Indulge me, part II

As this piece was first published in 1996, I’m most definately not the first to repost this. Heck, I’m probably not the first to include such a disclaimer as to my taking the easy way out and not furnishing you with a proper post. I could have gone two ways– as before, by sheepishly admitting my unoriginality; or by issuing a terse belch of a comment that would be interpreted as nothing more of me being proud of being unoriginal. So much goes unsaid now, with this prevalent attitude of “everything’s been said and done before, so why expound on it,” but I don’t care. Here, instead of daring you to discover whether I have any thoughts at all, I’m making it easier for you to crack into my thought mechanics and find out what makes me tick. I won’t say anything silly or terse like “Read this it’s good” or “this is awesome!” but I state with no ounce of triviality or condescension: this piece resonates so profoundly for me that I consider it an integral part of my personality. No other piece of work has influenced me so in my first, cautious footsteps into the “world of computers” or, indeed, my growth as a person.

We truly are in a new phase in societal evolution, where the flow of information and thought is beginning to change this planet for the better. Of course, this is threatening the old power structures that have ruled for so long– would these corrupt, dogmatic systems exist at all if everyone knew of their corruption? What if everyone found out about every last dirty lie States and corporations have been telling for centuries? If we found that our problems are the same as people across the world? If we realized that the arbitrary division of peoples was just that, and we could live and love with people half a world away? I will protect this beautiful new world we’re making– because it’s truly free.

The Hacker Manifesto

Another one got caught today, it’s all over the papers. “Teenager Arrested in Computer Crime Scandal”, “Hacker Arrested after Bank Tampering”…

Damn kids. They’re all alike.

But did you, in your three-piece psychology and 1950’s technobrain, ever take a look behind the eyes of the hacker? Did you ever wonder what made him tick, what forces shaped him, what may have molded him?

I am a hacker, enter my world…

Mine is a world that begins with school… I’m smarter than most of the other kids, this crap they teach us bores me…

Damn underachiever. They’re all alike.

I’m in junior high or high school. I’ve listened to teachers explain for the fifteenth time how to reduce a fraction. I understand it. “No, Ms. Smith, I didn’t show my work. I did it in my head…”

Damn kid. Probably copied it. They’re all alike.

I made a discovery today. I found a computer. Wait a second, this is cool. It does what I want it to. If it makes a mistake, it’s because I screwed it up. Not because it doesn’t like me… Or feels threatened by me.. Or thinks I’m a smart ass.. Or doesn’t like teaching and shouldn’t be here…

Damn kid. All he does is play games. They’re all alike.

And then it happened… a door opened to a world… rushing through the phone line like heroin through an addict’s veins, an electronic pulse is sent out, a refuge from the day-to-day incompetencies is sought… a board is found. “This is it… this is where I belong…” I know everyone here… even if I’ve never met them, never talked to them, may never hear from them again… I know you all…

Damn kid. Tying up the phone line again. They’re all alike…

You bet your ass we’re all alike… we’ve been spoon-fed baby food at school when we hungered for steak… the bits of meat that you did let slip through were pre-chewed and tasteless. We’ve been dominated by sadists, or ignored by the apathetic. The few that had something to teach found us willing pupils, but those few are like drops of water in the desert.

This is our world now… the world of the electron and the switch, the beauty of the baud. We make use of a service already existing without paying for what could be dirt-cheap if it wasn’t run by profiteering gluttons, and you call us criminals. We explore… and you call us criminals. We seek after knowledge… and you call us criminals. We exist without skin color, without nationality, without religious bias… and you call us criminals. You build atomic bombs, you wage wars, you murder, cheat, and lie to us and try to make us believe it’s for our own good, yet we’re the criminals.

Yes, I am a criminal. My crime is that of curiosity. My crime is that of judging people by what they say and think, not what they look like. My crime is that of outsmarting you, something that you will never forgive me for.

I am a hacker, and this is my manifesto. You may stop this individual, but you can’t stop us all… after all, we’re all alike.

No, don’t ask me what I’ve done; I wouldn’t tell you anyway. I’m not into anything for notoriety, “criminal intent” or monetary gain, I’m just cursed with curiosity.


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