Today I was looking at a beautiful mountain lake. A cool wind was blowing off the water, ripples sparkled in the sunlight, and the mountains in the distance were framed by gorgeous light. I felt a great inner peace, and the sense that I could sit and watch this lake forever.

Yet somewhere in my mind I could hear the voice of my inner hacker. “We can totally simulate this. Then you won’t need to go to a mountain lake to have this experience. High resolution projection onto a slanted ground plane, phase adjusted speakers on either side, software-controlled blower fans in the right position…” The mental “how-to” checklist was comprehensive and insistent.

My better judgment knew that this was all nonsense. If you could have a “mountain lake” experience anytime and anywhere, it would no longer be a magical moment in your life. It would simply be one more channel on the all pervasive multi-media idiot box. Yet it was surprisingly hard to tell my inner hacker to shut up.

Later in the day I went on a mountain hike. It was not easy, but it was fun. By the time I had made it up to a beautiful secluded waterfall and was on my way back down the mountain, I was completely exhausted and happy.

Fortunately, this time my inner hacker knew when it was outclassed, and had the good sense to just shut the hell up.

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