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droid

Guest
HMGovt said:
Why conspiracy theories? Because, believe it or not, governments do things that they'd rather nobody knew about, and do other things for reasons they won't admit to. For example, putting key-loggers in laptops at the factory.

http://www.infowars.com/articles/big_brother/government_and_computer_manufa_1.html
I am not certain how long this information will be permitted to remain online for all the world to see before the government takes some type of action to attempt to have it removed from public view. I URGE you to take copy of this page immediately and spread this information to everyone you know immediately!
:confused: Hmm... seems a little sensationalised and hardly incontravertible... Alex Jones is a serious freak as well...

Anything you find on his site needs to be triple checked - you cant take it at face value IMO.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
It's very attractive to see conspiracy theories as positions held by conservatives which actually reinforce the status quo - attractive because it's funny and takes a rise out of some wild-eyed idiots - but I don't really see how it stack up. Although most conspiracy theories are nonsense the truth of them does matter. I think it really would mean something if the CIA killed JFK or Dick Cheney organised 9/11 or whatever, the thing is, they didn't.
It's simply not true to say that anything that doesn't somehow criticise everything implicitly condones the system as it is which I think is at the nub of Sherief's point.
 

sherief

Generic Human
I do think that there is a balance to be struck between arguments over what happened here or there and recognizing the truth of a situation. I don't want to seem like I'm saying "oh just blame it on the structures." I think that's a vulgar position that only promotes inaction (system's too big, etc.) So I think this places me fairly within the idea of the properly political being that which we can engage in in the context of a discrete situation; in any such case of course we have to know "what's going on" in terms of raw data etc. But information doesn't contain truth per se--for every bit of evidence on one side there are one two or three bits on the other side--and then you get into a MAD (Mutually Assured Derangement) type-scenario. It comes to a point...

I think however I'm discouraged in general from pontification on things like "what really happened on 9/11" and "Did the CIA kill Kennedy" (this last one amounts to fuckall in my opinion). On the one hand, because this is government, and government != politics as I see it. Should I send a packet of information to my senator full of website printouts about the possibility of war in Iran asking him to realize what's going on and help stop it? Come now... You have to ask yourself what you can do with the information you may have been able to wrangle out of the internet or wherever else for that matter.

This viewpoint is either very pessimistic, ignorant, or localized. I like to think the latter.
 

sherief

Generic Human
matt b said:
be realistic- demand an apology?
Be realistic, apologize for the impossible!

I'm sorry I made a square circle in art class in primary school. On reflection it was wrong of me.
 

Padraig

Banned
sherief said:
Be realistic, apologize for the impossible!

I'm sorry I made a square circle in art class in primary school. On reflection it was wrong of me.
I apologize for not having been born. It was wrong of me not to reflect on it.
 

corneilius

Well-known member
theory or probability

One mans' theory is another womans probablity, at best an attempt to ascertain what happened from an examination of the symptoms of an event or series of events, and their consequences.. at worst an attempt to shift responsibility away from either oneself, or one's heroes, leaders, nation, religion, gender etc.,

Are we not all conspiring to feel good, whilst war, pollution, profits, insecurity and reckless greed continue unabated .... Does our individual and collective inaction become the compliance that allows these things to occur? Is that what we are avoiding when we suscribe to 'conspiracy theroies'?
 

Padraig

Banned
corneilius said:
Are we not all conspiring to feel good, whilst war, pollution, profits, insecurity and reckless greed continue unabated .... Does our individual and collective inaction become the compliance that allows these things to occur? Is that what we are avoiding when we suscribe to 'conspiracy theroies'?
Yes, while the actual conspiracy authors (Bush, Blair, etc and their cabal of pathological advisors), of the "war on terror", of the "evil other", are all active.

Yes, while the conspiracy theorists "proper", those who effectively attribute reports of their [the authors, the agents] actions to delusion, the easier for them to retreat into an imaginary world (their nostalgic idealisations of a mythological "self", their "inner being", their"precious self", their "inner child" etc) of subjective, solipsistic narcissism ... so creating the very conditions of possibility for the continuation of the Authors' conspiratorial actions. Oh, but doesn't it feel sooooo GOOD!
 

blunt

shot by both sides
sherief said:
This discussion has been damn-near insightful.
I agree. I've found myself thinking about this subject a lot (more) since this thread started.

