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Craig Unger

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The Secret Diary of Julian Assange

Posted: 12/02/10 02:21 PM ET

Who is Julian Assange? Tantalizing clues may be found in what appears to be his "Selected Correspondence," which were posted on a now defunct site, IQ.org. OpenTopic dug through the writings in web archives and discovered diary entries that paint a revealing portrait of the WikiLeaks founder. Starting in June 2006, the year WikiLeaks was created, the posts unveil a cult-like, idealistic, romantic, intellectual hacker -- a male Lisbeth Salander if you like -- who theorizes about diplomacy, computer coding, consumerism, the corporate state, even urination, and reveres Kurt Vonnegut, Philip K. Dick, and Che Guevara.

In his most interesting postings from that period, Assange's writings display a serious interest in anarchist intellectuals; a romantic sense of himself as "village atheist" who was wooing the minister's daughter; a revealing interest in misanthropic child prodigies; a profound disregard for consumer society; and, finally, a deep, deep reverence for the "Voltaires, Galileos, and Principias of truth, on the Gutenburgs [sic], Marconis and Internets of truth," who are the "serial killers of delusion, those brutal, driven and obsessed miners of reality, smashing, smashing, smashing every rotten edifice until all is ruins and the seeds of the new."

Among his postings:

-- Assange's correspondence is headed with a quote from the German writer Gustav Landauer, asserting that the "State is a condition, a certain relationship between human beings, a mode of behavior; we destroy it by contracting other relationships, by behaving differently toward one another... We are the state, and we shall continue to be the state until we have created the institutions that form a real community and society of men." A German writer who translated Oscar Wilde and Walt Whitman, Landauer was deeply influenced by anarchists including Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Mikhail Bakunin and Peter Kropotkin.

-- During a stay in Canberra at the Australian National University, Assange characterizes himself as having turned, "somewhat disgracefully, into a sort of Chesterton's Hardy [an apparent reference to G.K. Chesterton's biography of Thomas Hardy] the village atheist, brooding and blaspheming over the village idiot, while [young women], for their part, tried to convert me with the rise and fall their bosoms." Ultimately, Assange woos a woman who "hardly know[s] anything," but secretly longs for "a man willing to openly disagree with her father. All along she had needed a man to devote herself to. All along she had failed to find a man worthy of being called a man, failed to find a man who would not bow to gods, so she had chosen a god unworthy of being called a god, but who would not bow to a man."

-- Assange reflects, interestingly, on the problem of child prodigies who are severely maladjusted. Most notably, Assange quotes Aldous Huxley writing about Sir Isaac Newton: "For the price Newton had to pay for being a supreme intellect was that he was incapable of friendship, love, fatherhood, and many other desirable things. As a man he was a failure; as a monster he was superb."

-- Assange reflects on the relative strength of community among Islamic fundamentalists versus American consumers and concludes that "the promise of better shopping does not move the heart to the great acts of love or sacrifice required in war."

-- Assange's last posting, dated August 29, 2007, muses on the relativism of truth: "Yet just as we feel all hope is lost and we sink back into the miasma, back to the shadow world of ghosts and gods, a miracle arises; everywhere before the direction of self interest is known, people yearn to see where its compass points and then they hunger for truth with passion and beauty and insight. He loves me. He loves me not. Here then is the truth to set them free. Free from the manipulations and constraints of the mendacious. Free to choose their path, free to remove the ring from their noses, free to look up into the infinite voids and choose wonder over whatever gets them though. And before this feeling to cast blessings on the profits and prophets of truth, on the liberators and martyrs of truth, on the Voltaires, Galileos, and Principias of truth, on the Gutenburgs [sic], Marconis and Internets of truth, on those serial killers of delusion, those brutal, driven and obsessed miners of reality, smashing, smashing, smashing every rotten edifice until all is ruins and the seeds of the new."

For a full breakdown, read more at OpenTopic.