I've been pondering a lot about the nature of belief lately. In between questions of faith, duty- right and wrong, we have to make constant assessments and essentially bet that we are in the right, or doing the right thing- even if that right thing is ultimately self-serving, the idea of free will itself indicates that we choose these possible futures by the actions we take, informed by our personal ethics.
One of my favorite books is The Illuminatus! Trilogy. The long and the short of the story is in exploring the idea that all conspiracy theories are true simultaneously and interacting; Atlantis, hyper-intelligent military dolphins and accessing MK-Ultra type mind-programming with LSD, to name but a few. The ideas behind this book and the post-modernist, satirical anti-religion of Discordianism are an exhortation to the chaotic, the glory of the random, and the liberation from control through quasi-Buddhist realizations of the ridiculous reality we inhabit. The author, Robert Anton Wilson, is elevated to the status of guru by Discordians, though they both believe in this entirely and disbelieve in all hierarchy at the same time. Hail Eris, as they would say. An early prototype of an anarcho-capitalist leads us through the tale, fighting the very-real Illuminati from his golden submarine, the Lief Ericson.
According to this Discordian sea-captain, the end goal of the Illuminati is;
“Universal electronic surveillance. No-knock laws. Stop and frisk laws. Government inspection of first-class mail. Automatic fingerprinting, photographing, blood tests, and urinalysis of any person arrested before he is charged with a crime. A law making it unlawful to resist even unlawful arrest.”
That sounds a lot like Britain already, but I'm not here to complain about the homeland -I do enough of that already. It was actually an unrelated series of events that reminded me of Illuminatus.
Firstly I remembered a quote by Wilson, from a later book.
Obviously, the faster we process information, the more rich and complex our models or glosses — our reality-tunnels — will become.
Resistance to new information, however, has a strong neurological foundation in all animals, as indicated by studies of imprinting and conditioning. Most animals, including most domesticated primates (humans), show a truly staggering ability to "ignore" certain kinds of information — that which does not "fit" their imprinted/conditioned reality-tunnel. We generally call this "conservatism" or "stupidity", but it appears in all parts of the political spectrum, and in learned societies as well as in the Ku Klux Klan. ~ Quantum Psychology: How Brain Software Programs You and Your World (1990)
We must remember that the world has changed wildly since this book was written; the conservatives of today are practically libertarian in comparison with those of the late 1980s that Wilson railed against. The point about ignoring information still rings true, and I am yet to find a more accurate way of elucidating the fundamental differences between people than reality tunnel. The idea of all perceivable reality only being revealed to us through digging -metaphysically- through effort and experience is a pleasing one; as well as the experience of non-digging, non-effort also, as of course you only know inaction, apathy, and sloth by partaking in those vices. What really interests me about this quote is the exhortation against following ideologies. This is Wilson's idea of conservatism but is more accurately represented in the modern day simply as dogma; and dogma knows no political allegiance. The next encounter with Wilson came by accident.
Pip Stanton, a writer for this site and all-round good egg posted up a musing on the nature of nationalism to his Facebook data-gathering service.
"Nationalism teaches you to love and to protect your people and the nation your ancestors built, a nation they built so you could reap the benefits of their hard labor. It prevents you from giving that nation away to immigrants that don't deserve the sweat from your ancestor's brow. It preserves the culture and traditions of your forefathers and carries them on into future generations so they to can benefit from a better nation that you and your forefathers helped to build. It prevents you from thinking only about your self and what you can selfishly benefit from in the now and makes you think about your children's future and their children future. How will they grow up and in what environment? Do you want them to have the same freedoms, culture, and traditions you do?
Nationalism is not evil or stupid, it is a necessity to secure your nation and it's future for future generations. Nationalism does not mean you hate all other nations, people, and cultures. You can love and respect your own people and nation while loving and respecting others. Nationalism does not mean you lose individuality or an individual identity. It means you have your individual identity within the identity of the larger people group. You can be an individualist and a nationalist.
It's not about taking pride in things you did not do but taking pride in what your ancestors did for you and keeping that alive, benefiting from it and then passing it on to future generations. hopefully in a better condition than you inherited it."
What happened next is the core of the knowledge I'm trying to explore in this piece. An old friend of mine, and in fact the man who introduced me to Robert Anton Wilson, posted up the following quote beneath the above description of nationalism with the tag "Alternately..."
