Cyphers in History *

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Cyphers in Qabalah, John Dee, Francis Bacon/Shakespeare

Cyphers have existed as long as early alphabets, which were alphanumeric - each letter stood also for a number or had a numerical value which could be added to reveal its essential qualities. The kabbalistic system of Gematria was based on alphanumerics and permutations.

Francis Bacon, illegitimate son of Elizabeth I used cyphers in his writings to convey hidden political and other messages. Some contend he wrote the works of Shakespeare and a good case can be mae for this. His father was tutored by infamous magus, the first 007, John Dee, who was the "eyes" of Elizabeth I and her councelor. He also had direct contact with Bacon.

Little has come down to us in terms of records of Francis Bacon and John Dee knowing each other but on the afternoon of August 11, 1582 there was an entry in Dee's journal that they met at Mortlake. Bacon was 21 years old at the time and was accompanied by a Mr. Phillipes, a top cryptographer in the employ of Sir Francis Walsingham who headed up the early days of England's secret service. They were there according to Ewen MacDuff, in an article, "After Some Time Be Past" in 'Baconiana', (Dec.1983)" to find out the truth about the ancient Hebrew art of the Gematria- one of the oldest cipher systems known, dating from 700 B.C. They were seeking to discuss this with Dee because he was not only one of the leading adepts of this field, but a regular practitioner in certain levels of Gematria." Also, David Kahn in The Codebreakers suggests that because of Dee's great interest in the 13th century alchemist Roger Bacon, that he may have introduced Bacon to the works of Roger Bacon,"which may help explain the similarities in their thought."

Bacon may have been evading what seemed to him dangerous subjects in order to protect his projects from witch hunters, from the cry of 'sorcery' which as Naude' said, "could pursue a mathematician in the early 17th century."

It should be remembered that Bacon had a cautious and scientific approach to mathematics along with his great interest in cyphers.

Peter Dawkins in his book "Francis Bacon Herald of the New Age" would strongly disagree with Yates on Bacon's avoidance of mathematics. He writes, "nothing could be further from the truth: for number is a cypher and geometry a symbol for truth, and Francis Bacon was intensely interested in and a master of cipher and symbol, and of rhythm in language, using them repeatedly throughout all his works in various cryptic ways--for he saw mathematics as a vitally important occult or mystical science, and used it accordingly. Mathematics coupled with analogy and allegory, constitute a principal means to the discovery of what Bacon has enticingly hidden." Dawkins later emphasizes that, "Francis Bacon considered mathematics to be a branch of metaphysics, capable of giving insights into the highest 'Forms' or archetypes--the laws and intelligences of the universe. Consequently, like Dr. John Dee, his early tutor, he was fascinated by mathematical cypher in both its numeric and geometric forms, and with its magical use. Bacon gives both mathematics and analogy which he considers a science and calls "grammatical philosophy," a high place in his Great Instauration; which, when used together help to unlock the doors to that which Bacon has deliberately concealed-- including certain mysteries hidden in the Shakespeare plays. For instance, the two great books published in 1623 were the Shakespeare's Folio Comedies, Histories & TragediesDe Augmentis Scientiarum{the philosophical background and purpose of the Shakespeare plays} two masterpieces published together, since they are as twins, each being a key to unlock hidden treasures in the other-- two relating to the twin faculties of the mind--imagination and reason--and both drawing upon the third faculty, memory." It should be noted that the following year 1624 the cypher book, Cryptomenytices was published and Dawkins points to this as "providing the cipher keys to open the 'crypt' of Rosicrucian wisdom hidden in both the philosophical and the poetical works of art of this great Master." and Bacon's

What Bacon learned from Dee outside of the importance of cyphers was not to have one's political and esoteric-artistic identity defined exclusively by the outside world. There was inner power for Bacon that no matter what happened to him he could still sacrifice his name, bury his staff like Prospero and wield a protective persona to express his artistic views for himself and his secret group of "Good Pens." This is responsible wisdom in action as a response to difficult political pressures. For Bacon due to the out of the ordinary set of circumstances surrounding his birth this pressure became a discipline for him (all his life) to maintain and remember that old saying, "keep your friends close and your enemies closer." Bacon knew from first hand experience when he said, as Shakespeare, "sweet are the uses of adversity."

