In their own way, the MAC hackers were the forerunners of other kinds of psychic desperadoes who appeared on college campuses in the 1960s. A contempt for middle-class values and an abiding interest in the workings of their own mind were two characteristics that hackers were to share with later subcultures who had nothing to do with computers. David Rodman was a confirmed hacker in the late 1960s, when he began to dabble in a very different yet strangely similar outlaw subculture that was springing up in the Cambridge student community.
“I would characterize my first acid trip as a quantum leap into the innards of my own psychology,” David recalls today. “Suddenly, there was–inside myself. I didn’t know the path to get in, but there I was. I could observe myself playing the guitar or writing code, and think to myself while improvising.
‘Where am I going and how do I know how to go there and what am I really expressing?’ It was the trip of all trips.”
David thinks that “for my peculiar cognitive style, programming was a perfect preparation for psychedelics, because it allowed me to model a little piece of my personality in the machine, and interact with it. The older hackers would tell me ‘never mind what the main program does, we want you to write a program that moves a chess piece on a chessboard,’ so I wrote a small, gemlike part of the utility package that went into one of the chess programs. The next time I found myself in one of those gemlike structures on my first acid trip.”
– Howard Rheingold – _Tools For Thought_