The Temple Dragon

by Albatross, Bluebird & Finch, April 2018


“Thou-shalt,” lieth in its path, sparkling with gold—a scale-covered beast; and on every scale glittereth golden, “Thou shalt!”

The values of a thousand years glitter on those scales, and thus speaketh the mightiest of all dragons: “All the values of things—glitter on me.

All values have already been created, and all created values—do I represent. Verily, there shall be no ‘I will’ any more.” Thus speaketh the dragon.

- Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1883)



In our last post, The Temple Threshold, we covered some of the terminology Joseph Campbell uses to describe the hero’s journey, and reapplied it to the American Cyborg universe. Today we extend that gesture to the concept of the dragon, and in particular, the dragon as Temple Guardian.

Our Temple Guardian is Hector the Shiba Inu. Greeting Hector at the door, and earning his trust, is part of the initiation ritual into American Cyborg team. Those who fail this test do not get to join the inner sanctum.

Dragons are not just beasties; they serve a particular role. As with Nietzsche’s dragon, they are hoarders and guarders of sparkling treasures. They are fearsome to intruders, but familial with insiders. Bypassing them is not necessarily an act of violence, but rather, an act of supersedence. The lion that confronts Nietzsche’s dragon does not need “Thou Shalt,” and insists upon “I Will.”

As a cybersecurity measure, dragons make the perfect metaphor. To insiders, the dragon is loyal, friendly, and effective. To outsiders it is intimidating and other-worldly. The Walled Garden is the first line of defense, The Dragon is the second. Adversarial Machine Learning is the third, and is the topic of next month’s post.