Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Some Clarifications and Vocabulary for Cryptography and Another Attempt to Communicate how the Kirtland Egyptian Papers Work

Over time, I have tried to figure out how to communicate how my theory works in various ways, because the theory is multi-faceted.  I have tried to show the various aspects to how things work with the Kirtland Egyptian Papers and describe those differing aspects.  Some people may think I am repeating myself sometimes.  Perhaps, but, if I say things enough in different ways, maybe people will understand, because this subject is a difficult one for people to comprehend.

Cryptography is a bad word, because it implies something is hidden or protected.  That is not the case in the KEP.  Nothing is hidden, but instead, the information is out in the open, like in a regular dictionary.  There is no intent whatsoever like that.  But using the word cryptography in another sense is key.  Cryptography can also mean principles used to have a specialized kind of symbolism using special rules.

So, what I mean by multi-faceted is the same thing physicists mean when they say that light is both a wave and a particle at the same time.  The thing itself is more complex than trying to reduce it to one description.  The two things are intertwined in the whole.  You cant separate the two, yet you can only describe the two aspects separately.  And so, while I say that the usage of these characters from the Sensen papyrus in the Book of Abraham manuscripts is like section markers, from another point of view, the usage is like a code.  I even used language calling it a word or letter puzzle, and a sign list that was used pictographically, where its characters were used independently of itself in other compositions pictographically.  This means that each character was separated out from other characters, and used in other compositions.  And by that I mean, compositions external to the Sensen Papyrus, like the Kirtland Egyptian Papers and the Facsimile Explanations, but that some of these compositions were ancient, not just modern ones from Joseph Smith.  The ones from Joseph Smith represent things transmitted to us in modern times that transmit the ancient intent from ancient times.

I even tried to use the word cipher as an analogy.  Once again, the difference is that the word cipher implies that the intent was to be hidden or protected.  I am not implying that anything was to be hidden or protected in the KEP at all.  This is why the word cipher has ideas attached to it that don't apply in the case of the KEP.  So with my analogy, all I wished to point out, is that in each entry in a cipher there is a pair of items.  The pair is a symbol, with the explanation or interpretation of symbol attached.  I was trying to make an analogy with the word cipher.  I wasn't implying that in the case of the KEP, with each entry being a pair, had the intent of protecting information or hiding information.  In the tabular structure of the KEP, there was only an intent to have these paired items out in the open, not protected or hidden.  This is why the analogy with the word cipher is imprecise.

These things are not contradictory, nor are they mutually exclusive.  They are all part of a complete understanding of this thing, and there are even other aspects to this that are not contradictory either.  Such as saying that these are like variables, or like abstract symbols with concrete meaning assignments.  All of these descriptions are true, because they all describe various aspects of the whole.

So, as I said in various blog posts previous to this, from one point of view, the characters in the Book of Abraham text are section markers.  On the other hand, from another point of view, there seems to be a "code" involved, which in modern cryptological jargon, is not the same as a "cipher."  So, it is now necessary to get technical in my usage of these terms:
Some terminology: code (a word or phrase is replaced with a word, number, or symbol, e. g. codeword),cipher (each letter in a phrase is replaced by another letter, or number, or symbol), plaintext (themessage), ciphertext (the encrypted message) . . .
(, "THE CODE BOOK: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography," by Simon Singh, Freshman Seminar, Winter 2006, February 28, 2006, pp. 3-4)
So, what we are talking about here is not a a "cipher," in this sense, where letters or symbols are replaced by other letters or symbols, or where information is hidden or protected.  What we are talking about here is word-based.  So, ideas in the Kirtland Egyptian Papers are described or explanations for characters are given.  And so, these symbols are given meanings with words.  Similarly:
Cryptography takes two forms: "codes" and "ciphers". The distinction between codes and ciphers is commonly misunderstood. A "code" is essentially a secret language invented to conceal the meaning of a message. 
Codewords and codenumbers are referred to collectively as "codegroups". The words they represent are referred to as "plaintext" or, more infrequently, "cleartext", "plaincode", "placode", or "plaindata".  Codes are unsurprisingly defined by "codebooks", which are dictionaries of codegroups listed with their corresponding plaintext . . . 
In contrast to a code, a "cipher" conceals a plaintext message by replacing or scrambling its letters. This process is known as "enciphering" and results in a "ciphertext" message. Converting a ciphertext message back to a plaintext message is known as "deciphering". 
(, "A Codes & Ciphers Primer," v1.0.5 / 01 jun 15 / greg goebel)
So, in the case of the Kirtland Egyptain Papers, instead of codewords, symbols are used to represent groups of words.  And so, therefore, using this jargon described in these quotes, what we have is plaintext and plaindata being represented by Egyptian symbols, or assigned to them, much like a codeword is assigned to a meaning in a code.  Therefore, this is not a cipher, but is a code, so to speak, in a certain sense, but still once again, the word code may imply that something is trying to be hidden or protected, which is not the case here in the KEP.  And so, the Kirtland Egyptian Papers are a codebook, because it contains the key to the code.  But it is not a codebook in the sense of trying to hide anything.  It is out in the open for inspection by anybody.  This is why the worde code or cipher is a bad description.  They words have too much baggage associated with them, which causes the intent here to be clouded.  And so, from one point of view, this is why characters in the KEP have associations with the meanings attributed to them, such as the reed symbol being used to represent Land of the Chaldees, which is the land of reeds.  The association between character and meaning/value assignment is clear.  But it isn't literal.  While it is true that the reed symbol has a good tie to Land of the Chaldees or Kiengi (land of reeds) by virtue of the reed as a symbol, a theme they both have in common, there is more to it.  And that is that it is a deliberate code in a sense, but without hiding or protecting the content.  Abstractions are being used for literal or concrete ideas, which are assigned to them.  And without a codebook, the symbol itself is too abstract for the thing it is meant to represent.  And by this, I mean, the codebook ties it down to precision to what it is meant to represent.  Again, the author of the Sensen Papyrus didn't hide this meaning in it.  This is a usage of these characters separate from their original intent.  And so, like a cryptographic hash, it is only one way.  Meaning, with the codebook, you know the intended meaning.  Without codebook the characters become pretty useless.   The symbols by themselves don't give you enough.  To know the intended meaning you need the key or codebook.  So, the group of documents called the Kirtland Egyptian Papers, from that point of view, could be called a "codebook."

