Geek - originally used to describe eccentric or non-mainstream people; in current use, the word typically connotes an expert or enthusiast or a person obsessed with a hobby or intellectual pursuit, with a general pejorative meaning of a "peculiar person, especially one who is perceived to be overly intellectual, unfashionable, boring, or socially awkward
At the moment of writing, that is what Wikipedia has to say about the Geek. The word itself originally means fool or freak. Why would anyone (me for instance) embrace this, and be proud of it? Let's check another description of Geek before I try to answer that. This time the quote is from the Urban Dictionary:
The people you pick on in high school and wind up working for as an adult
Filled with irony, this can be seen as a rather compact summary of what Wikipedia tries to explain above. The irony is important here, I believe. Not only ironic and about Geek Achievements - it captures what I believe is the key: the Geek is usually something in the eye of the beholder.
It's about the observer, not the subject.
And it's usually about looking down on someone and what they do, or at least to distance yourself from it. A freak. Outsider. They are passionate about something you can't understand or appreciate the value of.
It is, in essence, easier to make someone else look weird than acknowledge you don't understand what they do or why it could be interesting or rewarding.
That is, until that someone makes a lot of money pursuing their passion. Everyone can understand the value of money, I guess. This is what makes the definition from Urban Dictionary so good in my opinion.
I still think it boils down to the feeling of being inferiour to or not understanding someone - and by this push them down or away (even though not on purpose). This can be "fixed", I think. How?
By sharing and educating. Make our passion understandable for those who don't see what the fuzz is about. They don't have to join or even appreciate it, but if they understand it a little bit more there's less of a distance to it. It's not a crusade I'm after but enlightenment.
This blog, apart from being a platform for some of my Geeky projects, is dedicated to this mission. I realize this now since someone (one of the first to view a page on the blog where they were mentioned) said (jokingly but still):
"Geek? Surerly we are not Geeks?!"
I have already started to write this text but the reaction prompted me to think about it some more. And I do believe we need to redefine the Geek.
And yes, we are. We are Geeks. And it's a beautiful thing.