[Milton-L] Satan as Hacker (was "My Doom" Virus)

Carol Barton cbartonphd at earthlink.net
Fri Jan 30 12:37:59 EST 2004

Actually, Derek, the creators of worms and viruses are quite Satanic in mindset (the analogy is an apt one, and may help the computer generation better understand what the Adversary is trying to accomplish in PL). Aside from the "cops and robbers" hackers (wiseguys trying to prove they can invent an attack against which no existing computer shield can defend), studies suggest that the creators of particularly nasty viruses are often disgruntled ex-employees of Microsoft, or those who simply want to make the general public hate Bill Gates & Company as much as they do. Just as Satan's Machiavellian justification for harming the Human Pair ("necessity, the Tyrant's plea") consciously disregards the pain and suffering he will cause them to get back at God, so the virus author has no compunction about wreaking havoc for the rest of us, as long as he/she gets 15 minutes in the spotlight, or puts another nail in the Microsoft coffin.

It seems ironic in the extreme that it was a disguised Cromwell who is supposed to have uttered the words "cruel necessity" before the coffin of Charles I (in 1831 inspiring the famous painting by Paul Delaroche of the Lord Protector looking at the body of the executed king). Charles had also pleaded "necessity" in the Eikon Basilike; perhaps by the publication of the first edition of Paradise Lost, Milton had come to recognize that tyranny has no respect for political affiliation---?

In any case, I hope you won't mind if the rest of us appropriate your idea, Derek. It's a good one!

Best to all,

Carol Barton
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Derek Wood 
  To: John Milton Discussion List 
  Sent: Friday, January 30, 2004 11:49 AM
  Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Update on "My Doom" Virus

  On a list such as Milton-L, I wonder that no one has written speculating about the mentality of a virus infector or a worm breeder. I sometimes ask my undergraduate class to think of Satan as a super-vandal. He has no positive programme, no alternative set of aspirations, no dreams or ideals or objectives of his own, no world of his own designing which God prevents him shaping. He is wholly negative. Only in destroying finds he ease. He will find out what God plans to  make; he will wait for it and then he will spoil that creation. His satisfaction comes from destroying generations he does not know and has not been harmed by and cannot be said to wreak vengeance on.
      The virus spreader will not even oversee the dismay of the sufferer or the resulting mess which at least the arsonist can enjoy. I find such a mind particularly hard to enter into, where I can easily empathise with the thief, the adulterer, the murderer, the miser and even the sadist. Here, there is some sort of inverted lust-fantasy at work, a dream of pain enjoyed, a vicarious savouring of the unwitnessed results of sadism.
      Milton's amazing realisation of this mentality gives the lie (for me) to the old saw that he  was learned in books and not human nature. Milton interiorises such a consciousness even more sensitively, perhaps, than Shakespeare does Iago's. Iago is observed more externally, is he not, than Satan is in PL.IV and elsewhere?
      Best wishes,
      Derek Wood,
      St. Francis Xavier University.
    ----- Original Message ----- 
    From: Carol Barton 
    To: John Milton Discussion List 


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