I'm wondering to what degree the prevalence of easy conspiracy theories is an inevitable result of how much of the West's experience of the world is mediated. Mediation creates for us the illusion of understanding 'how things work' on a macro-level, but the process of mediation (especially where mass media are concerned) typically - inherently? - involves the subject matter being wrapped up into a tight story, with beginning, middle and end, good guys and bad guys etc. This makes the message that much more palatable (and impactful) - but it generally doesn't have that much to do with the real world.

A story is defined as much by what it excludes as what it includes, and real life tends to be rather more subtle than an episode of 24. It's usually the absence of these shades of grey that makes most conspiracy theories ring fairly hollow for me; it's their very consistency and narrowly-defined coherence that makes me doubt their veracity.

I think Alasdair Spark summed up this idea best at the event I mentioned upthread. He concluded his part of the evening by saying: "I'm not sure I believe in 'truth' at all; which is not to say that I don't believe in reality." How often have I thought the same; but seldom expressed it so well :D
 

Padraig

Banned
blunt said:
I agree. I've found myself thinking about this subject a lot (more) since this thread started.

I'm wondering to what degree the prevalence of easy conspiracy theories is an inevitable result of how much of the West's experience of the world is mediated. Mediation creates for us the illusion of understanding 'how things work' on a macro-level, but the process of mediation (especially where mass media are concerned) typically - inherently? - involves the subject matter being wrapped up into a tight story, with beginning, middle and end, good guys and bad guys etc. This makes the message that much more palatable (and impactful) - but it generally doesn't have that much to do with the real world.

A story is defined as much by what it excludes as what it includes, and real life tends to be rather more subtle than an episode of 24. It's usually the absence of these shades of grey that makes most conspiracy theories ring fairly hollow for me; it's their very consistency and narrowly-defined coherence that makes me doubt their veracity.

I think Alasdair Spark summed up this idea best at the event I mentioned upthread. He concluded his part of the evening by saying: "I'm not sure I believe in 'truth' at all; which is not to say that I don't believe in reality." How often have I thought the same; but seldom expressed it so well :D
Yes, the "perplexity" of the conspiracy "phenomenon", its structure of belief, does have implications at the narrative (and postmodern) level. We can dismiss conspiracies as literal impossibilities but nonetheless an unresolved tension remains which suggests that simply rejecting them outright as obscurantist delirial raving is also reactionary.

And isn't what you define as "mediation" above another term for culture generally, actual social quotidian reality, itself a mere cultural construction? And if you believe that all of this is mere illusion [as you suggest above], a dream world, that serves to mask a real world behind it [quote: "but it generally doesn't have that much to do with the real world"], then don't YOU TOO believe that the everyday social world we inhabit is a manufactured conspiracy serving to hide the really real (eg the world of power and capital) that lies behind it (analogous, for instance, to The Matrix narrative, among numerous other pomo conspiracy film narratives: the list, in fact, is endless)?

The problem here is that one cannot actually or simply separate fantasy from reality (and say, for example, that "this here is fake, that there is real" etc): reality is dependent for its very consistency on fantasy, on phantasmatic support - if you "remove" the illusion, reality too collapses, and vice versa. In other words, "real" reality is structurally inaccessible in and of itself - the closer you get to it the more it distorts [this impossible-but-true phenomenon of the nature of reality, of course, has been well known in science since the discovery of Quantum Mechanics and Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, and in psychoanalysis since Freud's and Lacan's theories, and, incidentally, Marx's analysis of the unrepresentability, the abstract nature, of power and capital].

So the paradox of conspiracies [and debates about them] is that they establish an ontological conflict between, on the one hand, a reality in which the sources of power, capital, corruption, etc is revealed, and on the other hand, a reality in which a perceptual obsession with secretive cabals and subterranean forces behind the everyday experiences is evidence of paranoia, hysteria, insanity.

Conspiracy stories and narratives endeavour to map the "unrepresentable negative sublimity of Capital" (Jameson), so invoking a tension between an analysis of the impersonal forces of power and capital, and an "explanation" of power that concentrates on the actions of a mysterious, specific group or cabal.

