[Note – I’ll be adding some posts as “chapters” here, despite the fact that they are not actually sequential and express still-evolving lines of thought. In due time, I may draw enough threads together into a tapestry that could reasonably be called a book. Until that time, I put my thoughts here in case people find them useful as-is.
This was originally written July 2017]
Here I sit with a compulsion to push information harder. To make the hard case for hard conclusions that, unavoidably, problematically, lead into the wilderness of crushed foundations, doubtful things, and wild potentials.
And freedom from mental slavery, one can hope.
I pass for now. Decide instead to play in loose-structured ramblings and pokes and prods and a goulash of pop-culture references. It’ll be much more fun for everyone! Why don’t I throw in some quotes from this blog’s namesake, whose style I’m fond of shamelessly jacking as well?
“You can oppose an absurdity only with some other absurdity […] We divide all intellection: the obviously preposterous, and the established.”
-Charles Fort, The Book of the Damned
There are too many terms one cannot use in Polite Company. So many facts, possibilities, lines of inquiry, start at the bottom of a steep hill through mere insinuation. What is this loathsome category called a “Conspiracy Theory” and how are we to discern its boundaries? A conspiracy is nothing too extraordinary. That’s why it’s on the books. It’s a crime one can be convicted of, should its ends also be criminal. And everybody knows that, here in the good old USA, the vast bulk of legislation is written by lobbyists, the better funded the easier. Were that illegal we would call it a conspiracy. Yet, it’s business as usual so… hey, the collusion might as well be in the open.
How about a conspiracy theory? In a strict sense, also not extraordinary. It’s simply the proposition that a network of conspirators is the best explanation for a given event or set of circumstances. Every day in the news we can hear of how some horrific tragedy seems to be the work of a particular terrorist network – ISIS, or SPECTRE, or perhaps soon OSIRIS – according to sources who ought to know these things, but, of course, can only offer so much proof without compromising your security, dear citizens.
So what about the kind of “Conspiracy Theory” that inspires a dismissive laugh, or derisive rage, and shuts down all openness to consideration? We mean “crazy, paranoid, baseless, impossible” conspiracy theory. What sorts of explanations are impossible and therefore paranoid? A slippery ball of eels from which I extract two fundamentals: motivations which we ourselves find difficult to imagine, and coordination that spans across groups who are overtly antagonists to some degree. The idea that Plutocrats, be they well-bloated or just aspiring, would trample their fellow humans’ well-being for the sake of greed, gain for them and theirs, control for the sake of a feeling of self-importance, is easy to imagine. Most of us manage to act decently enough, but all are familiar with our animal hunger – the urge for gratification and anyone-else’s-needs-be-damned. Far more difficult to imagine are drives we, the “relatively normal”, don’t experience: control for the sake of control; dominance, not for the sake of one’s own gratification, or one’s “own people”, but the gratification of something like Pluto the god, or Pluto the principle, or even the planet, and maybe they are all the same thing…
“You say the official explanation of X is a lie. But why would they do that? How could they possibly get away with doing that?” We get ahead of ourselves. A paranoid is confronted by facts about something of great significance that shred apart the explanation upheld as True Fact and, all of us needing some beliefs just to function, seeks to fill the void as completely as possible with Lucifer/Aliens/Annunaki vs. Pleideans/Masons/Illuminati/Zionists/Jesuits/The Demiurge and his Archons… For the night is dark and full of terrors.
A PROnoid is equally confronted and immediately starts piling sandbags of denial, shoring up the mind from the creation of that sensibility-vacuum, demanding a proven how and why before any troublesome information can overwhelm the levee of truth. Or even becoming an agent, as Morpheus warns in The Matrix – fighting back to defend the integrity of the System-As-Known… For the night is dark and full of terrors.
“Beans and needles and tacks and a magnet. Needles and tacks adhere to and systematize relatively to a magnet, but, if some beans, too, be caught up, they are irreconcilables to this system and drop right out of it. A member of the Salvation Army may hear over and over data that seem so memorable to an evolutionist. It seems remarkable that they do not influence him — one finds that he cannot remember them.”
