The Imitation Game - 2014 - based on a true story.
By Bill Zimmermann
I just finished watching the movie The Imitation Game for the second time tonight. Twice I've seen this film and I still can not wrap my head around it. The importance, the meaning and the magnitude of the gifts Alan Turing gave to a world in the 1940's is simply mind boggling. His sacrifice was rewarded by the British government when they finally drove him to the point of taking his own life on the seventh day of December 1954. In 2013 Queen Elizabeth II posthumously "pardoned" Alan Turing fifty years after his death. The facts of his work were declassified. My question is how can you pardon someone who did absolutely nothing wrong? In my informed opinion the Queen and the British Parliament should have formally apologized to the LGBT community and then given there full support to LGBT interests in the form of a well funded foundation, an educational endowment, grants and programs for gifted LGBT people proportional to his contribution to humanity. The idea that one would even consider a "pardon" for what must still be considered a crime is the height of insanity. It sends the message that being different is still wrong. A "pardon" is not only inappropriate, it is a direct insult to the sensibilities of an exponentially growing world population rapidly moving into an age of equality peace and genuine enlightenment.
Fifty years after his amazing achievement we are just now being made aware of who Alan Turing was and how he became the father and the original inventor of what is now called the digital computer. He designed and built the first computer to quickly decipher intercepted transmissions encoded by the German Enigma Machine. Turing's work shortened World War II by two years and saved over fourteen million lives. The history of WWII has radically changed. The British and the Americans did not win the war. It was Alan Turing's decrypted German communiqués were strategically and with "art of war" timing surreptitiously delivered to the allied forces through narrow political channels directly to the military muscle that blocked the Nazi machine. Decrypted Nazi orders slipped surreptitiously into the command structure by Turing himself. Pulling all the strings Turing and a hand full of covert black operatives were able to get word to the top chain of command. They provided intelligence that appeared to the top brass to have come out of thin air. But it was always right and they questioned no one. He and his gang of benevolent illuminati cryptographers worked round the clock for two years playing military movements like a chess game. So deceptive they were and so cunning that the Nazi's never suspect the Enigma encryption machine had been compromised. Now unhindered and with a direct line into Hitlers mind Turing's team, a bunch of crossword puzzle solving pencil grinding geeks engineered the final solution the puzzle that would end the war quickly and without interference from the military, the government and without tipping their hand to the Germans. The British government was kept entirely in the dark. Turing reported to his chain of command and to Churchill himself that his computer failed to break the encryption of the German Enigma machine. But it did work and Touring was to mastermind every move of the British fleet, issue every order given to ground troops and to the allied forces with mathematical con-artistry, leaving hitlers war room unaware of the hack and were completely stumped bewildered and yet never once did they think Enigma had been compromised. Turing's pulsed algorithm of strategy worked. The tables were turned by the first high speed computational machine. Form this point forward Germany didn't stand a chance.
It turns out that the allies did not end the war, not even God was involved in the silencing of guns. It was mathematical genius, raw nerve, cool logic, massive deception at the highest levels of government by a band of first generation computer hackers nestled in a sleepy town in the southwest of England.
We can not ignore the magnitude or the many hurdles involved with Turing's odyssey as he bore the weight of the world on his shoulders. The key to his success is knowing the decisions Touring and his staff made in the period of time between the day Turing's code breaking computer worked to decrypt all German communications and the day the war ended. The British government, the generals and even Churchill and even the Queen never knew where military directives were coming from Turing. He had to keep the government in the dark. It is likely his actions were not revealed to the government for months if not years after the war during in which time the police allowed prosecution even though they were the first to be made aware of Turing's victory. They, with full knowledge of his work to their shame allowed Turing to be prosecuted for indecency. They turned their backs on the greatest hero in recent history. He was sentenced to two years in prison or given the option of chemical hormone treatments to limit his libido. He chose the later and some time during the agonizing process Turing took his own life. It is no wonder the British government waited fifty years to reveal this dark chapter in their history. The abject shame of their policies and prejudices were hardly better than the German treatment of Jews, the disabled and gays. His only crime was that he saved millions of lives and changed the course of history on a scale that is flatly incalculable.
