Update: Wikileaks and Cryptographic Mythology
[ by Charles Cameron ]
It seems my intuition of a Lovecraft connection with WikiLeaks was right, as was Jean’s suggestion that the MARUTUKKU quote is “more specific and extensive and ‘mythological'” than the translations of Enuma Elish she’d found on the net. I dropped Anders Sandberg a line letting him know I’d quoted him in my earlier post, and he graciously responded with this clarification of the mystery:
I think the MARUTUKKU name/description is from the Simon Necronomicon, which did its best to shoehorn mythology into the mythos, and might explain the different translation. Of course, one might argue that that book is a real, a hoax posing as real, real posing as a hoax, or both at the same time.
Anders, currently a staff member with the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford (which name strikingly reminds me of the Bright Futures Institute in Qom, Oxford’s parallel in the Iranian universe), is also known for his writings on Mage: the Ascension and other role-playing games — see for instance this account of the Asatru in M:tA.
The bearded, theremin-wielding mage Steve Burnett [left] also noted the origin of the MARUTUKKU quote in the Simon Necronomicon in his comment on my no-less-bearded mage-friend [right] Bryan Alexander‘s blog Infocult — which features a rich vein of gothic imaginings and runs with the subtitle “We haunt every medium we make”.
Delighted to find an excuse to post that photo, btw. My warm regards to all…
December 4th, 2010 at 10:44 pm
Mr. Assange may be hearkening to H.P. Lovecraft and the Necronomicon in his internal codes and even in his personal self-mythologizing. I yield to no one in my enduring love for Lovecraft and his work. But, it seems a little juvenile to be using this sort of fantastical fiction when engaging in real-world deeds with real-world consequences. On the other hand, perhaps only someone who treated the world and its supposedly respectable powers and institutions as a giant dungeon to be invaded and mapped by a team of players, would undertake something like this. In this view, the so-called "real world" is simply one of many massive, multi-player games, and not necessarily the best designed one, or the hardest one to play.The mysterious cults in the Lovecraftian universe succesfully, over millenia, kept their arcana arcane, but Lovecrafts investigators exhumed it, showing that the world we thought we lived in was a far different place than we imagined it to be. The revelations usually cost the protagonists their sanity. Mr. Assange may see himself similarly, stripping away the secrecy and double-talk from the arcana of governments and militaries and businesses (I eagerly await the document dump from one or more big banks). So, a self-identification with the fictional Lovecraftian world makes some sense.
December 5th, 2010 at 5:45 pm
It seems to me that a bit of distributed intelligence courtesy of Jean, Anders, Bryan and Steve has allowed us a shift in perspective on Assange’s use of the name MARUTUKKU — from Jean’s original focus on the ancient Enuma Elish to Anders’ and Steve’s references to its recent variant in the “Simon” Necronomicon.
Jean has offered her interpretation of the contextual implications of Assange referencing the Enuma Elish, and it seems you have begun the task of releasing such implications for the Lovecraft / Necronomicon variant, with its subtext of “all the world’s a (role-playing) game”.
Umberto Eco wrote of machine code as inherently kabbalistic (by comparison with the Catholicism of the early Mac OS and the Protestantism, nay Calvinism, of DOS) and the hacker ethos has always been a bit techgnostic, to borrow Erik Davis’ useful term. Are we as inept at understanding techgnostic challenges as we were at understanding distributed insurgency?
December 5th, 2010 at 11:31 pm
"Are we as inept at understanding techgnostic challenges as we were at understanding distributed insurgency?" I think the person who needs to be asked that question is John Robb, and I am sure the answer will be "yes", probably even "Hell, yes!"
December 6th, 2010 at 4:52 am
Yup. I’d been thinking about John recently — it would be very interesting to get his take on this.
December 6th, 2010 at 10:26 pm
I like the idea of Wikileaks as Lovecraftian detectives. Hopefully they won’t end up insane. Especially if we read Wikileaks as the confluence of hacking and global political activism.Like Lexington, I also await the big bank release. And am not sure Assange will live through that event.