Conspiracy: Experience and Reality

There is something on my mind that I’m reluctant to try to write about. It’s a complex subject that would take a book to provide the necessary cited data and analysis. Besides, it’s a topic that I feel few are inclined (able? willing?) to understand. I’m not even sure what to call the subject. The term “conspiracy” may be the closest I can come to describe it.

Within human nature, there is an inherent naivete that blinds and blinders us. It takes some combination of certain personality tendencies (in particular a questioning mindset), life experiences (of the strange variety is probably helpful), suffering (to a significant degree and length), a contemplative attitude (with or without an accompanying contemplative practice), and critical thinking skills (not limited to conventional logic) – along with any number of other factors – to even begin to take this subject seriously. I sense that it may be similar to what Ligotti writes about. His pessimistic philosophy is based on his own direct experience… either you’ve had similar experiences or not, and no amount of logic or data will be convincing otherwise.

I’m tempted to theorize that this gut-level sense of “conspiracy” is something beyond the political to which its normally applied. Is it metaphysical in terms of reality being illusory, deceptive even? Is it the insight of the Gnostics? Most definitely, the pessimistic views on suffering and freewill play a part in this, and along with all of this the noir vision of life. Of course, there are various psychological and socio-political explanations one can give for this experience (subjective or objective) of conspiracy, but to me any mundane explanation can’t touch upon the mystery at the heart of the matter. I could bring up many aspects, but I’m not in the mood to philosophically analyze.

If I’m interested in the mystery more than the explanations, then why did I choose to use the term “conspiracy”? There are two reasons. I am interested in the real world correlations of this experience which would include the topics normally placed in this category. The other reason is because Ligotti uses this word in the title of his book about pessimism. Ligotti’s views are in the background of my thinking even though this blog isn’t about his ideas.

Okay, let me now get at my main point. Conspiracies in the real world are only possible because the human psyche has a natural inclination towards conspiracies. Just consider the young of our species. Children are often conspiring with their siblings against their parents or with their friends against various authority figures or even with other children against other children. Children are no innocents. Conniving little beasts is what they are. Of course, parents and authority figures likewise conspire to control and mould children towards their own nefarious ends such as making them into law-abiding citizens and obedient workers.

Conspiracies are found in all aspects of life. A conspiracy is simply anything covertly shared between two or more people toward some end. I suspect that many people dismiss conspiracy theories because they wish to deny their own secretiveness. We all have many secrets. We all withhold information and distort the truth in trying to gain advantage in our relationships and our everyday activities. In fact, it’s normal and considered acceptable (expected even) for individuals to present their best face/persona.

As for the more common definition of “conspiracy”, one could spend (and many have spent) their whole life investigating and compiling the complex webs of covert (and often illegal) activities of various people and organizations: government officials, alphabet soup agencies, military, owners and CEOs of corporations, those involved in the stock market, special interest groups, scientists, unions, mafia, etc.). The close connections between old wealth families, royal blood, political position, and corporation ownership (such as media and oil) is intriguing to say the least. In terms of the US, some other interesting details that rarely make it into the mainstream media and are rarely investigated deeply even when they do get brief media attention: election discrepancies, history of government experimentation on citizens, missing federal money and black budget, illegal activities in other countries implemented or supported by this government, large number of people who disappear every year, and on and on.

Conspiracies (and other unexplained phenomena) are happening all of the time. One just hopes that they either benefit one or at least don’t cause harm. Most people simply trust (or maybe just never think to question) the government (and other powerful organizations including the mainstream media) even though there is no clear justification for such blind faith.

I’m not recommending mistrust and suspiciousness. I’m not actually recommending anything, but I am a proponent of curiosity and critical thinking… which I perceive as fairly rare attributes. It’s understandable. Few if any would willingly choose to think about conspiracies… only those who are insane or have too much time on their hands waste their lives on conspiracy theories. Its just that, once this view has been deeply considered (however that comes about), it’s extremely hard to forget. This isn’t to imply that it is somehow important. It seems to me that it doesn’t necessarily have much significance from a practical perspective. It certainly hasn’t helped me in my life.

Conspiracies always have existed and always will; and there have always been those obsessed about uncovering them and there always will. But who cares? I’m sure most people don’t care (bread and circus I suppose). Besides, if you’re one of the lucky few in the world to live well off in a powerful country, then most conspiracies probably work in your favor. And if not, then you’re just f*cked and you might as well resign yourself to your fate. Ha! How about that for cynicism!?!

