All Hackers Are Phonies (Sort of)

Fixed fortifications are monuments to the stupidity of man. If mountain ranges and oceans can be overcome, then anything built by man can be overcome. ~ George S. Patton

Let’s face it. Unless you are trying to fix a busted drainpipe or something similar, your adversary is a living, breathing being. You can hunt deer, fish, a wolf, a serial killer, or even a hacker. And conflict can be easily boiled down to living beings and their tools versus other humans and their tools.

In the Revolutionary War, my ancestor Brigadier General Silas Newcomb’s  job was to keep the Redcoats and their mercenaries from re-entering Southern Jersey from Pennsylvania. He succeeded at the direction of George Washington. Have you ever heard the term ‘read between the lines’? That came from Washington’s invention of invisible ink. He would double-space his hand-written letters and hide his intended message in plain sight using a chemical that was only visible when lemon juice was gently applied. Washington’s mastery of HUMINT (intelligence-gathering via humans) is still unparalleled to this day.

In my more than twenty thousand cases I have never come to the conclusion that there was not a person at the other side of any situation. Most people think that computers are real things. They aren’t. They are terrain. In some situations, the battlefield is a grid-style metropolitan set of city blocks and buildings. In some, it is a jungle in the Philippines. Currently, most battles are fought on computer networks. But it doesn’t matter!

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Until the 16th Century, the only people who could interpret the Holy Bible were those who could read Greek, Latin, and/or Hebrew. Since this was the accepted paradigm, citizens needed to rely on the folks who could translate the documents in order to figure out how to live their lives. Thanks to the Reformation, this was eventually brought to its knees. The important takeaway here is that the people in control are always the ones who can read what others cannot.

In the middle ages, it was books. In the Digital Age, it is computer code. The people who don’t want you to know this simple tidbit are the folks who can read that code. Yes, hackers are basically the priests of our time. They can read and write C#/++, Python, or know how to navigate Terminal (macOS or Linux) or Powershell (Windows). Many of them are good people. However, the difference between you and them is the same as the difference between you and a magician who can saw a lady in half. With some effort and practice, anyone can figure out how it’s done and reproduce the trick. The same with hacking.

In 2016 Billionaire Elon Musk stated that we may be living in a computer simulation. That same year, famed astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson said the same thing. Most recently, hacker George Hotz (a.k.a. Geohot) purported at the SXSW festival that we must be living in a simulation just because some areas of our reality have not yet been grasped by Popular Science. My problem is that, the figurative neanderthal who says he/she is a leading scientist here in 2019 is a caveman to the person who reads their drivel in one thousand years. Personally, I believe all of these people are perpetuating these same myths in order to establish a ‘God’ class. I’m here to tell you it is absolute baloney.

In one of the best science fictions films of all time, “The Matrix” (1999)“, the main character, Neo (Keanu Reaves), is led to the fact that he is living in a computer simulation. The paternal character Morpheus (Lawrence Fishburne) instructs Neo to visit the Oracle who possesses the power of foresight. While Neo walks through the waiting room, he asks a boy who appeared to be bending spoons with his mind. When Neo asked the boy how he does it, the boy responds, “There is no spoon.” I love this in so many ways. On one level, one may see this to illustrate that they are living in a computer simulation and that all reality is ruled by an outside force. The way I saw this was the fact that, while humans were ruled by a class of individuals that read the language of computers, everyone was actually subject only to the rules of humanity. And this kid obliged those disillusioned people! WOW! Not the way most viewers saw it, but I think it was correct.

In other words… there is no spoon. There is no computer. There are only humans. Good and bad. And tools. Computers, cars, guns, pencils. Anyone who tells you it is more complicated that that is either someone who doesn’t undertstand reality or they are deceptive snakes trying to deceive you for their own selfish gain.

Now, I’m going to finish my coffee.

Stain on blog from Rob's coffee cup