Though commonly expressed, it’s a fallacy that truth always falls somewhere in the middle. Depending on the frame that’s held up, truth may be in the most extreme corner or even outside, way across the room. I think the extremes to be avoided are on the quest, the path, towards truth. To neither accept beliefs based on authority or prescribed limits to our imagination, nor to give into nihilism or an imagination so expansive it overruns all boundaries of contradictory evidence. A Mulder is gung-ho certain of a mythical monster behind a crime spree and a Scully reminds him of the boundaries of evidence and the ordinary. (I note that neither was ever fully vindicated. Mulder may have been more often right, but only relatively, with unexpected modifications). For some, faith in the truths learned as a child, and the institutions we were taught are trustworthy, is simply too powerful and may never be undermined. “But some of us have, at least in an elementary way, been educated by surprises out of much that we were “absolutely sure” of, and are suspicious of a thought, simply because it is a profound conviction.” -CF. And if we’re going to find out something useful after a big lie is recognized we have to start somewhere, and we have to think big. I begin with negative logic.
If one accepts that there is reality to UFO phenomena, no matter how interpreted, there must be aspects of governments and militaries who also know perfectly well they are real. Regardless of what else may be known and concealed about them, what are the chances that UFOs, intelligently controlled as they are, have no significance for the structure of power in the world today and directions the powerful seek to lead? The directions technology has gone and is going? I’ll have to say ZERO.
Or if one accepts that Islamist hijackers could not possibly be responsible for the events of 9/11, that it’s a monstrous lie, what are the chances that this kind of deception is limited to what is still the most consequential single event of the 21st century? What about the society-shaping tactics it demonstrates: mass-traumatization, use of the resulting fear to erode cultural openness, to gain support for immoral acts – what are the chances, given 9/11 has avoided any call-out from “noteworthy, respectable sources” so far, that this is an isolated incident? Again, my answer is ZERO. To figure out the real degree and nature of these things though – That would take sifting a deluge of details and, yes, some theory to make sense of them.
I first woke up to the official story of 9/11 being a lie way back in 2005. At that time, the big-scale conspiracy explanations behind it that I ran into were simply too far out there for me. Too wild, too speculative, too scary. I didn’t go back to believing the official story, but I stopped considering it much. I set it aside in my head as “just” an act of some aspect of the US Deep State, not some even-larger system. I carried on learning and engaging with politics as if the “why” was merely about meddling in the Middle East, seizing resources etc. How foolish I felt when, almost 10 years later, I finally forced my eyes open wider, saw the signs of high strangeness and full-spectrum dominance, and the question loomed “how much of what passes for the truth of our world and events presented in the news is real at all?” Fear of finding oneself a fool is quite the psychological deterrent, especially for those prone to the vanity of thinking oneself a thinker who’s got it all figured out or, at least, better than most. “How in the world could I have been so misled? How could I, and others even better educated, more clever than I, have been blind to such obvious contradictions?”
We have a hierarchy of whose conclusions are to be trusted based on the inverse degree of vested interest. Nowadays scientists, despite recent setbacks, are generally held near the top. How could it be possible that something like geoengineering (I do mean the too-maligned-to-use term chemtrails [whoops, used it anyway]) – large-scale, out in the open, easily tested against the physics-based claims that everything observed is mere water condensation – how could it escape the recognition of pilots, meteorologists, scientists of all stripes? Scientists whose very profession (in both senses of the word) is to be curious, to investigate, to allow themselves to be led by the data wherever it goes? Well, besides the limited number of these who have recognized its existence, yet, you won’t hear about without actively seeking, I resort to simplified analogy for now.
“There is not a physicist in the world who can perceive when a parlor magician palms off playing-cards.”
Here the magician could be some trusted thought leader, organization, mass media, insinuating what you should see as wrongthink. More important is the magician that develops in one’s own mind, palming off uncomfortable data so those cards are never dealt into the hand of rational awareness. Or the condition of blind-sight, where one’s eyes function perfectly yet no images are consciously perceived. Or a hypnotic subject who is instructed not to see the table in the middle of the room. Ask them what is there and they will say “nothing”. Instruct them to walk across the room and they nonetheless veer to avoid smacking into this invisible obstacle. It is nowhere near necessary for everyone to be “in on it” if we are all hypnotics to the comfortable confines of the systems, tangible and mental, we were brought up in.
How? Why?! The basic questions are of such obvious significance, begging to be answered. And yet — who is going to challenge the lies that fall under the nebulous umbrella of “conspiracy theory” to actually get to some sort of bottom-line? Journalists are supposed to be the ones digging hardest in the dirt, seeking connections, questioning those in power, challenging their actions, their truth claims. If you realize corporate-owned media is servile BS you can listen to… well there’s quite a menu these days for whatever your political and cultural persuasions may be. Say, Democracy Now because I know it… and learn all about how terrorism from the Muslim world is as much a product of Western actions as anything – how unfair it is characterizing it as fundamental to Islam. They’ll give all the dirt on corporate and military mis-adventures, ignored elsewhere, that tarnish visions of an American shining city on a hill or emerging Global Capitalist Wonderland. What they will never do is question the ground-level truth of something like 9/11 – just the proper way to frame and contextualize the sanctioned truth. Even more drearily uninspired are the likes of Noam Chomsky, who said of the inside-job question “Even if it were true, which is extremely unlikely, who cares? It doesn’t have any real significance.” Wowzers! No real significance whether the real terrorists were a handful of Muslim extremists or something else already embedded deep within the US government. Stay under the cloak of conventionality, ye who hunger and thirst for righteousness! Venture not outward for that way madness lies – nothing but diversion from the (real) serious issues.
Who’s going to actually do the work?! Why, the very motley crew, much-maligned, of self-educated outsiders, school and social dropouts, woo-woo psychonauts, the religious who never fully accepted secular society, the lifelong incurable anti-authoritarians, the former insiders who couldn’t take it anymore, the professionals and academics who don’t stand to lose their careers for speaking out (or do and speak anyway) – brought into synthesis like never before through the internet into what can still only very-loosely be termed the “Truth Community”. “Internet Conspiracy Theory”, now there’s an extra weaselly term. By Gawd have you seen the incubating ground of madness that is “the” internet?! If it’s discussed on the internet it must be false!
Well, sadly, sometimes it feels that bad. Despite some stand-outs, I don’t think one can honestly say the community as a whole puts up a very good show. We’ve got Alex-“literal vampire potbelly goblins!”-Jones, now a household name, if you want something with the authoritative structure of a “real” news program. Quite the popular poster-boy of The Resistance. Funny thing is, virtually every conspiracy-minded person I’ve ever spoken to thinks he’s a joke too – a poster-boy of nothing but controlled opposition. Probably his audience and I are just in different cultural circles… Meanwhile, anyone remotely plugged into news and politics couldn’t miss the increased focus on social media manipulation – e.g. bots tweeting and posting by the thousands to influence elections, or the whole “fake news” hullabaloo. And nobody can dig for long in the internet truther world without determining that it’s quite possibly the densest minefield there is of misinformation, disinformation, controlled opposition, as well as earnest nonsense. Plenty of folks recognize this [or is it plenty?] and, furthermore, plenty of folks are eager to tell you exactly who is a shill, how do you spot them, what’s important and what’s mere distraction. “Don’t trust me. But really don’t trust them!”. How many rounds of ‘Spot the Agent’ are you down for? In my experience it’s not always easy to predict and sometimes the correct answer is ‘both’.
I do reckon it’s a sign of positive social development that the centralized, heavy-handed state propaganda techniques of old no longer play. We like to think that information propagation has been socialized in the internet age, that we now have access to “The Memes of Production”. While I accept that’s wonderfully true to an extent, I think it’s all so new we’re a bit like guileless children. Engaging with systems that can shroud the real source and spread of things, it’s hard to see the other edge of the sword.
I am ever more wary of Memethink. “Jet fuel can’t melt steel beams” “Jet fuel can’t melt steel beams” Ha! What a killer, single fact. Checkmate pseudo-skeptics! Repeated so often it becomes a stand-alone joke. Facebook groups spring up with names like “Dank Memes Melt Steel Beams”. Admiral Ackbar chimes in in my head: “It’s a trap!” Your friends can do a single search and find all sorts of debunking material. “Uh, no dummy. The fire didn’t need to melt any beams, just soften them enough. Look, here’s three videos of experiments with jet fuel demonstrating just how possible it is.” What are both sides ignoring? I actually lean on facts for a second: The official NIST study of the towers’ collapse went into great detail on the “collapse initiation sequence” – the stripping of fire-proofing, the spread and heat of the fires, which supports had to be weakened and just how much – all backed up with gloriously detailed mathematical models. On the complete collapses that followed from this? Symmetrical, straight down, all the way through undamaged floors and supports, at near free-fall speed, leaving behind hardly a piece of large debris? Zilch, basically. Vague assertions. They didn’t even attempt to apply a physical model to it. Well, fortunately the TV folks provided some nice-looking computer animations of how it happened to fill in the mental gaps…
The depth of the lies and manipulation is so great it’s enough to drive one mad, and it often does. Something about the makeup of my personality – I have never had much trouble placing myself in the mindset of a ruthless, master manipulator with a whole heap of resources and time on my hands. If you’re going to execute a deception so big that a certain minority of people are sure to spot it, figuring out how to keep them contained is just another aspect to plan for.
Tantalizing red herrings that lead nowhere? Great! Flood their discussion spaces with vitriol and unhinged nonsense to scare away the curious? Great! We’ve got a whole system of lies to protect though, let’s go deeper. Why not capitalize on the trauma that accompanies having their worldview shaken? They’ll naturally want to know the real truth and who’s behind the curtain, so let’s muddy those waters enough that they waste time in obsession and neglect their own lives. We don’t even need to lift a finger for many to go into shrill, Chicken Little mode and put off anyone they try to convince, being obviously carried away in fear. Let’s encourage a social atmosphere of ridicule and questioning their sanity that leaves them self-censoring and isolated. Better yet, some will instead feel bitter and embrace the divide – thinking themselves as “Awake” and the rest as pathetic, mindless “Sheeple”. Let’s generate evidence to support two opposing, false impressions: that our degree of control is small or impossible, and also that our degree of control is even greater than reality.
Between a rock and a soft place. On the one hand, the compulsion of clinging to something as an absolute certainty. On the other, the incapacitation of drifting in a mist of confusion and landing nowhere. I have, as of yet, only partial solutions myself…
Great song: Silver Apples “Confusion”
The recent X-Files reboot, miserable as it was (and agenda-wrapped, limited-hangout the whole show probably is) had some delicious tid-bits reflective of actual changes in UFO/Woo-woo thought since the halcyon days of the 90s. There’s an exchange between Mulder and an unnamed doctor who, so he says, was pulled into The Conspiracy back at Roswell.
Mulder: I called you because you said if I ever put the pieces together that you would confirm.
Doctor: And have you put them together?
Mulder: I’ve met someone. I’ve seen something.
Doctor: Because you weren’t even close. Warring aliens lighting each other on fire and other such nonsense-
Mulder: [interrupts] I was being cleverly manipulated. …
Mulder: But the technology exists. It’s existed since Roswell, and it’s been in use. Being used on humans in human testing, the taking of men, women, and children that’s misreported as alien abductions.
Doctor: So you believe you have the how.
Mulder: Yes. And I think I know the why.
Doctor: The *why* is more complicated than you may ever know, Mr. Mulder.
For instance, it’s easy enough to point to mystical, occult fingerprints in capital city architectures, in popular entertainment, in events like 9/11, to listen to testimony of people who claim they were a part of the Dark Occult world. It’s perhaps too easy a step to also take it all at face value. Are all of their equivalents of Priests and Cardinals really true-believing exemplars of Satanism? Or is that too a trap and a con played by greater magicians still? 1000 little things that point to the workings of an intelligence beyond the human – and yet, if this dark priesthood is in communication with something higher, some Lucifer, (and they themselves are not simply deluded) what is that really? I wonder if such an entity could be nothing more than the personification of collective human Shadow and self-loathing. Or that every little hatred coalesced and then set out marching orders for misery in a bid to prove Earth’s inhabitants truly are nothing but debased creatures – a macro-social version of the Book of Job.
“Or a Christian Scientist and a toothache–neither exists in the final sense: also neither is absolutely non-existent, and, according to our therapeutics, the one that more highly approximates to realness will win.