Its true that all of this is a moral issue, but morality on this scale is practically invisible to the average person. Most people are just too busy trying to get by to worry about these seemingly pointless speculations. Even if someone becomes aware of various morally questionable covert activities, it is easy to rationalize them away. Morality only matters on the personal level and it’s hard to connect to conspiracies as being a part of one’s personal reality.

I only think about this kind of thing because I don’t know how to not think about it. I’m genuinely bewildered that more people aren’t bothered by it. Despite my cynical attitude, I don’t see conspiracies as specifically negative. That conspiracies exist is simply a fact. That the world is very strange (stranger than science will ever comprehend) is simply the way the world is. To speculate any further would be to enter the realm of philosophy and religion, and that could be a very very long discussion.

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Coast to Coast AM with George Noory: some recent interesting shows

I listen to Coast to Coast quite often as I have a late night schedule. These two shows intrigued me. One is about the future of where humanity is heading and the other is about the world of humanity’s past. The following are the description of the shows from the Coast to Coast website. If you follow the links you’ll find more info.

Robots & Warfare

An expert in 21st century warfare, P.W. Singer discussed military robots and robotic systems, and the ramifications of their usage. Some examples in the battlefield include unmanned spy planes such as the Predator, which sends video and infrared data to human operators, and Packbots, small mobile robots (made by the company that manufactures the Roomba) that seek out and find IED bombs.

A military experiment demonstrated that when soldiers conducted war games with robots, the teams that had robots designed with personalities did better than the teams whose robots didn’t have personalities. Soldiers are starting to build bonds with their robots, and they’ve even taken risks to save them, Singer reported. Science-fiction has often accurately predicted changes in technology, and has served as a catalyst for robotic designers and the military, he commented.

The use of machinery to conduct our wars marks a big change in the way it’s been done for the last 5,000 years, he noted. Israel’s war with the Hezbollah in Lebanon was the first time that both sides used unmanned drones. Among the ethical questions Singer posed: Does robotic technology make it easier to go to war? Will soldiers controlling robots make decisions they wouldn’t if they were actually at the combat site?

Fossils & Folklore

Science historian Adrienne Mayor shared her research into how pre-scientific cultures understood the fossil record, and how their interpretation formed the basis of many ancient legends. According to Mayor, fossils were easily found in the ancient Greco-Roman world due to the region’s seismic activity, as well as erosion caused by thunderstorms and landslides. Mayor said the simple act of plowing a field could reveal fossilized remains, which would then be collected, measured, and put on display at a local Temple. Isolated bones from mastodons or giant rhinoceroses were often misidentified as monsters or heroes from myth, Mayor explained.

Native Americans had their own stories about creatures of legend. Mayor thinks Paleo-Indians may have encountered giants in certain areas of America. They likely lived alongside very large birds as well. As evidence, Mayor noted that a huge bird with a 15-ft wingspan, known as a Teratorn, co-existed with early humans in Africa. She also pointed to a petroglyph at Petrified Forest National Monument in Arizona that depicts a giant bird with a person in its beak.

Mayor spoke about Fifth century Greek historian Herodotus, who claimed to have been shown evidence of winged snakes in Egypt. Roman statesman Cicero also mentioned winged reptiles, she explained, as did a Medicine Man from the Crow Tribe, who told his granddaughter that he had found a flying lizard during a vision quest.

Mayor discussed giant sea creatures mentioned in the Bible and elsewhere in ancient literature (Pliny the Elder), as well as presented stories about UFOs in antiquity. In one such tale, natives in Ecuador and Peru showed Spanish explorers bones belonging to what they described as giant invaders from the sea. Mayor said the natives informed the explorers about a flash of fire from the heavens that destroyed the huge creatures and left only their charred remains behind. In an account from 74 BC, two warring armies witnessed a flaming object crash into their battlefield. The object was described as molten silver in color and shaped like a nose cone, Mayor said.

What I’ve been doing lately

I’ve had a bunch of stuff on my mind lately.  I’m being my normal distractable self.

I was reading about the Monomyth in terms of fiction.  Along with this, I’ve been visitng the TV Tropes site which is always enjoyable.  I’ve been trying to refocus on fiction and I’ve been working on a story. 

