Not the Monthly Post

An Empire of Dreams

There’s a fond belief among the comfortable classes of our time, and for that matter every other time, that the future can be arranged in advance through reasonable discussions among reasonable people.  Popular though this notion is, it’s quite mistaken. What history shows, rather, is that the future is always born on the irrational fringes of society, bursting forth among outcasts, dreamers, saints, and fools.  It then sweeps inward from there, brushing aside the daydreams of those who thought they could make the world do as they pleased.

Not something Rome’s bureaucrats anticipated.

Consider the Roman Empire in the days of its power.  While its politicians and bureaucrats laid their plans and built their careers on the presupposition that their empire would endure for all imaginable time, a prisoner on a Mediterranean island—exiled for his membership in a despised religious cult—saw the empire racked with wars, famines, and plagues, ravaged by horsemen galloping out of the east, and finally conquered and fallen into ruin, to be followed by a thousand years of triumph for his faith.  We call him John of Patmos today, and his vision forms the last book of the New Testament. He was a figure of the uttermost fringe in his own era: isolated, powerless, and quite possibly crazy.  He was also right.

Thus it’s important to keep a close eye on the fringes of contemporary culture, the places where the future is being born out of the surging tides of unreason.  One of the things I watch most closely with this in mind is the burgeoning realm of contemporary conspiracy theories. Those reveal far more than the conventionally minded imagine, irrespective of their factual accuracy or lack of same.  As Alain de Botton commented of religions, whether conspiracy theories are true or not is far and away the least interesting question about them.

To begin with, the popularity of conspiracy theories is a sensitive measure of the degree to which people no longer trust the conventional wisdom of their time. That’s an explosive issue just now, and for good reason:  the conventional wisdom of our time is fatally out of step with the facts on the ground.  Look across the whole range of acceptable views presented by qualified pundits, and by and large you’ll find that a randomly chosen fortune cookie will give you better guidance. The debacle in Afghanistan is only one reminder of the extent that a popular joke about economics—“What do you call an economist who makes a prediction?  Wrong.”—can be applied with equal force to most of the experts whose notions guide industrial societies.

Not something our bureaucrats anticipated.

What makes the astounding incompetence of today’s expert opinions so toxic is that nobody in the corporate media, and next to nobody in the political sphere, is willing to talk about it.  No matter how disastrous the consequences turn out to be—no matter how often the economic policies that were supposed to yield prosperity result in poverty and misery, no matter how often programs meant to improve the schools make them worse, no matter how many drugs released on the market as safe and effective turn out to be neither, and so on at great length—one rule remains sacrosanct:  no one outside the managerial class is supposed to question the validity of the next round of expert-approved policies, no matter how obviously doomed to fail they are.

Gregory Bateson, in a fascinating series of articles collected in his book Steps to an Ecology of Mind, discussed the way that schizophrenia is created by this kind of suppression of the obvious in a family setting. Insist to a child from infancy onward that something is true that the child can see is obviously not true, punish the child savagely every time it tries to bring up the contradiction, and there’s a fair chance the child will grow up to be schizophrenic. Conspiracy theories in society are the collective equivalent of schizophrenia in the individual, and they have the same cause: the systematic gaslighting of individuals who know that they are being lied to.

Gregory Bateson. He had quite a habit of noticing unpopular realities.

Bateson’s analysis goes further than this. He noticed that, bizarre as schizophrenic delusions can be, they always contain a solid core of truth expressed in exaggerated and metaphoric language. Look into the family situation, Bateson suggests, and you can decode the metaphors. Here’s a patient who claims that he’s Jesus Christ.  Observation of the family reveals one of those wretched family dramas, as dysfunctional as it is endlessly repeated, in which the patient was assigned an ill-fitting role from birth. What the patient is saying, in his exaggerated and metaphoric way, is quite accurate: “I’m not who they say I am.”

With this in mind, let’s take a look at what is far and away the most interesting of the many conspiracy theories in circulation just now:  the belief, remarkably widespread in fringe culture these days, that the mighty Tartarian Empire—one of the great civilizations of human history, which ruled directly or indirectly over most of Eurasia well into the 19th century and had a substantial presence in the Americas as well—has been erased from the history books.  After the empire was destroyed by titanic floods of mud, the story has it, its very existence was suppressed by a conspiracy, and its remaining traces are being demolished as we speak.

That blue area is labeled “Grand Tartarie.”

Believers in the Tartarian Empire point to old maps that include “Great Tartary” and other historical tidbits of the same general kind as one body of evidence for their claim. Another, far more interesting body of evidence is the presence of a particular set of architectural styles across much of the world. Star-shaped forts are one marker of the Tartarian presence. Domes are another. The main thing that sets Tartarian architecture apart, however, is that unlike modern architecture, it’s not sickeningly ugly.  Among the venues where Tartarian architecture can be seen in its full glory are surviving pictures of the great World’s Fairs of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These, believers say, were actually the capitals of Tartarian colonial governments, which were destroyed and replaced by ugly modern buildings once the empire fell; all that yammering about world’s fairs is simply part of the coverup.

As I noted above, whether all this is true is the least interesting question concerning it. If, dear reader, you believe in the existence of the Tartarian Empire, I’d encourage you to skip the next five paragraphs entirely. The point of this essay isn’t to debunk your beliefs or to tell you how wrong you are—for reasons we’ll get to in a bit, that’s a waste of time. Bon voyage, and we’ll meet again further down the page.

The flag of the Emperor of Tartary.

With that said, let’s start by talking about some actual history. People in much of Europe used to refer to the Mongols as Tartars, as a product of the same sort of historico-linguistic tangle that has people in the English-speaking world referring to the nation of Deutschland as “Germany.” From the fourteenth through the nineteenth centuries, maps and geography books in western Europe used the label “Tartary” for the realm ruled by Genghis Khan and his successors, in the same way they labeled the whole northern coast of Africa indiscriminately as “Barbary.” The portion of Tartary from the Urals east to the Pacific Ocean, the vast and (to western Europeans) little-known region that Russians call Sibir’ and most people now call Siberia, was called Great Tartary in English and Grand Tartarie in French, and appears accordingly on maps well into the nineteenth century. The same sources occasionally give a flag for Great Tartary, as they do for every other nation, whether it actually had a flag or not; the Tartarian flag has a black winged critter—usually a wyvern or a gryphon, but sometimes an owl—on a gold background.

Read travelers’ accounts of Great Tartary from these same years—there are plenty of those, by the way—and you’ll find conditions not all that different from those in the American West in the first half of the nineteenth century. The empire of Genghis Khan had long since disintegrated into an assortment of smaller khanates in the grassland regions of Siberia, while a great many tribal societies dwelt in the forest and tundra regions. Travel through that vast space was on roughly the same terms that Lewis and Clark faced on their expedition to the Pacific.  You could find beautiful cities with splendid domes in the southern reaches of Tartary—Samarkand comes to mind—but what you’d find elsewhere amounted to clusters of yurts on vast prairies, little villages on riverbends surrounded by trackless forests, stone lamaseries clinging to the sides of mountains, enigmatic ruins of lost civilizations, and immense stretches of land where the traces of human presence were very few and far between.

Fort McHenry, a classic star fort…

During these same centuries, while the Russian Empire slowly exerted its authority over this gargantuan territory, the kind of architecture that now gets identified as Tartarian spread over most of the world.  Its proper name is neoclassical architecture, and it’s what happened when the  architectural innovations of the Italian Renaissance got taken up by the great imperial powers of western Europe and splashed across most of the globe.  In 1900, remember, the vast majority of the planet was either ruled from a European capital or occupied by the peoples of the European diaspora. (The British Empire alone ruled a quarter of the Earth’s land surface.)

Where political power goes, cultural influence follows.  In every European colony and every country settled by European immigrants, neoclassicism was de rigueur for public architecture.  Even in countries such as China, which maintained a fragile independence during the high tide of European empire, neoclassical buildings sprang up wherever European business interests set up shop. The famous star forts were a product of the same expansion of power, though for more pragmatic reasons; they were developed in the Renaissance once it turned out that castles were fatally vulnerable to cannon fire, and were quickly adopted all over the world once European fleets armed with cannon set sail for distant shores. They worked, too—Fort McHenry, which fought off a British siege in the War of 1812 and thereby inspired the US national anthem, was a star fort of the classic type, and shrugged off British cannonballs until the dawn’s early light.

