Extremely disillusioned with technology. Please help

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I was drawn to programming, science, technology and science fiction
ever since I was a little kid. I can’t say it’s because I wanted to
make the world a better place. Not really. I was simply drawn to it
because I was drawn to it. Writing programs was fun. Figuring out how
nature works was fascinating. Science fiction felt like a grand
Then I started a software company and poured every ounce of energy
into it. It failed. That hurt, but that part is ok. I made a lot of
mistakes and learned from them. This experience made me much, much
better. I’m satisfied with that.
What’s not ok is *how* things ended. Many of the investors turned out
to be bloodthirsty vultures who tore the carcass to pieces. Had we
IPO’ed, these same people would have stood there with giant smiles
telling everyone how they’d always known we were special and how
they’d supported us all along.
I lost many friends. Throughout the whole thing I was lucky to meet
many brilliant, creative, talented people. Together, we worked *so*
hard. Now we don’t talk.
I spent a lot of time thinking about how I contributed to these failed
relationships. I learned a lot from that too. It wasn’t my finest
hour, but I can sleep at night fine. So I eventually decided it’s
mostly nobody’s fault. This is just the reality of what happens to
people when extreme stress ends in failure.
Then I worked for a tech giant, and then for a high-growth unicorn. It
shocked me how dilbertesque they both were. Full of politicians, and
burnt out engineers in golden handcuffs who can’t wait to get out, and
meaningless business speak, and checked out employees who pretend
they’re “excited” about everything all the time. The young, wide-eyed
engineers seem hopelessly naive to me now.
So the worst case scenario is that you get eaten by vultures and lose
friends. And the best case scenario is that you’re in a soulless
machine that turns everyone into an automaton. I know that’s not the
whole picture. It’s not even most of the picture. But that’s the part
I can’t unsee.
For a long time I couldn’t focus on any remotely intellectual pursuit.
I even thought I permanently damaged my brain. But eventually I
started exercising, went on anti-depressants, and started therapy.
Then I got a job that has nothing to do with technology. Slowly my
happiness returned, and with it my ability to focus. I do a lot of
sports now and hang out with my non-techy friends and my wife. I cook
a lot. I got into knot theory. I find it fascinating and can do it for
hours. I’m surprisingly not bad at it. So I know I still have my
But I still can’t program, can’t write, can’t think of new products,
can’t read science fiction. I’m mostly happy, but there is always a
hint of dissatisfaction underneath. I miss the creative, optimistic
person I once was. I want to see past the cynicism. I want to write
programs and make things. I want to work with a ragtag team again to
bring something to life that didn’t exist before. I want to learn how
to see past the bullshit and be creative again. But I can’t get myself
to do it. I hear the call and I know there’s still a spark. But when I
take even the smallest step everything turns bleak and mundane. It’s
like the magic has been bled out of me and I don’t know how to summon
it back.
Has anyone been through this who managed to recover their optimism and
creative spirit? Please help me. What can I do?

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