December 06, 2010

Wikileaks and the Testimony of the Mad Arab


What's a quotation from the Simonomicon doing in the wiki-leaks documents? Beats the Ir-Kalla out of me!

It's used as an epigraph here, and explained, sort of, in this file on "One Man's Search for a Cryptographic Mythology":

I had a Swedish friend who called himself Elk on odd days and Godflesh
on even days. Don't ask why. As far as I know he's isn't bisexual, and
being Swedish, who was counting? Yet a man with a foot in multiples
worlds seemed like a good place to start. Elk (for the day was mod
2 == 0) listened to my quest for cryptographic myth. He pondered, and
uncovered a diamond in the rough. MARUTUKKU.

The third name is MARUTUKKU, Master of the arts of protection,
chained the Mad God at the Battle. Sealed the Ancient Ones in
their Caves, behind the Gates.

F a r o u t. Master of the arts of protection. Chained the Mad
God. Sealed the Ancient Ones in their Caves. Behind the Gates.
Even the very word MARUTUKKU looked like it had been run through a
product cipher.

That quotation is verbatim from the Simonomicon, page 59 in my copy, rather than the "Akkadian Creation Epic" to which they attribute it. Standard-issue geek-sotericism, or something more sinister? Only Elk knows for sure.

(More here, here, and here.)

Posted by Dr. Frank at December 6, 2010 01:52 AM | TrackBack

So, maybe Charles is overthinking this?

Posted by: Lex at December 6, 2010 04:50 AM

I think it's more like, there was a revival of interest in Lovecraft, and in Crowley, in the late 70s and early 80s, of which the Simon Necronomicon, along with the role-playing game Call of Chthulu, were an early reflection, followed by comics, books, metal bands, etc. People who grew up during that time (me, you, Julian Assange's programmer, Dan Brown, imbibed this cultural current with varying degrees of awareness and intensity, but for those of us connected to the subcultures that most closely embraced it, finding references to it in the general culture could be a source of illogical, inordinate delight. (This situation continues, for some of us, sad lot that we no doubt are.)

So the impulse to plant your own such references was irresistible; so the Frodo Lives t-shirt of the 60s/70s gave way to sysops at university departments giving servers names like Yuggoth and Azototh, and myriad blog posts cryptically titled "Ia! Ia! The Goat with a Thousand Young!"

I'm sure that's what's going on with that epigraph.

Now, the question of why there should have been such a revival in the first place is another question entirely, and those with a mystical or conspiracist turn of mind (genuine, feigned, or can't-tell-the-difference-anymore) have quite a lot to work with there. The stuff about the Hermetic background to the origins of modern cryptography is, of course, fascinating, and quite difficult to get your head around, like a lot of the Hermetic stuff.

Posted by: Dr. Frank at December 6, 2010 05:09 PM

I've recently learned quite a bit about the (real) influence of the theosophical society. Though, the relationship between the theosophists and Lovecraft is not as direct as a conspiracy theorist could hope.

Posted by: josh at December 7, 2010 06:03 PM

Josh, that's only the case if you come at it from the rationalist side -- Kenneth Grant connects it all quite directly, provided you are prepared to entertain the notion that Lovecraft's dreams reflect genuine, unwitting contact with trans-dimensional entities.

Posted by: Dr. Frank at December 7, 2010 06:24 PM

I thought this comment from an NYT piece titled "Inside the Black Budget" deserved a place here:


Skulls. Black cats. A naked woman riding a killer whale. Grim reapers. Snakes. Swords. Occult symbols. A wizard with a staff that shoots lightning bolts. Moons. Stars. A dragon holding the Earth in its claws.

No, this is not the fantasy world of a 12-year-old boy.

It is, according to a new book, part of the hidden reality behind the Pentagon’s classified, or “black,” budget that delivers billions of dollars to stealthy armies of high-tech warriors. The book offers a glimpse of this dark world through a revealing lens — patches — the kind worn on military uniforms.

“It’s a fresh approach to secret government,” Steven Aftergood, a security expert at the Federation of American Scientists in Washington, said in an interview. “It shows that these secret programs have their own culture, vocabulary and even sense of humor.”


My point in all of this is simply that it's good to know the "cultures" of groups you're studying -- to know, for instance, that some jihadist forum members like to depict themselves as Nazguls -- or Rohirrim, it doesn't seem to matter to them which side they're on -- in the films of Tolkien's _Lord of the Rings_



Posted by: Charles Cameron (hipbone) at December 9, 2010 04:06 AM

Wow, that LotR link is really something. Shocked and stunned.

Posted by: Dr. Frank at December 9, 2010 07:44 AM

I can't follow the NYT link. But, I will note that modern post-colonial Islam has about as much connection to the Islamic Empire as Wicca does to the ancient Druids. It's a 20th century post-Christian forgery.

Posted by: josh at December 9, 2010 01:15 PM
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