What/Who Is Anonymous?

Photo by Enrique Dans (http://www.flickr.com/photos/edans/)

The standoff between Britain and Ecuador over Julian Assange’s bid for political asylum has been making headlines around the world. For the past two months, Julian Assange, the founder of the whistleblower website Wikileaks, has been taking refuge in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. The U.K. courts ruled to extradite him to Sweden where he faces possible sexual assault and misconduct charges. This story has caught the attention of the public because it is more than just news; it is a drama. Assange is a controversial figure because of his role in publishing classified diplomatic cables on Wikileaks (for more about “Cablegate,” see here), but he is not the only one involved in this spectacle. Although the U.S. is not directly involved, it casts a shadow over this standoff. Assange and his supporters fear that if the UK extradited him to Sweden, it would not be long before he would be delivered to the U.S. where he would be charged with espionage stemming from when his website published a trove of American secrets.

Another controversial player in this drama is the “hacktivist” group Anonymous. Anonymous has used Wikileaks to distribute information it acquired from its hacking endeavors. It has also supported the ideals of free information, freedom of expression and freedom of the press that Assange espoused. The question people have been asking is, “who or what is Anonymous?” People have asked if members of this  hacktivist group are freedom fighters, vigilantes or terrorists. However asking about members is not the way to get at the meaning of this group. The real question is, on a metaphysical level, what is Anonymous? Or in other words, on a fundamental level, what kind of entity or being is it?

Anonymous is a loosely affiliated international collective, composed of tech-savvy activists, which originated online on imageboards and forums. In its early days, Anonymous was not an identifiable Internet entity, but was a large subculture of people who posted anonymously and played “pranks” on websites, popularized memes and defined aspects of Internet culture. The creativity and outrageous content on these boards attracted the media, which described this community as brilliant and insane. In 2008, this boundless creativity developed a more focused shape and perspective on the world. It adopted the name “Anonymous” and often used the image of a suit without a head or a Guy Fawkes mask to symbolize that it had no leader and was the embodiment of an idea. Since then, Anonymous has become known for its strong opposition to Internet censorship, human rights violations, privacy violations, government opacity, and big corporations. It has become a recognizable presence at protests because its members wear the symbolic masks to show that they are part of this international group.

Photo by Trowbridge Estate (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaggers/)

On August 15th, I became aware that Anonymous was following, and invested in, this standoff when Britain threatened to remove the Ecuadorian embassy’s diplomatic privileges and storm the building to arrest Assange. I was up late enough to see several Anonymous groups on Facebook post urgent messages in the early hours of the 16th. According to the posts, police officers were entering the embassy. The messages were brief and conveyed a sense of anxiety that is rare on such pages. Although separate individuals maintain the various Facebook pages and Twitter accounts, within several minutes of each other, all were calling for available “Anons” to convene at the embassy and see what was going on. More specifically, the administrators and people online who were not in London were asking others to take pictures and transmit a live video of what was happening.

Soon enough a protester had a “livestream” feed up and others were taking photos and uploading them to Anonymous pages. In addition, several Anons were able to coordinate a demonstration where they wore Guy Fawkes masks and held signs proclaiming, “I am Julian” as an expression of solidarity. This was not a risk-free endeavor on the part of the protesters. Police threatened to arrest the man who was filming and they arrested at least one person outside the embassy including a legal observer who was then “released” under the condition that he stay in a designated “protest pen.” (See here)

This remarkable display of efficient collaboration, communication and willingness to act for the good of the group is a large part of what makes Anonymous so remarkable. Anonymous describes itself as a “hive mind” and this could not be a more accurate description. Just as in a hive, each member contributes to the whole and brings his or her talents, abilities, and insights that benefits the community. Although there are people within Anonymous who have skills in planning operations and working with technology, there is no leader. Each person who participates and contributes has the liberty to take the initiative and start a project on behalf of the collective. There is no official way to become a “member,” so it is odd to speak of those who consider themselves to be part of Anonymous as such. It is more accurate to say that Anonymous is made up of people who have connected online over shared goals, interests and ideals, and also individually identify with whatever they perceive Anonymous as. (Check out this video)

On a fundamental level, Anonymous is an actualized idea of the potential for freedom, creativity and personal responsibility. It is an idea to which individuals can, and do, attribute their actions that they believe are in-line with the sentiments of the hive mind.  One can see those who actively participate in Anonymous, or related groups, as parts of a giant brain or fragments of a self-aware collective consciousness. This loosely connected group acts on issues about which the majority of people participating on the Internet feel strongly. Shared ideas evolve the way an individual’s thoughts evolve and this collective thought process directs the trend of Anonymous’ activity in the physical world. However, this entity does not have specific longterm goals that could potentially stifle the creative and organic way it interacts with the world.