Today the war against tolerance lives on when governments hide the fantastic work of great men like Alan Turing. God only knows how many suicides of gay people might have been spared if they were aware of Turing's victory. Governments do not like emboldening who they view as different or as minorities. It is threatening to their power and to their ideas of what is "normal". But the truth always comes out. We can learn. Yes, war is messy but there is no excuse for the obscene cabals of people who define themselves as nation states, governments and righteous defenders of peace while taking credit for a victory for more than fifty years when that credit belongs exclusively to the genius and bravery of one brilliant man; a man who was not "normal" a man that saved their families and their sovereignty and the proceeded to run him off the rails for loving the "wrong people". The law is supposed to be reason free from passion, but Plato was wrong. The law is a tool used to control and dominate others at the whim of those in power who exclusively write the fiction that is recorded history. It appears that the only real enemy in our world today is the psychopathology in me, in you and in the homicidal tendency in every human being. Until those in whom these qualities become extreme we can not and will not move forward as a species. Perhaps the next Alan Turing will develop a machine that detects this tendency and perhaps it can be secretly and quietly bread out of the species.
Quotes from the film:
Joan Clarke: "Sometimes it is the people who no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine".
"His machine was never perfected, though it generated a whole field of research into what became known as "Turing Machines". Today we call them "computers".
- When I first watched this film I could feel my heart break and heal all at the same time. I have never felt a stronger emotion than what was summoned up inside me from the information revealed in this important film. I never believed that any homosexual person in modernity could achieve more than that of people like Senator Barney Frank or Ellen Degeneres or other remarkable gay people. While respectable achievers they pale by comparison to what Alan Turing went through at the hands of his fellow countrymen. At the same time the ignorance, hatred and homicidal psychopath ideology of the British government was confirmed and is now written into history as the sadistic judgemental psychopaths they truly are. There is not enough forgiveness in heaven and a very special place in hell for the people who drove this remarkable human being to suicide. Today in 2015 British gay men are statistically fifteen times more likely to commit suicide than their heterosexual brothers. When will this madness end?
- Being a computer person as well as being half English and half German by blood I am especially touched to finally learn who this man was, what he did and what humanity owes to him. Many of us are most certainly descendants of people who's lives were preserved directly by the life and work of Alan Turing. Think of it. ...Concentration camps and death trains stopped. The murder of precious Jews homosexuals and disabled people ended. He made the tough decisions based on statistics and calculus, literally playing God and manipulating the entire war machine of every ally in total to finally bring an end to the madness of world war II. He never revealed that his computer had broken the enigma machine. He disseminated very calculated information to manipulate troops to end the war in the most efficient manner. His willingness to make life and death decisions had to be one of the greatest acts of personal sacrifice and heroism in human history, an act of compassion far more moving and complex than I could grasp for days and weeks after seeing this film. The idea that the thankless homophobic and supremely arrogant British "leadership" waited fifty years to thank and "pardon" this man for his unparalleled contribution to mankind is beyond my comprehension. I defy anyone to wrap their heads around the full ramifications and global significance of his work. If you think you can then try this one on for size. This guy prevented the equivalent of 4666 9/11 attack deaths. And he did it by breaking enemy encryption by inventing the first ever high speed digital computer.
Alan Turing: "Do you know why people like violence? It is because it feels good. Humans find violence deeply satisfying. But remove the satisfaction, and the act becomes... hollow."
- After learning about the life of this man I do not think I will ever be the same person I was beforehand. Some things simply change you forever. If I had known about this man as a youth I would be a very different person today. But I am very happy to have lived to learn about Alan Turing. I believe I will never appreciate more the ability of one person to make a difference. And at the same time I will never be more aware of the capacity of men to sanction great evil upon those who are simply... different.
In ancient cultures visionaries like Turing would be viewed as a gift from the Gods. These people would be raised-up to the level of Sainthood, or some super-human iconic form that would be honored and revered to reflect the advancement. Gifted people must be given unbridled support so they may create the changes necessary to prevent the violent destruction of the natural world and to protect the sustainability of humanity itself. To stiefel progress in the name of status-quo or to sequester technological progress is to limit the very potential required to meet the needs of the future. Anything short of this, for whatever reason will limit essential progress, hasten the demise of the world as we know it and plunge future generations into unimaginable pain and darkness. We must change as a species. We must isolate the psychopathic manifestations in all its forms and eliminate it from our genome in order to progress unhindered by people who would subdue us.