An interpretation of various works using anagrams and other cryptographic methods.
Johnson’s (I Am a Key, 2005) latest book is an extensively detailed look at philosopher Immanuel Kant’s 1787 masterpiece Critique of Pure Reason and the Bible, among other works, using scrambled words, ciphers, and other techniques of cryptography to uncover hidden meanings and messages. Johnson maintains that one’s ability to “grow a key” to these and other works comes from the Holy Spirit and says up front that “as the writer of this book, I believe in the life, crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.” But his results are not explicitly religious and have much more to do with exploring concepts of “achieving self-knowledge” in works like Kant’s and enabling readers “to develop a natural appreciation for the value of the latent content of literary forms, over and above their manifest contents.” Overall, his book is engagingly written, but his efforts to descend “out of the clouds of conventional wisdom” meet with the same problem that so much cipherology encounters: when someone derives hidden meanings from texts where no intentional ciphers were originally used, it quickly starts to appear that the anagram solver is simply making things up. For example, when the author finds hidden messages in Albert Einstein’s famous relativity equation or the very title of Critique of Pure Reason, readers may wonder about the point of the whole exercise. Readers obsessed with the mind-bending tactics of cryptography, however, will be fascinated by the work that Johnson’s done here. As he puts it, “this work by its very nature is a unique learning experience.”
An exhaustive but frequently impenetrable exercise in teasing hidden meanings out of the works of Kant, Freud, and others.