..and instructions on how to build one, from Robert Fludd’s Utriusque Cosmi Historia.

All this is fairly easy to find out from contemporary sources.  Why, then, do so many people on the thickly inhabited fringes of contemporary culture gaze longingly on the mirage of a vast and thriving empire of domed cities and star forts hovering over the immense wilderness of Siberia, sending phantom armies and fleets to seize the mastery of the world, before terrible floods of mud swept it all away?  The answer, as Bateson would doubtless have suggested, can be traced to certain unmentionable facts about today’s world.

The first point to keep in mind is that when Tartarian believers say that the history taught to them in the schools is full of lies, they’re right. The history taught to children in every literate society is a mix of well-meaning attempts to summarize the terrifying complexity and ambiguity of the past, on the one hand, and self-serving mythologies meant to justify existing distributions of wealth and influence, on the other. These days, as in most civilizations in decline, the balance has swung very far toward the latter. Some things you’ll find in textbooks are flat-out lies—it’s a matter of easily provable fact, for example, that nobody in Europe thought the world was flat the year that Columbus set sail—but much more of it has been assiduously cherrypicked to support various canned narratives, and a great many facts have been silently buried to keep those same narratives intact. The arguments being used to support the existence of the Tartarian Empire, for that matter, are no more bizarre than those being used to prop up such dubious causes celebrés of modern historiography as the 1619 Project.

The prevalence of massive dishonesty in the conventional wisdom of our time is one of the core reasons why attempts by skeptics to disprove the existence of the Tartarian Empire find so little traction among believers. The skeptic movement launched with such fanfare at the end of the 1970s failed, after all, because it was never skeptical enough:  its skepticism only pointed in one direction, toward those beliefs that didn’t serve the interests of the corporate economy and its academic hangers-on. No matter how much self-serving nonsense gets spewed out by the pharmaceutical industry, to cite only one obvious example, self-proclaimed skeptics embrace it with the same blind faith that they denounce as fundamentalism in other contexts. “Pfizer said it, I believe it, that settles it” is their invariable motto.

Nietzsche had a lot of practice making fun of those who claimed a stranglehold on the truth.

When skeptics belly up to an argument claiming to be the voice of science and reason, in other words, everyone else knows that they’re simply shills for the status quo, loudly proclaiming that nobody is supposed to believe anything that inconveniences their corporate masters. It doesn’t hurt that making fun of skeptics is such good sport.  Like other people who think they have sole ownership of The Truth™, today’s skeptics invariably wade into the fray with the sort of gruesome earnestness Nietzsche mocked so merrily in the opening lines of Beyond Good and Evil. That’s hilarious to watch, and it’s even funnier when the skeptics don’t get the reaction they expect and melt down in a Donald Duck splutterfest. I’m quite sure that one of the main reasons people embrace strange belief systems today is that skeptics are so fun to tease.

So there’s one truth at the heart of the Tartarian vision:  the official version of history is not all that much more accurate than theirs. Another, of course, has to do with the architecture that takes center stage on so many Tartarian websites. It’s not at all surprising that neoclassical architecture should have found itself at the focus of a conspiracy theory, because public architecture always has a massive political dimension, and anyone who talks honestly about the politics of today’s ugly architecture can expect plenty of gaslighting from the shills of the status quo.

Just like the Maginot Line…

Fortunately it’s not hard to decode the messages that modern architecture communicates. As a product of the human imagination, it can be analyzed in the same way as a dream, a delusion, or for that matter a conspiracy theory.  Take a look at modern public architecture, and you’ll find that it communicates certain things very clearly.  Those stark facades and blank windows mark it as an architecture of exclusion—it says, “You don’t belong here.” Its rejection of traditional design and ornament mark it as an architecture of collective senility: “The past is irrelevant.”  Its abandonment of proportional geometries based on the human body, a keynote of architecture oin earlier times, mark it as an antihuman architecture:  “Human beings don’t matter.” Its sickening ugliness, finally, sends the clearest message of all: “We don’t care.”

…but even uglier.

Proponents of modern architecture love to claim that it’s more egalitarian than the neoclassical architecture it replaced. The raw mendacity of that claim can be seen in a simple fact:  the most inviolable rule of modern architecture is that ordinary people must be permitted no say in the built environment of their public spaces. Neoclassical architecture is everything modern architecture is not—its intricate engagement with its surroundings makes it inclusive, its ongoing conversation with the past marks it as historically meaningful, its use of proportional geometries marks it as essentially humane, and its beauty marks it as an affirmation of the people who live and work in and around it. That’s why so many people love it and hate what has replaced it. Give them a voice, and architects who insist on copying the current ugliness would be out of jobs.

The replacement of a meaningful and beautiful built environment by a meaningless and ugly one in the not so distant past is one of the core things the Tartarian Empire theory is communicating. Believers in that theory who talk in a straightforward way about the delights of neoclassical architecture can count on fielding the same kind of gaslighting that makes for schizophrenia in a family setting.  These days, that’ll probably take the form of diatribes insisting that neoclassical architecture is racist, since “racist” is the way “doubleplusungood” is pronounced in today’s Newspeak, but there have been other excuses for that sort of putdown in the past and there will doubtless be others in the future. The fact remains that describing modern architecture as butt-ugly is an insult to honest rumps, and the messages modern architecture communicates so clearly are things everyone is supposed to perceive but nobody is ever supposed to talk about.

Fine Tartarian architecture, on display at the 1900 Paris World’s Fair.

So the critique that can’t be spoken aloud takes shape on the fringes as the vision of a forgotten empire, where shining marble domes caught the sunlight, erased from history by a torrent of esthetic and ideological mud.  Those of my readers who think that such symbolic critiques can’t have an influence on what we are pleased to call the real world haven’t been paying attention. To begin with, if someone were to walk out into a public square in some midwestern American city tomorrow, raise the black and gold banner of Great Tartary, proclaim the rebirth of the Tartarian Empire, and call for young men to join the imperial legions, it’s pretty likely that he’d get a substantial response—especially if tearing down every scrap of modern public architecture and replacing it with neoclassical buildings was part of his platform.

Yet there are subtler ways that change happens. I’m thinking here of one of Jorge Luis Borges’ more intriguuing stories, “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius.” In the story, a secret society, Orbis Tertius (literally “the third world”), was founded in the seventeenth century to transform the world.  It did so by creating an imaginary country, Uqbar, whose people tell legends about a world named Tlön.  Bit by bit, as the concepts spread, the fiction takes on reality and our world begins to look more and more like Tlön. It’s possible that someone set the Tartarian Empire theory in motion with an eye toward some similar project. It seems rather more probable to me that the theory has morphed in that direction through an analogue of convergent evolution, providing a frame in which people can think thoughts that are forbidden by the rigid ideological dogmas of our age.

One way or another, I’d encourage my readers to watch this space.  The black and gold banner of the Tartarian Empire may just be fluttering in the winds of the future.

*******

It occurs to me that December this year has five Wednesdays, and I have nothing scheduled for the fifth of those. We might as well follow the established custom, therefore. What would you like to hear about? Inquiring Druids want to know. 😉

339 Comments

  1. And speaking of voices from the fringe of modern imagination, here’s a quick announcement from New Maps, your local home for short fiction that imagines life during and after the end of the fossil fuel age:

    The Fall 2021 issue is now available — and with it the first year of the magazine is complete. It’s been a terrific year!

    That also means many readers’ subscriptions are expiring. If you subscribed starting with the very first issue, it’s time to renew to get the second year of New Maps. Subscriptions make this project possible and I’ve been very thankful to have so many supportive readers in the first year. I hope you’ll join me for the second!

    And if you’d like to write for the next issue’s Letters section, by the way, please send in letters by December 15th. The winter issue is coming up fast.

  2. For a building that communicates something far different than what it is claimed to communicate, I offer this example on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

    https://www.si.edu/sites/default/files/newsdesk/photos/2016ak11_220.jpg

    Upon seeing it (before I knew what it was), my first impression is that it was the advance headquarters of an invasion of space aliens. Reflecting that it seemed unlikely that space aliens had invaded the National Mall without even any rumors circulated, I then speculated that it is some kind of security or detention facility.

    It turns out that this is the fairly new, and much acclaimed, National Museum of African American History and Culture.

    Make of this what you will.

    – Roy Smith

  3. John–

    My initial reaction: “Alas! What hope is there if reason and sanity are themselves impediments?”

    Upon further reflection: “What exactly do I mean by the terms ‘reason’ and ‘sanity’?”