Anonymous’ response to Britain’s threat to the Ecuadorian embassy was an example of this hive mind’s ability to focus on and respond to a specific situation in the physical world. Although the vast majority of Anonymous activity occurs online, this entity has the ability to manifest in the physical world with people acting as eyes or mouths. The protesters who uploaded photos on the 16th potentially put themselves in harm’s way in order to serve as the eyes of the group. Perhaps one of the reasons people are willing to risk their safety is because no one told them that it was their duty to do so. Instead, it seems that this willingness originates authentically and organically within the individuals, which results in these people having a strong personal investment in their choice of actions, and therefore are willing to do more. In these moments when someone chooses to act under the banner of Anonymous, the person not only acts for the benefit of everyone creating the hive mind; the individual surrenders his or her own personal identity and assumes that of the whole, becoming Anonymous – both one and many.

What do you think of Anonymous?










119 thoughts on “What/Who Is Anonymous?

  1. Wow…Rebecca, it feels a bit risky you posting such an article about a large group. I was never aware of such a group. There are most likely a ton of such groups around the world like “Anonymous” who hack and do other things for their own political gain. I wonder if they will find your post? Most likely. Love your photo and the new look. This topic is a bit confusing to me, as there are groups of this type in the US…it is well know to Americans not to mention such groups in posts or on our web pages. For example, I once wrote a post on a militia group that hides in the mountains – quickly rethought the comment and post due to my own safety issues. Since the militia group is a well hidden secret, the only reason I know of such groups is from asking locals in the area, and have family who lived near such groups in the mountains.

    Needless to say, I have done a ton of research on such groups on the internet…found nothing. Why? People know in America not to post on such groups as it could jeopardize their own personal safety. Plus, the FBI is supposedly (rumoured) to be investigating such groups, most likely trying to keep things under “wraps” on the internet (my opinion).

    This post is interested as had no idea such a group existed. A group of hackers…getting together for political or other reasons, is an interesting topic. Wonder if a movie will be made about the group? I would watch it.

    Interesting journalism… Just I missed something… What is the group’s main focus or goal? I re-read but did I miss it somewhere? Thought it would be in the conclusion, but did not see it in the post, so I assumed the groups main focus are political issues in the UK. Am I correct?

    • You are definitely right that there are tons of groups that are similar. There are splinter groups that claim affiliation with Anonymous which do have specific goals. The reason I felt relatively comfortable writing about Anonymous is because it is an international group that does not make its presence a secret. You are very right that there are groups that there real militia groups that live in remote areas. I would be very uncomfortable writing about such groups. I was a bit apprehensive about posting this, but I do not think I am revealing anything that more mainstream journalists haven’t expressed, but I guess we will see!

      Yes, you are right about the FBI. I saw this article awhile ago by a former FBI agent who discussed (anonymously) tactics he or she used to control forums and pick out possibly dangerous people. I agree with your opinion.

      I think a movie would be awesome, but I think someone would have to add some drama to it so it wouldn’t be just a bunch of people sitting at their computers for hours 😉

      As far as I can tell, the group does not have goals of its own, but promotes personal freedoms and accessibility of information. It is an inclusive group and focuses on the empowerment of individuals so the goals come from people who identify as part of the group. I think I will go back and clarify 🙂 Thank you for pointing that out. You didn’t miss anything, but I should make that more clear.

      I am so glad you like the new look! I got an email from WordPress saying they are going to freshly press this article so tried to make everything look as presentable as possible.

  2. You are going to have about 5000 followers, and you have my blog on your blogroll…have some tidying up to do on my blog.