[And isn't Sparks' sentiment, which you quote above, the ultimate in postmodern disavowal of belief, viz "I know that there is no ultimate truth or reality, but nevertheless I privately believe that there is ..."??], ie. he too believes in the notion of an underlying conspiracy in spite of his "disavowing" of it.]

The rational difficulty that arises with the outright rejection of all conspiracies of whetever ilk - because they're too "simple" or too "ridiculous" or just downright paranoid and devoid of "common sense" (another ideological construction) - is that the very power relations that conspiracies hint at or point to are also rejected, the world of social relations are depoliticised, the real of social power is rejected outright: such a reactionary move is thus away from the collective-political and towards the personal-subjective - one seeks refuge in personal fantasies, which then become the "real" while the "outside" world itself becomes a "fantasy", a dream, a crazy hallucination of meaningless phantasms, appearances and floating signifiers. The result of such a retreat into "solipsistic narcissism", into a limitless fantasy Ego, is the pathology of dissolving all analyses of actual power relations in the external world into mere "subjective neurosis", a reversal of the true state of affairs.

The world of power and capital, however abstract, is real. It is contemporary, postmodern culture, and the ideology underlying it, that seeks to "normalise" itself, this culture (rendering it "natural" and "common sensical": we have to face facts, we have to recognise limits, we have to play the game, this is all there is, etc). Conspiracies about the power relations underlying that culture serve to challenge and undermine it, and so are therefore attributed to delusion.
-----------------------------------------------

And at a time when a majority of, for instance, Americans, now believe that they were betrayed, manipulated, misled about the illegal invasion of Iraq, among other things, the Bush Admin using the pretext of 9/11 and the resulting paranoid, permanent "war on terror", isn't it only inevitable that a growing number of them will seek out a "conspiracy theory" when their Hollywoodized fantasy world starts to collapse??

CNN POLE:

Do you agree with Charlie Sheen that the U.S. government covered up the real events of the 9/11 attacks?

Yes 82% 11,337 votes

No 18% 2,501 votes

(Total: 13, 838 votes )​

Charlie Sheen has at least one thing in common with George Bush: His father played the president on TV for a very long time.

But Charlie Sheen is not afraid to question the official story of September 11th as endorsed by George Bush. Sheen's words - and four years of hard work by 9/11 skeptics - are making a difference. It is suddenly allowable to voice your suspicions about September 11th. The official mythology is losing its sway with the American people. Suddenly, a 911Truth.org spokesperson is invited to appear on CNN…

Martin Sheen's son, Charlie Sheen: "We're not the conspiracy theorists on this particular issue. It seems to me like 19 amateurs with box cutters taking over four commercial airliners and hitting 75% of their targets, that feels like a conspiracy theory. It raises a lot of questions."

"It feels like from the people I talk to in and around my circles, it seems like the worm is turning… It is up to us to reveal the truth. It is up to us because we owe it to the families, we owe it to the victims. We owe it to everybody's life who was drastically altered, horrifically that day and forever. We owe it to them to uncover what happened."

"There was a feeling, it just didn't look any commercial jetliner I've flown on any time in my life and then when the buildings came down later on that day I said to my brother 'call me insane, but did it sorta look like those buildings came down in a controlled demolition?"
 

blunt

shot by both sides
You've made quite a number of points here. Will try and get back to them in due course, but in the meantime...

Padraig said:
We can dismiss conspiracies as literal impossibilities but nonetheless an unresolved tension remains which suggests that simply rejecting them outright as obscurantist delirial raving is also reactionary.
Personally, I'm not referring to any specific conspiracy theories. I think the idea behind this particular thread was to discuss the hallmarks and significance of conspiracy theories in general.

Padraig said:
And isn't what you define as "mediation" above another term for culture generally, actual social quotidian reality, itself a mere cultural construction?
Is culture a soical / cultural construct? Yes. But specifically, I was referring to cultural artefacts such as stories (written, pictorial, performance-based, whatever) - not social behaviours. The kinds of things I'm talking about are inherently, and for the most part explicitly, manufactured ('news' services are obviously exempt from the explicit part). And I don't believe that these things are necessarily intended to mask the real world (as you put it). I think that, most of the time, people tell stories to try and illuminate something.

