Wednesday, July 10, 2013

bless the bozo conspiracy

Whatever the benefits or horrors, I was brought up to think. Not that I was ever a perfected specimen of the realm, but the habit was instilled ... to make some effort to set aside the screaming desire to be "right" and consider the aspects and possibilities, to follow the Yellow Brick Road, even when it turned out to be a dead end, to collect evidence and add things up irrespective of ... well, irrespective of my own leanings or what the applause-o-meter or sages said.

To focus on the faceted topic at hand and turn it this way and that in the light. Why? Not in order to lord the results over others, but rather to make some effort to reduce my capacity to be a bozo.

Did this instilled capacity work? Don't be ridiculous. Bozos R Us. It's not a question of whether, it's just a question of to what degree ... and that's a question that can never be answered ... except of course by unrepentant bozos.

Yes, I'd like to think that I can think, that I can and am willing consider the aspects and plumb the in's and out's ... and then I realize there are some things are too huge or too offensive or too exhausting and I fall back in the La-Z-Boy of conclusion and explanation and agreement and belief ... even when the facts and facets twinkle and shine right in front of my thinking-capacity's nose.

Maybe all this applies to spiritual endeavor as well, but yesterday it was brought to my attention again when, for reasons I don't really know, I re-watched a part of a movie called "9/11 Mysteries." (Apologies, but I can't find a version that does not contain Scandinavian subtitles. The English voiceover is perfectly clear and the subtitles are a small annoyance but all English-only versions seem to be inaccessible).

OK, I hear the groans in the peanut gallery. "Another conspiracy theory," "another conspiracy nut," "another looney-tunes wing-nut." But I was taught to think and the movie is a perfectly good example of thoughtful thinking. It doesn't ask you to agree ... it asks you to consider, or, in other words, just to think.

So much of our latter-day thinking is premised in or founded on the events of September 11, 2001, when, among other things, the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York were struck by two passenger jets and subsequently collapsed. "Terrorism" has become part and parcel of the language of political life, whether in America or elsewhere. Like "love," "terrorism" is never carefully defined because ... well, because "everyone knows what it means." The Department of Homeland Security spends millions in an effort to fend off similar crazy-guy attacks. The facets and aspects of a horrific event that claimed some 3,000 lives twinkle and glimmer to this day. 911 has become an assumption of the mind. In this, it is not much different from other painful and pleasant aspects of history: "The colonists beat the British ... want another beer?" No one is morally obligated to think, but where thinking is a possibility ....

The reason I only watched a part of "9/11 Mysteries" was not that I was offended by "conspiracy-theory-wing-nut" arguments ... which, in general, I find too self-serving. The reason seemed to lie in the recognition that where I was trained to think, the movie provided too much to think about. The movie provided science -- the buildings, according to its architects, were built to withstand an airplane strike; steel cannot be set afire by jet fuel and yet burning steel was found three weeks after the attack; eye witness after eye witness reported hearing or being knocked down by explosions in the basements that were 10's of stories below where the planes hit; an $8 billion insurance payout on buildings with a serious asbestos problem .... All this and more like it was the kind of evidence a thinking person would normally weigh.

And weigh I did, for as long as I could stand it. Every thinking bone in my body was tuned in, weighing the evidence, not with an eye to being right, but with an eye to being something less than my glowing capacity for bozo-dom. What was offered might be considered "best evidence" i.e. evidence from the scene, evidence from mature scientific understanding ... best evidence. Believing it and not believing it were not so much the point. Facts were the point ... the kind of inescapable stuff that thinking gathers and collates and ....

And this was the point I lacked the courage to address. If the horrific tragedy had been so horrific as to allow itself to be easily explained by government or media, if the scientific and other best evidence had been set aside in favor of relief and closure and assumptions yet to be made ... what then?

The thinking mind likes to think it thinks, but this thinking extends to answers -- the means of collecting all the facts and making them coherent when related to a given event. But as the "best evidence" heaped up in my mind, I realized that the alternatives to a La-Z-Boy understanding and explanation were more horrific than the actual tragedy. The implications were beyond heinous. They were grotesque and filthy ... and I really, really didn't want to go there. They would require a kind of determined thinking whose outcome was bound to be profoundly dirty ... the kind of dirty I did not want to get. "Evil" is too kind a word.

I turned the movie off. I did not want to know. I did not want to think. I wanted to think I was thoughtful but please don't ask me to do the thinking.

"9/11 Mysteries" was not a perfectly-rounded, conspiracy nut's wet dream of a movie. Its observations made no La-Z-Boy assertions. It just observed and adduced ... as any thinking mind might. It asked ... as any thinking mind might. It turned the faceted gem of horror this way and that in the light. It was a bit like journalism before journalism was bought off. It did not lay claim to "best evidence," but rather gave what evidence it thought a thinking mind might find relevant ... or at any rate curious.

Well, it's all history now ... morphed into conclusions that find ready agreement in public expenditure and peace of mind.

Maybe, when there is enough leisure time, some thinking mind will examine this bit of history and iron its wrinkles in some more credible fashion. True, it's not easy and it's huge-huge-r-huge-st, but who knows, maybe bushy-tailed thinker will take a shot at it.

Me, I'm too lazy and afraid to get out of my La-Z-Boy.


  1. I imagine they count on our laziness and distraction to get away with what they do.

  2. Which could apply equally to an Al-Queida gratitude to conspiracy theorists Charlie.

    I have not examined the evidence. And if this sounds callous its not meant to..I am not inclined to.
    But something leapt out to me, and probably to many non Americans..right from day one..long before any evidence was collected, let alone sifted and evaluated..large numbers of Americans
    preferred to believe that their own government was responsible rather than consider their emotional and psychological response to the fact that their country was THAT hated by a large swathe of the world's population..that proportion which applauded 9/11.
    Whoever caused it...

  3. Peter -- How does "preferred to believe that their own government was responsible" differ from "consider their emotional and psychological response to the fact that their country was...hated by a large swath...?"

  4. What I am trying to say Adam , and of course it is an outsiders view and might be objective, and equally might fail to take into account all sorts of subtleties, what I am trying to say is that large numbers of Americans faced with an appalling atrocity were forced to choose between facing squarely the worlds' reaction to American foreign policy..or to seeing the problem as being from within.
    And many chose the latter.
    Because that was somehow less threatening than the big dark world outside the City On The Hill. More manageable.Even more horrendous.. but more solvable..

  5. Out of 300million americans, i wouldn't call it a large swath, but a jaded minority who might sum it up as "what has our ruling class done to us this time". And when you watch the divisive political environment here, half of americans are very suspicious of the other half. That is more effective in preventing an organized movement to change government than an impediment to government response to terrorist groups.

    Terrorism doesn't threaten wealth, but fuels a war that profits some at the expensive of the lives of others. And it divides those who might rise up and object to this usage. Crony capitalism is far from the free market that's supposed to create wealth for all. It's about gathering wealth unto the few and impoverishing the rest. The misinformation/disinformation has a clear and effective result, and it's not directed from a cave in Afghanistan.