Our Gregorian calendar, which we decided to split into 52 periods of 7 days, dictates by some long evolved social convention that I repeat something I did around 7 days ago, and repeat it I shall. But not exactly, that would just be silly, I mean what kind of complete asinine moron would do the exact same things every single week of their life? It’s preposterous. There’s no good reason for it, bar some thin veil of comfort to shelter you from the encroaching fear that you’re getting closer to 30 and all your friends are talking about moving in with their boyfriends at brunch while you tuck into avocado smeared on some kind of probiotic sourdough and softly cry into your lap while swiping right on every balding nobody who pops up on your tinder wondering if that guy you banged after Fab on the third year of your Classics degree was actually the one.
But that aside, on to the good stuff.
Have you ever gazed across the horizon from the top of a hill or a cliff, awed into silence by the beauty, your eyes drinking in the splendour of nature while your mind wonders “If the world is round then why is everything I see flat?” No? Good. Some of you may have read over the weekend that perennial nobody and one time mildly successful “rap” artist B.o.B. (I don’t get it either, what’s wrong with just Bob?) has made some rather bold claims suggesting that we’ve all been lied to and the world is actually flat. You know, centuries of empirical scientific evidence and astronauts actually up in space be damned.
I don’t know much about Bob, who he is, where he’s from, I don’t know his story, what he’s been through to get here, mmmmhmmm, but I can safely assume that he never sat through a basic science lesson, or even just googled the words “Earth from space.”
(Though mild props to any man so steadfast in his belief that he’ll go toe to toe on Twitter with Neil Motherfuckin’ DeGrasse Tyson about science).
When I found out a couple of years ago that people like this exist I was gobsmacked, astounded that people in the 21st century could still genuinely believe that the Earth is flat, and of course allege that all science is just one giant conspiracy and they’re hiding something at Area 51 and also vaccines give you autism and, wait, no, I dipped into another crazy pond. We’ll get to that in a bit.
Flat Earthers have been experiencing a bit of a Renaissance recently, not a real one, because that would make them (by definition) smarter and therefore less likely to be Flat Earthers, especially in America. Big surprise. A quick jaunt to youtube will reveal dozens of videos purporting to debunk science and NASA data with that particular kind of person thrusting maps at shitty webcams of how the world really looks. You know the type, the kind where you look at them and can just imagine what they smell like, stale wotsits and BO and the shame of their parents. According to many of them, Antarctica is just a ring of ice surrounding the flat world or something, it’s all a bit Discworld/Middle Earth/Westeros/any other fantasy world.
The even funnier thing is that the Flat Earthers can’t even agree on which theory they support, there are fragments within the movement, can you imagine that? It’s fucking hilarious. People are genuinely disagreeing on how they’re going to be wrong, it’s mind-blowing, but it also stops being funny once you realise that they’re being serious. They’re serious, guys, c’mon. Stop laughing. Okay no, a bit more laughter.
Okay now stop. Damn it I can’t.
Of course what this all ties into, and the broader topic of this post, is the notion of conspiracies in this day and age. In the age of information, the age of tinder and snapchat and facebook and grindr and other such mobile hook up applications, it’s easier than ever to make a few taps and swipes on a screen and find out anything you want to know.
But at the same time when information is so readily available it’s not always easy to trust in its veracity. As I myself have written in the past, people shouldn’t necessarily believe everything they read and see online, particularly when it’s written in one of those telltale impassionate tones that belies a total lack of logical grounding and comes across like the ramblings of a man who hasn’t gotten laid in 7 months. Heh.
So what do you get when you’re a person who finds things hard to believe yet also will believe in things that most other people would find incredibly hard to believe? My friends, you’ve got yourself a conspiracy theorist.
The come in many forms. There’s the “Illuminati and New World Order control the world and they’re actually lizard people” ones, the “9/11 was an inside job” ones, the “Chemtrail” ones, the “Vaccines give you autism on purpose” ones, the “Genetically modified foods are the spawn of satan” ones, and then the slightly more light hearted “Elvis/Tupac is still alive” type ones, who you kind of just want to pinch on the cheek and give them a little pat on the head while the men in white coats fetch the straitjackets.
To entertain a notion on reddit or 4chan is one thing, to get into that high frame of mind and consider whether there really is a group of shady men who control politics or not is another. I mean there is, it’s obvious, what do you think happens in Davos every year when all the politicians and rich folk get together? The truth is obvious, they’re planning how to control us through brainwaves and MK Ultra and there’s drugs in our food to make us conform and OPEN YOUR GODDAMN EYES YOU SHEEPLE.
