Between the Common People and the Geek

“The 56 Geeks” by Scott Johnson

Everyone is different than everyone else in one way or another.  They act different, have different interests and ideas on ethics, and sometimes look different as well!  This entire chapter in our book is about these differences.  The authors use a thing they call “Contraxioms” to organize all these differences.  This word they created means “a matched pair of contrasting axioms the give rise to vastly different worldviews.”  An example “contraxiom” is a Christian’s belief in a God and an atheist’s belief in no God.  They are each axioms of their own but they are opposites of each other.  A Christian’s live would likely be very different form an atheist’s.  The authors say that there are seven different contraxioms that make up the major differences between geeks and non-geeks.  These have to do with work, the future, knowing, language, lying, good and evil, and desire.  

The first one is work.  Geeks tend to see work as a person being hired to solve problems.  Imagine you are a small business owner. You own a grocery store and you do everything.  You stock the shelves, man the cash register, do the taxes.  Your business is booming!  The thing is though that as you grow and make room for more items or open another shop, there comes a “problem”.  You can’t do all of this on your own.  There is just no way you can be in two places at once.  So what do you do?  You hire someone!  Their job now is to solve the problem of you being unable to do it all on your own.  Now a non-geek would say that this person is being hired because the owner has a “vision” to own a flourishing store one day and needs people to be able to make it come true. Notice how the geek’s idea of the world is grounded in reality while the non-geek tends to be more romanticized.  

Second, for a geek the future is out to get them.  They never know for sure what is around the next corner and its frightening. For someone so grounded in what they know, the fear of the unknown is very real.  A non-geek will be looking to the future, in hopes that they can rise and become better than they already are.  They are excited for what the future has in store.  Third, knowing.  When a geek “knows” something, you better be sure they actually know it!  If a geek saying they know “a little about starwars” be ready. What they actually mean is “I’ve spent the past ten years watching all the movies, all the tv shows, reading all the books, studying up on all the newest fan-theories, and looking forward to the next installment in the series.  They can quote the majority of “A New Hope” by heart and most of “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi”.  If you hear a non-geek say that, they likely mean that they saw “The Force Awakens” and thought it was “ok”.

Fourth, language is just a tool to some geeks.  If there is nothing important to say, there is no use in saying anything at all.  For non-geeks, language is for sharing. They are able to handle small talk well as that’s what it’s for, right?  Geeks on the other hand have to go to Quora for tips on small talk. Fifth, lying.  A geek sees lying as a very wrong thing to do.  Information is sacred and if you spread false information, you have ruined its sacredness.  Don’t say anything unless you know 100% that a thing is true.  A non-geek on the other hand sees lying as wrong, but less so than the geek.  It’s ok to stretch the truth a little as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone.  Sixth, Good and evil are absolutes. There is no grey in the mind of a geek.  Something must be 100% good or 100% evil.  Otherwise, how would we know what is truly good or evil?  Seventh and last, wanting.  When a geek is making a decision, they won’t take into account their own feelings about a situation, only the facts. A non-geek on the other hand will mostly take into account how they feel and allow it to guide them.

In my experiences, these seven do tend to be true.  It’ll be weird in the future seeing how these play a part in my live and the lives of those around me.