Amazed, I discovered that my Discordian friend had discovered the conservatism and stupidity about which Wilson warned. Resistance to new information had led him to invoke Wilson dogmatically- never mind the common and inaccurate conflation between patriotism and nationalism; the trigger word had been spoken. What he had inadvertently -and still unknowingly- discovered was the nadir of dogma- he had indeed fallen for the conspiracy theory that his gang of bandits -his ideology- is superior to another. Because Wilson quite accurately states that nations are drawn around gangs of bandits -tribes- this does not entail that those gangs are without worth. It is the most radical of individualist positions to say- there is no value to this kind of group dynamic because it has this stereotype. Nationalism itself is not a supremacy cult- quite the opposite in fact, it is a deeply spiritual and compassionate school of thought that respects the rights of all people in their nations. It also bears with it the danger of state worship beyond all reason, which can leave an unquestioning culture open for abuse by demagogues. There is no such thing as a perfect idea that is created by man.
It made me wonder why this response against patriotism was elicited in psychological terms. Was it mere reflex against seeing the word nationalism written plainly? It looks like in this case it has been so, that instead of replacing certainty with skepticism or curiosity we have the anti-religionist Wilson as a cult leader; he is so right, that even when his words are not applicable it is still an effective counter. Rather than providing an alternative, my friend reframed information he reflexively rejected with a perspective he finds more palatable. Can any of us truly claim to do better? As the Discordians like to say; "think for yourself, you schmuck!"
It seems to me that we are in a strange new era of conspiracy, one where the counter-culture is no longer the anarchic Discordian tripping on acid and culture jamming. Today, conspiracies are no longer theories. In today's Taki Magazine, Bunky Mortimer nails one of the longest running conspiracies- The Coundenhove-Kalergi Plan.
It was he [Coundenhove-Kalegi] who hit upon the splendid insight that building a “pan-Europa” required interbreeding to break down cultural loyalties and make populations prone to a new elitism (his father was from the last generation of Austro-Hungarian superelite, you see). Now, mention the Kalergi plan a few bottles into a European dinner party and you’ll be called paranoid. I’d agree—were it not for the fact that it appears to be happening before our eyes. Lord Bramall’s half-decade of stolid Anglican sex with Lady Bramall? Call the cops! A legion of taxi drivers and kebab chefs menacing their underage victims into silence? Meh. Actually, the “meh” went even further when a female Labour MP tweeted that victims should “keep their mouths shut” for the sake of the Kalergi plan (okay, she actually said “diversity”—but it’s the same thing).
A gas attack in Syria is no more a theory of conspiracy than the dodgy Mi6 dossier that justified the war in Iraq or the Gulf of Tonkin incident. It may well be that Assad really did gas his own citizens- but like the other two examples, the Forces of Good have wasted no time in unilaterally moving against the Syrian state militarily. Has the era of fake news corrupted our sensibilities so far that we have walled up our reality tunnels, to the point where only our tunnels matter?
Syria. Is it just arrogance that leads so many to think they have as much info on the situation as the US and UK governments? That they have a right to secret intelligence? That US or UK government is going to launch military strikes on the basis of reports from some dodgy NGO?— Rɪᴄʜᴀʀᴅ Kᴇᴍᴘ (@COLRICHARDKEMP) April 10, 2018
The attraction of conspiracy theories has ever been the lure of hidden knowledge- that is the driving factor behind QAnon, Pizzagate, and whatever Trump has done this week to trigger the liberals. With some justification these ideas can be called conspiracy theories, as they are unproven- the difficulty arises when reasonable requests for transparency from our governments is dismissed as conspiratorial thinking. With good reason, the public should be incredibly suspicious of the unfolding events in Syria. Israel has again bombed a foreign country with no casus belli. The public is told to listen and believe, that this time we really do have Assad bang to rights. Listen to the victim, in all cases. Question nothing. Go back to sleep.
How many people listened to the Russian side of the UN Security Council yesterday over #Syria?— Red Pill (@IWillRedPillU) April 10, 2018
Russia to US-
"Concerning your reckless geopolitical experiments in the middle east- Regardless of where you go- Everything you touch Chaos is left behind."#TuesdayThoughts pic.twitter.com/ZeKlR8EJ97
Another Wilson quote is:
“I don't believe anything, but I have many suspicions.”
Today I fear he would be dismayed by our remarkable ability to believe in nothing, suspect nothing, and examine nothing. As we take another, obvious, painfully obvious step towards regime change in the Middle East, are ideas like the Deep State and Israeli direction of United States foreign policy so bizarre? We live in a world where we can accurately project the years in which White Europeans will lose control of their own homelands under liberal democracies- but this is a good thing, according to our leaders. When simple questions are denounced as conspiracy, but obvious conspiracies are left unquestioned, tyranny reigns.