Maturational Monks,

Dawdling about the Monastery over morning coffee, I wandered into the Saints in our Book node. And was intrigued by the entries in the "Last Here" column that are measured in years: 3 years ago, 4 years ago, 5, 6, 7... 8 years ago!

In other words, people who have moved on to other things.

Now, people move on in their work lives. But what struck me was the casualness of the breaks. Look at these people's most recent posts. In almost all cases, their last post was some ordinary act of replying to a node. One minute they're engaged Perl users, hanging out on PerlMonks answering questions. Then, perhaps the very next minute after that last post, their work lives take some sort of turn that expunges Perl discussion from their lives forever. Or at least for 3,4,5...8 years.

Perl monks, it seems, by and large, don't go out with a bang - they just go gentle into that good night. One minute a Perl Monk brimming with years of knowledge and skill, the next minute there will never be cause for another conversation about Perl for the rest of their lives. No fanfare, no decision - just silence.

I find it ponderous. Years spent honing a craft, amassing knowledge. It's all so critically important in the moment. Then one day, it's not. It all just becomes irrelevant enough to never speak of it again. I think it would be a very interesting study to know what happened in all these people's lives at that point.

But this most certainly has zero to do with Perl and everything to do with life. A case of Perl-life illuminating a facet of life in general. How many things do we experience in the same way. There's not always a graduation, or a divorce, or a retirement party, at the end of a phase in life.

Sometimes, we just move on.

But in the meantime, the thing that so obsessed us for so long has served us well. Its new irrelevance does not diminish the reality of its importance to us at the time. Nor does our moving on diminish the real value of whatever it is to those who are entering a similar phase of life. So hopefully all that knowledge and experience don't get truly lost. Hopefully it gets passed on to those who are now finding it critical to their lives.

In the context of Perl, and programming in general, this brings us full circle to Old monks can go gently into that good night without the the accompanying tragedy of all that knowledge being lost. So all is right and good in the universe.

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
  • Comment on Old Monks go gentle into that good night.

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Old Monks go gentle into that good night.
by eyepopslikeamosquito (Bishop) on Mar 21, 2013 at 19:04 UTC

    Perl monks, it seems, by and large, don't go out with a bang - they just go gentle into that good night. One minute a Perl Monk brimming with years of knowledge and skill, the next minute there will never be cause for another conversation about Perl for the rest of their lives.
    Though I suspect you're right (by and large), it's problematic to verify. For example, consider: I understand -- from their public Perl activities -- that these monks are still actively involved with Perl, it's just that they don't hang out here very much nowadays. These are some of the more well-known Perl monks. What about monks who continue to actively use Perl at work, but don't publicly participate in the Perl community anymore? It's impossible to know how many fit into that category.

    Sometimes monks disappear for years, then reappear. Sometimes, sadly, they shuffle off this mortal coil.

      I suspect many just spend their free time in other places. brian, for instance, has been active on StackOverflow a lot. Others have taken to blogging for interacting with the community in the way that they might have done with Meditations posts previously.

      Personally, I stopped visiting regularly several years ago. The site was terminally slow (seems better now, so +1 to that). I wasn't learning as much as I used to answering people's questions, and answering for the sake of XP wasn't doing much for me other than being a big time sink. I had fewer questions of my own and the nature of those were sufficiently esoteric that I was more often going direct to places like #p5p or #toolchain on IRC.

      So, mostly, I think I just outgrew it.

      It looks like most of my posts since 2009 have just been 'community announcment' type posts. I only checked in today because I got an email with a bug report referencing a thread there.

      Kudos to those saints who are still here, participating vigorously for the next generation.


      Code written by xdg and posted on PerlMonks is public domain. It is provided as is with no warranties, express or implied, of any kind. Posted code may not have been tested. Use of posted code is at your own risk.
Re: Old Monks go gentle into that good night.
by regexes (Hermit) on Mar 27, 2013 at 08:41 UTC
    My fellow monks,

    This post has in some way plucked a cord in my being. It has enticed me to reflect upon my errant ways and due to that, I feel the need to articulate my thoughts in these esteemed halls. Although I cannot speak for the Saints nor for anyone else, I can try to elaborate as to why I have been missing over the last years. How long was I gone? Looking at my write-ups, I see that I posted on 2013-02-28. The last post before that was on 2009-11-20, i.e. a little more than 3 years ago. Of course, that is not so long ago as 8 years, however, it is still a significant absence.

    Running the risk of being ignored, applauded, ridiculed, upheld, down or up-voted, I hearwith offer my explanation(s).

    The essential question which must be answered (by me) is simple: why was I gone so long?
    Although the question may be simple, I expect the answer is not.

    The answer to the question is: priorities.

    That might appear to be self-centered or contain a lack of piety but I beg to differ. Life has a way of forcing us to deal with the most perceived necessity, be it work or play. Our attention flitters from one desire or necessity to the next.

    Projects beckon.
    And as we all know, not all projects revolve around nor require Perl.
    Priorities change.

    The Monastery and my fellow monks have always been lingering in my subconscious. Even when not visiting this sanctuary on a regularly basis.

    Will I disappear again? Surely…. that is the circular nature and demand of life. Will other monks disappear? Probably… but due to the days of self-reflection, meditation and conversation within theses holy walls, the seeds of community will call them home again and again.

    So it was with me, so it will be with them.
Re: Old Monks go gentle into that good night.
by Random_Walk (Prior) on Apr 11, 2013 at 11:51 UTC

    After some active years on P.M I moved on to a product that prefers Lua and Java to Perl. The little Perl I was still using was pretty simple so no need to seek help for a while. I was also busy learning new languages so did not have the time to drop in here to lend a hand.

    Now however I am heading back into a Perl heavy environment, so hopefully I will be around a bit more.


    Wow! It really is good to be back. First question posted got several solid answers in minutes. I repent for straying down the path of Lua/Python


    Pereant, qui ante nos nostra dixerunt!
Re: Old Monks go gentle into that good night.
by pvaldes (Chaplain) on Mar 22, 2013 at 14:49 UTC

    Maybe trapped in the gravitational vortex of perl6?...

    It is possible also that some of them reply as anonymonks occasionally

A reply falls below the community's threshold of quality. You may see it by logging in.