Who The Faceless really are – A study of hypocrisy (Part One)
Posted on: August 2, 2109
No one knows exactly when they formed or who came up with the concept first, but it’s clear that they’re here to stay.
In the beginning they were branded as extremists, a terrorist cult to be feared and demonised. Over time that fear gave way to curiosity, that curiosity grew to acceptance and now, I’m these days of veils and conceits, they command admiration. They are the majority; the new law.
Their mantra is, “Anonymity is freedom,” and for a while the world couldn’t understand the gesture. The slogan raised eyebrows when it was originally coined. After all, the fear of the unknown is hard-wired into the fibre of human existence, like the intake of breath or the beating of hearts. Striving for anonymity in a world where social networks openly give us a window into everyone’s lives seems unordt of place, and in some cases, suspicious.
What is unnatural about the desire for privacy? We long complained about intrusion in the digital age, but from what I understand we willingly opted-in, clicked ‘agree’ and signed those rights away. We were hypocrites by definition.
But what The Faceless proposed went beyond nature. I feared that if they were allowed to continue, there would be no going back for society. True anonymity – that is – the removal of all identifiers that define us, isn’t just science-fiction gone mad, it is an insult to our birth-right. I still believe that, even today.
From the records I sourced, the cult started with the removal of fingerprints, forged papers and facial reconstruction. Members of this exclusive club shunned the names their parents gave them and adopted new monikers. The cult became a common lifestyle choice, eventually offering its flock full facial, genital and hair removal. Their faces were replaced with modern smart screens, allowing a person to emote digitally or emulate any face they wished. Tell-tale marks like freckles or scars could be ironed out. DNA records and entire paper trails could be removed from the grid illegally, until ultimately, the subject was essentially a mannequin.
The concept was genius actually, because how do you cuff someone for a crime when they are, in-fact, no-one?
They say that the idea came from the age of terrorism, that kinetic time of suspicion and fear where everyone was your potential killer. The business woman, young student and elderly gentleman sitting next to you on the bus could quite easily be trigger-men, caressing some concealed ignition switch, primed to strike. It appears we had replaced our sense of kinship with scrutiny and distrust.
Now consider an Internet forum; typically a hub of squabbling and the slinging of venomous barbs. It’s one thing for two people to grill each other from behind the anonymity of usernames, but get them both in a room together and they’d be reduced to apologetic pacifists. The Faceless wanted to capture the essence of such anonymity, the idea was that without the threat of reprisal, we can do as we please.
Without any profiling skills to your name, you could quite easily construct an image of what kind of man ‘John Smith’ is from observing his social networking activity for just a few minutes. Attempt to do the same with a Faceless called ‘xNinjaxSkillzx’ – with their removed features and fabricated papers – and you’d quickly find it almost impossible.
All of this serves as the foundation of Faceless culture. Is it wrong? Yes, I contiue to believe it my heart to be an affront to civilisation itself, but my opinion has lost purchase over the last decade. I have long become the minority and apparently, among the last sane people on Earth.
There came a point towards the end of the 21st century where society – for all its love of baring itself on social networks – grew tired of surveillance. Government initiatives designed to monitor the populace regarded us all as suspects, and that sustained sense of persecution persuaded many civilians that perhaps, The Faceless had actually got it right.
It was as if the masses suddenly realised that yes, putting a few status updates and photos online might have given them a heightened sense of importance, as of their life was somehow something worth ‘liking’ or sharing among extended circles, but it was all an illusion. We weren’t that important in the grand scheme, but we were willingly exposing ourselves to tighter scrutiny and control through that belief. You had yourself to blame for every tailored spam email that appeared in your inbox, or every targeted advert on your monitor. We had allowed this to happen.
The Faceless riots and protests began, backed up by alliances with hacking groups. With no fixed address or clear schedule of events, the police and best government agencies were powerless to ignore the anarchy erupting around them. Banks and establishments were held to ransom by hackers until The Faceless were accepted as a valid religion. The politicians refused for as long as possible, but once the digits started disappearing from their personal accounts they sat up and took notice.
Then, on February 20th, 2103 the ‘Recognition of Anonymous Civilians’ white paper was approved, integrating Faceless into normal society, and removing the threat of persecution without charge. They were free to walk among us, the humans that retained their identities and organic, unspoiled frames. It is now 2109 and there are more Facless walking the planet than natural, unchanged humans. Parents can even have their son or daughter born Faceless, a fact that used to sicken me to my core.
The day that the white paper became law was also the day our world started to change, and shortly after we, the Moderators, were formed in secret. We respected the old ways of life; highly-skilled field agents charged by the Government with protecting those who chose to wear their natural face in public, and willingly submit themselves to scrutiny. I used to believe – no, be conditioned to believe – that without scrutiny we were only endangering ourselves and opening society up to ruin. I was naive in my youth, but now I see thing clearly.
The Faceless were right all along, and I was a fool.
My name is Morgan LeBeau, and I hereby renounce my role as Moderator Elite.
This blog will serve as my last will and testament.
Part two will follow…
Thank you for reading,