  4. The conspiracy theory I find most convincing (in concept if not in details) is mind control. I can’t see them ever giving up on that, even if it never worked properly.

    The Southbank Centre came closest to looking like a Nazi gun position: https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/976/cpsprodpb/14B89/production/_112437848_hi009188116.jpg.

    In an episode of Yes, Prime Minister where the civil servants are discussing the National Theatre –

    Bernard: It looks like a carpet sale warehouse.
    Sir Humphrey: We gave the architect a Knighthood so no-one would ever say that!

  5. You wrote: “describing modern architecture as butt-ugly is an insult to honest rumps”. Gave me my first belly-laugh of the month — thanks for the pressure-relief valve!

  6. What do you make of the flat earth conspiracy theory that was sadly all the rage a few years ago? A CIA narrative inserted to make those questioning received “wisdom” look like complete loons?

    Also can you explain how the star forts could defend against cannon fire?

    PS The hideous 1970’s office building I used to work in has been demolished so the worst of these monstrosities are already disappearing in the UK at least.

  7. I’ll be moving home to Ireland (after almost 30 years in the US) in early 2022. Time flies. Anyway, Dublin was devastated by a great deal of brutalist nonsense (the Wood Quay buildings which obliterated the Viking archaeology were a particular crime. One of JHK’s ‘Starchitects’ was behind that eyesore, which still stands). Happily, many of the worst 60s and 70s carbuncles have come down. One 1960s starchitect has actually outlived almost all of his own buildings, so slipshod and unfit for Entropy were they. IIRC he has only ONE remaining. Nobody will be sad when that last one is taken down either. Google ‘Liberty Hal Dublin’ for the greatest of all uglies. It was a case of the Irish not knowing the beauty that had fallen into their hands, and off they went, chasing “de latest ting from de americans”.

    That said, ONE of the building from that era that is loved is Busaras, the bus depot.
    I realised when I was home last that I really love that building (and that as a clever person with Taste, I’m not supposed to). Parts of it are glass box ugly, but the curved awning is always nice to see. Nostalgia? No, I never used Busaras as a kid, so no juvenile ‘warm fuzzies’. When I remembered my physical experience of being in Busaras, it’s always one of comfort. Nice big space, lots of coverage from rain, nice signage, easy access to buses, and according to the recent IT article, it was designed by a good architect who specifically meant the building to be democratic, with a theater in the basement!

    https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/the-beauty-of-busáras-it-was-built-at-a-time-when-public-architecture-mattered-1.4735348

    It’s telling that there’s a part of a person that can see past the uglier aspects of the exterior (the accidental property) to the essential, and in the case of Busaras, the building (unlike the examples you cite, which are genuine brutalist horrors) was made by people who cared about people, and not people who cared about status and power.

    Not a fan of JHK’s politics, but in ‘Geography of Nowhere’ he talks about New Urbanism’s ‘Pattern Language’, in which a building communicates to the people around it. A solid face of a wall on street level with no entry points, and 2 foot ‘sidewalk’ with onrushing traffic says “Drop Dead”.

    Your comments on Conspiracy Theory remind me of the ‘Ur-Truth’ idea. That CTs have an ur-truth. The Reptilian conspiracy says that those in power are reptiles who don’t care if you live or die, and only use humans for their sinister purposes. Well, that apple didn’t fall too far from the Tree of Truth, did it? Of course, they take a lovely metaphor and literalise it, and the doors of Robert Anton Wilson’s ‘Chapel Perilous’ devour them all. Poor devils.

    Ur-truth of pizzagate: Intel agencies use Kompromat to blackmail & control those in the power circle. Let them keep doing it as long as they keep doing what we tell them. (I’m 99% convinced that kompromat was used to force intransigent Unionist/Loyalists to the negotiating table in the 1990s for the 1998 Good Friday Agreement; I don’t see what else could have moved that rock). And so on.

    Anyway, better stop now because the Men in Black have triangulated my position.

  8. Appreciate the frequent reference to past authors and stories, it is always so much fun to seek out and see where reading those stories will take me.

    The stranglehold the PMC class has on what the majority of people are exposed to and the direction we go is extremely disheartening. It reminds me of how people now look to brands for their opinion on social issues, like the Gilette ad from lsat year that drew so much attention.

  9. As I understand your first few paragraphs, the poor dispossessed peoples at the fringes of society give birth to the next civilizations.
    I note in this same context that the same thing happens with technology. It is often thought among patent attorneys with a long view of history that the great inventions dreamed up during the 1930s often did not see the light of day until they were freed by the great depression.

    I am experiencing this same problem right now as my post collapse low carbon technology (described in my recent book) is being refused by American and Japanese (who find that burning propane and other carbon is too convenient), whereas the Chinese have welcomed me with open arms. The vast Western region of China and 3rd world countries are eager to adopt inconvenient energy solutions based on outlandish but inexpensive technology. I very reluctantly am temporarily moving to China to pursue this, so this general topic hits a nerve to me personally.
    While we in the West wring our hands, shriek into the winds and pray to the Gods above for deliverance from a collapsing high energy lifestyle, the majority of the people on this planet are looking forward to an improved life based on alternative ways of using energy. Most of this you will never hear about in the mocking bird media inside the US.

  10. Thought-provoking post as always, JMG.

    A possible thread has occurred to me: In King in Orange, you pointed out that according to Spengler’s model, Russia has passed through 2 pseudomorphoses (Byzantine/Magian, and Faustian/European), and is on track to sprout its own Russian/Sobornost high culture later this century.
    North America has gone through its first pseudomorphosis from Faustian culture, and hasn’t gotten to its second Tamanous one yet. It seems very likely to me that America’s second pseudomorphosis (and the inevitable reaction to it) may be Russia/Sobornost culture. I think we are seeing pre-echoes of it, for lack of a better word, already. Marxism seems to occupy a place in American minds as a Russian phenomenon – the more extreme ends of wokesters fly the hammer and sickle; and I posit that the underlying postmodern philosophy can be described with not too much oversimplification to be the ideological progeny of Marxism. Yet, socialism in general, and Marxism in particular, originated in Europe, and seem to me irrevocably Faustian. Which perhaps explains why Russian communism was doomed to failure; if Marxism can be described as the Faustian worldview carried, according to its own internal logic, to its fullest extent; it predictably failed to encompass that which will birth the Sobornost worldview.
    I was unaware of the Tartarian conspiracy theory; fascinating that this narrative is also looking to the future homeland of Sobornost. This seems to corroborate Spengler’s (and your) prediction: the whispers of a false psuedomorphosis with disparate parts of declining Faustian America’s collective unconscious already looking to the fading parts of Faustian influence in Russia – presaging the real one yet to come and the reaction to it that will lead to an American/Tamanous high culture in the 26th century…does this seem plausible?

  11. @ JMG – I always enjoyed reading Borges back in high school Spanish. I should pick his stuff back up.

    So, if a conspiracy theory says more about the society than the believers in it, I assume the Fake Moon Landing theorists look around at our functionally third world country that contracts out manned flights into space to the Russians or private corporations and think; “there’s no way this place has the ability to do something that difficult” ?

    Going a bit further down the rabbit hole, what does the Flat Earther movement say about contemporary America?

  12. Excellent! Especially the connection to architecture hit home. In my home country – Sweden – the face of towns and villages has changed massively since the late 1960s and 1970s. To provide housing for the rapidly expanding work force in our cities, the model adopted was to make it as “rational” as possible. Which meant then that multiapartment blocks were built in straight lines and all the same, as it was more “efficient*.

    Which means they’re completely devoid of any character at all!

    Today that has partly changed, what is now happening in our cities is that big business and the ever-expanding government/municipal bureacracy always demand more offices, and they are almost always seriously ugly.

    There are some architects who are questioning this “rational” approach, but as always the customers with the big pockets win.

    In my “other” country (I live in the UK as well) the situation is a bit different. There they have far more stone buildings dating back hundreds of years which are either listed or well loved. Having said that the newer housing estates are generally filled up with “all the boxes, all the same”.

