Wired has a very interesting profile piece on the ‘hacktivist’ group Anonymous, in which the author uses the Trickster archetype to try and understand them better (with mentions of Robert Anton Wilson and Alan Moore to boot):
Hacker culture, and almost all of computer culture back in the day is shot through with the Discordian edge of 1960/1970s counter-culture and Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea’s Illuminatus. So from there it’s the yippies, Andy Kaufmann, and the Situationists we need to first comprehend. Or do we head back to early 20th century absurdists of Dada? Or maybe we venture all the way to that olde booke of epic trolling lulze, Tristram Shandy?
Like Alan Moore’s character V who inspired Anonymous to adopt the Guy Fawkes mask as an icon and fashion item, you’re never quite sure if Anonymous is the hero or antihero. The trickster is attracted to change and the need for change, and that’s where Anonymous goes. But they are not your personal army – that’s Rule 44 – yes, there are rules. And when they do something, it never goes quite as planned. The internet has no neat endings.
The trickster as myth proved so compelling that the network made it real. Anonymous, the net’s trickster, emerged like supernatural movie monster out of the misty realm of ideas and into the real world.
Previously on TDG: