Explain or express or accept, and what does it matter? Our attitude is:
Here are the data.
See for yourself.
What does it matter what my notions may be?
Here are the data.
-Charles Fort, “The Book of the Damned”
What does it really mean to “wake up”? In the stereotypical version of that mantra the speaker means to wake up to the existence of deception on a massive scale and to the greater truth that explains the why. The first time one can look at an event like 9/11 and really comprehend how the stories do not match the details right before your eyes – that you’ve been lied to- it is an awakening. It’s like a gut-wrenching rush of adrenaline that yanks you right out of a stupor. No getting around it, this is a deeply disturbing revelation, excepting you’re an exceptional individual who has already divorced yourself from the desire for certainty. Once this happens the desire to find some new firm ground to stand upon (as quickly as possible!) is nearly irresistible. The filters of conventional wisdom drop spectacularly. There’s an impulse to stop at whatever explanation feels personally comfortable – perhaps Satan, or extraterrestrials, or just evil men – and focus solely on that. One is confronted with a huge sea of wild ideas, delusions, and lies and decides that it’s safer not to go too far, for how can you possibly discern among all that nonsense?
The problem is that this is still a position of fear and dependency. One can come to rely on one source of alternative media or another for truth, one main perspective or another. But it’s the very reliance on institutions, or experts, or other authority figures for truth that created this predicament in the first place!
The reactions above aren’t limited to the first time either. I’ve already been forced several times by new information to abandon a comforting rest stop. Early on I thought “It’s just the tendency of the powerful everywhere to preserve their own power, combined with ordinary human reluctance to accept challenging ideas (e.g. extraterrestrials). There probably isn’t any overarching conspiracy.” Sorry, nope. The connections go too far back and it’s too organized for a “nationalist” view of the problem. “Well, even if there is an overarching control system the psychopaths on top can only steer so much. It couldn’t possibly be as all-pervasive as the Illuminati types are prone to claim.” Nope, sorry. Even allowing for confirmation bias there really is a there there.
Waking up to the reality of mass-scale deception is certainly important, but it’s also just one step. What I’ve come to realize (and I know I’m far from alone), is that waking up is really about a process of seeking truth, not about having hold of one. It’s about waking up to the fact that you may have been taught an awful lot about the world, but actually know very little. It’s about finding new ways of knowing and being – developing the boldest curiosity and the most skeptical discernment. It’s as much about discovering truth and strength within oneself, because what has been occulted in the human heart is far more important than anything hidden “out there”. Navigating a minefield of deception by suspending beliefs of all kinds is something I’m still learning (unlearning?), but perhaps someone will find my thoughts here useful.
At this point, it doesn’t seem too important to me to answer “what’s behind The System?” Far more important is seeing its main mechanisms and how they misguide us: fear, chaos, subservience, indoctrination. All things that pull us into tearing at each others’ throats and shooting ourselves in the foot. To combat these requires love, inner calm, courage, and open-ended seeking. To develop the latter, I think it’s essential to look at the favorite methods of powerful liars.
Given what we know about the methods of oppressive regimes that are in no way theoretical, I think it’s safe to extrapolate them in broad strokes to larger scales. For instance, we have the architects of the Soviet Union to thank for so clearly explaining the method of controlled opposition. To keep your own power consolidated it’s quite useful to covertly influence any organization opposed to it – or if it doesn’t exist to create it! Now you can safely prevent any resistance or challenge from rising to the level of a true threat. The same principle is useful in the case of trying to hold up fundamental deceptions about the world we live in. One lie, one false worldview alone is only one truth away from discovery and dethronement. Magic (as in the tricky kind) was a serious hobby of mine throughout my teenage years. I can tell you, the tricks I had the most fun performing are those where you repeatedly dupe the audience into thinking they’ve figured it out. (Here’s a classic example). The sense of power is downright delicious – “Hahaaaa! The fools are like putty in my hands!”
To put it another way: If narrative A is a flat-out lie, it’s a fair bet narratives B and C have already been anticipated and set-up as traps of some sort. How are we to discern a real trail from a false one? I think the solution is to charge on to narratives X, Y, and Z and even right on past. To step back from the ranks of letters altogether, start from a blank sheet, and abandon all preconceived gradations as to ordinary and extraordinary. To abandon not just trust in certain authorities, not just a certain level of trust in authority, but the concept of authority altogether. There is no such thing as authority in this world into which we are born in the same ignorance, only claims to it that people can choose to recognize or not.