    Congratulations, this is a huge honor Rebecca. You will perhaps be able to apply for adsense and make money from WordPress, well you will, Oh my goodness, this is a high honor. Be sure to apply for adsense after the hoopla…Thank you for clarifying about the group, and it is intersting how the FBI does change things on the net (rumoured). If they are investigating a group, it makes sense they would keep such things quiet. You will get so many comments, your blog will be full. I would be a widget for past articles though, people will be looking for it, if you have past articles (archives widget). The comments will fill up fast on this page, so they will be looking quickly for other articles to comment on, on your blog.

    I love your blog, knew it would be a huge success. Your writing is wonderful. Honestly, some of the best writing skills I have seen on WordPress.com.

    People do make great money from adsense, from what I hear…Congrats, and well deserved.

    By the way, I do research on a ton of things that are odd such as, architecture and old barns, old buildings, militia groups (that are often large families), doing research right now on trees, but it’s going to be a post, so cannot give out the secret (wink wink).

    Congratulations again, and I better get off this page, as it will be filling up with comments and fast, as soon as it hits Freshly Pressed.

    • Thank you so much! I will look into adsense – I had no idea such a thing existed. It would be nice to have some supplemental income. 🙂

      I was in a frenzy “cleaning” and I deleted my Archive widget (Smart, right?). It is back 🙂 Thank you so much for your support! It has and continues to mean so much to me. You are a great person and an inspiration.

      I look forward to your next post about trees! It sounds fascinating and I love research on odd things, especially ones that people don’t usually focus on.

  3. Your article is very interesting and will no doubt help a lot of people understand a group of incensed individuals, which is something the mainstream media are sadly unable to articulate as they represent what anonymous is trying to expose. I would also like to say I love your writing style and I will be combing through a few more of your articles. Adsense is a simple system in which google place ads near your post and then when people click on it you get money. I am signed up to it myself for my youtube videos. Anyways keep writing your terrific at it.

    • Thank you so much! I hope it does help people understand this group better. It is hard for mainstream journalists to spend enough time to properly analyze such a different type of organization. I really appreciate that you took the time to respond and said such nice things! I will be checking out your blog as soon as the hubbub dies down 🙂

  4. Anonymous I am neither here nor there on, but I believe Assange is a hero and I am appalled that his home country, Australia, has washed their hands of him.

    • I agree with you. It is hard to have an opinion about something as abstract as Anonymous. I am appalled with Australia’s reaction as well. He took a stand and now he is being persecuted. Thank you for taking the time to read and respond!

    • I’m not at all surprised that Australia has failed to protect Assange. Look up John Pilger, another Australian who now lives in the UK. He is a wonderful Leftist scholar and documentarian. Wikipedia is a good place to start.

    • Thank you so much for the Reblog (you are the first person to ever have done so)! I will be visiting your blog as soon as I have time. Just from a cursory look it appears to be very professional and visually pleasing!

  5. This is the best type of group, or organization, or whatever you want to call it. Acting for practical freedom and human rights without any leaders who, if not corrupt beforehand, are inevitably corrupted by the power they are given. I support this wholeheartedly, and unanonymously. Is that a word?

    • I definitely agree with you, Jason. It does seem more and more necessary for people and groups/entities like this to take a strong stance. Power and receiving the title of “leader” do seem to lead to corruption. I am glad that you are one of the people proudly standing up for freedom! I will check out your blog as soon as I have more time to peruse. Thank you for taking the time to read and share your opinion – it means a lot to me!

  6. Yes I love this form of action and support them. Our rights as citizens and human beings are being whittled away by the governing powers both in the US and UK. They say it’s for our protection and future. To me the future looks bleak. When those who collectively cause the sucking dry of energy, life and money from the people who make up the vast majority of can repeatedly get get away with it…..is this the world I want to live in? Do I have a choice? I love this world (even with all its crap), I love my life and love the people in it! I choose to stay and take responsibility for my words and actions. If we all did the same, what would our world look like? I look forward to seeing where this goes. For better or for worse, we are here together and will all one day die, and leave our bodies in the earth that birthed, fed and nourished us. In this way, we are all the same!!