See? It’s easy to get caught up in it all. The more far fetched the idea the more readily people seem to buy into it, something fantastical to take away from the drab, grey, monotony of actual life.
There are interests who want to shape global policy, but they’re not shadowy lizard men, they’re politicans and business folk and supranational bodies like the UN who have a vested interest in the betterment of the world as a whole. If someone is a profit chasing dickhead, it’s because they’re a profit chasing dickhead, not because their strings are being pulled by a chameleon off stage somewhere.
I enjoy a good conspiracy read, it amuses me just how creatively people wil piece together real world elements to construct theories, but it also worries me. It worries me when these fears bleed out from their online forums and into real life, when people start blurring the line between seeing something as a theory and instead see everyone else as propaganda agents out to get them, suppressing the truth that only they and a select few have been clever enough to see. Everyone wants to belong, to feel special, but that’s a pretty dangerous way to go about it.
When people listen to nutters like Vani Hari and her ilk on youtube and take her garbled rants about various chemicals to heart instead of listening to actual scientists and doctors (who are all in cahoots by the way obv. 😂😂😂💯) and stop feeding their kids certain things or worse, choose not to vaccinate them and endanger their lives as well as the lives of those around them.
A quick aside, if you’ll indulge me.
There’s a special spot in my hate list for anti-vaxxers, they embody the opposite of everything that I hold dear. They embody a distrust of science and knowledge, the willingness to blindly believe in social media nonsense, the prioritising of personal opinion over empirical fact, and worst of all they push their hare brained bullshit onto innocent children who were unfortunate enough to be born into their care. They can all go fuck themselves.
But back to the matter at hand. It’s this toxic combination of distrust and a lack of belonging that seems to feed these people. They don’t fit into society, so they question it, but not the things that need questioning. They don’t question entrenched racism, sexism, ageism, nepotism, they go after easy targets that nobody ever bothered to defend because they never thought they’d need defending. Who ever thought that Galileo and Copernicus and Newton would come under fire from some shite rapper for apparently being part of some secretive Freemason science cabal? Or that scientists and doctors who swore oaths to protect lives would actively harm their children? They’re soft targets, ones that haven’t been questioned because they’re just so damned self explanatory.
But this lack of questioning simply drives the distrust further, makes them wonder why nobody has asked these things, and who it may be that’s keeping us all under control. People bandy about the phrase “Big brother is watching” these days as if it’s some truism rather than a quote from a (rather brilliant) 60 year old novel about the dangers of fascism, and it’s easy to see why in an era of the NSA and GCHQ tapping our messages, but it’s also very easy to get a bit carried away.
I’m not saying people shouldn’t question the status quo, why things are the way they are. Science too has been proven wrong in the past (by other scientists, not youtube commenters), so it’s not too far fetched to doubt some things that modern scientists would accept as fact. But science isn’t afraid to learn, to evolve, to accept change as and when it happens. Science yields to evidence, not mere conjecture, and as someone who considers himself a bit of an amateur science (and sci fi) buff I gladly wait for the day when someone sets forth some solid proof for their theories.
But until then, no. I refuse. I refuse to listen to people whose view of the world and the people in it is so warped as to suggest that we’re all a bunch of braindead drones and there’s only a select few who can see the light. It’s the same reason why I don’t entirely buy into religion either, the notion that there’s a select few who are worthy, it’s petty tribalism, straight out of the Dawn of Man sequence in 2001.
Conspiracy theories are just that, theories, but I think even that word is giving them more credit than they’re due. Theory suggests that all they’re lacking is a practical application, when what they’re lacking in reality is any semblance of credibility whatsoever. They’re conspiracy tales, stories cooked up by throwing whatever dregs of “information” have been found in the gutters of the internet and left to stew until some watery thin solidity appears.
Belief is a contentious issue, and a deeply personal one, but beliefs should be held to question. Take away the ability to question them and you’re left with blind faith, the human trait that has led to such wonders as the Crusades and ISIS to name but two. Thus far only the anti-vaxx crew are in a position to genuinely harm life through their beliefs, but it’s the beliefs themselves that are the source. Much like a weed, certain things have to be killed at the root before they can disappear for good, but when a root is so deeply buried what can we – oh god they’re here, helppgana’ebebae//././
THIS IS THE ILLUMINATE. WE DO NOT FORGIVE. WE DO NOT SOW.
xoxo, The High Supreme Grand Wizard of the 13th Chamber of Amenhotep