Something Truthful about Conspiracy Theories

The-Creepiest-Conspiracy-Theories-

A Facebook colleague asked me what I thought about Jade Helm 15. According to conspiracy theorists Jade Helm 15 is the government codename for the coming military takeover of the state of Texas. Why the military would want Texas or what they plan on doing with it after the takeover isn’t elaborated so far as I’ve discerned. Come to think of it, might be Texas would make one helluva of an officer’s club or one of those great big Air Force bases. Plenty of cheap, low skilled labor nearby to make sure the greens are watered and weeded and the nearby dining facilities and NCO clubs are stocked and cleaned.

Funny thing on the way to believing conspiracy theories is there is a certain amount of truth to them. At least the same amount found in any other thing we’ve judged to be truthful.

Conspiracy theories are manifestations of the truth buried deep in our psyche like an imbedded germ deep within our conscious that reminds us every day we are doomed, destined to die, and will at one moment pass into that final midnight.

Time and evolution has granted to humanity an excess of consciousness that has come to weigh it down with knowledge of tragedy and death. It’s this dark knowledge we have about our fates, which causes us to turn this despair into entertainment and self-consciousness into Dark Enlightenment.

H.P. Lovecraft’s Old Ones is a wonderful source to this dark knowledge as it explains that we are utterly contingent and fragile. Put simply, this dark knowledge kills us for sport. All such foreboding and ultimate designs about our fate is a product of the human, rather than the natural, world. They are inventions of human consciousness just as our conceptions of self-awareness and autonomy are.

Since death isn’t real until it happens and the only way to experience it is to die, there stands a void in between. Conspiracy theories stand in for this void for the ultimate realization: “Horror is more real than we are” as Thomas Ligotti wrote in The Conspiracy Against the Human Race.

No better example comes to mind then the frenzy and hysteria over global warming/climate change. Talk about the ultimate horror! And despite the fact we were supposed to have died a dozen times over the past 50 years, it’s still gripping entertainment for many who thrive off of existential miserablism.

So, beyond all illusion and distraction we are faced with the horror of our certain, imminent, and permanent annihilation. Conspiracy theories are a dark confirmation of all that you had feared, but stand in for good entertainment in the meantime.

Remembering John Keats

John Keats

John Keats wrote in a 1820 letter before he died of tuberculosis in Rome: “I have left no immortal work behind me, but I have lov’d the principle of beauty in all things, and if I had had the time I would have made myself remember’d.”

Our man only lived to be 25 years of age. Which is kind of fitting because he never grows old in style or age.

Bright Star

Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art–
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature’s patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors–
No–yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow’d upon my fair love’s ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever–or else swoon to death.

American Reform

I like to poke a little fun at Americans even if I declare myself one. Partly because they were there, I was there, and it was an easy target. There are several ideas of America. Depending on how many times you ask the question determines how many ideas you will get. Nowhere is there to be found a single idea of America. Too many, America is what it should be, but never recognized for what it is. Americans often pretend to have much in common with a people that never existed long ago, who lived in an innocent and noble time that never was. This is all done in an attempt to bring, what they call, their Founding Fathers into a larger picture where, in fact, they don’t exist. So they fantasize about reforming, returning to a purer time in history—back to the independence of the past. They celebrate their tough, British fighting, Founding ancestors—pretending they have something in common with them. Lost to them is the certain reaction from any Founder, even the most tolerant one among the bunch, if such a fat, helpless excuse of a man, the kind that exist today, were to dare suggest they shared anything in common. The Founder, whether it be Jefferson, Washington, Adams, for it makes no difference who in this circumstance, all would be just as offended as the next and would demand his man choose the weapon of choice, and would kill such a pathetic character over the grievous insult to his sacred honor.

Very well then, every American has his own idea of America. However, that idea is seldom shared universally – outside of his particular enclave, which is his place of refuge. Its high walls and his fearsome neighbors protect him from thought; relieve him from the burdens of thinking alone. In America, every idea is repugnant to the one who did not think it first, and its form of grotesqueness changes according to the region the observer finds himself. If one enclave is socially, politically, and economically the polar opposite of the other, the more grotesque the idea is. In fact, if ten Americans, from different parts of the land, were corralled into the same room for a day and forced at gunpoint to agree on a common idea of America or die, the only thing they would have in common at the end of that day would be how they died. This would happen even if the fate of every man, woman, and child depended on just a majority agreement. Add 525 to the ten, make the room enormously larger, grandiosely more expensive, the men infinitely richer, shorten the day to a few hours of debate, and this is Congress.

The Jaws of the Bocca della Verità

jaws

This dreadful looking pagan visage is said to bite off the hands of liars.

I am hot on the trail of a conceptual demon – the obscurant, lie that appeals to cognitive bias through suggestion.

I caught an article over at The American Scholar about lying and liars, why we do it, and why we bask in the glory of having caught one in a lie.

Obviously we all lie and have lied, but that doesn’t make us liars. Children lie often. Why? I think it’s fueled from imagination (innocence) and defense (lying to an elder is their only defense against punishment).