A secret of power–
I think it’s another profundity.
Do you want power over something?
Be more nearly real than it.”
Pure force of will gives one power over others, less forceful with their vision. Yet, given equal force, the will greater aligned with reality, the opportunities it grants and confines it imposes, will triumph. And I think the most powerful kinds of knowledge are the truth of human existence, its relationship to the world, and the bed of our own history and cosmology from which we come to know these. Someone knows you, understands you, better than you do yourself? Game over. Our world may be full of hierarchies of dominance based in belief: Monarchy (still thriving in the corporate world!), Plutocracy, Nations, Priesthoods, dominance of a race, and yet – one with greater knowledge as to the fundamental unreality of all of them can pull the stings of even those commanding their own little pyramids. A word I would like to see adopted more widely: Cryptocracy. Or, rule by the hidden. A type of Oligarchy that rules by virtue of obscuring its own activities and monopolizing true information. An intelligence agency on steroids.
“We have complained a great deal. At least we are not so dull as to have the delusion that we know just exactly what it is that we are complaining about. We speak seemingly definitely enough of “the System,” but we’re building upon observations by members of that very system. Or what we are doing — gathering up the loose heresies of the orthodox. Of course “the System” fringes and ravels away, having no real outline. A Swift will antagonize “the System,” and a Lockyer will call him back; but, then, a Lockyer will vary with a “meteoric hypothesis,” and a Swift will, in turn, represent “the System.” This state is to us typical of all intermediatist phenomena; or that not conceivably is anything really anything, if its parts are likely to be their own opposites at any time.”
The image of the all-seeing eye atop the pyramid, long-ubiquitous, and now it is recognized as a symbol of a hierarchy of power. But need The System I’m addressing be truly monolithic? Nowdays just saying “Game of Thrones” is a nifty shorthand: different families set tooth-and-nail against each other for ultimate power. Plots and counter-plots, winners and losers. And yet– there are truths which all have a vested interest in concealing, which they would never confess to the peasants. “Oh, by the way, all this chivalry and heroic songs and knightly contests? That’s just so you all accept and support the existence of a well-armed enforcer class. Your pious common values and gods? We don’t seriously worship those. Well, except the Starks with their Old Gods … but they’re not very good at playing the game, are they?” And what use is it to expose the plots of a Lannister if the people wouldn’t even believe you? It would blow up in your face. Anyway, you might need some of their coin down the line…
I go a step further. The structure of a pyramid satisfies some of the requirements of a Cryptocracy I’m gropingly trying to describe. The stack of levels gives us essential features for an Intelligence apparatus to function: compartmentalization of information, chains of obedience. Much energy has, and continues to be, expended trying to determine which secretive organization is at the apex of that pyramid vs. just a tool. I consider that any discrete organization could be just a tool, a recruiting ground, a host. I conceive of a parallel structure of organization: the mycelial network of a parasitic fungus, spanning between different host plants, it’s outline only as definite as what it infects. Dense tangles in the shape of cones or cylinders, the shadows of roots, strung together by meandering, little threads. Different parts of the network may be severed, only to grow back together at some later time. And there are numerous examples of parasites that change the behavior of their host, or use normal behavior to their own ends. A crab in the ocean, and its maternal instinct is to wave its egg-sac up and down to disperse her young to the currents. A zombified crab, and it waves the fungus’s reproductive sac up and down, dispersing spores to the currents to infect more crabs. Yet, aren’t I really talking about parasitism of consciousness, or a parasitic mindset? And that is something which we, as individuals, can adopt in ourselves or feed in the social environment at any time.
I’m playing chess for the first time in a long while and thank-goodness my friend is patient because my moves are taking extra long. I can’t help but think of the symbolic significances of the game. The two sides: white and black. The two squares: black and white. There are the esteemed Queen and the essential King, protected by the rest of the pieces. The pawns, readily sacrificed, plod from one extreme shade to the other unless they take an opposing piece. Flanking the royalty are two Bishops, defenders of the faith, one that dominates the light squares and one the dark. The King is like a leader, but also like an ideal or a truth, and in either case must be protected at all costs. But above them all are the players who actually see the board and determine the moves. I think of the TV series The Prisoner, IMHO one of the most deeply-edifying shows to ever grace the small screen. A woman helps our hero in an escape attempt, only to discover she had been maneuvered into a complete charade by the higher-ups.