  13. There is so much wrong with the stomach turning garbage of modern “architecture” From the high rise library that is sagging because the designer didn’t figure the weight of the books, to the reflective buildings that cook cars, boil swimming pools, and blind drivers. The pictures are a bad enough assault on the senses. Seeing one as you turn a corner can be gut wrenching. Frank Gehry seems to be the worst, his “Dancing Building’ in Prague is a perfect example. Even knowing it’s there, it’s still like a kick in the gut, its so wrong
    As to Crazy John Of Patmos, a good half of his “revelation” had already happened, such as the abomination of desecration in the Temple. The rest was wishful thinking, hoping the Roman Emoire would “get theirs” Though back in the late 1960’s watching the news live from Veet Nahm the clip showed a massive swarm of locusts. As the camera panned in it was obvious they were helicopters, that came close to John’s description of locusts with human heads. Possible he did see across the spiral. The hairs of the back of my neck stood up.
    Ther is also the erasure of the vast interconnected civilizations of the Americas, which are slowly coming out of the dark. The name “America” comes from a Carib word meaning Land Of The Feathered Serpent. The Vespucci mistake was corrected over 500 years ago. Like modern memes, once it got loose, there was no putting it back.

  14. I love reading your blog Mr. Greer. You always manage to shift my perspective slightly and provide fascinating topics to ponder. Thank you for doing what you do. Cheers!

  15. I thought for sure that the Tartarian Empire conspiracy theory didn’t actually exist, and you’d just pulled a clever Borges move yourself to conjure one into existence in order to forward your anti-modernist architecture agenda; but search for it and there it is! In fact my own personal conspiracy theory is that the Tartarian conspiracy was your own invention, carefully planted anonymously in seedy backroom Internet forums, and this week’s essay is a plausible cover story now that the idea has gained so much traction that evidence has started pointing in your direction. 😉

    So basically, what you’re saying here is that pick a conspiracy theory, any conspiracy, and regardless of its veracity, its storyline diagnoses a truth, often several such, unacknowledged by polite society. JFK was killed by the CIA?…The government has unanswerable powers of secrecy and surveillance that trump democracy. Twin Towers was an inside job to keep the war machine running and gain increased state powers?…Hey, actually, keeping the war machine running is a thing, and so was the ever-extending Patriot Act. Moon landing was faked?…Technology is on a downward slope, where is that flying car they promised us. Earth is actually flat?…Science today doesn’t follow the scientific method so much as it requires blind faith in experts. All politicians are lizard people?…All too plausible.

    I can’t wait to read comments, this is going to be a fun one.

  16. JMG, reading your essay, some merry memories just came back so vividly. So I grew up in rural Hungary, and during the last decade I had a recurring series of dreams. Every time I was wandering around in my old hometown, and wherever I went I’ve found new streets that I didn’t know for some reason, and in there the most beautiful neoclassical architecture everywhere. As if I was walking in a uchronia where Austria-Hungary was still existing and modernism didn’t take over. Somehow I always woke up with a smile on my face.

    I grew up hoping that in a few decades buildings and projects from the socialism will be demolished for good. What happens instead is that 19th century houses disappearing, either demolished or buried under insulation completely ruining those old facades. European architecture has lost its way too somewhere around art deco..

  17. “To begin with, the popularity of conspiracy theories is a sensitive measure of the degree to which people no longer trust the conventional wisdom of their time.”

    That is a good way to put it, and timely. Just this morning NPR had a written article about the Alex Baldwin incident. The article specifically stated that the revolver “went off”, implying it did it all by itself. A single action revolver requires two distinct actions to fire it (after loading it). One must cock the hammer, and then one must pull the trigger. There is no “went off”. So either NPR is completely ignorant about how firearms work (easily believable) or they are deliberately soft pedaling the negligence of a donor.

    And I have the same complaint about “gun violence”. I’ve been around guns for over 50 years and have yet to see one load itself, much less pick itself up off the table and open fire at anyone. Nor did Sauron craft guns so that they intrinsically corrupt people into being evil, an argument that actually appeared in Scientific American several years ago (not the Sauron part, but the part about a piece of crafted iron making people more violent was clear enough.)

    My confidence in mainstream media is dead. NBC’s creative editing of Zimmerman’s 911 call was probably the death blow for trusting TV news, and print soon followed.

  18. Toronto has fun architecture to pick apart. Our city hall, concrete and glass though it is, is different from the usual concrete cube. The original design was a pretty typical modernist building and was so widely panned that it was brought to public vote. As you surmise, as soon as people had an actual choice the modernist design was rejected outright. Eventually an international competition resulted in the current building that screams 60’s atomic age techno-optimism (and as urban legend has it was intended to be a landing pad for UFOs), but at least it isn’t a brutalist monstrosity.

    I’m sure this has influenced the design of the condominiums along the waterfront, which look like something that might have been imagined on the pages of Astounding, and brought about similar architectural oddities like Roy Thomson Hall, which looks like a crystal bundt cake (and is the base for the UN building in the Expanse).

    On the other hand, the new design of the Royal Ontario Museum (well, new as of 15 or so years ago), looks like the original fine old building is being eaten and repurposed by a swarm of nanomachines. Years ago, I tweeted the picture of the new construction to a science fiction author (Alastair Reynolds) whose stories featured such machines and he agreed. I think JHK took a few shots at it too. I’m sure if there had been a vote the public would have also done away with that awful design.

  19. Tartarian Empire?? That is a new one on me. The most recent crazy conspiracy hallucination–which I will not dignify with the title theory– I have read is that about 7 or 8 hundred years of documented human history after the end of the Roman Empire simply did not happen. Sorry, I can’t now find the article. Some folks will have their fun. How does the merry band explain the fact the while Europe may have been in a Dark Age, contemporaneous China was not and its’ history is quite well documented? Jesuit conspiracy of course. The handful, no more than a hundred or so at any one time I believe, of Jesuits who were sent to the Chinese court managed to rewrite Chinese history, complete with faked documents in Chinese. Never mind that the Jesuits didn’t even exist before the 16thC. Paying attention to chronology is so boring, an obsession of small minds who simply can’t see the grand picture.

    JMG, you stated above that: “Where political power goes, cultural influence follows”. True enough but I think it bears repeating that the reverse is not necessarily true. The undeniable fact of Egyptian cultural influence on Mycenean, archaic and classical Greece does not, in itself, prove or even support the chimera of an Egyptian conquest of that country. I doubt they had boats capable of the voyage before Hellenistic times, when the Ptolomeys acquired the Phoenician fleets.

  20. I fear the day the internet collapses because I don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t read your latest blog posts. They are truly breaths of fresh air in the oxygen-poor environment that is the mainstream intellectual climate in the stifling submarine world of decadent orthodoxy.
    -Eugene

    P.S. Although I’m not a believer of the Tartarian Empire (yet? 😊), I intend to add any scrap of literature on Great Tartary, as well as that Borges short story, to my reading list, as a self-proclaimed sole member of my unrecognized chapter of The Order of Anti-Poke-Noses (https://ecosophia.dreamwidth.org/17308.html).
    “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
    -Aristotle’s Metaphysics.
    P.P.S. As I felt the need to write that postscript, I think my membership might be on probation soon.

  21. There is some pushback against modernist architecture happening in Chicago. The State of Illinois building, next to city hall and the county building, is being shut down and sold. It has a huge atrium taking up most of the space of the building.

    I was once in a modern dance performance set in the building. It was a “site-specific” dance intended to use dance to explore the site. The choreographer, imported from New York, hated the building. He described it as being like a prison, because everything can be seen from a central point (the guard tower).

    didn’t mind the building as much as others, though I didn’t like its raw concrete. Now everyone has turned against it, though no one can tell me why. Still, it’s going to be demolished.

  22. Conspiracy theories are fascinating because of what they reveal as much as for what they conceal. I hadn’t heard of the Grand Tartary story before, it’s something new for me to check out.

    Thanks John!

  23. “the belief, remarkably widespread in fringe culture these days, that the mighty Tartarian Empire—one of the great civilizations of human history, which ruled directly or indirectly over most of Eurasia well into the 19th century and had a substantial presence in the Americas as well—has been erased from the history books.”

    Thank you, JMG, I didn’t know this conspiracy theory, ha ha…

  24. I wonder what all the conspiracies about sex trafficking and pedophilia, etc. have to say about our society?

    I also wonder what the theories about One World Government and Deep State stuff connected to Satanism / Eyes Wide Shut type of behavior might be saying. It’s something I’ll be meditating on.

    Thank you for another brilliant article.

  25. Interesting essay, Mr. Greer! I do lurk in some unconventional and non-comformist corners of the interwebs, and have for years, and yet I had never heard nor read of the ‘Grand Tartary’ theory/conspiracy before today. And now, for some reason, I have a hankering for raw steak, and feel the need to visit my dentist and get my teeth cleaned.

