Not a blackhat. Not a whitehat. A clearhat.
so... what is a clearhat?
A clearhat is someone who realizes that there is an endless war between blackhats and whitehats that has been going on for centuries, even millennia, maybe since the dawn of civilization itself: For every whitehat that appears on the scene, there is a blackhat out there, who is or becomes an equal. They create each other; as one develops a new skill, the other learns how to oppose or overcome that skill, and vice-versa. It's like an arms race, where each battle is won by the side that develops the best new weapon.
So a clearhat is someone who sees this, and realizes this: "No matter how good I am, no matter how bad I am, no matter how skilled I am, or whether I fail, I'm only contributing to an endless war between two opposing forces, which existed before I was born, and will exist long after I'm gone." A clearhat understands war is hell, but also knows: wars are where warriors and great heros are forged, as well as the traitors and other great failures of character and all that lies between.
A clearhat, then, is someone who aims higher, and begins playing a different game -- neither white nor black. To those who play the white/black zero-sum game, the clearhat position is seen as a form of betrayal, immaturity, or incompetence, because "if you're not for us, you're against us" and there is little tolerance for people in the middle who can't make up their minds, especially when there's a war going on. So that's all they see in a clearhat -- someone who can't make up their mind. But that is not at all what is happening. A clearhat is one who, awkwardly at first as with all things, but increasingly intentionally, invents a path forward which is somehow BOTH, together, simultaneously, specifically navigating uncharted territory with a heavy emphasis on neutral, choosing to do those things "against which there is no law" with clarity of purpose, walking in the forbidden land between two giants who throw stones at each other every day.
Their game is about simplicity and elegance, not win vs lose. The whitehat/blackhat is a global game with many layers, which grows more complex with every passing minute, likely reaching all the way back into evolution's grand struggle for survival and its continual ascendence theme. The clearhat game does the opposite of the zero-sum game, but not opposing -- ever so careful not to oppose... unravelling... making more simple. It's an opposite because it is NOT what it opposes, but it does so without opposition, and this is not a paradoxical statement, but one that operates on two levels simultaneously, with an aim toward simplicity, not endless division. For it is in simplicity that we can find the oneness that all, deep within our souls, seek.
Clearhats seek a lifestyle oriented around competent simplicity, because it is this simplification of complexity which ripples out into the larger culture with each interaction; the more personal integrity a clearhat can bring to this game, the more potent that ripple. This is the neutral force which embraces and simultaneously resists both black and white, in equal measure, introducing a third option whenever possible -- but not forcefully -- since it's more of a graceful thing, in order to avoid outright opposition. Instead of inventing the next great weapon, or its antidote, the clearhat is inventing ways to get by without weapons altogether by replacing their need with other cool and interesting things and ideas. Note, however, clearhat simplicity must be an elegant, liveable one, not fake or theoretical or extreme. This is not about going into the desert and living like a monk, this is about living in the midst of a polarized culture, blending in, being ordinary, joining the ordo ordinarium -- the order of the ordinary people, being one with the common man who is usually cannon fodder for the wars, because these are the people who are forgotten, disposable, by the powers that start and stop wars at will. Clearhats are not saviors; that is a whitehat role. Clearhats are principled, and their efforts are increasingly more wholistic, meaning that they themselves are growing in character, becoming more integrated within themselves, even more than they are in relation to the world. Note that both sides, great whitehats and great blackhats, have great personal integrity in some distinct way. Well, clearhats do the same, but there is little or no outward show of this, if they're doing it right, because they well understand the grand war raging above their heads will rapidly consume them if they appear to be distinctly one side or the other, because wars are hungry for people with integrity.
A clearhat is definitely not a form of escapism, which it can appear to be to those stuck in the zero sum game. A clearhat must be competent in their field. Not the best -- it ain't about that -- but, always learning, able to quickly become a hacker for good or for evil because all the skills are in place, but never doing so, because they simply have their eyes on other goals. If not continually growing in competence, he's just pretending, and that's not what this is about. At least, not anymore, because pretention, it turns out, is just one of the steps on the way toward actual competence. Newbies for both "sides" are pretentious, but the whitehats learn quickly they must learn to govern their pretention. Sadly, this early stage is a step where many people stay, but clearhats and whitehats understand; it must eventually be transcended in order for the truth which liberates to be known.
Be ordinary -- not defensively, not offensively, but intentionally, thoughtfully, competently, simply. There is no initiation into the clearhat world; that would be pretentious. It's an idea you like or you don't, and if you like it, you do it, uniting thought and action into a position which tolerates much, resists by grace not force, and cleverly builds a world where war becomes just a great story about the way things used to be.
That being said, this is the website of a software developer and lover of philosophy and mathematics and technology and the ultimate elegant hacker, the Lord Jesus Christ, mostly stuff like Sagittarian INTJs might dig. The rest of you will probably find this all tedious, not charming.