Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Carcosan Algorithm

Author's Note: I'm sure this post is due in equal parts to the classic World of Darkness plot about Clan Tremere infiltrating the Mormons to compile humanity's True Name out of their genealogy records, as well as Watch Dogs' plot about the Bellwether behavioral prediction algorithm.  And maybe a little Ex Machina for flavor.  So, uh, apologies.  Also, despite being written for Call of Cthulhu, you could probably adapt it to another modern occult system with a little tweaking.

Magic in the Cthulhu Mythos is ultimately revealed to be not the product of symbolic interactions, as suggested in other occult traditions, but high-level theoretical physics and hypermathematics far beyond human comprehension.  A symbol like the Elder Sign doesn't symbolically bar the transit of nonterrene entities — it physically bars them by interacting with subatomic particles to create four dimensional barriers through which nonterrene entities cannot pass.

In this way, the principle of sympathy still applies, but is more like balancing an equation than trying to trick the universe into identifying one thing as another.  (Your average occultist probably can't tell the difference, though, and some philosophers would say this distinction is irrelevant, basically amounting to navel-gazing.)

The modern world generates lots of data, and requires several ingenious solutions to compile and interpret this data, lest it lie useless on hard drives..  (Some believe our ability to generate data will soon outstrip our ability to store it.)  Whatever the case, data is big business, as modern data-crunching methods can use this to generate targeted advertisements, as well as enable espionage by compiling information about someone's networked habits.  (If you're buying medicine at the local CVS and looking up symptoms on WebMD, you're probably ill.  If you're buying unhealthy food, you're a health risk to your insurance company.  If you're making the same credit card purchase at a local deli around 12:30 PM every weekday, you probably work nearby and are getting lunch there.)  There's a lot of concern that someone — the government, hackers, or private corporations — could use this information to insidious ends.

You don't know the half of it.

In certain occult circles, there's a known rivalry between the Brothers of the Yellow Sign and the Fungi from Yuggoth.  Tales about the two vary, but some have theorized that the fungi were instrumental in manipulating human evolution to create modern human thought.  The Brothers oppose them, because modern human thought acts as a hyperspace grid binding their god, Hastur, and this entity can penetrate in regions where human thought has been corrupted by the Carcosa-mind.

As such, a group of hackers have appeared, evidently affiliated with the Brothers of the Yellow Sign.  (Occultists in-the-know often call them by the cheeky name "yellow hat hackers.")  While they engage in same sorts of espionage and sabotage that other hacking groups do, their true purpose is quite sinister.  They are attempting to gain unfettered access to the global datastream, specifically search engines and social media platforms, as well as the processes that collate these disparate data.  Once they have co-opted the processes that compile and analyze personal data, they can use these pieces of information as variables in a complex hypermathematical equation attempting to correlate human civilization with Carcosa.  When the equation is solved, theoretically, Earth will become coterminous with Carcosa, and "the liberated Old Ones would teach them new ways to shout and kill and revel and enjoy themselves, and all the earth would flame with a holocaust of ecstasy and freedom."

Looks like you'd better stop those hackers before they get that far; rumor has it that they broke into Google's servers last week, and who knows how long it'll take for them to finish their calculations?

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