    More seriously, I have for many years been struck by the devious and insidious brilliance of the use of the phrase “conspiracy theory” (or “conspiracy theorist”) as a means to utterly shut down discussion and debate. It is like the accusation of “Witch!” or “Heretic!” in medieval Europe —- no possible rebuttal is allowed, and all further thinking is automatically shut down. This is a phenomenon that has puzzled and outraged me for literally decades. Can you offer any insight into how and why this is the case?

    As for myself, my favorite conspiracy theory, because it is so patently ridiculous, is the one about a putative deadly disease that has spread around the world, which is so dangerous that only those who receive the proper (but scientifically invalid) ‘test’ for it can know whether they truly have it, and only an officially-approved injection can save one from certain death from the disease — but only if given to everyone ELSE, not the person supposedly being saved! (With those receiving the injection suffering widely from adverse health affects, many of them worse than those from the disease itself). But it is such a stupid conspiracy theory, so utterly nonsensical even by typical conspiracy theory’ standards, that I hate even repeating it here.

  26. Good to see this conversation happening here! Thanks for bringing Bateson to the party. I don’t know his work, but now I want to.

    The systems thinking in regards to all this is fascinating.

    It’s definitely good to watch the fringe!
    Conspiracies have kind of come from the fringe to take up more of the general publics mind and interest. & I think you are exactly right, it’s because so much doesn’t add up, and so many known instances of the authorities lying & being outright deceitful, and at times out right nefarious.

    The social medias of the day are also a fascinating place to watch these conspiracy theories go out into various systems and see how they effect the whole system.

  27. When I first encountered the Tartary theory some months ago, I sensed the underlying explanation was the failure of Progress. If Progress is real, then the same civilization that created Neoclassical works would not go on to create unsightly blocks of glass and concrete. Instead of facing up to the fact that Progress is failing, some remains of beautiful works have to be explained somehow, and given an origin which 1) is conveniently “foreign” and 2) has a material cause for not existing anymore.

    It reminds me of the “moonlanding is a hoax” theory as way of explaining away the lack of Progress. I find the Tartary theory more elegant, not to say I think it’s true, but it stimulates the imagination and doesn’t fly in the face of reason as crudely.

  28. I always thought the secret reptilian elite theory was a great metaphor, hah. This is a great way to read conspiracy theories, and an interesting way to work with mass consciousness magic, if it is conscious.

  29. I read an interesting article about modern/ international style architecture’s roots in WWI. Walter Gropius and many of the leading proponents of modern architecture saw service in WWI and were horribly scarred. The concrete bunker, machine-gun pill-box, anti-human architecture resulting was basically PTSD (shell-shock) manifesting throughout the rest of these architect’s careers. The style achieved widespread acceptance because of lower cost in an era of relatively cheap materials and expensive labor. When you have expensive materials and cheap labor, you tend to see lot of carving and ornament. It’s interesting that James Gurney’s appealing fantasy world Dinotopia looks like Tartary. Who wouldn’t rather live there!

  30. Nathanael, thanks for this! It has indeed been a terrific year.

    Roy, what I make of that object…

    …is that it’s an insult to the wonderful art and cultural artifacts imprisoned inside it.

    David BTL, excellent! I’ll offer a hint: reason and sanity are tools — very useful tools, when applied to suitable objects. I doubt, though, that you’d try to use a screwdriver to cut lumber…

    Yorkshire, thanks for this, which I’ll go ahead and post. A carpet warehouse would be a substantial improvement…

    …over this atrocity.

    Elkriver, you’re most welcome. Just one of the services I offer. 😉

    Bridge, I’d have to research the current iterations of the flat earth theory to make a guess. As for star forts, though, that’s well known and well documented. The walls are very thick, and made of a layer of stone over lots of earth, so that cannonballs plunge deep in and bury themselves uselessly rather than bringing the walls down (as they did to castles). Even if the cannons fire shells — that is to say, cannonballs that contain an explosive charge — the explosives available at the time weren’t powerful enough to overcome the weight of hundreds of tons of well-packed dirt and clay. The star shape is designed to deal with the final stage of a siege, when the other guy’s troops have to come running across the ground and scale the walls. Each straight section of wall in a star fort is so designed that at least one other bastion of the fort can train cannon straight along the base of the wall, so once the soldiers come running the defenders load grapeshot and massacre the attackers. It was possible to take a star fort, but it was very, very costly — which is of course the point of fortifications generally.

    (Why, yes, star forts were a special subject of mine when I was a teenage geek. Why do you ask? 😉 )

    Dermot, interesting. The bus station — well, it could certainly be worse. As for Ur-truth, yes, exactly. Read conspiracy theories as though they’re dreams, and they’re not at all hard to interpret.

    Dan, I do what I can. Glad you enjoy it!

    Marvin, well, of course! Fossil fuels are the talisman of our power in the US and its inner circle of colonial dependencies — Japan being one of those. It’s only outside that they can be seen for what they are: the temporary and rapidly depleting basis for a doomed society.

    Raab, excellent. Marxism is always an elite ideology — it claims to give power to the workers, but it actually gives power to bureaucracies staffed by the managerial caste — and it’s also essentially Faustian, as you point out. Thus it’s become the cynosure of those people in the US who are clinging to a managerial-caste identity (and all its Faustian baggage) while the basis for that caste’s ascendancy is crumbling away. Yes, it’s quite possible that the Sobornost culture will provide the future American culture of Tamanous with its second pseudomorphosis — but there are a number of other possible sources as well. It’s still anyone’s guess.

    Ben, yes, that’s exactly what the “moon hoax” belief says. As for the flat earthers, as I noted above, I’m not yet sure.

    Gustaf, sickeningly ugly architecture is always marketed as being “rational.” That says something very uncomplimentary about the minds of those who think of themselves as rationalists…

    Marlena, I take the preterist interpretation of Revelations — that is, it all happened already, and John of Patmos was simply using a familiar language of symbolism to say something very explosive in his time in a way that wouldn’t get his book burnt. Assume that everything in the book is meant symbolically, and use sources such as the Book of Daniel to interpret the imagery, and it comes across as a very straightforward prophecy of Rome’s fall and the rise of a Christian civilization.

    Chris, you’re welcome and thank you.

    Marlena, but of course!

    Quin, funny. No, I’m not that original of a thinker. As for the interpretation of conspiracy theories, yes, exactly.

    Eysen, I hadn’t encountered the term “uchronia” before, so thank you for that! Here’s hoping that at some point your country, and mine, will come to their architectural senses…

    Siliconguy, and the media’s now talking about how a car ran over those people in Waukesha. No reference to the driver…

    Anselmo, I get the impression it’s mostly an American thing.

    Andrew001, they actually gave the public a voice? Good gods. I bet the architecture industry pitched a fit.

    Mary, political power doesn’t have to be expressed by conquest. Egypt was far and away the richest country in the eastern Mediterranean in ancient Greek times, and so its government had a lot of political influence in Greece — that’s why so many of the Greek city-states made sure to stay on good terms with the pharaohs, and why Greek mercenaries played a very large role in the Egyptian military in the last years before the Persian conquest.

  31. John Michael Greer said, in a response:

    “Marlena, I take the preterist interpretation of Revelations — that is, it all happened already, and John of Patmos was simply using a familiar language of symbolism to say something very explosive in his time in a way that wouldn’t get his book burnt.”

    Mr. Greer, I have read of that interpretation of the Book of Revelation many times in the past, and there is a large element of logic to it, but the one thing that has always bothered and nagged at me about this preterist interpretation is the Mark of the Beast, whereby nobody thus marked would be allowed to buy or sell.

    However, there is NO precedent in history that I know of, not even remotely, that comes close to resembling John of Patmos’ Mark of the Beast, nor can I imagine such a thing having been practical or even possible in past centuries. And yet, conversely, it is easily imaginable and possible today, with our largely digital — and monitorable — electronic transactions. That John of Patmos could dream up such a thought, in a time when such a decree or program was effectively impossible, and would remain so for many centuries, I find rather disturbing.

