David vs. Goliath: David as a Hacker - Fortune

David vs. Goliath: David as a Hacker

The Israelites and the Philistines schedule a large battle. The Philistines have far superior equipment with armours made out of cast iron, which the Israelites don’t have. Eventually, Goliath, a tall Philistine giant, steps forward and asks for an Israelite man worthy enough to fight him and determine the fate of the battle (something which was quite common in the ancient Near East). It seems the Israelites will lose the battle.

Out of nowhere, a young Israelite boy whom hardly anyone knew about steps forward with a sling and a few pebbles. Goliath thinks this is ridiculous and ridicules him. However, the boy quickly puts a pebble in his sling, and after rotating the sling to achieve a very large velocity (not unusual with slings) hurls the pebble with great accuracy (also not unthinkable, because shepherds in the Near East effectively used slings to kill lions and other predators to their flock) into Goliath’s face, which was uncovered to allow him to see. Even if Goliath’s shield bearer wanted to, he could not lift the huge shield in time, and Goliath was completely not agile in his suit and armour. The sling’s rock smashes Goliath brain, and he falls to the ground dead. The Israelites have won the battle.

That boy’s name was David.

Why is it important here? Because David was a “hacker”. Why was he a hacker? Because he knew the rules, and played by them, but knew how to bend them, in order to earn his victory. Hackers bend the rules.

And here’s the thing: this is what an action hero is all about: he makes his own rules, or he even breaks them, and does not accept his fate. This is whereas a tragic hero is bound by many invisible rules, and accepts his fate, which is, almost certainly going to be death.

And in real life, you should also aim to be a hacker or an action hero, or the many phrases it used to be called.

Author Shlomi Fish
Work Summerschool at the NSA