    • You are definitely correct. Thank you for such a heartfelt response. The fact that governments are taking away our freedoms is certainly a cause for alarm. It does seem like those with money are able to get away with everything. I think what you are implying is right: we have to live in this world, unless we choose an early death. Yet, I believe that we do have the power to change things for the better. I think you taking responsibility for your words and actions is probably the most important step to changing the world. Perhaps if more people assume responsibility, more will be able to see that we are all equal regardless of money, status, race, gender, etc. Thank you again for your response. I will be visiting your blog in the near future! I see that you write about your culinary adventures and I cannot wait to get some new recipes!

  7. Wonderfully informative and unbiased article, Rebecca. Although I am not a part of the Anon collective, it does seem as though you have done them justice by explaining so well what they stand for, and what they do not. Great writing.

    • Thank you so much, Alex. I did try to be unbiased and I am glad that you think I succeeded! Thank you for taking the time to respond and I will be visiting your blog as soon as I am able. By the way, “A Snark Rang Out!” is such an amazing name for a blog! It is certainly evocative and I look forward to reading it. 🙂

  8. Very well written article. I was not aware of the existence of such a group. On the surface it seems like a benevolent entity. I would be worried about it being co-opted by extreme elements though, due to it’s very nature.
    On the Assange thing, I think Wikileaks was a force for good when it initially started putting things out there, but of late, it’s become something of the Julian Assange show and he has become increasingly and worryingly narcissistic. Ecuador is really just trying to use him in a powerplay. There was never even a remote chance of British authorities going into a foreign embassy as it would set an unworkable precedent. I’m aware that Ecuador was reminded about the law governing embassies, but I doubt it was anything more than that. The law was put in place for emergency situations after a British police woman was shot dead by a gunman (or woman) inside the Libyan embassy in 1984 and there was no powers to go into the embassy and get them..
    I’m not saying America wouldn’t like to have a word with him, just not as much as Assange’s ego thinks they do. We are also, after all, talking about a man who is wanted for questioning on serious sexual assault allegations by Sweden; one of the most liberal and just countries in the world.
    There are some very murky things that do go on at the top of politics (some of them exposed by Wikileaks) but on this occasion I we’re seeing a desperate man being used to give the UK/US a bloody nose and feed the conspiracy rumour mill and a lot of people wanting to make a hero out of someone who may not be worth the adoration.

    • Thank you so much for writing such a thoughtful response! It is my worry too that as more and more people become aware of Anonymous, the greater the chance of extreme elements taking it over. My great fear is that someone does something violent that makes headlines and then attributes it to Anonymous.

      I do agree with you about Assange on some levels. He did start Wikileaks which was a good thing; however, the fame and notoriety did seem to change him. The charges he could potentially face are very serious and it is important to remember that he is human. Things definitely are murky and I do agree with your realistic assessment of what is going on factually. I think, like many events or people in history, this is one of those things that has developed a significance beyond the facts for good and ill.

      Thank you again for taking the time to write such an in-depth response. It was really a pleasure to think about what you said. I will be paying a visit to your blog soon!

  9. Dear Rebecca,

    It’s quite interesting the form in which you aboard this topic. I fully agree in your point of view and impressed about the response this group is having from followers or “team members” around the world. I believe in free thinking and most of the time we are subject to manipulation and fed with controversial (sometimes tendentious) opinions or information about these groups that only aims to discredit them. We live in a world with consciousness crisis and it’s becoming more relevant for us to start waking up. Good work and thanks for the effort!

    • Thank you so much! I too am impressed with what the people reading this are saying! It does seem that there are people in the world who do want to discredit such groups and organizations because they are so different than with what we are usually presented in the news or in politics. I agree that there is a crisis going on in the world and people do need to wake up and come to their own opinions and beliefs (whatever they may be) about how things are and what is right.

      Thank you for taking the time to respond! I will pay a visit to your blog as soon as I have time 🙂

  10. Finally a journalistic article without the journalist own point of coming through. Thank you for being somebody who lets the facts get in the way of a good story and not the other way around.

  11. I tend to think more in terms of Wikileaks rather than Julian Assange. I deeply admire Assange for being instrumental in founding this organization and for taking tremendous risks to further its agenda, but he shouldn’t be idolized too much. Wikileaks should be supported, and other efforts like it. It is truly “the intelligence agency of the people!”

