Drowning in the Sea of Infinity
If the light of a thousand suns
were to rise in the sky at once
it would be like the light
of that great spirit.
— भगवद् गीता
I remember when we were so young,
you embraced my fears and made me strong;
but never did you actually hold my hand,
your silence no one would understand.
— Dream Theater, Speak to Me
I discovered this weekend that Fravia+ passed away about two months ago; I had read about his illness some time ago, but somehow missed the announcement of his death until now.
For those of you unfamiliar with this character, Fravia was one of the old school reversers (as in reverse engineering); or "hacker", in the sense that I personally identify with. In those days, knowledge was handed down from the great wizards like +ORC and others, but it was Fravia that truly brought the message to the masses (you may find his old site archived in various places). This was not merely about "cracking" software copy protection; but about taking things apart, understanding the way they work — and not just software, either. Later, he turned his focus to the meta-art of searching; seeking out information, wherever it may be hidden. His eccentric tone, which some no doubt found to be pompous and patronising, was something that endeared me to him from the very beginning; and the communities that sprung up around the gardens he planted were true jewels gleaming in the darkness of cyberspace.
Unfortunately, as time moved on, I lost touch with these communities, as I have lost touch with so many others. I still feel a strong connection to them, but I ceased participating in the interactions for whatever reasons, as my focus moved on to other places; and this is really what this post is about. Somehow, despite my efforts to the contrary, I'm unable to cling to everything I hold dear; like trying to gather the sea into one's hands, it just flows through my fingertips, and I don't know what to do about it. In some ways, this is similar to another problem I have previously described; dealing with ideas that are too big to hold in mind all at once. Yet, this is not quite the same issue; this is more of a social issue, wrapped up with issues of time and concentration. I somehow need to become my future self, without losing that which comprises my past self; to gain new understanding and insight, without losing that which was previously important.
And so, I find myself conflicted and disquieted; and most of all, mourning the passing of a great man, someone I would have liked to number amongst my friends, even if it were not so. Sail well, dearest Fravia, you are someone who will not be forgotten quickly or easily; and to those who perchance remember an old stranger, fellow traveller, or friend, I miss you all somehow, somewhere…