03-24-2007, 10:44 AM (This post was last modified: 03-24-2007 10:47 AM by Weyland.)
Conspiracy rules the world because it's at work on every level of society. From the hallowed halls of Christianity to the rich palaces of presidential America conspiracy is the word.
We all do it. Whether its a plot to bring about the downfall of a ruler, make a little dosh on the 2.30pm at Newmarket or get extra biscuits from the office tea trolley, conspiracy rules at every level of society and in every walk of life.
Our imaginations are made to fill in the gaps. And lets face it, conspiracy theory is always more appealing than the simplest explanations can ever be. Everyone loves a conspiracy.
On the surface, everyday reality might seem a relatively calm affair: the usual round of daily events clicking routinely into place with no hint at the turbulent events taking place down below. Peer into these depths, however, and a far murkier world emerges: one in which John F Kennedy may not have been killed by a lone assassin; Gods Banker Roberto Calvi might have had a little outside help in committing suicide; Elvis is still alive; and theres intelligent life on Mars. This is what rules the world, it's exactly what you cant see conspiracy.
Ken Hollings explains why conspiracy rules the world. He is a writer whose work draws freely upon popular culture, political intrigue and strange connections to reconfigure reality and demolish common assumptions, from digital imagery to occult symbolism, from flying saucers to cybernetics
God Or Mammon?
Some truths are a little too hard for most people to take. The fact of the matter is that not only have conspiracies been shown to rule the world time and time again, but they have also been seen to furnish the very means by which it is run. What makes this proposition a particularly tough nut to crack is that conspiracies usually work best from behind the scenes. What you dont see is what you get.
Render unto Caesar that which is Caesars, Jesus advised his disciples, and unto the Lord that which is the Lords. Over the years, a lot of smart people have continued to argue over who or what really runs this world: the choice, as ever, remains one between earthly powers and spiritual ones, God and Mammon.
This, however, leaves an even bigger question unanswered: who runs God and Mammon? The universal popularity of Dan Browns The Da Vinci Code and The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail by Michael Baignent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln, both of which deal in their own fashion with the proposition that Christ fathered a bloodline with Mary Magdalene, suggests there are a lot of people ready to challenge the established orthodoxies of their faith.
'No man can serve two masters,' advises Jesus, 'Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.' And yet, if these books harbour even a grain of truth, then it seems that many a devout cleric has contrived to do just that. What is revealed in both these books is a twilight world of codes and ciphers, secret societies and arcane knowledge all essential components of a fully functioning conspiracy.
The word conspiracy is derived from Latin, meaning to breathe together a term that captures perfectly a state of quiet collusion, of heads bowed together in confidential exchanges. Its also exactly what Jesus had been doing with his disciples. The Last Supper, the subject of one of Da Vincis most celebrated paintings, represented the moment when a small group of conspirators came together for one final meeting. After that, Caesar didnt stand a chance.
Conspiracy is as natural as breathing itself. Its so common that even apes do it. It's as universal as feelings. It is in our very nature to plot and conspire together, to make connections and disseminate information through secure channels.
Caesars Empire gave the world an early means of spreading knowledge from country to country in the form of Latin, a language that could be understood from the Netherlands to north Africa and beyond. Secret sects and occult societies fulfilled a similar function. In their day, groups like the Rosicrucians, the Illuminati and the Freemasons helped to form a loosely connected international underground through which revolutionary ideas, both scientific and political, could be safely channelled.
Between them they could boast a membership that included mathematicians John Dee and Robert Fludd, scientists Robert Boyle and Sir Isaac Newton, philosophers Voltaire, Diderot and Montesquieu, painter William Hogarth, novelist Laurence Sterne and founding fathers of the US Benjamin Franklin and George Washington. John Hancock was, in fact, just the first of many Freemasons to put his name to the Declaration of Independence a major work of conspiracy if ever there was one.
So why do secret societies have such a bad reputation? Why does the proposition that conspiracies rule the world seem inherently malicious? A growing public cynicism regarding the level of transparency shown in both scientific and political circles over the previous century hasnt helped; nor has a sneaking awareness that Big Science and Big Government can both be easily co-opted by the demands of Big Business. After all, deals made in smoke-filled rooms dont tend to involve the common people all that much.
It shouldnt therefore come as any big surprise to discover that a significant number of US presidents, including Madison, Monroe, Jackson, Garfield, McKinley, both Roosevelts, Taft, Harding, Truman, Johnson, Ford and Reagan, were all Freemasons. Ironically, neither of the two presidents most closely associated with darkest political intrigue were ever members of that clandestine fraternity. Without John F Kennedy and Richard M Nixon, however, modern conspiracy theories would be deprived of two of their two biggest names.
With Kennedy and Nixon, conspiracy and paranoia both move squarely into the foreground. For example, there isnt one aspect of what happened at Dealey Plaza in Dallas on the afternoon of 23 November 1963 that hasn't thrown up some bizarre or sinister connection with the world of organized crime, the CIA, the FBI, the Castro regime and the Kremlin. There were apparently so many people out to get Kennedy that day that its a wonder he ever made it off the plane.
