9/11 – New Revelations

Responding to my piece on 9/11 “Truthers“, reader Jeff Rubinoff had this to say:

I still think that the psychology of conspiracy theorists has a lot to do with it, probably because of the Truthers I know with no skin in the game (Brits, Irish, Slovaks…). A particular kind of (extreme) credulity that thinks it’s worldly cynicism. A sense of superiority that one has the “real truth” while the sheeple haplessly accept the official lies. And a complete lack of either the necessary knowledge to evaluate claims or a consciousness of this ignorance.
I have one friend who insists that WTC and the Pentagon were bombs, that the planes were generated by CGI, that a few bits of wreckage were planted in front of the Pentagon but clearly not enough and in too good a condition to come from an actual airplane attack: the most Byzantine, inconsistent and improbable pile of donkey dung imaginable. Of course, last time I met him he was telling me how he read on the Internet that the Pyramids were designed as chemical reaction chambers to send microwave signals into space, and how he found this “very persuasive.” Oh, and he’s a Holocaust denier.
He also told me once that University education only limits ones mental horizons, whereas the LSD he ingested daily over a similar period of time expanded his.
These protesters want an investigation of a 9/...
The mainstream, official explanation is that WTC7 actually did just blow itself up

That’s also true. I was concentrating on the internal contradictions of the America-fearing American, but all conspiracists live with even deeper conflicts. As you say Jeff, they have a powerful faith which they think of as cynicism.

I’ve said elsewhere, conspiracy theories seem to satisfy some of the same mental urges as religion. They are surprisingly like a mythos, in that they create exciting stories to explain the world about us. And just as religion, they provide the ultimate all-purpose explanation: Things difficult to explain can be seen instead as the manifestation of a powerful but invisible will. I’ll go out on a limb here and say that the idea of unseen will may actually be innate to the the human species, a built-in default hypothesis for about anything.

The thing making them different from religion though – or at least, traditional religion – is that the actors are not gods or spirits, but human. Still, perhaps conspiracy theories should be considered new materialist religions, belief systems for generations that, while still credulous, draw the line at the supernatural. (We’ll leave aside for now conspiracies that involve the influence of alien civilisations. These are supernatural beings in every sense that angels and demons are, just dressed from a contemporary costume box.)

But though the conspirators are not explicitly supernatural beings, they still have superhuman powers. They consistently pull off the scale of operation that non-clandestine organisations and governments usually seem to screw up. They have secrets that are never left in taxis or revealed by Wikileaks. They have superhuman powers of planning, efficiency, and organisation. Modern-day superpowers.

Hmm. They just don’t make gods like they used to.

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3 thoughts on “9/11 – New Revelations

  1. I’m not really what you’d call a 9/11 “Truther” but I have plenty of ideas that could be called “conspiracy theories.” I don’t, however, go about stating them as absolute fact. I leave them as suspicions. I think sometimes, if not often, conspiracy theorists can be incorrect in their theories, in general. However, whether you agree with them or not, you must admit that they raise questions for us all to consider that oppose the mainstream. I believe they have an important role to play in society by raising such questions. Even if none of their theories are correct, we may never be forced to think outside the mainstream and question it. If we didn’t, the mainstream could tell us whatever they want and get away with it.

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    1. I have to question your use of the term ‘the mainstream’. It presupposes a world in which there is a monolithic official narrative, a world where people don’t automatically question what politicians and government officials say. That is not our world. We live within a many-sided argument. And some of those sides are frankly idiotic.

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  2. [quote]He also told me once that University education only limits ones mental horizons, whereas the LSD he ingested daily over a similar period of time expanded his[/quote]

    It’s true. University education is mostly limited to the mental horizon of critical, rational thought, while daily LSD usage gives you free access to the realm of clinically insane thought!

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