What's New with My Subject?

Umberto Eco: "Most humans strongly desire a story that will provide transcendent Meaning in their lives. There exist scores of established Belief Systems in our modern world (Judeo-Christianity, Buddhism, secular humanism, Science, to name a few) which serve precisely that purpose. Each provides a story, or rather an overriding system of stories, which, when believed by the individual, attribute to his or her experiences transcendent Meaning, higher Purpose."

"Finally, it is a 'commentary' on our drive and desire to find meaning and create meaning where none really exists a/k/a the quest for secret knowledge which has "fueled conspiracy theories, secret societies, cults, and all manner of suspicion across the ages and into today."

"... humans tend to value more those things that are less available. This phenomena applies not only to the material Free Market but also to the Free Market of Ideas. "If that Belief System makes its knowledge public, gives it away for free, how much can it be worth?" sums up such an attitude. Knowledge made public is mistaken for mere information, factoids and data points stripped of Meaning. 'There must be more,' cry the populace, 'Where is the private knowledge, so valuable that it can’t be made public. That’s where we’ll find True Meaning.' And just so simply begins the quest for Secret Knowledge that has fueled conspiracy theories, secret societies, cults, and all manner of suspicion across the ages and into today."

As someone recently commented to me: "It would seem that our innate capacity for creation and visualization is what will guide us in the end..." But, let's not forget that the common goal from Dee and Bacon to Leary, et al is in the reshaping of "reality". From ingestion of psychotropics and alchemenical marriages or the rearrangement of the letters in God's name to bots and AI programs - *reality" is permeable like clay, but we've been conditioned to think otherwise. The character in Foucault's Pendulum says, "It's ALL in the permutations". And when it comes to permutating "reality-sets", no one does it better than an individual who is well-versed in Cabala and Gematria, as well as cutting-edge technology. Hmmm.....

Hidden symbols and meanings were built into the ancient cathedrals because that is where the uneducated masses congregated. The designers of these cathedrals well understood that the symbology in the architecture, art and structure would have a greater impact by one's very presence inside the structure than from any long-winded masses delivered in a language few understood. Today, it is the Internet Cathedral which is the structure we are being immersed within and which is being utilized to disseminate information via hypertext and Virtual Reality, among other things, to create the new models of embedded meaning.

The "purpose" in Eco's Foucault's Pendulum is the creation of a "Plan" through a distorted "logic" of connecting seemingly unconnected conspiracy/fringe science theories which comprised "the great game". To further the purpose, Eco's characters "spread disinformation", and to quote Deborah Foreman, through "gamesmanship, deliberate scholarly obfuscation, subtle intellectual and emotional manipulation, and the classic disinformation technique of putting a false spin on an atom of truth to really create confusion."

The internet, and particularly discussion boards, allows for a high number of possible interpretations and permutations of seemingly unconnected theories and ideas. Taking this even further, Incunabula via the Internet Cathedral "creates" an interactive text of possibilities and meaning of wide-ranging and far-reaching topics. In much the same way as symbols found in hieroglyphs, texts, cathedrals, everyday life, etc. were initiatory in nature, in them is embedded a subconscious (superconscious?) "promise" of a knowledge that was wrapped in an impenetrable and indecipherable enigma (an Incunabula?) so as to protect it from the idle curiosity of the vulgar multitudes. The Elizabethan Renaissance thinker, Francis Bacon, was the most advanced at developing this methodology. So advanced, in fact, that he took John Dee's cryptography methods to a new level. Over 300 years later, those individuals who studied and researched these methods were the same ones who developed the Allies' cryptography during World War II and even 'broke' the German's "Enigma" codes.