It’s useful to think of the methods of propaganda and disinformation as well. One tactic of disinformation artists is to include a large proportion of truth in what they disseminate. This builds a base of credibility for people to accept the portion of their work that’s actually meant to mislead, or in some way poison the efforts of those who listen and believe. This presents a somewhat ironic situation, because completely ignoring someone you suspect of disinformation is actually a missed opportunity. They’re still probably pointing to some truths, so one should judge point by point on the basis of the evidence itself, on what is verifiable – to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to say.
Fortunately, this situation isn’t that different from evaluating claims and evidence in general. There’s a whole laundry list of biases that can confound or warp any attempted explanation. Even with the greatest care, still no-one is likely to get everything right about a complex problem. Yet the fact that we don’t all share the same biases is a saving grace. In combination with evidence-based standards, a diversity of perspectives helps us check each others’ bias. Someone’s interpretations may be woefully misguided even though underlying data they provide is still valid and valuable.
When one’s filters are on such high alert that one refuses to even engage with information solely on the basis of a source’s beliefs, or tone, or presentation quality, this is rather rash. It’s like seeing dirty bath water and not checking if there’s a baby before tossing it out. There’s a widely-held sentiment that goes something like: “Well, this person believes in X, which I can see is totally bonkers, therefore I can’t trust their judgement regarding the truth of anything and I won’t waste my time even listening.” The pitfall in this is giving oneself license to disregard anything that might challenge one’s own firmly-held notions. To be sure, such judgements exist for a reason. We all have only limited time, patience, and head-space and can’t possibly evaluate everything everyone in the world thinks is important and wants to convince us of – which hoooo Boy is that a lot. What I’m trying to say is there’s a balance to be struck here.
There are more important judgements t0 be made where deliberate deception is the question at hand. If some person or organization is found to have lied, especially about something important, then anything else they claim should be disbelieved by default unless it can be independently verified. That’s pretty much the way it works in court, after all. On the other hand, when it comes to tracing a very complex web of deceptions, a person who’s misguided in some notions may yet discern the truth in other matters.
Getting to the case in point that was the impetus for this post – Bart Sibrel’s documentary “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Moon” includes one of the most (seemingly?) damning pieces of evidence of hoaxing in the Apollo missions: a video clip from inside the command module that reveals the astronauts simulating shots of the Earth at a distance by darkening the lights and filming the circular window filled with the (quite near) Earth. It was part of a set of reels sent to his team from NASA “by mistake” (of course, one assumes it was actually a whistle-blower) that also includes various footage from the Apollo Simulation Project that looks almost identical to the alleged real mission photography. You’ll notice I linked to a number of things from Sibrel in my post on The Shining. I linked to his material despite the fact that he also produced a ridiculous farce called “Astronauts Gone Wild”, wherein he interviews (or just walks up to) a total of nine Apollo astronauts and challenges them to fess up to the deception or swear on the Bible (!) that they walked on the moon. His whole shtick and attitude could hardly be more bratty, disrespectful, and snide. He’s practically asking to be punched in the face or kicked in the rear- which is precisely what happens!
I thought something like “Isn’t it such a shame that this guy who had the good fortune to receive valuable material and made a pretty solid documentary also has such a horrible personality and judgement? And if you accept the hoax the astronauts themselves wouldn’t be more than pawns, probably mind-controlled at that. Why would you hassle them?” Fortunately, this youtube user pointed out what I was missing for some time.
Indeed, how did he manage to conduct all those interviews without any of them catching wind of his mission beforehand? “Duh!” I say to myself. The fact that Bart Sibrel made both a valuable contribution and an asinine misstep aren’t contradictory, they’re more likely related. He was only able to secure all of those interviews because he was assisted, and he wouldn’t be assisted unless it served the interests of The System. The reel that wasn’t supposed to see light in public wasn’t, then, leaked by any earnest whistle-blower.