Padraig said:
The problem here is that one cannot actually or simply separate fantasy from reality [...]
Well, there is a degree to which that's true. We can attempt to come very close to a sense of reality by means of empirical study. We fall short when the questions we ask, or the investigative methods we employ, are lazy or conceal (consciously or unconsciously) preconceptions about the subject matter; or the test sample is too small. I'm sure there are other variables, but these two a biggies as far as I'm concerned. Maybe this is what you're talking about here:

Padraig said:
So the paradox of conspiracies [and debates about them] is that they establish an ontological conflict between, on the one hand, a reality in which the sources of power, capital, corruption, etc is revealed, and on the other hand, a reality in which a perceptual obsession with secretive cabals and subterranean forces behind the everyday experiences is evidence of paranoia, hysteria, insanity.
Or not, as the case may be. I've not doubt you'll clear that one up :)

Padraig said:
(And isn't Sparks' sentiment, which you quote above, the ultimate in postmodern disavowal of belief, viz "I know that there is no ultimate truth or reality, but nevertheless I privately believe that there is ..."??], ie. he too believes in the notion of an underlying conspiracy in spite of his "disavowing" of it.)
I'm not sure how interesting - or helpful - it is do discuss whether it's postmodern of not. And indeed, how you paraphrase his sentiments (or my own) is fairly wide off the mark. He states (explicitly) that he does believe in reality; but that he is aware that there are limits to what he can actually know. Which, in turn, is not the same thing as never truly being able to know anything (see above). He is merely acknowledging the limits that human subjectivity impose, and I regard this as highly significant because it's the necessary first step towards properly consensual politics and non-violent conflict resolution.

Padraig said:
And at a time when a majority of, for instance, Americans, now believe that they were betrayed, manipulated, misled [...]
Woooooaaaah... I think this belongs elsewhere - but if you must make assertions like this, you're going to need to find something a little more compelling than a CNN internet poll. Especially one that is linked to via the homepage of 911truth.org.

Padraig said:
[Charlie Sheen: ] "There was a feeling, it just didn't look any commercial jetliner I've flown on any time in my life and then when the buildings came down later on that day I said to my brother 'call me insane, but did it sorta look like those buildings came down in a controlled demolition?"
Padraig, you're joking, right? You make some interesting points, and you surely cite all the 'right' people, but peddling this kind of coke-addled garbage suggests your critical faculties need some serious bolstering...
 
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Padraig

Banned
Blunt, my post above was an attempt to analyse the phenomenon of conspiracies in all their structural complexity. Your response is to present a series of unexamined announcements and simple rejections based on arbitrary value judgements, as well as an empiricism devoid of any theoretical foundation. Furthermore, I was using the example of Charlie Sheen on 9/11 as an example of a conspiracy theory [so much for your appeal to empiricism, then!] to illustrate some of the points I was making, not trotting it out as unembellished "truth", but its interesting to witness your knee-jerk dismisssal of it, as though you had privileged access to the truth and to, as you call it, "a sense of reality."

Blunt: Personally, I'm not referring to any specific conspiracy theories. I think the idea behind this particular thread was to discuss the hallmarks and significance of conspiracy theories in general.
Nowhere in your response do you do this, and why is it only possible to "discuss the hallmarks and significance of conspiracy theories in general" without actually mentioning any? From your post it is implied that you dismiss them all outright [with the consequences I referred to in my post re: the depoliticising of social reality]. What is your basis for doing so, as you don't provide any?

Blunt: Is culture a soical / cultural construct? Yes. But specifically, I was referring to cultural artefacts such as stories (written, pictorial, performance-based, whatever) - not social behaviours. The kinds of things I'm talking about are inherently, and for the most part explicitly, manufactured ('news' services are obviously exempt from the explicit part). And I don't believe that these things are necessarily intended to mask the real world (as you put it). I think that, most of the time, people tell stories to try and illuminate something.
What, cultural artefacts are not cultural constructs?

