I recently read the unauthorised biography of Julian Assange. I am undecided about Assange, the man, due to the rape allegations levelled at him. Maybe because of this, I was a little more likely to find him, for want of a better word, weird. Moreover, I need to remind myself that this is an unauthorised biography.
Nevertheless, if I assume that it was indeed his views that were represented in the book, then he is an interesting person with interesting things to say, which one would assume of the founder of the revolutionary Wikileaks. His observations on mainstream journalism and how safe it chooses to be are spot on. His early history and the way it shaped his personality is interesting. Apart from his early childhood which was quite hippie, his teenage years as a hacker offer an interesting glimpse into the verve of the time when computers and then the internet made their appearances. Tellingly, when Assange went to university, he chose to study physics. Physics has been called the most intellectually curious and philosophical of the sciences. If I was a scientist I’d chose to be a physicist; okay NOT, because I was terrible at physics, I’d probably have to go with biology but whatevs, I’d be a physicist in spirit.
Okay back to Assange. On and off, he struck me as naïve and idealistic in an almost childish way. And I have begun to wonder if this is necessary to make any dent in the world and its ways. You have to believe you can succeed to do anything and to do that, one has to have a certain innocence. If you are as jaded as me, you’ll give up before you even started. Or maybe the cynical among us are just scared. Or both.
I have always found the earnest enthusiasm of the crusaders among us a little boring. Maybe this is because eventually they stop both doing and talking when they realise what they’re up against. Then again, maybe that’s what’s needed to be an activist. Did cynics ever become activists?