    • Thank for expressing your opinion! I completely agree with you. He created a good thing, but he is not the thing. That is an important thing to remember and I am glad that you brought it up.

  12. Thank you very much for being objective with your writing, concerning Anonymous. Anonymous and its’ ideal has been bashed, bruised, beaten and misconstrued. The redundancy of propaganda that surrounds the Anonymous activists is so obviously pre scripted. This was an excellent article, well written, and I thank you for doing your homework. Good job.

  13. I think anonymous embodies an idea that we should all possess and I’m glad it exists. It is important, in this time when people have become so willfully ignorant and careless, when people no longer care to fight or to even know about what’s going on, that we have such an incredible group of people with incredible skills, fighting for us and our rights and all that is good in the world. I’ve also heard that they take the time to fight against pedophiles online and to me…anyone who does that is good in my book.

    • Thank you for the reply! I am glad that there are people out there who feel as strongly as you do. It does seem that people would rather not know certain things or have become apathetic towards the fact that some truths are intentionally hidden. I definitely agree that there are amazing and talented people who are willing to give everything to protect our rights. Anonymous has done a lot of very good things 🙂

  14. An entire post about anonymous without once mentioning where it originated. I don’t know what to make of it. Also you shouldn’t talk about anon and facebook together. They aren’t really into each other. Also freedom on the internet is a lot scarier then you guys make it out to be. I think it is really hard for traditional thinking people to understand what is going on and what some of these ideas imply. I am all for them but anonymous does have a dark underbelly.

    • Thank you for taking the time to comment. For the purposes of this article, I did not see it as particularly important to discuss the specific imageboard where Anonymous originated. I am aware that Facebook and Anonymous are separate although I know that certain Anons use Facebook to communicate and share non-sensitive information. I do agree that there is an underbelly to Anonymous, as there is with any large group/collective/loosely affiliated community. If you are looking for specific information about Anonymous origins, (i.e. what website/when and what people consider to be its first “hacktivist” endeavor) I believe journalists have written about it extensively. Also there are records on imageboards.

      • Yeah I understand what you mean. I now see that you do know what you are getting behind. I mean there is a lot to it that people don’t know about and anyone with a computer can claim they are anon. Its just turning into a joke with the amount of pop culture references and it seems “fun” to be a part of something. With freedom on the internet you do have to put up with a lot shit you might not want to. They are losing their culture because people who aren’t outsiders are finding out about them or already have and ruined it. Its just a lot of anon is fluff unless you know where to look. They have spread to lots of different image boards now most pretty underground and slow.What is happening to the culture they created is sickening me and I don’t know why but really upsets me to see on facebook. They are opposing sides of the issue. One is for a world where everything is run by identification the other complete anonymity.So much of it is ridiculous like Fourteen year old kids wearing Guy Fawkes masks on their Facebooks. People just need to know what they are really getting behind because there are implications to this philosophy that might not be so pc. I don’t even know what I’m talking about thanks for responding.

        • I am grateful there are people like you who really care about the true nature of Anonymous and are willing to make sure people get it right. I too am upset that it is gotten to the point where people who do not really understand it are coming in and turning it into a joke. I totally hear what you are saying about Facebook: It is opposite from the actual point of the hive and I can see where one would/should have reaction to that.

          Part of me wonders if the fluff that has emerged and the people who just want to be part of something is natural in someways is good some ways… Maybe it is a natural evolution? I am also attached to how things used to be, so I don’t think I am the best judge. It does make sense that the more physicalized and known Anonymous becomes, the more outside influences begin to twist it away from what it used to be. But I wonder if that is a good thing. You are very right about the Philosophy – there are some implications that some people may find disturbing or really not pc.

          Thank you for really thinking about the issues in play and bringing your insight to it. I really appreciate that you took the time to write such thoughtful comments. It got me thinking and I am glad that someone of your awareness, dedication and knowledge took the time to come to my blog.

  15. Thank you so much for writing this post because I think it touches upon so many important issues. It makes me want to do a bit more research into how and why the world wide web was created. I think we will be seeing a lot more of Anonymous types. But the problem of misinformation can come from anyone: Anonymous groups with well intentions, terrorist groups with ill intentions, and governments of all kinds with all sorts of aims. I look forward to reading more from you.

