“To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men that I may by all means save some.” 1 Corinthians 9:22
How does a 60 year old former Episcopal priest manage to captivate a packed audience of tech savvy red teens, ambitiously orange “20-something” hackers, amber security professionals, and green information freedom hacktivists while speaking about nothing technical at DEFCON, the world largest hacker convention? Richard Thieme, author of Islands in the Click Stream, has been able to do this since DEFCON 4, 1996 (1).
There is a body of knowledge growing like a fungus in the cracks of the burgeoning technological super fortress that is the information age. Hacking is that fungi and the DEFCON hacker convention is the petri dish where this new organism is cultivated. Like penicillin, this mold can be used for good. This culture is growing tendrils beyond cyberspace and into the human mind. Complex systems and technologies are synergizing toward an integral hacking solution now pushing humanity into new levels of communication by slipping passed the psychological firewalls to communicate on a deeper level with kick ass Jedi mind tricks. Prepare for psychological nudity!
At DEFCON 14, Richard Thieme’s subject was “Beyond Social Engineering: Tools for Reinventing Yourself” in which he discussed how to “manage multiple modular identities” then link them into a seamless life by leveraging them with an intimate knowing of the true inner self (2). The auditorium was crammed with wide-eyed technophiliacs at the edge of their seats.
Even though Thieme freely admits to not having any discernable technical hacking skills he is able to successfully “hack” (a.k.a socially engineer) his way into a very elitist, and young and mostly apathetic counter-culture. He is an Integral Hacker.
The same skills used naturally by Mr. Thieme are used by integral leaders like Brett Thomas, co-founder of the Stagen Leadership Institute, to recognize a person’s worldview, determine what stage of development they are likely to identify with and then communicated with them on that level (4). An integralist would call this “skillful means” but hackers call it a subtle form of social engineering. Social engineering has a slightly negative connotation as it is usually associated with manipulation rather than enhanced communication.
As a complete method of hacking people, integral hacking goes way beyond mere social engineering and into Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) techniques. This subject was also discussed at DEFCON 14. Brad Smith of Computer Institute of the Rockies discussed how law enforcement, FBI and other three letter agencies use NLP during interviews and interrogations (2). Full spectrum people hacking would include all of the NLP “physiological lock picking” techniques to get full access the root of ego.
Past DEFCON speakers touching on the outer reaches of wetware and integral hacking have included Thieme’s, “Hacking a Trans-Planetary Net” which touched on the need for hacking to include “an artist’s imagination, an obsessive hunger for knowledge, and a deep understanding of cyborg humanity” (1). Former hacker Susan Thunder spoke on “Social Engineering and Psychological Subversion of Trusted Systems” which was about infiltrating a company without physical or digital access (3). People are the weakest part of any secure network.
Hackers are the gun slingers of the Wild, Wild Web, living in a world of 20 year old millionaires who have already change the world and actual evil genius’ who are drifting ghosts pilfering the pockets of the ignorant weak. Whether their intentions are holistic or selfish all hackers view ignorance as the greatest sin. The DEFCON prides itself on a borderline dangerous freedom that is fertile ground of both immeasurable brilliance and debauchery of the filthiest sort. It’s the frothiest edge of technological mayhem and creativity. It is on the fringes of every digital-civilizations’ decomposing structures that you will find a culture of complex integral hackers of hardware, software or wetware growing and sending out spores.
1. DEFCON. (July 28, 1999). DEFCON 4 Archive. Retrieved November 18, 2006, from http://defcon.org
2. DEFCON. (August 6, 2006). DEFCON 14. Retrieved November 18 2006,
3. DEFCON. (July 28, 1999). DEFCON 3 Archive. Retrieved November 18, 2006, from http://defcon.org
4. Integral Leadership Review. Biography of Brett Thomas. Retrieved November 18, 2006,
Thieme Works. (2001). Keynotes, Workshops and Retreats. Retrieved November 18 2006,