Meanwhile, the official Warren Commission inquiry into Kennedys death made a convincing case for its conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald had acted alone, shooting at the president from a window in the nearby Texas School Book Depository. Even so, by 1967 only one in three Americans still believed that Oswald alone was guilty.
Since then, a steady stream of books, films, documentaries and even computer games have restaged this single incident over and over again, from a baffling array of perspectives. What has emerged from this is a complex web of secret connections and intricate relationships that offer a bizarre series of insights into political power in the late 20th century.
Perhaps thats the reason why nobody was particularly surprised by Richard Nixons sudden resignation over the Watergate scandal in 1974. The details may seem a little fuzzy today, but the image of a corrupt administration struggling furiously behind the scenes to draw public attention away from accusations of political skulduggery remains as fresh as ever.
However, it was Nixons continued assertion that he was in fact the innocent victim of malign conspiracies, whether from the media or the liberal left, that really brought conspiracy theory into the mainstream. When reports of Nixon's misdemeanours started turning up in The Washington Post, people started paying attention. Conspiracy theorists everywhere consequently owe Tricky Dicky a huge debt of gratitude.
Perhaps the time has come to start paying the debt back by admitting that conspiracies are a fascinating and undeniable fact of life.
Wherever they actually came from, the bullets fired at John F Kennedy that fateful November afternoon seem to have torn a hole in the fabric of reality itself. Nothing has ever been the same since.
The assassination of JFK was soon followed by the fatal shootings of his brother Robert and civil rights activist Martin Luther King, both by an implausible-sounding lone nut with a grudge and a gun. Similarly, Brian Jones, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin all appear to have breathed their last under mysterious circumstances.
The deaths of Pope John Paul I, from a massive heart attack after only 33 days in office, and of Italian financier Roberto Calvi, intimately involved with Vatican fiscal affairs through the Banco Ambrosiano and later found hanging by the neck under Blackfriars Bridge, remain subjects of intense speculation.
Suspicions have also been raised over the tragic end of Marilyn Monroe and more recently, Princess Diana. Conspiracy, for those prepared to sift through the facts of such cases, is ultimately about getting away with murder.
Since Watergate, the suffix gate has been added to any scandal where people are suspected of malign collusion. 'Irangate' revealed a US government prepared to trade in guns and drugs with some pretty unsavoury overseas regimes. While 'Whitewatergate' and 'Lewinskygate' gave President Clintons second term in office a couple of diversions, to say the least.
As for Elvis, if you ever visit Graceland, take a close look at the inscription on the Kings gravestone in the Garden of Meditation and youll see that his name has been spelt incorrectly. A second a has been added to Aron, making it the final resting place of one 'Elvis Aaron Presley'. A small matter, perhaps, but enough to raise doubts in some peoples minds about whether Elvis Aron Presley ever actually died at all. Did he somehow manage to fake his own death? What surprising revelations might some future Presleygate uncover?
Filling The Gaps
The paranoid individual, as novelist William S Burroughs once remarked, is simply someone in full possession of the facts. Or to put it another way: the simplest explanation may well be the most correct interpretation of events but its also the least interesting. Human imagination requires more. Thanks to conspiracy theory we can have a social history that takes into account our innermost fears and desires.
Want to see how closely linked and interconnected things really are? Just read up on a few conspiracies. Sure youll read some truly weird and wild stuff, which may or may not be true, but youll never be able to read your daily newspaper in quite the same way again. Conspiracies not only rule the world, they make it a far more fascinating place as well.
You have to respect the feelings behind this kind of thing, remarked political philosopher Noam Chomsky on those individuals keen to uncover the secret connections between UFO sightings and US government policy. The feelings are quite genuine, but because there is no constructive way to react, and peoples minds have been turned to mush by decades of propaganda and crazy entertainment, this is what happens.
So does that mean Nasa hasnt been conspiring to cover up evidence of life on Mars for all these years? Gee, maybe the infamous Great Face of Mars really is just a weird rock formation, after all. But who ultimately is the loser if that turns out to be true? As ace aerospace designer Burt Rutan commented in a recent interview, if Nasa had said there really was a face on the Red Planet and not just a pile of rocks, their Mars exploration programme would have received full funding by now. Which not only makes a lot of sense, if you think about it, it also just to goes to show that conspiracy really does rule the world.
In the 60's, people took acid to make the world weird. Now the world is weird and people take Prozac to make it normal.
As a reputed atheist, the reverential nature of his film was surprising, but Pasolini himself said &If you know that I am an unbeliever, then you know me better than I do myself. I may be an unbeliever, but I am an unbeliever who has a nostalgia for a belief.&
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Conspiracy Rules! - Weyland - 03-24-2007 10:44 AM
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