The Mystery of Cicada 3301: Constructing Gnosis in Cyberspace

In: Gnosis: Journal of Gnostic Studies
Filip Andjelkovic Department for the Study of Religion, University of Toronto Canada

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This article examines the ways in which gnostic ideas of spiritual growth, enlightenment, and transcendence resonate with the “cyber-gnostic” ideology presented through the viral “Cicada 3301” internet mystery. The content of the mystery situates traditionally spiritual enlightenment in the libertarian concerns of freedom of information and privacy, and in the tiered cosmology of the “surface/deep/dark” web. Additionally, this article evaluates the potential for classifying the Cicada 3301 mystery and its surrounding community as an online form of religious expression. Ultimately, it is argued that the mystery offers an insight into how philosophical notions of identity and communication interface with spiritual notions of enlightenment and transcendence through the experience of cybertechnology.

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