The Tiger And The Cicada

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This is an essay by Andrew Auernheimer aka Weev, a hacker who was convicted of hacking AT&T’s iPad customer information service and sentence to 41 months in prison. He mailed this essay from prison.

In the homes and organizations of the powerful one finds the totems of predators. The Bohemian Grove bows to the owl spirit of Moloch. Both the USA and the Nazis took the eagle. Warmongers are “hawkish.” Mao Zedong had a rotten mouth because “the tiger never brushes his teeth.” Predatory affiliation is a very frequent sign of psychopathy.

It is only recently that the tiger and eagle became endangered. Single actors with infrequent environmental participation can only be sustained by slavery or slaughter and are ill-suited for the modern world. Progression is quickly removing the carnivores of the old, dying order.

The fastest and strongest are now liabilities to themselves. Superiority in the new world means cooperation in distributed networks. Our governments have guns to shoot us, prisons to hold us, and bludgeons to beat us. That is true, hackers, that is true. Unless guns, prisons, and bludgeons begin finding collisions in hash algorithms our governments continue their spiral towards hilarious irrelevance. Winter is coming for murderous bullies.

To replace old symbols of cruelty and violence, I offer a totemic spirit for emergent democracies: the cicada. The cicada stays underground with its whole generation for a prime number of years before its bursting in a stochastic, scale-free sea of mating and feasting. Cicada chatter can’t be located by the tiger; the messages are public but the identities are concealed. An individual cicada is lean, dry protein unappealing to the mouth of a tiger. Cicadas consume far more than a pyramid-topping predator and use resources more efficiently.

Let us take a lesson from the cicada and move in swarms coordinated by prime numbers. As the tiger who lives by its jaw dies for lack of victims to fill it, the meek cicada will inherit the earth.