All cultures are "inherently, and for the most part explicitly, manufactured". But for some mysterious reason, you wish to exempt "news services"! Fabulous ... People telling stories! Fabulous ...

Sorry, but what is this real world you mention, and how does culture relate to it?
 

blunt

shot by both sides
Padraig said:
I was using the example of Charlie Sheen on 9/11 as an example of a conspiracy theory [...] to illustrate some of the points I was making, not trotting it out as unembellished "truth" [...]
What? Charlie Sheen as exemplar for the American people? To support your point that the majority of Americans now believe Bush & co. blew up the WTC?

Padraig said:
Nowhere in your response do you do this, and why is it only possible to "discuss the hallmarks and significance of conspiracy theories in general" without actually mentioning any?
It is not. And I did not say that it was. But you seem to want to talk only about 9/11 related theories, and it's my personal feeling that it's just derailing this particular thread. I am on the record as regards my own thoughts on that particular event. See page 1 of this very thread. I'd include a link to it, but I know you like to do your own research ;)

Padraig said:
What, cultural artefacts are not cultural constructs? [...] All cultures are "inherently, and for the most part explicitly, manufactured". But for some mysterious reason, you wish to exempt "news services"!
Right. It is by now clear to me that you haven't actually read my post properly. Or maybe you're quoting me deliberately selectively. Now try again.
 

Padraig

Banned
Blunt: What? Charlie Sheen as exemplar for the American people? To support your point that the majority of Americans now believe Bush & co. blew up the WTC?
Who is saying this other than you?

To repeat: ... at a time when a majority of, for instance, Americans, now believe that they were betrayed, manipulated, misled about the illegal invasion of Iraq, among other things, the Bush Admin having used the pretext of 9/11 and the resulting paranoid, permanent "war on terror", isn't it only inevitable that a growing number of Americans will seek out a "conspiracy theory" when their Hollywoodized fantasy world starts to collapse, the "real" of such a conspiracy serving to prop up [suturing or quilting] or regenerate such fantasies??

How could that possibly be construed as "supporting" Mr Sheen's fantasies. Do ya think I'm part of some conspiracy or sometin'?

In fact, I first wrote about 9/11 - on usenet - shortly after that event, here:
Full Metal Jihad (dualities of foreign-policy short-termism)


where I argued that 9/11 was blowback for a murderous foreign policy ...

Excerpt: Such [US] wars always follow the same insular, short-term, hysterical logic: You announce your resolve to rid the world of some terrible perceived menace that poses a threat to all of "civilisation." Then you turn the other cheek and enter into pragmatic alliances with all manner of thugs, despots, and fanatics because, right now, they help you to achieve your immediate goal. But all the time, in your eagerness to act, you remain oblivious to the reality that such actions have totally unpredictable
consequences, and you are caught completely off-guard when confronted by the resulting macabre ironies.


The CIA, during the Afghan-Soviet war, created Al-Kaida, branded it, trained it, financed it. 9/11 was blowback ...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Padraig
Nowhere in your response do you do this, and why is it only possible to "discuss the hallmarks and significance of conspiracy theories in general" without actually mentioning any?


It is not. And I did not say that it was. But you seem to want to talk only about 9/11 related theories, and it's my personal feeling that it's just derailing this particular thread.
Your "personal feeling" or your fantasy? Again, the example, being topical (and referenced throughout this thread), was used to illustrate a point. Clearly, You are - like most people - confused about 9/11, not knowing what to believe.
 

blunt

shot by both sides
Erk. :confused: Maybe we're both guilty of misunderstanding the other. For my own part, I think maybe I interpreted rather too much of the cut & paste from 911truth.org to be your own views. If so, please accept my (genuine) apologies... But you could have saved us both some hassle if you'd just said as much yourself. Instead, you're just really aggressive, as usual. I meant it when I said that you made some interesting points, and I agree with many of your opinions. But you make these discussions near impossible by being so fucking angry all the time!

Anyway... cattle mutilation, anyone? ;)
 
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D

droid

Guest
blunt said:
Anyway... cattle mutilation, anyone? ;)
Thats an easy one. Government sponsored autopsies designed to measure the effects of the clandestine testing of radioactive, chemical and biological agents.
 
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