    • Thank you! I fully support your desire to learn more about the world wide web. If you are interested, there is/was a free course on Coursera.org about that very topic. I hope one comes up again. I fully agree about the problem of misinformation: with so many opinions out there and with the nature of the Web, it is possible for incorrect things to spread either intentionally or unintentionally. I look forward to reading you too!

  16. I’ve just begun to discover Anonymous more and more now, and I absolutely LOVE what they do. I don’t believe in government secrets, as it has more to with unhealthy dictatorship than it has to do with anything else. The way forward for this species is truth, knowledge and compassion I believe, so when I grow old enough, you might find me on the streets waving banners for freedom!
    Thanks for a great, inspiring and very enlightening post, Rebecca 🙂
    I absolutely loved it!

  17. Reblogged this on Mind of Andy and commented:
    Rebecca writes beautifuly about the freedom-fighting group, Anonymous. It’s a long read, but definitely worth 5 minutes!
    It makes me feel like I have to spread truth and thereby freedom RIGHT NOW! So I hope it will make you feel the same!

  18. Extremely interesting article madam. The evolution of Anonymous is certainly a fascinating one, as are the role of collectives in an increasingly individualist world. As for my own opinion, I appreciate the theatrics involved, but question the use of the Guy Fawkes mask. Perhaps the collective should do more research into the man himself. Also Commedia dell Arte masks are much more artistic and allow the wearer to take on interesting and entertaining characters beyond him or herself.

    Unfortunately as Anarcho-dandyism is a vanguard movement at best, the times when Anonymous acts in concert with my own goals and sentiments are few and accidental. A gin sit in of Wall Street would be more useful to facilitate change I believe. And as yet, I know little of their policies on Tweed.

    Regards, A.B. Huxley

    • You bring up a good point. I think that is one of the reasons there is such debate about what label to give Anonymous. A debate I do not feel fully comfortable entering 🙂 Thank you for taking the time to comment! I will visit your blog as soon as I have the chance.

  19. very interesting article, you really can’t blame people for wanting to remain annoyomous even if they have good motives, the wealthy elites who control the us empire surly don’t shout from teh rooftops who they are. that would only bring reprucusions from those who have been robbed, raped and beaten up by such people. they have blood on their hands, this includes false religion, especially christendom who has not taught it’s sheep/people to be moral servants of God. a moral servant of God does not rob, cheat, murder, people. does annoyomous have a website or anything you can visit to read articles they write and stuff?

    • You are right. It can be potentially dangerous for a person to show his or her true identity, especially if the person is advocating an extreme or controversial position. I haven’t found a blog that is attributed to Anonymous. There is a Twitter account which I believe is run by some Anons (@youranonnews) which does provide great information about current events. You can also check out the imageboard from which they originated (4chan), but be warned that it isn’t exactly “G” rated. If you want to learn more about them, simply searching the Internet and social media sites is a great place to start. If you do discover anything, let me know!

  20. this makes me think of the hacker group Lisbeth Salander (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) belonged to. Maybe Stieg Larson was inspired by Anonymous…

  21. thanks for writing this post. like you said “Anonymous is an actualized idea of the potential for freedom”, not a bunch of slackers with no real goals in life like many people would like us to beliveve.

    • Thank you! There definitely are people in the world who would like to paint Anonymous as that. I am glad there are people like you who think differently and are willing to express your opinion! The blog traffic is kind of crazy at the moment, so I will visit your blog as soon as I can.

  22. Pingback: What/Who is Anonymous? – recommended lecture | Creando Conciencia

  23. The “opposition to Internet censorship, human rights violations, privacy violations, government opacity, and big corporations” should be a concern of focus for all citizens of any democracy. I’ve been reading articles about Anonymous for some time now, and I thank you for penning an informative piece, free from an extreme bias. I think the collective or “hive” has the potential (as historical events evidence) to transform people and nations.

    • Thank you so much! I agree that the hive does have potential to transform the world. I also do agree that those violations and issues should bother everyone and people should be acting to make things better. I am so glad that you found this piece is free from an extreme bias. I tried! I will try to visit your blog as soon as I am able.

