Issue 11 left Mulder and Scully in Saudi Arabia where they are investigating an alleged terrorist attack on an oil field (click here for my review of that installment). This issue continues where #11 left off. Mulder is with Alex Krychek, who was supposed to be dead, and Scully is questioning Dr. Eva Krause who was severely injured in the attack.
The story continues in classic X-Files manner, with lots of conspiracy, possible alien abduction, and shadowy persons. It seems that several people are infected with the black oil, which is an alien virus that figured prominently in the series, as well as the first X-Files movie. I won’t say any more about the general plot, other than I think it works very well.
I will share something from the comic that I found intriguing. The smoking man is talking to Mulder and Scully’s superior. He explains that they are privy to powerful knowledge which must be kept secret.
The secrets we’re privy to. The confidences we keep. They’re no small matter. Ours is a class privileged to the most wondrous… most ominous… most terrible knowledge. We’re keepers of the truth, after all… which is why we do our best to hide it away.
I guess deep down I believe in conspiracies, at least to an extent. I feel confident that governments, secret societies, and the like have knowledge that they choose to keep secret. Why? Because knowledge is power, and power is something that people do not like to share.
Illustration from original article published by Wired magazine.
I read a fascinating article in Wired magazine about how a group of people deciphered an arcane manuscript written by a secret society in the mid-1700’s. (Click here to read the article online.) They determined that the manuscript, referred to as the Copiale cipher, was written by members of a group called the Great Enlightened Society of Oculists.
According to the article, “the Oculists fixated on both the anatomy and symbolism of the eye. They focused on sight as a metaphor for knowledge. And they performed surgery on the eye.” While the eye is a recurring symbol in mysticism (for example, the eye atop a pyramid in Masonic imagery, or the eye of Horus), this group seems to have gone a step further and focused primarily on the eye.
The article continues by describing the historical significance of this accomplishment: “…decoding the Copiale was a significant achievement. Traditionally, historians have just ignored documents like this, because they don’t have the tools to make sense of them.” Secret societies, since they were in danger of death because of what they were studying, went to great lengths to hide their ideas and rituals. Because cyphers like this use symbols in place of letters and words, historians are unable to even determine the language in which these were originally written. Without a sense of the language, how would one even begin to start on figuring out a code?
Personally, I find articles like this very interesting. Just knowing that there is hidden knowledge out there, locked away in secret texts that have yet to be decoded, is the stuff of an Umberto Eco book. If you find this interesting too, definitely read the article in its entirety. It goes into a lot of detail and I’m sure you’ll find it inspiring.