The article itself discussed the well publicized Brian Williams fiasco where he was time and again shown to have lied. However, the author spared Williams scorn by suggesting there’s a “much more interesting phenomenon: unintentionally misrepresenting the truth.” What the author means by this can be explained using his own words: “If retrieving memory is a process—and recounting it a performance—then there are numerous ways its accuracy can derail.”

Firstly, one would have to be in the mind of Williams to know if he “unintentionally” misrepresented the truth. How did he determine there was no motive or profit for Williams to lie? He is after all a high-profile personality in the media, which is nothing more than a sensationalism-churning industry for an audience whose memories are no longer than a news cycle. He’s a product of his own environment, a creation by his own design and a willing accomplice in an enterprise of half-truths, bold face lies, and narratives. So I tend to throw “unintentional” out the window.

Secondly, Williams’ tall-tales had nothing to do with memory and everything to do with purpose, a purposeful lie to transport himself from viewer or reporter to subject in order to receive the same sympathy as the victim and the same admiration as the hero. Simply, he lied for personal gain. One does not create entire stories in vivid detail out of thin air unintentionally.

As for liars, people don’t hate liars. On the contrary, people grudgingly accept a good liar in a sly-like-a-fox kind of way. They do, however, despise a bad liar. And a bad liar is one who gets caught.

Political season will soon be up on us and I can promise you this. All will lie except when they are talking about the other politician.

 

The Great Escape

prison

And back to where it all started…

One morning you wake up and say the hell with it–or was it one night before you finally fell asleep? Either way, I experienced that moment. I remember. It was on the 24th of April, 2015. I decided I had had enough. Something had to give and the fast descent I was traveling, that something likely would have been me. Though I do detest myself sometimes, I still love the hell out of me.

I’ve always been a good friend to myself, the kind of friend who tells it like it is. I may not always listen but eventually I concede to the advice. And here was such a time.

Myself said, “you have to get us out of here. I don’t like the looks of this place.”

“But where do we go? This prison is our home, you know that. This is the way it has to be.”

“Who said? Look, I like you but you’re really starting to get on my nerves. Why should I stick around anymore if you’re just gonna give up?”

“It’s not that easy. We can’t just jump up and quit. We have responsibilities. We have a job. That’d be a crazy thing to do.”

“People have done crazier things. Besides I can’t spend another day with you in that apartment. You’re getting to be hard to live with.”

“So it’s like that, huh? Even after all this time.”

“I’m afraid so.”

“You think it could be that easy. We could just load up and leave?”

“See this is what I mean. I’m not suggesting we cross the Atlantic you wuss. I’m saying let’s just go back home, be closer to the kids. That’s what you need, anyhow. That’s what we both really need right now. You for them and them for you.”

“Okay. I’ll go in and give our notice but let me do all the talking. Sometimes you rub people the wrong way is all.”

I’ve digressed. I quit my job and moved back to my native state of Louisiana. I gave my notice on that day and had my stuff packed and ready for the movers by the end of the weekend–aside from a few odds and ends I tied up throughout the week. On May 6th at 7 p.m., I jumped in my car and started my drive straight through, save for a two hour nap at a rest stop somewhere in northern Mississippi. I had a job waiting for me that started on May 11th with a company in an industry I knew nothing about. But hey, it was my ticket out of there.

And like that I quit the only profession I’ve known since I was 21 and gave up the very trade and considerable perks that made my living. And I took a huge pay cut for my troubles. It would be embarrassing for me to divulge the number. Now I stay at a place with some trees and some shade, with a little garden outback and some birds. I’m two hours from my precious children and I get to see them almost whenever I want. I see my family a lot more, too. I’m still adjusting financially. I’m used to having money. Now I’m learning to not spend on things I don’t need. It’s a challenge but I’m getting it. I worked out a way to keep my car because let’s not get carried away, I’m still a creature of some comfort. Besides, I reckon a man such as myself is entitled to a little fruit.

Additionally, I still have the land I purchased earlier in the year. If I need to sell it for some cash, I can. So if there was ever a chapter to be closed, I can assure you I just closed one. I don’t foresee myself writing one quite like that one again. Then, who knows? This job I have now is salary but I don’t see myself in it longterm. Like I said, it was my ticket home, so I snatched it.

I’ll rebuild and get reestablished but first I need to breathe for a while. I need to reflect on my close call and figure out where to go from here. And I need to stop being self absorbed and accept what has become. I’m working on it is all I can say.

On another note, problem with moving back after being gone for so long and having lived in different states and parts of the world is, you don’t quite fit in like you once did. Though I still have a Southern accent, my drawl isn’t as pronounced as it once was. So now folks ask me where I’m from. I have to say, “why, right here, same as you.” Though that’s a little white lie. I actually grew up about 120 miles south of here. It’s not just the accent that separates me. There’s another divide, an existential one. That’s for another time, though.

At any rate, all of this is kind of a big deal for me in light of the events that have transpired over the past year.