Little is known about the origination of the “404 Attacks” meme. The theory and application of the project ranges from the large to minute, and tends towards Culture Jamming in its scope. The various participants in the 404 project are relatively unknown, as the attacks themselves typically slip under the radar and thus have received very little publicity.
Use in Literature
The first cited use of the 404 attacks was in the novel Fallen Nation. In the novel, it is utilized by the fictional ontological terrorist organization “The Mother Hive Brain Syndicate”. It has since been picked up by the hacker collective Anonymous.
In practice, the 404 Attacks are a technique for disseminating disinformation through various networks. The campaign thus far seems to be organized through mIRC, various message boards, and relatively small circles of culture jammers. The project in general, much like Operation Mindfuck, leads an outsider to an immediate double bind scenario: The only safe assumption is that everything that is read or disseminated globally through various media networks, especially but not limited to the internet, is false or a part of the 404 Attacks- However, this is not really a safe assumption at all, as it lends itself to widespread paranoia and skepticism at the very least.
Motives behind each individual’s level of participation vary across the board. Typically these motives include, but are not limited to: Increasing awareness, pulling the curtain back on the art of persuasion/”mind control”, increasing chaos in systems that tend towards homeostasis, and Doing It For The Lulz.
The overall significance of the campaign itself is to undermine what is often referred to as “reality” but relies primarily on consensual validation and groupthink.
Techniques include, but are not limited to, strategic application of art crime (graffiti campaigns, reality tunnel manipulation, guerilla theater, etc.), meme dissemination, social engineering and production of media designed to disrupt traditional thought patterns in subhuman primates.
There exist a few other proposed origins for the 404 meme (before its use in the novel “Fallen Nation”) and these have been the subject of conjecture, but remain at the moment unverifiable. By its very design, the project works to actively blur the lines between fiction and reality, so the myths surrounding the “404 attacks” as a concept are open to scrutiny. Least likely of these scenarios is that the 404 Attacks owe their origination to a massive disinformation campaign as perpetuated by the Federal Government and its work with the Psyops Program. This is probably by far the most obvious red herring, other rumors surrounding the project itself is that it is an elaborate conceptual art piece, that it is a form of viral marketing or an , or that it is a division of Neurocam international which itself is a well-known internet project with shadowy roots in myths of mind control, alternate realities, and conspiracy. Perhaps the most likely of the proposed origins of the “404” meme is a modern day spin off on . The project’s rumored associations with Neurocam International also has lead to its association with John Fowles’ . The 404 attacks associated graffiti campaigns have been known to utilize the Greek word “ELEUTHERIA” (or “FREEDOM”) and this supports its ties with The Magus and possibly back to Neurocam international operations, which conceptually themselves seem to be based upon the work of Artaud in blending theater with reality.
Instances of 404 related graffiti
The following consists of several images related to slogans appropriated by 404 in graffiti discovered throughout the US.
“ELEUTHERIA” and “NOTHING IS TRUE” can clearly be recognized as being quotes from Fowles’ “The Magus” thus lending some credibility to the Neurocam International allegations as per the corporation’s tendency to provide early trainees with missions related to “The Magus” and to utilize elements of its narrative. The phrase “THE EMPIRE NEVER ENDED” originates from the Philip K. Dick science fiction novel VALIS.
The phrase in its entirety, “NOTHING IS TRUE, EVERYTHING IS PERMITTED” has often been cited as being a quote from Fowles’ “The Magus”, William S. Burroughs’ , and finally attributed to the legendary master of the Assassins Hassan-i Sabbah, who historically was credited with drugging and brainwashing the enemies of his soldiers using a powerful chemical combination of opium, hashish, and cocaine.
Another slogan associated with the Human 2.0 Front with its tenuous ties to 404 Attacks is “DIY or DIE” or alternately “EVOLVE OR DIY”.