  32. One of the great architectural travesties in NYC was the 1963 demotion and deposition of the original Penn Station into the NJ Meadowlands, and its subsequent successor and eyesore. And for the past decade, there have been mutterings that the station be shifted to the old post office building as it has suitably grander architecture…

    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pennsylvania_Station_aerial_view,_1910s.jpg#/media/File:Pennsylvania_Station_aerial_view,_1910s.jpg

    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Madison_Square_Garden_(MSG)_-_Full_(48124330357).jpg#/media/File:Madison_Square_Garden_(MSG)_-_Full_(48124330357).jpg

    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Old_Post_Office_(6222197041).jpg#/media/File:Old_Post_Office_(6222197041).jpg

    I have a degree in Classical and Near Eastern archaeology. And yet, I’ve been feeling guilty of late for my love of Classical (and Neoclassical) architecture, as it has somehow (?) become synonymous with racism? Thanks for helping shake off that irritating bit of overly PC thought that had lodged itself in my poor cranium.

    Regarding conspiracy theories, I do enjoy a good one. That being said, I think your observation about magic being like strawberry jam also applies here–be careful what you engage with, because no matter how careful you are, some of it is gonna stick to you!

  33. Thank you so much! That makes so much sense. I had been puzzling as to why some of my in-laws were so much into conspiracy theories, and made such a big point of not getting this particular vaccine. A long time ago I read a book on corporate governance which said something to the effect that disconfirming information pointing to the need to change will be ignored if that information makes people feel they are in danger. After the big change, once they have a safe place to stand, they will say they saw the signs all along.

  34. You know, when a car engine computer loses or deems some sensor data as “not plausible”, whenever they think it’s possible, they subsitute internal data for the missing or corrupted sensors. The engine computer has a table of more or less “made up” numbers that it then uses to keep the engine running. One of the many reasons you can have a check engine light on but the car seems to run OK.

    Sort of reminds me of some of these conspiracy theories, people are substituting their own narratives whenever the official narrative is – not plausible – any longer.

    That “Tartary Empire” has to be one I’ve heard about for the very first time – from you. My comment on it, is it sounds like an old name for the Golden Horde, which you can make a decent case as being the forerunner to the Russian Empire and the USSR.

    Wondering off on forbidden topics and other conspiacy theory stuff – it almost sounds like a bleedthrough from another timeline. Perhaps in some alternate time there actually was this empire? And some psychicly sensitive people are picking up on it?

  35. 1. “No one outside the managerial class is supposed to question the validity of the next round of expert-approved policies, no matter how obviously doomed to fail they are.”

    Richard Feynman said that “science is the belief in the ignorance of experts”. Today experts tell us we need to “trust science”. Yuck.

    https://canberraforerunners.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Science-is-the-Belief-in-the-Ignorance-of-Experts.pdf

    2. “the Tartarian flag has a black winged critter—usually a wyvern or a gryphon, but sometimes an owl—on a gold background.”

    I had never heard nor read of the ‘Grand Tartary’ theory/conspiracy before today, but there is a region in Russia named Tatarstan, populated by ethnic Tatars. The coat of arms of the region is red and green, but it does have a winged critter on it.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Coat_of_Arms_of_Tatarstan.svg

    3. “Just like the Maginot Line……but even uglier.”

    What an ugly piece of shale! The Department of State Building in Washington D.C. is ugly too. Come to think of it, there’s a great number of ugly buildings in Washington D.C. which reflects the underlying ugliness of thought.

    4. “Bit by bit, as the concepts spread, the fiction takes on reality and our world begins to look more and more like Tlön.”

    If only there was an American intellectual who set out to capture the popular imagination through books to show a more desirable way of life for the country and the world. 😉

  36. I don’t mean to be a sour guest, but I have to question the constant stream of Bulverism that comes out whenever the discussion here turns towards architecture. To avoid the same, I will stick to my personal experience. Looking at the pictures used as examples of what are presumably the worst of current architecture, I can’t help feeling, deep in the center of my heart, that they are… fine. Adequate. Maybe a trifle dull in some cases, but two of the pictures contained herein actually look quite cute and charming to me.
    Meanwhile, I have never been able to escape the dreadful impression that any neoclassical building I have have the displeasure to be inside of was not a cyclopean tomb, created by inhuman hands and fit only for nefarious purposes. Why is it not an altogether simpler explanation that my experience is more common than yours? Why draft a conspiracy to explain the fact that neoclassical buildings are being replaced, when “Neoclassical buildings are actually worse to see or be inside than contemporary buildings.” is a fact close to hand?

  37. The Tartarian empire. Well, that’s a new one on me but I don’t
    get out that often. I’m sure we’re get stranger ones before all
    is said and done.

    @Roy #2

    It looks like somebody lopped off the top of the Pyramid of Djoser then flipped it upside
    down and in reverse order.

    The ‘death ray hotel’ in Las Vegas has always fascinated me. They came up with
    a ‘fix’ for it.

    https://www.businessinsider.com/the-vdara-death-ray-hotel-is-still-burning-people-in-las-vegas-2016-6

    The same architect designed a building in London with the identical design ‘flaw’.

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2786723/London-skyscraper-Walkie-Talkie-melted-cars-reflecting-sunlight-fitted-shading.html

    The ‘sunshades’ make it look like a giant stereo speaker and one of the pictures
    in the article shows a building in the distance that looks like a bookshelf missing
    many of its books.

  38. It’s not in the least bit surprising the mainstream press is presenting a distorted view of the Waukesha parade massacre, including trying to pretend that the car somehow drove itself into the crowd while sidestepping the identity and criminal history of the defendant, not to mention the question of why he was out of jail in the first place when he had just been arrested for trying to murder his ex-girlfriend by running her over. In doing so, the MSM and the Democratic Party are flushing what little remains of their credibility right down the commode.

    But it’s understandable why they are doing so. After all, the attack is a huge own goal for the soft-on-crime policies of the liberal left, policies that have been having catastrophic effects in a lot of places ranging from New York City and Milwaukee County to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle, and in ways people can no longer ignore. Once again, we see a morally and intellectually bankrupt establishment and its failed ideology on display for all the world to see. No wonder the Democrats are in a state of near-panic over the upcoming 2022 and 2024 elections.

  39. Some years ago I saw a documentary about the Flat Earthers and to my surprise I saw more genuine scientific inquiry on their part than from what I’ve seen from professional priests of Scientism. There is a scene were someone is trying to explain some mathematical concept to them with the same meaningless, uncritical sentiment as probably some Pharisees did of the Law of Moses to the poor that Jesus eventually empowered into rebellion. As a mathematician I felt embarrassed about how math was butchered into some sort of ideological shackle to subdue the infidels and argument for power over truth. My guts twisted into a Klein Bottle when I realized that is probably how it is presented to students and thus why there is so much hate towards it.

    You’ve spoken before about Uglicism and I remember that no long afterwards I was walking down the hill into Seattle’s downtown to find myself in the corner of Denny and Olive –after the streets had been ravaged by a mob of wokesters parading their privilege in a ceremony of self-torture by public embarrassment in the form of the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone that resulted in most of it’s inhabitants becoming homeless not long afterwards– looking up into a newly created Muskian high-rise building which is basically a gigantic rectangular prism with flashing lights. I think now I know what I felt that day –it really is the architecture of exclusion.

    I find the bringing forth of beauty a tremendously powerful force for change, be it in the form of Tartarian art or from another conjured up civilization in the minds of poets and lunatics, because it seems to me that beautiful things really do serve as a channel for inspiration to flow downwards and into the people that behold them. However, if they are ugly outside and neat and colorful inside then it is only the selected few that get the benefits of that also…

    The mindspace however, they can’t do that in there, and it seems to be a powerful agent for change to charge those forgotten places with beauty and hope even if they can’t be beheld yet.

  40. Some meditations on the notion of the “flat earth,” and specifically the word “flat”:

    The basic meaning of “flat” is extending in two dimensions but having an insubstantial extent in the third. Therefore, what is flat is two-dimensional. Authors are often exhorted to avoid writing two-dimensional characters in their stories, because they tend to be boring stereotypes; characters should instead be well-rounded and three-dimensional. Things that are 3D are more complex than those that are 2D; the advent in video gaming of 3D games is held as a big deal. In math class we learn about 2D shapes before 3D ones, calculate areas before calculating volumes, deal with equations in two variables (think y=mx+b) before handling equations with three or more, etc.

    Musically, “flat” refers to a pitch that is lowered (reducing a dimension!) by one semitone. Its opposite, curiously, is “sharp.” What is “sharp”? If something is sharp, it has a point; therefore, what is flat is pointless. Something with a sharp taste has a noticeable, usually acrid or pungent, flavor; therefore, what is flat is tasteless. We refer to fizzy brown sugar water that has lost its fizziness as having “gone flat.”

