Recapturing the Revolutionary Heart of Hacking

Presented at DEF CON 13 (2005), July 29, 2005, 10 a.m. (50 minutes)

A revolutionary program for preparing the future using past models of creativity and ingenuity. Deeply personal and implicitly political, this talk illuminates the potentials and possibilities of hacking in a transparent society, a surveillance society, a society that neutralizes dissent. It defines identity hacking as a transformational process requiring all of our resources and skills. Identity hacking is alive in an underground now that is gathering itself for a defiant refusal to be captured and managed. That revolutionary heart is recaptured in the willingness to understand the mechanics of reinvention and to commit ourselves to a higher code or path than the broken options offered by a consumer society in a globalized world tilted far to the right. Hackers in the future will have to be wily and guiltless, transparent and duplicitous, treacherous and faithful. They must know how to live in this world but never surrender, they must learn how to splice multiple possibilities into a single destiny in the moment of execution. That moment, fusing self-transcendence and action, is the revolutionary heart of hacking. It is also a means of practice for a trans-planetary quest.


  • Richard Thieme / neuralcowboy - ThiemeWorks   as Richard Thieme
    Richard Thieme ( is an author and professional speaker focused on the deeper implications of technology, religion, and science for twenty-first century life. He has spoken for Def Con for ten years and Black Hat for eight as well as for other venues ranging from ShmooCon, ToorCon, and AUSCERT to the Pentagon, the FBI, and the US Department of the Treasury. His internet columns, "Islands in the Clickstream," are widely read and were collected and published by Syngress Publishing in June 2004. Since then he has published a dozen short stories including "The Geometry of Near," a hacker tale published online by Phrack and included in the anthology CyberTales: Live Wire. A short story collection, More Than a Dream: Stories of Flesh and the Spirit is coming soon and he is writing a novel, The Necessity for Invention, which includes the adventures of Don Coyote and Pancho Sanchez, two wily hackers.


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