Religio-Politics 101: Casualties, Causality, and the Lure of Conspiracy

the desire for absolutes is what drives much of religion, to not only have something to believe in, but for it to be simple and concise. Most religions fulfill this niche spectacularly, what with their ten commandments and their four noble truths and their eight-fold paths and their twelve-step programs, the dumbing-down implicit and inherent since day one, the need to keep it simple paramount…

this leads to all sorts of absurdities, of course, like entire worlds created in seven days and Gods of wrath and vengeance, metaphors cast in stone and held up for ridicule for all those who don’t get the joke, for all those who “f*cking love science” for all those with axes to grind and bellies to fill, habits to feed and suspicions to confirm…

Enter Conspiracy Theory, fulfilling the need for negativity, the be-all and end-all of many a modern man (and a few women), not to be confused with little-letter conspiracies, the many thousands of them that co-exist peacefully in a world of fruits and veggies, masters and subjects, subjects and predicates, objects and empty space, all with their own pre-linguistic causal relationships and post-pubescent casual relationships looking to survive in a sometimes-paradoxical world of dog-eat-cat, sometimes-paradisiacal world of unlimited puppy chow…

But Big-Letter Conspiracy changes all that, surely you’ve known a True Believer or two, studied and experienced, tired but true, for whom a cigar is always a penis and everything too good to be true, so all knowledge is subject to increased scrutiny and eventual rejection and success is not to be bothered with, since there are so many valid excuses for failure…

History is endlessly re-workable in this world view, remarkable in its resilience and malleability, and inherently negative. The villains in this fairy tale are always a vaguely defined THEM, be it variously the Illuminati, the Learned Elders of Zion, the Freemasons, the New World Order, the Bilderberg Group, the Babylonian Brotherhood, whatever, confusing only by the fact that some if not most of these groups are in fact real, and their secrecy—and their wealth—their chief curses…

The themes, too, are fairly predictable, and most often include such nuggets as ‘9/11 the inside job’, the JFK assassination by CIA, the ‘phoney’ moon landings, Area 51, HAARP, etc. in particular, and other more general subjects such as the supposedly fake Holocaust, ‘mind control’, ‘world government’, ‘secret societies’, ‘big brother’, and sometimes even a reptilian aristocracy among us.

The beauty of course, is that none of this can be disproven any more than it can be proven, not being Science and all, so not subject to such empirical methods, still it’s great for dialog and dialectic, late-night riff-rap, but not the stuff of true theory which is always a tool for prediction, this only for reconstruction of the past, not future…

Conspiracy is at its best in explaining everything absolutely Everything and really nothing, creating a deterministic universe where none exists a world of certainty where none exists, a world of absolutes where none exist but us half-wits and half-asses, trying to connect to something larger because we can and we must, providing a convenient antithesis where Communism and religious fundamentalism likely won’t suffice for the inquisitive Western mind…

But Conspiracy is not Religion, though many study it with that level of intensity, and has even been disparaged as so many ‘exhaust fumes of democracy’ and ‘last refuge of the powerless’ since it’s so easy and so comprehensive in its reconstruction of the past. But I wouldn’t go too far in any indictment of it as simple-minded. Many of its adherents, after all, are anything but such. Let’s just say that many of those adherents tend to be ‘under-employed’, usually capable of much more than they’ve accomplished, and Conspiracy provides solace for wounded egos.

False religion rules in this day and age. People are hungriest for Truth during the times when it is hardest to fine. You probably know by now that the word ‘Namaste’ has little or nothing to do with dropping acid at a late-night rave, but what you may not know is that there is more to Buddhism than wispy little feel-good one-liners that populate the walls of FB, e.g. ‘letting go’. ‘Life-coaching’ is not religion, either. Religion has little to do with you, in fact, except your causal relationship with the Divine, and your casual relationships with each other…

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