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is a fine name.

Let's think about what the name refers to.

Is what you call the same thing as that which others refer to as God, or Jehovah, or Allah, or Ngai, or Niskam, or Ishvara or Shiva or [the ancient Hebrew deity known elsewhere as God but which may not be named in this context, sort of like The Artist Formerly Known As Prince], or Waheguru, or Anami Purush, or Gitche Manitou or Sugmad, or Khoda, or any of literally hundreds of other names? Oh yes, and Creator. (Incidentally, why do we need to stir up trouble by using a gender-revealing pronoun for God? I mean, it's one quick syllable - God - easily spoken, and if you want to think of God as a man or woman or if you choose to think (as I do) that humankind has grown beyond a need to anthropomorphize something as vast as God then we have yet another reason to ditch the pronouns then let's do just that and... where was I... oh yes...) We believe that your refers to the same thing as the word "God".

You may say that's cheating, that there are differences between what you call and that which others call the Creator etc. Furthermore, we came up with the definition and just asked you to supply a name for it.

Hey, we didn't promise to play nice. And anyway, regardless of the source of the definition, is your name for it. "The collection of all patterns and processes that are outside of the person who gives a name to the collection" is a definition that is consistent with the defining concept of the Infinite Other, i.e. God, Yaweh, etc., etc., etc.

Obviously there are differences between your and what others call God or Creator.

Our definition leaves out huge quantities of attributes. God is this, God does that, God is love, God is to be feared. We could go on and let everyone chime in on the attributes of what you call and we call God or the Creator. Here, let's give some attributes.

First, choose an appearance for

Now let's choose some additional properties for

But those are just attributes. Attributes only add unnecessary and distracting detail to the definition. After all, our only definition of is that refers to the
collection of all patterns and processes in the universe that are outside of oneself. The English name that
best conveys this sense is Creator. 

I realize that you didn't mention anything about creation, you just came up with the name .

If you believe that you created yourself then read no further. You believe that you are the Creator. Therefore nothing fits the definition "
the collection of all patterns and processes in the universe that are outside of yourself."

While we're doing the semantic thing, we believe there is a word that describes you. That word is "psychopath." You rule the universe and there is no reason why you need to consider anything or anyone else as you go through life. Because really, the rest of us don't even exist. We're just manifestations of you.

This is actually where we empiricists would tend to find ourselves, if we're really true to our belief that senses cannot be trusted. We know that there are optical illusions and that our world is really composed of photonic probability amplitudes, that is, if I see a chair and find that I can sit on a chair, it's only because of a very high probability that a bunch of photons and electrons happen to be arranged in chairish fashion (apologies to Richard Feynman et al).

Cogito ergo sum. I think therefore I am. If I discount or dismiss the information that I get from my faulty senses, that's what I'm left with. I would note that Descartes popularized that way of looking at it, but of course Descartes didn't exist. Nothing exists but this thought. All I know is that there is something thinking and so that thought thinking thought is all I know exists. Man, it's lonely in here.

So let's assume you're not a psychopath, that you came from a set of patterns and processes outside of yourself called . Does the name really do justice to that Infinite Other? How about a name besides that conveys some notion of this thought thinking thought, of existence independent of ourselves?

Thousands of years before scientists like Descartes had learned to distrust the senses, Moses received instructions from his Creator: "you shall say to the Israelites 'I AM has sent me to you.'" Then, still 1600 years before Descartes, Jesus said "before Abraham was born, I am!" Seems to be a likely indication of exactly who it is that thinks, therefore is.

But if you substitute the name I AM for then how do you express it without getting back into psychopath mode? I mean now you have that first person singular pronoun that names yourself as . No wonder the ancient Hebrews had such a difficult time coming up with a name for . Tradition says that the ancient Hebrews were reluctant to use a name for because they were afraid of 's wrath if they got it wrong, but I think it was because they knew it was impossible, given that first person pronoun thing.

It is only by faith that I am able to accept that this chair that I seem to be sitting in is actually something other than the thought I am thinking while I sit in it.

And it is only by faith that I am able to accept that you exist, that I didn't just dream you up.

So if you think that anything exists other than yourself, then you are not an atheist. You believe in . It's probably a good idea that you respect as is the only thing that keeps you from being a psychopath.