    “Flat” can also be used to mean straightforward, as in “I flatly told him to stop.” Another synonym of “straightforward” is “blunt,” which, again, is the opposite of “sharp.”

    What does this mean? As I interpret it, that when someone talks of a “flat earth” they are, at least symbolically, referring to an Earth that has seemingly lost dimension and lost complexity, that has become more tasteless and more pointless.

  41. The English-speaking world has a mainline of conspiracy thinking, it seems to me. The tone for this kind of thinking was set by the famous radio host Bill Cooper, who became a kind of martyr after his death at the hands of law enforcement about 20 years ago, and many of his themes are still widely in circulation to this day. The interesting thing about this group of conspiracy theorists, by far the most influential, is that they believe that history can be directed by a shadowy elite controlling all the major governments of the world, while at the same time, on the other hand, they believe that limits to growth, peak oil, or anything else that may be out of the hands of human control, are in fact conspiracy theories invented by this omnipotent shadowy elite to trick and hold back humanity’s progress. Some of what they say about the people running the world today is not unjustified — power-drunk technocrats with mad visions of total control is in the right ballpark, even if omnipotence is not. But I think the crises of our time are far more the result of us running up against serious constraints combined with the managerial class being unwilling to admit that their dreams have failed, than due to some kind of millennia-old Satanic plot to enslave and degrade mankind. Their argument in essence is that the only agency is possessed by the directors of humanity and no one else, not even nature, and certainly not God, which on the other hand they mostly, or all, believe in. This does bear a resemblance to schizophrenia.

    PS This thinking seems to have taken on a life of its own, an egregore, and the current elites do seem to have adopted the symbolism themselves, right down to the demonolatry, which could imply that the conspiracy theorists helped bring some of their own fears to life. But this seems to have happened only relatively recently.

  42. #9 Marvin Motsenbocker

    Thanks for tipping us off about your recently published book, “Take Back the Power” on the practical applications of interrupted DC power! — I assume this is the title of the new book to which you refer —
    I have ordered a copy and am eager to read it.
    Good on you, by the way, for having the courage to move to China and help them implement these principles!
    I would definitely have some misgivings about such a move myself, but I remember reading about the enormous impact that Quality Improvement pioneers like Joseph Juran and W. Edwards Deming had on Japanese manufacturing processes in the 1950s and 1960s.
    If your concepts can accomplish any movement away from wholesale toxification of their land, it will be a great help to the future livability of China and, just possibly, the rest of the world as well.
    Where I live in Western Canada, I see long trains of coal every week, heading to Vancouver to be sent to China, where it will be burned for industry and heat. Such practices make any stance we hold on Green Energy irrelevant! And after the coal smoke has harmed the Chinese and their wildlife, a lot of it ends up back here where it came from… Best of success to you, lessening the demand for those trainloads of coal.

  43. “sickeningly ugly architecture is always marketed as being “rational.””

    It is one thing about how ugly the outside of their buildings are, usually it is even worse once you are inside. In a more conventional sense, if you have been into any modern house design of the last decade – you get a real sense of that “rational” part. Straight lines only. No colour. It just feels completely alien. Don’t forget your ‘live laugh, love’ sign. 😉

    I say the last decade but this has been going on since the early 1900’s, its just when you think they hit a new low – they figure out how to go even lower. It is innovation in the worst sense. One hopes it is just architects having a joke on who can make the worst design and sell it. But that would be giving them too much weight.

    Moving back outside, in some sense you have to give it to some of these awful ugly buildings – at least they are so awful they are noticeable. It is an achievement in failure, like a truly awful film. Most modern builds take those awful ideas and just change up the materials just enough to make them both ugly and completely bland; bordering on invisible when put next to the other equally awful dozen buildings.

  44. Kimberly Steele here — hopefully this is relevant, I have not had time to read the post yet. I am asking for a cessation in book donations for now. I am collapsing my commercial space in the next couple of months and will be teaching out of my own home and my parents’ home. With continued lockdownerism and medical apartheid in Illinois and only a trickle of students, it has become almost impossible to keep up with the onerous costs of running a commercial space. As for the library, I am going to put together a proposal for a local café to host the library and potentially make it into a free service for the community.

    Please pray for me to any gods, including the Christian one, to help the library and my music teaching business to be successful. Thanks in advance.

  45. Here are my thoughts on what various conspiracy theories mean:

    Chemtrails: We are actually dumping megatons of chemicals into our atmosphere, changing the very air we breathe – how can we not be affected by this?

    The Moon landing hoax: We are so immersed in media and manufactured illusions that it’s impossible to distinguish between a movie made for entertainment and historical media. Unless you were on the Moon missions, or one of the engineers, or actually watching the launches, you have no direct, experiential connection to the event.

    Reptile people/Annunaki: The world certainly appears to be run by callous cold-blooded sociopaths who are completely indifferent to human suffering. Jeffery Epstein? Mark Zuckerberg? Dick Cheney? Anthony Fauci?

    Bill Gates wants to use vaccines to inject nanobots into your bloodstream: Bill Gates wants to use vaccines to inject nanobots into your bloodstream 😉

    (I’m not sure what QAnon and the flat earthers are trying to say.)

  46. I had never heard of the Tartarian Empire Theory and don’t know that it would fly here in Australia (doubt we would know what it was) although the same concept with the Eureka Stockade flag might generate some support atm…

    That being said anyone who wants to both tear down the current proto-dystopia *and* has a legitimate and practical plan for its replacement (which the suggested building program would certainly be a point in the right direction) would be a breath of fresh air … to misquote a certain Sabbatinarian quote “the buildings should be made for man not man for the buildings”

  47. Eugene, I’m already making arrangements to have my essays picked up by a print publication as the internet winds down.

    Tomriverwriter, well, that’s good to hear!

    Raymond and Chuaquin, you’re most welcome.

    Know Wonder, that’s very straightforward. “Satanic” is a mythologized exaggeration of “corrupt and uninterested in the welfare of the people they rule,” and “pedophile” is a mythologized exaggeration of “perfectly willing to sacrifice the interests of future generations so they can get what they want right now.”

    Alan, funny. The thing to keep in mind is that there really is a difference between the kind of logic found in conspiracy culture and the kind that guides, say, the actual study of history, just as there’s a difference between schizophrenic delusions and the kinds of thinking we lump together as “sane.” There was no world-ruling Tartarian Empire in the year 1800, for example, and the logic that is used to defend the claim that it existed is almost as crazed as the logic guiding that last conspiracy theory you mention!

    Justin, exactly. Conspiracy theories flourish when the official version of reality is just as delusional as they are.

    John, that may well be an important factor. Interesting, too, that here again apocalyptic notions — the “mudflood” in this case — are used to prop up a failing myth of progress!

    Isaac, exactly. Treat conspiracy theory as a form of folk poetry and suddenly it makes a lot of sense.

    Glenn, interesting. That makes a good deal of sense.

  48. @ JMG and Roy, with regards to the architectural abortion currently housing the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

    John, you point out in this essay that one of things modern Uglicist architecture says is “you don’t belong here” and have discussed in the past how modernist art acts as a signifier of class based status and a means of exclusion by filtration. At a glance, I would have to conclude that one of the things the National Museum of African American History and Culture building is saying to ordinary African Americans and everyone else who isn’t a member of the liberal elite is “you don’t belong here”. It really does speak volumes, doesn’t it?

  49. I had never heard of Tartania. Had to see if there was a flag already for purchase. Not yet, but there is this sticker with an American flag in the background.

    https://www.redbubble.com/i/sticker/Make-Tartaria-Great-Again-by-MarcPearse/80032205.EJUG5

    This prediction of yours is one to take to the bank if there was a way to bet on these things. In my area they have been demolishing those bland shopping centers now empty. Universally people say “thank goodness that’s gone!”

  50. As for the underlying theme of brutalist architecture here is one the definitely says ” Stay Away Peasants”.

    https://images.app.goo.gl/gyRSWbdrpXQyApoTA

    To underscore the true purpose of the Brutalist Style if you look at the very top where the little gun slit windows are, that is the meeting room of the Board of Trustees who oversee the fate of all in the University. The Nazi Flak towers have nothing on this one. But I actually have a soft spot in my heart because as a student I would walk my ” now wife” home to her apartment from a long night of studying at the engineering school. So each evening we would pass beneath this imposing beast on the way to a pedestrian suspension bridge over Fall Creek. It has a weird upside down wind chime ( large weights sway back and forth on flexible poles 20 feet long) that adds to the surrealist vibe of the thing.

