Mj, you meant more to me than you'll ever know. You were my teacher, my mentor, my friend, my hero. Every moment that we spent together was special. Every moment forever etched in my memory.
Mj, when we first met, twelve years ago, I was seventeen and you twenty-one. I was despondent, depressed, disillusioned, and living in darkness. Through logic alone, you took apart my worldview, brick by brick, until the light of truth could shine through. Day after day, week after week, month after month, you systematically poked and prodded, argued, and explained until my spirit could rise above its darkness. Your teachings were so profound that I had all manner of religious experiences, culminating in full blown samadhi. All throughout, you were there to guide me, to inspire me, to encourage me, and to help me on my path. You were my guru, Mj, and one of the finest gurus around. Who else could teach enlightenment over IRC?
Mj, more than just a guru, you were also my friend. Discussing philosophy, religion, crypto, girls, meeting up IRL, going Jitsu together, going DNScon, or even just walking around Manchester, it was all special.
And the latter part of your life, Mj, I believe was best summed up by Pink Floyd:
You reached for the secret too soon,
You cried for the moon,
Shine on you crazy diamond!
-Leo Samulis (York)
When did I meet Matt?
We first began talking when I was in middle (secondary) school and he was graduating Uni. If Matt is six years older than me, and I met him at about the same time that I was finishing 7th grade, then we must have first began talking in the year-end of 2000, when I was either 13 or 14 years old and he was 19 or 20. Since then, Matt, Martyn, Sam, Andrew and I have been talking for almost 13 years. I only started keeping IRC logs since 2003, and by then Mj was out of Uni for at least 1 year and working as a low-level, embedded-systems programmer.
How was our relationship?
I belive Mj would describe me as a friend, and I consider him to be a friend of mine – a friend who shared his interest in both logic and spirituality with me.
Matt was an influence on me – not a primary influence, but he was an influence. For example, because of Matt, I have read the Uddhava and the Baghavad Gita several times over. He had inspired me to read about the existential philosopher Sartre and to know that there are no actions but beliefs in actions.
Matt did believe in God. He said that the proof that god exists has presented itself, but that we are to be open minded enough to understand the experience of the existence of god. Quote: "You can't argue yourself out of samsara." Mj, 2003.05.05.
We did disagree on musical taste, but not completely. In fact, the last task Mj and I did together was listen to Pink Floyd's 'The Wall,' and I sincerely enjoyed doing that.
Although we sometimes had our falling-out moments, the most important thing I remember Mj saying pertained to emphasizing the importance of mastering the ability to be an independent-thinking person, "A good teacher protects his students from his own influence."
It comes with great difficulty to me to accept this news about Matt, but I will continue to reflect and to think about him in positive ways. He really meant a lot to me.
-Daniel Osuna (Oregon, USA)
I knew Mj for a little over a decade, from early 2000. He always had time to share his advice and look at any code I had made.
We covered a lot of topics on our conversations, current events and past. His death marks a end of an era, you will be missed friend.
-Janne Tuomola (Forssa, Finland)
I have a lot to thank Mj for. He helped to keep my flame for programming burning bright, and opened my eyes to a whole different world of philosophy and spirituality. Not to mention Pink Floyd.
Matt's passing is indeed the end of an era. I'm very sorry that I couldn't spend more time with him, and wish I had met him at an older age.
It's certainly the passing of a great, if troubled, mind.
-Thomas Fletcher (Birmingham, UK)
Met Matt thru IRC over a decade ago. He was always up for our usual shenanigans and more serious topics of conversation. He had great advice to give.
It truly hit hard to hear him pass away. He was a remarkable person and a great friend to us all.
I hope to see you again in some form or another.
-Jani Jutila (Espoo Finland)
I first met Matt in 1998. He was one of my flat mates in our halls of residence in first year of university. I read physics and Matt was reading computer Science at Manchester. I remember Matt coming to me about 3 days before the first set of exams started in January 1999. Matt asked if he could borrow a text book from a maths course we shared. In his words he was “a little behind on his course notes”, which of course meant that he had no course notes. I had been diligently studying for weeks, attending lectures, going to extra tutorials, I had even joined a study group. When Matt said that he basically needed to a terms worth of studying in 3 days I chuckled to myself, gave him the book and wished him luck.
Matt read some of the book over the next couple of days but really didn't seem to be trying too hard. I would have been running around in circles reciting calculus approaches but Matt was a cool as you like. The night before his exam he went out to the bar in our halls of residence had a few beers and shot pool until midnight. I stayed in re-read my notes and got an early night.
Would you f***ing believe that he left me eating his dust and got 90% on that exam? Which in his words was “OK” but he couldn't understand where he dropped that 10%.
I moved away from Manchester four years ago and we kind of lost touch. Every so often I would think to myself “I really must give Matt a buzz and see how he’s doing” but somehow I just never quite got around to it. It will be a lifelong regret that I never picked up the phone.
I’ll miss you Matt, but I won’t forget you.
Matt was a talented hacker, a formiddable problem solver and was highly respected by everyone who was anyone.
He was a great role model, and everyone in our channel wanted to be like him. He is being missed terribly already and it's only been a few days since he's been gone. I will never be able to forget his larconic wit.
I sincerely hope Matt found Nirvana, as I think he has earnt it more than anyone else I know. This truely is a tragedy.
-Martyn Braithwaite (Bristol UK)
I never had the pleasure of meeting MJ in person but can proudly say I knew him as a good friend online.
Mj was always there to help you through any problem you may be having and was a true gent. Many a time I have sought Mj's opinion/advice and every time was bowled over by his generous and sympathetic touch.
You will always be remembered friend.
-Phil Tomlinson (Leeds)
It was really unfortunate of me,that I did not knew Matt(Mj) more than 5 or 6 years.Never-the-less,he was a one brilliant friend.The one,who we are all going to miss.
Mj was always there to explain you things,that you don't understand and,cheer you up in the shallow times.I really did enjoy the spiritual conversions with him as much as the laughs.
Though,It is sad and,I'm having hard time believing,that Mj is not with us.I hope,he is at the better place and,his soul is at peace.
-Dhaval Vadgama (London,UK)
Hey buddy, it breaks my heart to hear the news of you passing. For someone who taught me the ropes of programming, withstood the constant nagging and fighting, inspired me to take on a martial art, and taught me (although, you were never quite good :P) how to play Go, there's not much i could write, or say, or do to show my gratitude to you as a person.
You always inspired me to strive better in myself, and weren't to shy to point people out for being toys, while still accepting the (many) different views of people who crossed your path.
Oh brother of noble faith, have a safe trip. I'm sure we will cross paths again...
p.s. It's roots must hold the sky.
-Anthony Garcia (New York)
Matthew was a teacher and mentor to me and many other individuals, and I will always remember him for always having the time and patience to discuss, tutor and guide me in many things that interested me, and if it wasn't for him it's doubtful I would be doing what I do now, and for this I will always be grateful.
Mj was one of the brightest people I have ever had the fortune to meet. He excelled in everything he put his mind to, and I'm proud to have called him my friend.
Rest In Peace
-Peter Taylor (London, UK)
I met Matthew in high school back in 1991, I was lucky enough to to be friends with Mat all the way through high school and one year of college.... I lost touch with Mat and was shocked to hear about his passing. He was a good lad back in high school and from what I read here it looks like he was a good lad throughout his adult life.
Hope your in a good place now fella, you will be missed.
-Simon Ford (Brisbane)