For some reason, conversations with my parents have led to the subject of generations.  So, I was looking at a specific generations theory that is based on four repeating archetypes.  I’ve read about generations quite a bit over the years, but I learned something new in some recent reading of online articles. 

Generation X (of which I’m a member of on the younger end of the scale) isn’t very large in number.  The Boomer generation before is about twice the size and the Milennial generation after is about twice the size.  Generation X hasn’t had as directly a powerful influence as the Boomers.  When people think of contemporary American culture they’re essentially thinking of Boomer culture.  And just as Generation X is just starting to move up in to positions of power, the massive Milennial generation pops up and will get all the attention. 

I don’t mind so much.  I’m excited to see how the world will change as the Boomers retire and the Milennials become the new force that dominates American culture.  I suspect there will be an explosion of technological innovation of the likes that hasn’t been seen for a long time.

On another topic, I’ve been reading some graphic novels.  I’ve decided to finish reading the whole Sandman series which is probably my single most favorite graphic novel.  I also want to finish Doom Patrol eventually.   Another favorite series is Promethea which I’ve read before, but would like to read again. I’ve started looking at some other graphic novels: The Filth, The Invisibles, and Watchmen… the latter of which has been made into a movie.

I’ve also been reading other books as well… ya know, the kind without pictures. 

I’m reading The Hidden Passion by Caruana.  It is a novelized version of the Jesus story from the Gnostic perspective.  He bases it on and directly quotes from Gnostic texts.  Its quite fascinating and a nice balance to my past studies of Gnosticism.  It makes me want to read more of the Gnostic texts.

I’ve been skimming through the nonfiction book arts of Darkness Thomas S. Hibbs (the title intentionally leaves “arts” uncapitalized).  Its about several of my favorite subjects: film, neo-noir, sci-fi, and Gnosticism.  It covers similar territory as the works of Eric G. Wilson, but with a different emphasis.  Hopefully, I’ll get around to reading it in detail soon.  I have the sense that it will be a book that I’ll return to many times.

My friend has been reading some of the writings of Martin Luther.  We’ve discussed it some and its interesting even though its a bit hard to understand some aspects.  My friend has an interest in the idea of sin.  Luther believed that we couldn’t see sin in ourselves, and that it was only through God that our sin could be brought to light.  Luther has a fairly black and white view in which it seems that he presents God as an absolute Other.  Only utterly blind faith can save us.

I’ve been watching some tv shows and movies. 

I just finished the movie Walk Hard.  Its a very silly parody of the Jonny Cash biopic Walk the Line.  I watched it before and its as funny the second time.

There are two tv series I just started watching.  Pushing Daisies is somewhat original.  Its about a guy who brings back the dead.  It reminds me of a couple of shows.  Its similar to Dead Like Me and Tru Calling.  The other series I’ve watched a few episodes of is Fringe.  Its of the paranormal investigator and political conspiracy variety first popularized with the X Files. 

The only thing that annoys me about Pushing Daisies and Fringe is that both lead actors always seem like their constipated.  I think its the actors’ attempts to portray characters that feel troubled by life.  That is only a minor complaint because the acting overall is good.

Human Stupidity

Humans are strange.  We collectively seem almost incapable of preparing for the future.  We either just react out of fear (such as the War on Terror or War on Drugs, but these are impotent acts that serve no purpose) or we don’t even notice (sometimes actively avoiding aknowledgment of) the real threats.

I hear people arguing about Global Warming.  Its a stupid debate based on ignorance and ideology.  We do know that the global weather is changing.  The reasons are less clear, but that is all the more reason we should be careful.  This is known as the precautionary principle.  We should stop adding massive pollution to the environment not because we know what it does but because we don’t know what it does. 

Anyways, we do know that pollution is bad for us.  If pollution doesn’t lead to climate changes that kills us, then the pollution itself might kill us.  The increase of many diseases such as cancer is probably directly related to pollution.  We look for cures for cancer, but why don’t we look for preventing it at the source?  Is there a reason we want to poison ourselves?  Are we collectively trying to commit suicide?

We could’ve entirely converted to alternative energies decades ago.  Why are we still arguing about alternative energy?  Why don’t we instead invest our best minds in finding a solution?  Pretty much everyone agrees that we’ll run out of oil fairly soon.  Why do humans have to wait until the last moment, until its almost too late before acting?

Also, why are we so careless?  More animals have died because of the Industrial Revolution than from the Ice Age.  Actually, we don’t even know how many species we’ve killed.  Most species have probably gone extinct before they were discovered.

