Lately, things have not been going so well. (Boo hoo.) So, now, when I try to program, I sit there and stare. Or if I do something, it's weeding manually through a long trace. A friend showed up and I told him about the nasty bug I was trying to fix, where things derail 8,000 executed lines later after the small chunk of code that got introduced. He chipperly suggested a few things -- and worse, they occured to me -- obvious things, in retrospect. diffing Devel::Trace logs. Walking the stack with PadWalker dumping lexical variables at strategic spots and diffing those.
If your leg stops working, you stop using it. If nothing good comes from trying to use your mind, you'll stop using it. Not completely, of course, but the well is treated as poisened. Our concious estimatation of our intelligence is entirely worthless, but unconcious mechanisms exist to kinda sorta regulate "bright ideas". (Homer Simpsom is funny because his "bright idea" regulation mechanism out of whack.) Us computer guys are dependant upon the well not being poisoned our having and being able to trust our brains to cook up cleverish stuff. It didn't get beat out of us in childhood, and we're trying hard not to get it beat out of us in adulthood. But adulthood is rigged with traps -- things that even intelligence can't solve -- relationship stuff. Dealing with people, who are likely to go vindictive for no reason other than that you're intelligent and that threatens them. Arbitrary power mongers and bullies. The status quo. Intelligence is of little to no use in these situations, and trying to use it will rejust engage this "no more bright ideas" throttling. It's little wonder that CSy types disengage their brains when dealing with real life -- they're passive and non-communicative in their relationships, they don't take care of auto problems, finances are a mess, etc. They can't handle those things with their only tool and using their only tool would actually break the tool. It's not exactly pride, either, where if your pride is wounded, you poutily refuse -- it's more fundamental than that.
I've often lamented that I can't think because too much is going on. Nerd types often just bill themselves as "not being good at" certain things and refuse to try. Neither is quite right -- we must function intellectually exclusively in a virtual fantasy world of solvable computer problems or else the reacclimation to reality will do serious and profound damage to our mutated organ.