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April 2, 2024 07:15 pm GMT

Space, life, and feelings I cannot explain

Nice to meet you, my name is Lev (Lev is my middle name not many people know about, but I don't want to doxx myself so I will leave it at that). Currently a data engineer for a global fashion brand (useless and meaningless, I know).

In this post, I will try something different. I will attempt to show you a glimpse of myself as a person (and I am fully aware I might look like an idiot doing it).

Some of the concepts that I am about to describe dwelled in my mind for literal years, some shaped me to be who I am, and some are complete nonsense. This is the first time I will write any of them down. Hopefully, you will enjoy the result as much as I enjoy writing it.

Unfortunate childhood

Growing up in the early 90s, I was always a "nerd" (I believe that is what they used to call me, maybe it's insensitive). Growing up as an only child to a mentally ill mother and a drug-addicted father, we moved around every six months to a year to try and find the cheapest possible rent we could find.

Friendless as I was back then, the family computer was the only outlet I had. And ever since a very young age, I taught myself how to do things others could not do using the computer (hence my self-proclaimed hacker title). I was around 12 years old when I built my first online game server with hundreds of daily active users.

But, this is not a sob story and the only thing that truly matters is the fact that I had a fascination with computers and technology from a very young age.

If anyone is interested - I forgave both my parents (although my father has been out of the picture for a while). They did everything they could for me at the time, and we are mostly past those days.

A feeling I cannot explain

Growing up, I often felt a specific feeling I could not explain. You probably know this uncanny, almost eerie sensation we get when we are looking at a large, empty space. It's a phenomenon phrased as "liminal space" by the folks at Reddit (I believe the term is taken from the field of architecture).

Liminal spaces have always made my gut twist in a weird, yet exciting way - it's like a calling, the space is looking at you just as much as you are looking at it. Many people describe this feeling as negative, creepy, or unsettling (and mostly, they are right). Large, empty spaces feel unnatural to us for some reason... But some spaces, very particularly vast spaces that are somewhat "liminal", or maybe even "metaphysically liminal" - leave a positive effect on me.

This "calling" (for lack of a better word) is proof to me that there is something bigger than us out there, it's proof there is magic to this world that we are unaware of, yet.

I rarely feel this feeling anymore. But when I do, it makes me understand immediately that I am just a cog in a very complex and elaborate system called life, the universe, and everything. It's a great feeling, knowing you are a part of the most sophisticated system in existence - which is existence itself. And you are here because the system needs you, or at least, this is what I believe.

I can feel it when I am sitting outside in the middle of the night, enjoying the silence. I can feel it when I am listening to rogue frequencies on my ham radio, or when I am looking at pictures such as this great one by Kathyryn Tripp.

This feeling or sensation, for some weird reason, is the biggest drive I have ever had - it describes within me the drive to know the unknown, to unravel the wonders of our world, and the desire to be a part of something greater than myself.

Outer space signaling

The aforementioned feeling ultimately developed a fascination with planets, stars, and outer space. Theories about what is out there, and the endless possibilities of the unknown blew my mind. My love for frequencies, antennas, and radios started when I was around 18 years old. Back then, I read about 1977's WOW signal that was discovered by astronomer Jerry R. Ehman at Ohio State University. Ehman discovered a signal that came from the deep ends of space (or maybe the neighbor's pager, who knows?). Upon discovering the signal, Ehman's excitement led him to write "WOW!" on the printed paper, hence the name.

Fascinated as I always was, the signal's existence shaped my life, career, and education. I subconsciously decided to learn more about frequencies and the technologies we have to use them. From there I embarked on my (very long) coding journey. Today, I am working as a data engineer during the day, and researching hacking and cybersecurity using radios (SDR), frequencies, and other gadgets in my free time - mostly in the "Internet of Things" field (If anybody's interested, I can write about it in another article).

To this day, I cannot properly put into words the feeling that took such a large role in shaping me from the very beginning. I can just confidently say that this feeling has been there from the start and still lingers within me today.

What else?

I believe that being a developer is not just about our technical knowledge or expertise. Being a developer, a hacker, an engineer, essentially a creator - is about our passion, our unexplainable feelings and sensations that arise from creating, and improving ourselves and the world around us.

Thank you for taking the time to read this far! I tried to offer a glimpse of myself in this article. I hope I succeeded, and that you resonated with my story and were able to get to know me a little better. Hopefully, I could get to know you a little bit better as well.

I would like it if you could write your own introduction article, because we all have a story, a drive, and a reason for being here, and I would love to know yours.

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