On top of all of this, when Yellowstone blows it will be the biggest volcano in the world.  It would annihalate the whole population of North America and blacken the skies for months across the world.  The magma pocket is overdue for explosion and its been more active recently.

Any single factor is of limited importance.  Climate change isn’t necessarily significant in itself.  However, mutliple factors combined simultaneously could be game-enders for our species.  So, we have massive pollution, massive extinction and ecosystem collapse, massive climate change, and massive volcano.  Instead of increasing the number of possible threats, wouldn’t it be smarter to decrease them?  A Yellowstone explosion would certainly change the global environment and cause widescale species extinction, but we are already doing this to ourselves.  Are we so excited about total annihalation that we can’t wait for nature to do it for us?

If we humans don’t manage to kill ourselves and all of life on Earth, it will be direct evidence of God’s intervention.

Alchemy and Suffering

The Philosopher’s Secret Fire

by Patrick Harpur

Page 32:  “Besides, it is doubtful whether voluntary disciplines can ever do more than prepare the way for initiation – which, like the shaman’s call, is, finally, involuntary.  We cannot will to die to ourselves.”

Page 33:  “There are the experiences we must not seek to cure or get over, so that we can return to the persons we were.”

Page 34:  “Love is less reliable than loss as the generator of transformation because it is easily confused with attachment, wish, desire, and so may be unreal without our knowing it.  The reasons for our suffering in loss may be equally unreal or deluded, but at least the suffering itself is real.  ‘A cry of pain is always irreducible'”

Gnostic Quotes

Beloved, now are we the Sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as he is.

-I John 3:2-

 

 

‘Gnosis is the knowledge of the heart’

—Valentinus–

That is the way it is in the world – men make gods and worship their creation. It would be fitting for the gods to worship men!

–The Gospel of Philip—

‘All learning is remembering’

-Plato–

Abraxas begetteth truth and lying,
good and evil, light and darkness,
in the same word and in the same act.
Wherefore is Abraxas terrible.
It is love and love’s murder.
It is the saint and his betrayer.
It is the brightest light of day
and the darkest night of madness.

–The Seven Sermons to The Dead—

The bird struggles out of the egg.

The egg is the world.

Whoever wants to be born, must first destroy a world.

The bird flies to God.

That God’s name is Abraxas.

–Herman Hess, ‘Damien’

 

These quotes are from the following site which has a lot of good audio interviews about Gnosticism and related subjects:

http://www.thegodabovegod.com/

Anti-Folk

I discovered a new genre of music: anti-folk (Wikipedia article).  My friend was playing some music from Juno which I’ve seen before.  The movie is decent, but the music is great.  

I looked up music related to Juno.  I first came across The Moldy Peaches (their page on Last FM), and I really enjoyed the music.  From there, I discovered Kimya Dawson (her page on Last FM) who was a member of that group.  I like her voice and playful style.  

I haven’t yet listened to much else from the Anti-folk genre, but I plan on it.  Here is the page from Last FM:  

anti-folk

 

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Wiki

 

The music sub-genre known as anti-folk (or antifolk) takes the earnestness of politically charged 1960s music and subverts it into something else. It is still highly debated what exactly the defining characteristics of this sub-genre are, as they vary from one artist to the next. Nonetheless, it is fairly accepted that the music tends to sound raw or experimental; it also generally mocks the seriousness and pretension of the established mainstream music scene in addition to mocking itself.


 

Nicole : wakingdreamer

about 17 hours later

Nicole said

Fun! 🙂 

Marmalade : Gaia Child

about 22 hours later

Marmalade said

As you may have noticed, this Anti-folk has some similarity to the Postmodern Pop I posted about earlier. Both are aboutplayfully mocking those inthe music industrywho takes themselves too seriously. 

Another related genre I just now noticed is Folktronica. The Wikipedia article said that the ”postmodern pop artist Momus released an album titled Folktronic deliberately exploring (and satirizing) the fusion.” Postmodern pop is all about fusion and so would make use of any other fusion genre. 

Alt-punk and Alt-country (and probably Alt anything) seem to be likewise related. 

