« Whose name is Maagal? »

[This text below is my contribution for the collective european novel Inside The Circle. You can find this novel at this address : http://epowritingclub.wordpress.com/inside-the-circle. Click also here]

Reuters report, March 10, 2012, 8:09

The Hamburg police is actively seeking a patient who is detained in a psychiatric hospital in Hamburg. Probably thanks to complicity within the institution, this thirty year-old man, nicknamed Maagal, locked-up for dementia and public order offenses, managed to distract the attention of his guards and escape on the night of 7th-8th March. The large deployment of police officers in order to locate this man indicates how dangerous he is.

Margret,

I stumbled by chance upon your message which sheds light concerning this patient who calls himself Maagal. Self-proclaimed or coined this way by others? That question is far from banal as you shall soon understand.

I forgot to introduce myself and I wish to apologize for that. You only need to known that my first name is Victor and that I’m studying psychiatry in Paris Nanterre.

An internship in Hamburg a few months ago led me to be in the presence of this Maagal, a fascinating character, smart, but especially gifted with unusual persuasion skills. To get a glimpse of him, just type his name in any search engine: the number of occurrences, blogs, messages, discussions on forums will give you a broad idea. Since the topic seems to be of interest to you, I hereby send you a few excerpts in attachment from the vast literature he has generated.

Yes, this Maagal is a patented manipulator ! Before I saw him from my own eyes in Hamburg, I had a preconceived idea of the character – an idea which proved to be wrong. Instead of the charismatic prophet I expected to meet, I came across a young man, tall, spare, and shy-looking. He seemed cordial, almost affable. About thirty years old (although seeming ten years younger), he was dressed in designer clothes and was writing quietly in a Moleskine what looked like poems. He took great care not to show them to me!

When I arrived in his severely guarded cell, he closed his book and declared he was willing to answer all my questions. Of course, we talk about enthusiasm he generated on the Internet. Such enthusiasm was justified according to him: many took very seriously an experiment he had conducted a year earlier. Thanks to his in-depth knowledge of computer programming, he had been able to develop a form of artificial intelligence on the web. He was particularly proud of this achievement. He took the opportunity to ask me if I could intercede with the director of the institution to obtain a computer and a Wi-Fi connection: the one that he had been able to get had been confiscated. I just replied that I would refer his request to the appropriate person. His naiveness made me speechless … The patient understood that he had no chance to succeed. He did not hide his disappointment and whispered something like, « I’ll manage to get it anyway … »

Our discussion then focused on the consequences of his experiment, experiment about which he felt misunderstood by most specialists. « Isn’t an apprentice sorcerer’s job? » I asked him? He shrugged with an air of fatalism. « The worm in the fruit », he answered with a smirk. I was petrified.

I asked him for further explanations concerning his motives and methods. He said his goal was mystical and political – proof, if proof were needed, that his place is definitely in a center like Hamburg. His contempt for humanity is boundless: « We’re all puppets ! » he said before adding : »A different society is possible without this widespread mediocrity … » As to the means used, they’re simple: a clever little program weighting a few dozens of kilobytes allows him to surf the web in conquered territory and to do whatever he wants out of it.

I now learn that Maagal has fled from the psychiatric ward in Hamburg. Knowing what means he used for his escape is not of great importance. What is important, however, is to know who his accomplices are. Now that « the worm in the fruit » as he told me, we can fear that Maagal becomes the object of a vast war (or, at least, of a dangerous game) between his supporters (those of the « Circle ») and a resistance group that has conspired against him internationally. The names Cyberchicken and Jabberwocky are often cited. Weapons used in this cyber-conflict are well-known : viruses, Trojan horses, spam or hoaxes.

Maagal himself could very well be the puppet of this underground struggle, whose stakes he cannot grasp, despite his thirst for ambition and his mystical-religious motivations. To my big surprise, according to a few searches I did, I learned that his nickname was not only recent, but that it even was a nickname found very lately by a web surfer. Can you believe that Maagal probably first appeared under the name Lubre?

Lubre or Maagal: what importance?

It is now necessary to defuse the bomb which is about to explode worldwide. Isn’t it already too late? I fear that minds have heated up almost to a point of no return. If you don’t mind my referring to literature, all this reminds me of the pseudo Templar-conspiracy in Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum: by continuously playing with our fears, these may very well occur in real life, and play tricks on us in turn.

Finally, Maagal is right about one thing: we’re all puppets. May it be from the Circle or from our own fears.

Thank you for your interest in this message.

Yours sincerely,

Victor.

[Trad. Christian Regaud]

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