The Admiral: A game of chess, my dear?
The Woman: I don’t play.
The Admiral: You should learn. [He beckons and she joins him] …We’re all pawns, m’dear.
The deliciousness of the whole premise! Patrick McGoohan played the secret agent in Secret Agent, with it’s snazzy intro song: “They’ve given you a number, and taken away your name”. The Prisoner was his brainchild though, and there the agent loudly decries the Number 6 his captors pin on him. “I am not a number! I am a free man!”. The nagging question through the whole series: “Who is Number 1?”. For his adversary is only ever Number 2. A different Number 2 each episode as the last one fails to break him, but always representing the same system, the same Village. The whole show is rather surreal, but really goes off the rails in the final episode.
When he finally penetrates the inner sanctum of Number 1, he finds a figure from which he has to pull off a black-and-white drama mask, then an ape mask before revealing… himself – who laughs and runs away before anything further can be learned. McGoohan had to retreat to the country for a couple weeks after this aired because there were fans truly furious at this. They felt cheated. “WTF (or probably ‘what the bloody hell’) was that? All that build-up and NO ultimate villain?” My attempt to sum up his point would be: “There is a core to one’s individuality that systems of power have no more control over than we give to them. You are always the one ultimately in control of you.” Number 6’s triumph is not to escape The System, for in the end he learns that is not possible as long as you live in a society (Out of the psycho, spy-imprisoning Village and back to the Village of London). It is to maintain his identity and devotion to his own moral compass despite everything – for he is clearly disgusted by the Village’s evils. Worse than immoral, it’s amoral.
I suppose it’s time to come to some sort of conclusion. I certainly have rambled on. It should be clear I’ve got no firm answers as to The Man Behind The Curtain. How about – “Just what in the hell is to be done in the face of all this madness?”
I take a stab at what I think are the roots of the how:
The development and spread of techniques of mental and emotional manipulation has far outpaced the general public awareness of them and therefore ability to cope. More than that, manipulative behaviors unrecognized or excused are a major problem in culture writ large. How about formal logic courses starting in Elementary School with a special unit? Call it “Defense Against The Dark Arts” for kicks. (I know it sounds preachy but I don’t know any way else to say) It’s going to take personal courage that builds a culture of courage – to seek and accept truth, no matter how uncomfortable. But also the sigh of relief that what we think to be true isn’t always so dire or vital as it seems.
Personally, I now accept that the human lifespan is neither the beginning or end of consciousness. Given that, I think we can identify such a thing as real morality, real right and wrong, just as much as we can distinguish “myself” or “a table” or “the Earth’s hydrological cycle” as real things. That is to say – stable enough, real enough to draw useful boundaries despite those lines being always blurred by the continuity of one seeming-thing into another. We need to learn to recognize the boundaries for ourselves and stop being pushed around the chessboard, doing harm to others, supporting systems that do, or even self-harm, because we feel there is no other way. Look past these adversarial dichotomies, the two sides against each other, which largely are false. Divide and Conquer is old and tried and true. Common humanity, common consciously-perceiving entity does come first. It is never legitimate to use force on account of beliefs or expressions of thought.
The real heretic is the one who lights the fires, not the ones burned in them.
A big conspiracy is, in a sense, just corruption on a big and deep scale. Clearly, the systems we rely on to keep it in check aren’t working out so hot. I don’t think we’ll ever solve the problems of psychopathic individuals, or liars, or collusion as a whole species. I think decentralization is the key. Anarchism, baby. The smallest units having the greatest power so that, when corruption does arise, it does harm to maybe one town. Not entire countries. Or entire civilizations for that matter.
As shocking and surreal as things have been, I’m confident the really strange shocks are still to come. And even if you and I, and hopefully a big We, get out of these times ok, there’s going to be a lot of clean-up to do…
I have laid a lot of heaviness and gone on too long. I desperately try to end on a light note.
“I have taken the stand that nobody can be always wrong, but it does seem to me that I have approximated so highly that I am nothing short of a negative genius.”