It seems to me there’s a built-in emotional reaction for all sides that promotes further polarization. The porthole footage is bound to make some “truthers” want to scream when other people can’t accept it. “Gah! It’s right fucking there in your face with NASAs own footage and the sheeple still won’t see it!” On the other hand, if you’re a “sane person” and you catch any part of Astronauts Gone Wild, how could you react but with disgust? “Goddamn conspiracy nutters just don’t have any respect!” Perhaps some such nutters will model their behavior off Sibrel as well: “Maybe he’s bratty, but he sure made them sweat, and don’t I want to show such fire and don’t-give-a-fuckedness to stand up for truth?”
It’s both classic divide and conquer and controlled opposition- all so subtly and from one source ostensibly working in the interest of truth. If my newfound suspicion is correct, I daresay that’s… pretty darn clever! Ugh, was the leaked footage even completely genuine? I guess I’ll have to review it again now.
Now, Russianvids is an ardent Flat Earth proponent from a Christian perspective and often makes other assertions besides that may cock my eyebrow. Do I buy into Flat Earth theory? By no means! To my mind, all the disc models out there fail against some pretty easily verifiable facts (e.g. the existence of a Southern Pole Star, the fact that the sun and moon don’t change in diameter as they trace across the sky.) But I’ll be damned if he doesn’t also make plenty of really sharp observations, especially when it comes to signs of deception in the media.
If I had just navigated away the first time I heard him mention Flat Earth I would never have seen any of his truly intriguing or eye-opening points. Would I have noticed the same suspicious details if I hadn’t decided to watch Russianvids material? Maybe, maybe not. The point is I got there quicker because I listened to someone whose prejudice and skeptical lens is different from my own. I take it as another lesson in the quest to learn how to learn, how to be critical and open at the same time, how to see.
One important thing to recognize is that Flat Earth theory is so popular right now due to something of real importance. That being the growing revelations of the truly massive scale on which NASA and other space agencies have been lying to the public. If the idea of fakery regarding the International Space Station hasn’t been brought to your attention yet I strongly encourage you to look at the evidence and see for yourself (1-(without commentary), 1-(with commentary), 2). There’s lots more if you go searching. Much of what you find may have a frivolous or snarky tone, it might have terrible music but try to look past all that to what you’re actually seeing. My notions may be quite firm, but you must be your own judge. I forget who it was I heard say recently that Flat Earth theory is like the punk rock of the conspiracy community right now. Folks get so tired of all the endless lies – “How deep does it all go? What the hell is real?- Fuck it! The Earth is flat and you can’t tell me otherwise!” From my point of view, however, Flat Earth theory is a controlled trap when it comes to cosmology. It seems to be offering a grand answer, but is such an easy target for mockery that it’s used as a wedge to further drive anyone in the mainstream from even thinking to question our magnificent techno-sorcerers.
But hey, maybe someone will uncover something truly Earth-shattering by looking down these lines. Questioning the nature of the Universe and Earth’s place in it is exactly how far to go, in my humble opinion. I’m personally more interested in possible relationships between astronomical forces and Earth’s geology; and in large-scale astronomical alignments that teasingly point right back to our own neighborhood (e.g. here and here). In the history of cosmology, where we find some very interesting alternatives that were excluded on philosophical grounds and pivotal experiments that lay people aren’t likely to know at all. For instance, did you ever learn of the Michelson-Morley experiments in school or TV documentaries? I never had, but they caused a huge stir for apparently failing to detect the motion of the Earth, and were the very impetus for Einstein to develop the theory of special relativity.
Funny, I’ve yet to see any Flat Earth proponents bring up these lines of evidence. It seems the people out in public discussing the history of the Copernican Principle are pretty much just geocentric Catholics. Was the Copernican principle deliberately promoted to deceive us? That certainly fits with my judgement of the materialist worldview that sees human existence as a random fluke – namely that it’s one of the most poisonous to humanity and conducive to the control system. But how could I decide for sure which model is the most real? How important is it to me personally to be certain? I don’t now hold on to the “endless grains of sand” or the “center of everything” theories, and I can’t say I fear the implications of either one. Maybe nobody can really provide an accurate description at the moment of just what it is we’re looking at when we look “out there”.
Maybe, of all things, Fort was right in his serious/sarcastic assertion of the distance to the stars: “a revolving shell, about a week’s journey away from this Earth.”