A friend of mine, whose intellectual opinion I admire, recently told me that he believes the coronavirus is a hoax. Completely fictional. Doesn’t even exist. I said, lolwut? That this virus could be completely fabricated had never remotely crossed my mind to be in the realm of possibility. But, this friend of mine had been right about other complex topics in the past. So I lent him my ear.
The idea is that the virus, and the subsequent lockdown, is cementing power into the hands of a few organizations and screwing over poor people and small businesses (which, objectively, I suppose it is). And indeed, you find that with most conspiracy theories, this is also the case: the masses get screwed, and the powerful consolidate ever more power.
The inspiration for my friend’s ideas was a 3-hour interview on London Real with David Icke. I won’t link to it here, but I’m sure you can find it. David Icke is essentially the Alex Jones of the UK, whatever that happens to mean. But, because this message came as a personal recommendation from a friend, I promised I wasn’t going to judge a message by its messenger. Unique perspectives, historically, tend to come from outsiders and outcasts. So I suspended any judgement, and watched the video with a completely open mind. I’m not insecure about my ability to discern, so if I watched the video and I was convinced, then so be it, and if not, then I’d stand to come out stronger.
My friend and I argue endlessly about the nature of conspiracy theories. He says, given any theory, you have to investigate the facts and come to a conclusion for yourself. Certainly hard to argue against. And I say, conspiracy theories are more a mindset, than about the particular details of an incident. I shout over him abstract structure and form, he shouts over me certain events and their peculiar nature.
Conspiracy theories are absolutely delicious, by the way. They make sense of the senseless, and connect disparate pieces of information in such mesmerizing fashion, that you think this mesmerization can only be attributed to its quality of truth. In my experience, the truth is rather ugly and incomplete, rather than perfect and whole. (Think religious narratives, and how uniquely complete and comforting they are, versus the rather grotesque nature of scientific narratives.) Above all, conspiracy theories reject chaos, and imply cause and intention behind the wildest of human events.
So how to explain the perfect nature of these theories and their undeniable deftness at compiling facts and presenting them in a timeline of pure symphony and perfection? Here’s my conspiracy theory on conspiracy theories:
Chaotic things happen in the universe, and in our world. The powerful are more equipped to take advantage of these events when they occur. For example, in the case of a contagious virus that is chaotic, governments can use this chaos to their advantage to overreact, if deemed beneficial. I think conspiracy theories, as a rule, tend not to necessarily modify event chronology (apart from the few that completely deny the total occurrence of an event), but to instead attribute intention and non-chaos as the aboriginal source of an event. Whereas chaotic events have a natural cause and a never-ending emanation of effect, conspiracy theories, or what defines them, tend to take an event that has had significant consequences, and retrofit causes, intentions, and strategies to ultimately imply a non-chaotic cause. Ultimately, “someone is in control,” rather than “it’s a wild, chaotic universe."
I think it would be more in the realm of possible logistics, based on what I understand about the chaotic nature of the universe, that the powerful are simply better equipped to take advantage of chaotic events that tend to leave the less powerful helpless. And these chaotic events tend to cement power into the hands of the few.
Assuming an actual deadly virus that, say, literally makes you throw up blood and kills you within 10 seconds of contraction, the powerful and rich will always, one way or another, be more insulated from something like this than the poor. And so events like these tend to make the rich richer, the powerful more powerful, and the poor poorer.
The classic example is 9/11. Conspiracy theorists would say, the attack allowed the government to expand its powers (Patriot Act, Iraq War), therefore, the attack was intentional, and designed to do just that.
Whereas non-conspiracy theorists would say, the attack was chaotic, but in that chaos, it allowed the government to expand its powers and to take exceptional measures.
In some or many cases, the government can simulate chaos to catalyze opportunity. Conspiracy theorists, as a rule, cannot differentiate between what is chaos and what is simulated, and err on the side of complete simulation.
I watched the whole three hour video, by the way. The first half was relatively coherent. And I’m not going to lie: hearing an eloquent person say that this whole ordeal was completely fabricated made me feel really good. It was comforting. It was freeing. It made me feel like I knew something others didn’t. That I now had an advantage. But I also know that truth—natural truth—is rather grotesque, uncomfortable, chaotic, murderous, and random.
He spent the second half of the video tying human breeding with AI, cloud computing, Bill Gates, 5G, vaccines infested with self-replicating nanobots, fortune-tellers and psychics, demons, sacrificing the blood of children to the devil—he connected all these impossibly disparate pieces into one complete narrative that ultimately said: someone is responsible for making your life as shitty as it is. It’s not your fault, it’s not the universe’s fault: it’s the fault of a secret cult with Bill Gates, DARPA, Zuckerberg, and even Elon Musk at its masthead.
Poor Jack Dorsey got left out of the meetings.