  24. Good post and good on you for keeping up the discourse via comments. Anon is hugely important and worthy of some intelligent analysis and critique. I think that popular media sensationalizes certain aspects of groups working for social change to deter the participation of more people with similar inclinations.

    • Thank you so much! It is really exciting to have so many people wanting to discuss this. I am glad you enjoyed the article and that you feel that Anonymous does deserve intelligent analysis. I completely agree that the popular media has played a big factor in deterring people from exploring Anonymous. I think more people would identify with it if they knew more fully what it was. I think things are better because of people like you who take the time to come to their own conclusions as opposed to letting popular media dictate them. 🙂

      • Very kind of you to say so. Thanks much. Don’t know if you have a twitter account but Anon is a huge presence there and it is really interesting to follow its many faces (good and bad) over various current events and direct actions. Not to mention the great alternative reporting that you don’t get anywhere else. Followed your blog and look forward to checking out your posts.


        • Thank you for the follow! I do follow Anon on Twitter – I think that is where I got a lot of my news these days. I will look and see if there are more accounts. Thank you for the suggestion!

  25. I NEVER reblog because I feel like a merchant and god knows how Confucius feels about them, but I simply couldnt help myself! It is impossible to read this without feeling kinda FBI or CIA-ish. Very nice and informitive. I thank you in a thousand shades of “your awesome”.

  26. Thank you for a thoughtful article on Anonymous, Rebecca.

    As a psychologist may I elaborate on your article.

    Firstly, Anonymous is best approached as a new archetype, now presenting herself to human consciousness. The emphasis at this first stage is simply to understand the archetype – and if one feels in harmony with it, to incorporate it into ones heart (as in, say, a prayer or meditation). A receptiveness and reverence for the archetype will then automatically bring forth change from within oneself.

    At this first stage of ‘knowing’ the archetype, the interaction is NOT about the external Anonymous, but about an awareness of the ‘Anonymous’ Self within oneself

    Anonymous represents the archetype of ‘No Identity’, ‘No Self’. How can this be? A model from Jungian psychology helps explain the process best. Briefly, in the first part of a lifetime a human-being forms the ego. What is the ego? It is a ready template (archetype) within the psyche responsible for consciousness. It is essentially, a social, conditioned self formed by managing, balancing, and for the most part denying the forces of the instincts – by denying the true Self residing in the unconscious.

    At mid-life the true Self, no longer able to be held back, erupts from the unconscious – and asserts the truth of the Individuality. Properly navigated (which it unfortunately isn’t in the case of most human-beings, which is why one sees so much insecurity, ailment and disability in older people) the resulting conflict between the ego and the true Self results, eventually, in the disintegration of BOTH.

    This is simply because the ego exists by virtue of denying the unconscious forces of the Self. The Self has assertion and existence only by virtue of denying and overwhelming the ego. (The Self, because of its negation of consciousness, is experienced, as what Carl Jung called, ‘the Shadow’).

    The ego and the Self were both false (and difficult phases) – but their dualistic journey is what enables consciousness – and so we are profoundly grateful :).

    (The Guy Fawkes mask appears as an important archetypal force of this journey to ‘No Self’. It implies an energy source, available in the psyche, which disintegrates and annihilates both the ego, and the Self).

    The Sufis describe this state of ‘No Self’, or in our case ‘Anonymous’, as being: ‘the Drop and the Ocean’. One has now become part of the ‘Hive’ – because female bees are the ONLY creatures created on Earth without a Self. [Rudolf Steiner has covered this in detail in his book on ‘Bees’].

    Some other ideas arising from your heartfelt article on Anonymous.

    When looking at reality it is helpful if one focuses, as is suggested for dreams, by James Hillman (a post-Jungian). One looks only at the significant point of conflict, which captures the ‘Now’, and where the truth may be revealed. All elements before the point of tension are a false confused past, and all elements following it, a false projected future. So in our scenario when I look at Julian Assange, the point of conflict is: Julian Assange is granted asylum, but is yet hounded. For me he stands as a figure in the psyche, and in life, asserting ‘freedom of information’. In Rosicrucian literature Love is defined as the flow of information – and information IS Love when coming from the ‘No Self’.

