Alt-Epistemology 101: What, really, is a “conspiracy”? (And can we live without?)

 

Like everyone else addicted to this hyper-connected internet world, I tend to want to “connect the dots,” searching high and low (and often in rutted paths) for new dots that will flesh in my old ones, lend them “credence.” Show how smart I am to see one dot and realize? pretend? it’s connected to others.

In doing so I’m creating patterns, “weaving meaning” out of the constantly shifting, inchoate, tangled, off-on digital mess.

Because of course I’m only human. I want to see meaning in events so that I can predict the future, keep myself safe.

Well aware of this tendency, I also at least pretend to hold any “beliefs” that arise out of my dot-connecting patterns as at best, provisional, and most likely, stepping stones to either an even larger conspiracy, or its complete disintegration. But then, of course, those dots (“facts,” “factoids,” pretend or real or fake, who knows?) are still there, blinking, winking at me. Asking me to “understand.” To stand under them. To stand on something solid.

(Where do the dots come from? Can I substitute one dot or mass of dots for another? Of course! What determines which dots I see? My internal expectations? Can I change my internal expectations so that I see different dots? Of course! Dots themselves are like atoms, or genes. We’d like to think of them as unbreakable, inviolate, the stepping stone substrate of “reality,” but guess what? They too, morph!)

Some dots sift downwards, when put through my screen of “what can’t possibly be true, can it?” forever or temporarily lost in the unconscious dark. Others clump together, sit on top of the holes of the screen and refuse to budge. Unless, of course, I manage to disintangle them into smaller particles that themselves can sift down through the screen.

Of course, you might ask here, how and when did I construct the screen? Of what is it made? How do I know my screen is helpful? All good questions.

Without even knowing it, I, and I suspect, others, are continuously juggling bits and pieces, trying to see where they hang together, sifting out the “junk” while looking for patterns, something that “makes sense.” The webs of meaning that we weave with our dot-connecting propensity either congeal into stuck dogmatic ideologies, scientific, religious or political “world-views,” — what I call our “conceptual helmets” — or they don’t. When they do, then life tends to become more and more circumscribed, as the number of possible allowed actions are reduced to whatever the framework of that particular world-view allows. Gone is the capacity for emergence, the arousal of possibilities that defy all my preconceived categories. Instead, somehow, aliveness gets truncated, stuffed, stiffed into tiny little boxes. And no matter how large the box, in the context of infinity it is always tiny; and no matter how large the box, to obey its constraints feels stultifying.

Which is why I like to “keep my options open.” Not because I’m a relativist, believing that truth is a matter of what I want to be true, for now, but because I’m a skeptic, a searcher, one who is never satisfied that I truly have come to the final conclusion, that, once and for all, I KNOW.

I don’t know. Instead I suspect, I dream up, I hear tales of, and I sense that everything that can be thought up has probably been thought up — and most likely materialized, in some universe or other: I sense that there truly is “nothing new under the sun.” Well, maybe not our sun. But what about other suns, other galaxies? What about the idea that the universe itself is infinite, has no end and no beginning? I.e., no frame, no box, nothing to curtail the immensity?

Now, how did I start out with conspiracy and end up here, in a sort of surreal cosmic dizzying dream of endless opening? Well, go back and read it again. Read it again and again. Learn how to focus on any point, any “dot” as it continually opens into the void. There really is no “under-standing,” no place to stand, no lever from which we can move the world. We are making it all up as we go. 

So we might as well have fun with it, eh? And meanwhile, open the heart. Move from the heart. Allow the heart to guide you in where you focus your attention next. Moving from and with the open heart, we can’t “go wrong.”

Here’s a well thought out article about “conspiracies” in general.

The Real Conspiracy: Conspiring to Cast Everything As a Conspiracy

And here’s another one about one person’s view of what seemed to be the case did turn out to be the case. (Maybe).

Ten More Crazy Conspiracy Theories that Became Conspiracy Facts

And here’s the original book that gave me personally the notion of “conspiracy” as “breathe together”: Marilyn Ferguson’s tremendously popular “The Aquarian Conspiracy,” from 1980, a sort of New Age bible which itself, by the way, turns out to have been a part of a larger conspiracy? I’ve just begun to plumb the links in the following amazing article, and plan to dive down this rabbit hole:

http://modernhistoryproject.org/mhp?Article=AquarianConspiracy

Ye gods! Why do I still get surprised.

BTW: I see that before 1386 the word “conspiracy” simply meant “to breathe together.” 

Okay, folks, what happened in the year 1386?

How did that dramatic change come about?

Any guesses? 

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4 Responses to Alt-Epistemology 101: What, really, is a “conspiracy”? (And can we live without?)

  1. stryder says:

    How do comments get published here? Left one for you Ann and there is no sight of it…? Confused how this works.

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