The Looking Glass, and the possible nature of the Snowden revelations


The quality of some of my time these days seems punctuated strongly by the literal sense of other cities, other times, other frames of reference.

We come into this life and we start growing. I am a different person now than I was, say 30 years ago. Somehow these last weeks, the dreams I had then I am re-experiencing now through a different lens.

What I am finding is that I am having to recreate the symbols that my ten year old brain was generating into the frame of reference in which I am sitting now. The symbols, in a sense, have to be re-interpreted.

A dream I had often as a ten year old had me wandering around parts of cities that were completely foreign to me. Somehow I knew when I was 8 or 10 that a highly refined technical society would feel a bit like 'Japan', for example. Somehow my 10 year old dreaming body interpreted my current propensity for systems and my intimacy with certain coding languages as signs with Japanese lettering on them. Signs that I could not read, but wanted to.

Or maybe the symbols have been planted there for me – like that song about turning Japanese I think I'm turning Japanese I really think so, right around the time of War Games and Weird Science (the movies), in which I learned that 'shall we play a game' was serious talk. There was a time when shenanigans did not have to be so serious. So dangerous.

In any case, I am walking down a walking path in the city in which I live, and suddenly I am struck that I know a corresponding neighborhood in China somewhere.

I've, of course, never been to China, which is what makes that experience strange for me. It's not Japan, and somehow I knew that, too. In my dreams I was reading Japanese signs walking down a street on the rim of a large Chinese city, knowing absolutely nothing about either.

There are things that are unexplainable that I am thankful for this Thankgiving.

Things that I can only imagine but that I experienced none-the-less.

And what seems to be happening from time to time is that the air in the street almost seems to shift when I am walking along these days, and it's as if I am looking through a jewel, a sort of prism, that was out of focus for a moment and then refocuses seemingly by the turn of a facet.

Somehow the Chinese street with Japanese writing in my dreams more than 30 years ago become perfectly resolved and intelligible in San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico in 2013. This calculus seems to have been derived by and resolved in the time and quality of air that I'm sometimes walking through and somehow more aware of than is normal for me. Something seems to suddenly gel. I can't explain it well enough.

Is this what time travel is like, is what I wonder. Or that feeling of something bigger and more enormous and grand than what have generally been tuning into. Is this the first rumbling of my body's ability to walk through and feel another dimensional space?

These are all questions that make some of us seem crazy to others of us. They are the burdens that some of us carry.

But there was also something tangible later that seemed to come out of the fog as I was digesting a bit of news later that evening.

Somehow this experience clarified some of things that Glenn Greenwald said in the now somewhat famous interview on Hardtalk the other day.

Here is what I noticed:

  1. The interviewer was leading in his asking of certain questions in which he made the distinction between the information in Greenwald's possession being either a) relevant to America's national security on the one hand, to b) items on the other hand that he would decide to publish - which may still place the great nation of United States in peril from the terrorists.
  2. Greenwald's response was more to distinguish the difference between information that is newsworthy and information that is not newsworthy.

Which actually, in my mind, spoke volumes.

What it tells me is that Snowden had hand selected Greenwald's 'dossier' as part of his exit strategy.

It could indicate that a portion of the documents were collected about Greenwald himself, which portion might also potentially have included the software that parses that information to create a digital persona that is search-able. What better way to quickly demonstrate to a person who might not be an expert in this field the mechanism by which our data is collected and analyzed?

If this were in any way true (at this point I have absolutely no proof) it could demonstrate another level of consideration in Snowden's strategy: that in exposing these unconstitutional search methods, he would not be giving information about anyone else to the person who he would be entrusting the documents with. Snowden would only be giving the type of information that compromises and composes the byproducts of all of ones digital detritus to the actual person who created them.

How would that also make sense with respect to Greenwald's strategy to engage a distributed network of globally respected partners?

Tune in for the next installment and remember kids, none of this is true until proven otherwise.

This is a work of fiction.