    Freedom of the flow of information, Love, is the key to being the Bee, and the Hive: the Drop and the Ocean.

    My wife started keeping bees a few weeks ago (her attempt at putting our relationship to rights with them). I have since then become aware of the energy of ‘No Self’ beginning to permeate our life. But it is only after reading .your article, Rebecca, that the wider significance of events has dawned on me!

    You have helped me greatly in falling in love with the ‘Anonymous’ within myself. For that I thank you very much.

    • I cannot begin to tell you how impressed and inspired I am by your post. I am truly honored that you chose to write such an intelligent and thoughtful response. I too have recently been contemplating the true Self and how the ego comes into conflict with it. It would be preferable (at least as the experiencer of the conflict) if they were to live in harmony.

      You bring up a good point about the Guy Fawkes mask acting as an archetypical force. I think it is wonderful that this could be a movement towards the surrendering of the ego to enable the flow of information and love. I never really contemplated Anonymous through such a perspective and it was a joy to suddenly see it that way through your analysis. I like the idea of the Bee because of what that insect is able to accomplish. Bees enable life to continue due to the fact that they move from flower to flower. Achieving the free flow of information could be seen as similar because it would require the destruction of blocks and barriers that currently hold it back. Because we so heavily rely on access to information, it could be seen as essential for our continued growth.

      Thank you so much for sharing your insights with me. I am glad that someone as intelligent as you took the time to read my work and dedicate a significant amount of time to respond. I am humbled. Thank you 🙂

  27. Pingback: What/Who is Anonymous? « David Gau’s Weblog

  28. This post was brilliant, thank you for the further insight into a group that I had known a little but not much on! And I’m sure if a member reads it that they would be more than satisfied.
    Your opinion on the world is very down to earth and it is always an absolute pleasure to discover another person in this planet with views that I wholeheartedly support.

  29. I love reading articles on the group, but I think it’s a bit too large for me to comprehend ya know? As far as if they’re terrorists or activist, I think they’re just people that…just kinda do things. Even a terrorist is seen a hero or activist to someone. They just kinda conincidentally do things the public stands for, becuase they’re just a hidden part of the public

    • I know the feeling – they are very big. That is true: one person’s terrorist is another’s hero. It is hard to have clear labels when you take into account all the possible perspectives. I like your insight. Thank you for taking the time to read my article!

  30. Pingback: What/Who is Anonymous? | The Title Borrower

  31. Pingback: Anonymous – We Stand United « The Free

  32. Hellos, I dropped by from Mind of Andy’s blog. I’m not much for politics and instead leave it to those that are willing to go through all the – most times – depressing articles and issues, however it was an interesting article. For me though, I am beginning to learn that we create our Universe. Though logically platforms like Wikileaks started out to help, in the long run (or even short) it isn’t. The law of attraction says the more we think / do / say the more of the same we attract. I’m beginning to realize the more we hear, see and create these sorts of groups the more it will permeate our lives. Like a vicious cycle? Hmm..I don’t know how many feel, but this is just my opinion 🙂

    Take away all the hoo haa and like you say, he is still human ; one that *may* have committed a serious crime violating another. It’s sad when in the furore of politicizing everything we forget the individuals.

    Like I said..not much for politics. 😉

    • That is an astute observation. I too believe in the law of attraction. It does seem like everything is escalating. Perhaps it is because the more we know, the more we see and the more we make inferences in line with our beliefs; or perhaps we are, in fact, actually creating this escalation by focusing on it. I recall reading a quantum physics paper about sub atomic particles that react to energetic focus/light/heat. Maybe something similar is going on a larger scale.

      Regardless of whatever the correct metaphysical explanation, it does seem like the idea of this person has become greater than the actual person, and this idea has taken on a life of its own.

      I appreciate that you responded to the metaphysical points of this article! That was my real interest in writing this and I am glad that you picked up on it! “Mind of Andy” is a great blog – thank you for taking the time to come over to my blog 🙂

I would love to hear your thoughts, ideas and questions! I will make sure to visit your blog (if you have one) and make substantive comments on your posts. Thank you for reading!

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