Nicole : wakingdreamer

1 day later

Nicole said

yes 🙂 

 

The Many Rooms of Time (fiction by Ben Steele)

He had inherited this old house from a side of the family he didn’t even know existed. Apparently, his name had been at the end of a long list of heirs. It was fortunate for he needed a place to stay. His landlord, prior landlord that is, had recently evicted him. He had taken in a stray cat and cats were prohibited… it said so in the lease. So, he arrived at this house, just himself and the cat. The cat promptly disappeared, surely exploring as cats like to do. He decided he should also explore as it was a very large house.

He went from the foyer to a side room to a dining room to a kitchen, every room with doors leading to other rooms and in every room clocks: cuckoo clocks, massive grandfather clocks, simple wall clocks, and even a few hourglasses mostly in the kitchen. He finally came to a room that had display cases of wrist watches, pocket watches, and unusual devices that he thought might be timers. Looking at these time pieces, he realized all of them were stopped. He now wandered upstairs and it was beginning to dawn on him that none of them worked. There was a loose pattern to the times they were stopped at as if each room was not only stale with settled dust but also with settled time.

He now stood in what must have once been a bedroom. A table with a mirror, where he imagined a woman might have sat to comb her hair, had become cluttered with small clocks of the sort found in souvenier shops. These clocks were held by small figurines or enclosed in globes, and they were all set a little before five as if they waited to be called down for dinner.

Walking on, he noticed that each room was captured in its particular moment. When he made his way to the attic, even the clocks in boxes were stuck in their shared crevice of time. He kept mental notes of these times hoping he might discover an order to it all, but he couldn’t grasp why a room with clocks set almost in unison at quarter after 9 pm was next to a room with clocks set at times dispersed over the hours of late morning. After a while, he began to notice something or rather a lack of something. No clock or time piece in any room was set between the hours of 2 and 3 in the am.

Continuing to wander, he ended up in a wing of the third floor. He came to the last room he had yet to enter which was at the back of the house. The door was part way open and it creaked as he stepped inside. This room was furnished with just a bed and a bedstand, but more importantly there were no clocks. He was so struck by this oddity that he didn’t initially notice the cat curled upon the bedcover. The contented feline purred and squinted up at him.

He suddenly realized how tired he was. The time had slipped by and it was now quite late. Sitting down at the edge of the bed, he tugged his shoes off placing them upon the floor and he unstrapped his wrist watch laying it upon the bed stand. He lay back, the bed felt so comforting. The purring of the cat fell in sync with his own breathing. In a half-dream state, these sounds slowly merged into the clicking of gears and the whirring of springs. As he further settled into the soft mattress, it felt as if the whole house shifted ever so slightly… but he was so deeply asleep within a moment of time that he didn’t even hear the clang of chimes and other distant clamoring noise.

Mother’s Voice (fiction by Ben Steele)

I’m standing in a kitchen, but it isn’t familiar.  I’m on the phone talking to my mother, but she isn’t my mother… she is all mothers, a piecemeal recollection of primal longings for mother.  Her voice is, at first, the voice of a mother from a tv show… now, shifting, the voice of the mother of a childhood friend.

I’m so focused on this voice that I’m barely aware of the kitchen, but I sense there are children nearby, my children.  I too am a mother.

The cord to the phone lengthens as I feel myself moving (stepping?) backwards across the kitchen floor.  In the periphery of my vision, I see flickers of movement.  I worry about the children getting tangled in the phone line.

Then, as if stepping back onto stairs that aren’t there, I’m falling.  It must be the basement I’m falling into… oh yes, there is the door to the kitchen, a framing of light.  I clutch the phone tightly, the cord still connecting me to the light above.

“Mother, are you there?”  I hear her breathing, her heartbeat.  I grip the phone against my cheek as if it were my mother’s breast.  I can now see where I am.  I’m falling down a hole, the walls almost within reach.  Faces appear in the walls, strange faces melting into one another.  They luminesce like dying lightbulbs, but when they smile and giggle I know they are my children.  I still clutch the phone and the line still stretches upwards.  I know the cord will only stretch so far before breaking.  Should I let go?

I started some blogs elsewhere, but I’ve been mostly blogging at Gaia.com. The Gaia blog is fairly basic and I don’t always feel like I fit in with all the New Agers that are members there. Nice people and all, and its good for general blogging. I just want to have a more serious blog on a more major site. I’ve written two blogs there where I was considering my blogging options.

Marmalade’s New Blogs

Word Press is definitely a good blogging site, but I’m considering what will be best for my purposes.  I do like many of the functions that Word Press has such as multiple pages.

I’m going to blog here along with some other sites, and see what I think of them.