If on the other hand you believe that nothing exists other than yourself, then you believe that this computer and this web page are just things you thought up, that they did not involve any patterns and processes outside of yourself. If that's the case, then what are you doing here? 

You may wonder how we demonstrated on a simple web page that you are not an atheist, when philosophers have argued for centuries about whether such a demonstration is theoretically possible. The answer is of course that philosophers have not until recently had the necessary rhetorical tools: things like javascript and cookies, both of which were used here.

Now we get to the real point of this page. We created a file in your computer.

At this point we might say, "Relax, it's only a cookie."

But then, what's to relax about?

Suppose we said we just sneaked into your house and placed a small file in a file cabinet.

And then we said, "Relax, all houses are built with a hidden back door that is accessible to anyone who wants to come in and put a file in your file cabinet. While they're there they can also look around and take note of everything in your house. We could put destructive stuff in there if we felt like it, but you have given your implicit trust to anyone who comes in through the hidden door, so you trust us only to put files in this file cabinet labeled 'cookies.'"

There is a name for a place in the physical world that works exactly like that. The name is Rocinha.

If you live in a dwelling in Rocinha, well, you might as well be living outdoors, in a rest area beside the highway. Because in Rocinha there are no building codes, no identifiable and professionally licensed architects and contractors to hold legally responsible if you discover that all sorts of strangers have been sneaking into your home through a hidden door and placing strange stuff in filing cabinets and elsewhere.

You see, the answer to our security problems is right in front of you. By what right did we place this "cookie":
into your online home? Really, that's what our laptops and smartphones have become -- our information homes.

It's true, we often let cleaners and child care people enter our homes in our absence.

It's also true that cookies can be quite useful in our information homes.

But what set of building codes and professional licenses and inspections -- what application of public authority -- governs the means by which cookies are placed in our information homes? What governs those "automatic updates" where a software vendor comes in the dead of night and rearranges our files and information furniture?

Ask an information security expert and they'll tell you that's just the way it has to be.

The information security experts are wrong.

What precisely are the information security experts wrong about?

The information security experts are wrong about precisely this: information security.

Naturally we want architects and contractors and service people to be able to help us where we live. And we don't want to be bothered looking at architectural drawings and building codes every time someone comes to fix the water heater.

We do want to know -- really know -- that the people entering our home are legitimate, and that they didn't sneak in through some hidden passageway that only the contractor knows about. We want to know that our home is constructed according to building codes that are the product of duly constituted public authority, and that the people who built it have a professional license on the line if there are significant problems with the structure.

Here's our message: You have the answer to the problems caused by pervasive inauthenticity in our online spaces.

If you take to heart the following statement, then you will understand the solution to problems like spam, malware (spyware, worms, etc.), phishing attacks, online child predation and most of the other problems that plague the Internet.

If you understand how to use a building, then you know more about the solution to these problems than do the information security experts.

You don't believe it?

You want to keep believing in firewalls and security software?

So then let us ask this: do you believe that anyone can determine the intentions of the sender of a stream of bits just by looking at the bits?


Well, then you can't believe that firewalls and security software can work, because they are built on the premise that they can determine not just the intentions of the sender of a stream of bits but whether the sender is "good" or "bad" just by looking at the bits

Imagine asking the receptionist in a building lobby, "Please determine the intentions of everyone who enters the building, and also determine whether they are good or bad people."

If you think that's an unreasonable request, and if you know how an office building (or any other building) works, then you are better prepared to judge   information security approaches than are the information security experts.

In the early nineteenth century, scientist, professor and "expert," Dr. Dionysus Lardner of University College in London famously pronounced that

"Man might as well project a voyage to the moon as attempt to employ steam navigation against the stormy North Atlantic Ocean."

How many nineteenth century shipbuilders and naval architects and investors in transportation industries relied upon the advice of this particular expert? We don't know the number, we only know this: they allowed themselves to be completely misled by the sincere but mistaken Dr. Lardner. As a result, they missed the boat on an important development.

Everyone knows that "trained experts" can be so immersed inside the box of assumptions of their field of expertise that they can't see what non-experts outside the box can plainly see.

Learn why you know more about information security than do the information security experts. Learn how you can put that knowledge to use.

Read Own Your Privacy today!

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