Historically, people have also used the term "cipher" to describe a "codebook" or "dictionary."

So, what we are describing is a dictionary for the "system" or "code" used with Sensen Papyrus characters that is evident in the Kirtland Egyptian Paprs.  This is not to be confused with the regular Egyptian usage (i.e. Egyptological Egyptian) of hieroglyphic and hieratic characters.  This is a separate system defined by the evidence in the "code book" which describes their usage in this system.

And so, in some codes, other code words in a language are used as symbols to represent a "plain text" piece of data.  In this case, Egyptian characters are being used to represent them instead of code-words.

In summary, as I pointed out in other blog posts, this is similar to William Schryver's theory, with the exception that I am saying that Ancient people in Alexandria may have been doing it, not people in the nineteenth century, the way Schryver was saying.  So Joseph Smith was transmitting to us an ancient code system from Egypt that was separate from the regular Egyptian usage of characters.  Joseph Smith and his scribes did not make this system up.

This article referenced above shows how recently scholars have deciphered the documents from the Oculars, a secret society that seems to have been based off of Masonry from the 18th and 19th Centuries.  I am suggesting that cult groups or secret societies may have existed in Ancient Egypt, perhaps in the Alexandria area, that were obsessed with codes as well.  And Joseph Smith transmitted their ancient usage of Egyptian characters to us in the Kirtland Egyptian Papers.  It therefore could be called a translation of an "Ancient Cipher," or of an "Ancient Codebook."  But without the intent of protection or hiding of information.

Now, the problem with many people is that they assume that I'm saying that somehow the Sensen Papyrus is the thing that "contains" the message.  No.  The Sensen Papyrus is merely the thing that provides the list of symbols that are drawn upon for the creation of things that are external to it for the use of this code.  It's like the Papal Code used by Catholics.  They would give people a bunch of symbols for a message, and the symbols meant nothing for the receiver of the message unless he had a key or a "code book" to understand the message.  There was nothing inherent in the symbols that suggests that some symbol ought to be interpreted as "Pope" or "Priest."

In the case of the Sensen papyrus symbols used in this system, there were clever associations between assignments to the symbols and the meanings assigned in a "code book."  this is not the case in some "codes" where substitutions have been made.  Sometimes the symbols or code words people use in various codes have nothing to do with the things that they are made to represent.

It is true that the Kirtland Egyptian Papers is a collection of documents, some bound and some unbound.  Contrary to John Gee, I insist that they all belong in one whole, and are not to be separated.  And so, when I say they constitute one "code book," then I literally mean that, because they make one whole.  They describe one particular system of using the Egyptian characters for a code.  This is not to be confused with the regular Egyptian written language.

Some people may be confused that I am saying Egyptology is incomplete or that there is more to be found.  Well, in its own sphere, Egypology is complete, but this is a separate field really, that has to do with a lot of things outside Egyptology, but that also sort-of overlaps with certain portions of the Egyptology field.  And science is always self-corrective and needing to be tweaked when new information is known.  So, what I mean to say is, that it is unsurprising that Egyptology would not previously know about a code like this.  That does't make it deficient.  It make it something that is progressive like any other branch of knowledge.