  51. The person who raises the flag of Grand Tartary has (in a sense) already arrived – our old friend The King in Orange. But he was (supposedly) flying the flag of Kekistan. And Trump did sign an executive order (or was planning to do so) about neo-classical architecture! Knowing him, he might even have been aware of the Mud Flood conspiracy theory…

    QAnon is of course “what Trump should have been”, a kind of weird schizophrenic dream of the disappointed cultish wing of the Deplorables.

    Flat Earthism is also fascinating. I think it was a psy-op, but even so, it quickly connected with all kinds of other fringe ideas on the web, including ideas which sounded Gnostic, dreams of free energy, and what have you.

  52. JMG, you are actually an example of the John of Patmos phenomenon. At least from my viewpoint. My first reaction to “The Long Descent” around 20212 was “ok, wait a sec, here´s a book based on some obscure doctoral dissertation from the 1990´s, written by some guy with big beard and strange dress, who claims to be an Archdruid and lives in the hills somewhere in the Appalachians…if he is right and everyone else is wrong, where does that leave us???”

    Today, that question doesn´t sound so positively weird anymore. Nor does the answer…

    😉

  53. Greetings!

    I asked last week about some conspiracy theories that I came across. One even had a wiki page (Sovereign Citizen). JMG pointed out that this week’s post was also about a conspiracy theory that had similarities. I was thinking that the believers of both find the standard story skeptical but don’t apply equivalent skepticism to the conspiracy theory.

    Good luck to all maintaining skepticism across the board!

  54. Alan, you’re not thinking of it in symbolic terms. It’s not meant to be taken literally, any more than the Huns actually had scorpion tails. Did Christians in Roman times face serious barriers in the way of buying and selling? For anything that required a contract, yes, they did — the standard way to make a contract binding in Pagan times was for both parties to go to a temple and make a sacrifice to the deity, calling him or her to punish them if they broke the contract. That’s what John of Patmos was talking about, using symbolic language so it would slip past the censors.

    Catriona, the current station is certainly a stunningly ugly object, and falling apart as well. It would be nice if New York could have a decent train station again, the way Philadelphia and DC do!

    Bradley, they’re telling you, “we don’t believe the official version of reality.” These days, there’s a point to that.

    Owen, the thing that fascinates me about that sort of substitution of data is that the sensors can be telling the truth, and their message gets overridden anyway…

    Ecosophian, if only! (Heh heh heh.)

    Nicholas, if your experience really is more common than mine, why do architects back away so violently from any suggestion that the public should be allowed to choose the style of the built environment they have to put up with?

    Jeanne, that’s a safe bet!

    Galen, I think this year’s elections were a major wake-up call. Did you know that Seattle voted in a conservative for city attorney? Once she takes office, it’ll be interesting to see what happens…

    Augusto, exactly. The legitimacy of science is imploding in part because these days, the level of tolerance for free inquiry on the fringe is considerably higher than that in the scientific community. As for Seattle, you’ve seen the downtown Seattle Public Library, right? I rest my case.

    Brendhelm, thank you for this! That makes a great deal of sense.

    Deneb, that strikes me as a very thoughtful analysis.

    Michael, exactly. The notion that modery architecture is “rational” speaks to an incredibly cramped and antihuman notion of what rationality is — given the fact that humans have emotional and esthetic needs, isn’t it more rational to craft buildings to meet those needs instead of pursuing the opposite?

    Kimberly, sorry to hear this! Positive energy en route.

    Cliff, that works…

    Dreamer, this is the second time in a month somebody’s mentioned the Eureka flag here. I think that calls for an image, and an encouragement to my non-Oz readers to look it up.

    Galen, exactly. It’s a place for the managerial class to confine the products of African-American culture.

    Denis, that sticker is hilarious. I find T-shirts and other media with the same slogan:

    Clay, that’s a classic.

    Tidlösa, trust me, I’m fully aware of — and highly amused by — the complexities of my journey from the outermost fringe to demi-respectable media personality. I’ll probably have to start talking more about magic just to keep the normies at bay. 😉

    Matt, of course. Since one-sided skepticism is so often used these days as a way to demand conformity to a failed system, people routinely turn it against the system — it’s the old mistake of thinking that the opposite of a bad idea is a good idea.

  55. Emmanuel
    Thank you very much for looking up my book and yes that is the correct title. If you (or anyone else from this group) is handy with a soldering iron and wants to make a circuit from that book, let me know and I will send you (at my expense) a circuit board to get started. I am not making money on this (it is kind of a cause). DIY is the key to our escape from the “new world order.”

  56. I was talking with my parents and a number of other people during a family get-together recently and one of the things that my mother mentioned was the fact that so many public schools in America these days look like prisons.

    The thought that came to mind immediately was an essay of Carolyn Baker’s which was published in The Oil Drum back in the day. In it, Baker discussed what she called the “school to prison pipeline” and her belief that over that last several decades, public schools have been deliberately designed to resemble prisons as a means of psychologically conditioning young people, particularly young people of color, to the fact that many of them are going to be spending a lot of time incarcerated and they better get used to it. It’s worth noting that Baker is a retired professor of psychology and history and was one of the leading lights in the Peak Oil scene. I for one am inclined to think she was on to something…

  57. @Eugene says:

    “I fear the day the internet collapses because I don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t read your latest blog posts. ”

    You’ll do what we all did back in the day, and wait for it to come in the mail. I believe JMG has at least tentative plans for such an eventuality…

  58. I don’t why but I found this article beautiful. Beauty is such a nebulous concept to grasp and apply. But the concepts and meaning of this article, if it were a tapestry, formed a feeling of beauty. Thank you for adding a drop of beauty in my life today.

  59. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Demolished_buildings_in_Minneapolis

    Minneapolis isn’t even a very old city, but as a hub for the removal of iron ore and white pine, there was a plethora of astonishing architecture built in the 1880’s & 90’s. Almost none of it remains, demolished in a frenzy of architectural delusion/stupidity from the 50’s-70’s. Minneapolis too had a spider’s web of trolley lines, 99% ripped up for busses during the same period. Now we spend $10 billion to build a 5-20mi straight light-rail line. And atrocities like this Gehry ode to viagra:

    https://cdn.midwesthome.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2018/12/Guthrie-Theater_Roland-Halbe-1.jpg

    or that ode to drinking out of one’s enemy’s skull cap (Skol!), US Bank Stadium, almost entirely public debt financed, and privately owned:

    https://wallpapercave.com/wp/wp2371744.jpg

    And then my adopted city took me to court for 2years and fined me $2800, for building a greenhouse out of used sliding glass doors and reclaimed lumber they wouldn’t give me a permit to build.

    I had never heard of the Tartar conspiracy, but it doesn’t surprise me a bit.

  60. First of all, thanks to everyone’s prayers and good energy since last week. We are not out of the woods yet, but both committed and moving forward towards a happy resolution. I must say that the vibes started to clear within hours of posting, so your response was prompt and effective. For that, again, thank you very much.

    Now, on today’s article, what a treat! And since no one has kicked the wasp net just yet, please allow me to deconstruct the hidden truth behind the Anti-vax* conspiracy theory.

    1. On why vaccines are the locus point of these anxieties. Unlike antibiotics and non opioid painkillers, whose overuse have caused and continue to cause severe organ damage in countless patients, vaccines are *elective* treatment. It is something you have to full consent in a sense you cannot with other treatments. Of course you can forego your Ketorolac pills, but then you have to live in constant pain; the doctor needs very little, if any, persuasion to have you take’m.

    2. If you have to give full consent, and the doctor (as an agent of Pharma/Med industry) has to convince you, then what is the meaning of vaccines being harmful? It is an expression of the reality that your own lack of knowledge forces you to put your health in the hands of a third party, and that third party is not always 100% transparent with what is going on. A decade ago I read through the book “When there is no doctor”, and it surprised me in how adamant it was that it is of the uttermost importance to have the patient understand what is it that you will do, why you must do it, and what are the options. This is so much not how modern medicine is practiced… in pretty much all the world nowadays. One aspect of the secret is: Betrayal of the Patient’s Trust.

    3. On the harmfulness of vaccines. The conspiracy theory does not offer nuanced views on patient sensitivities and adverse events that will affect a small fraction of the population. It goes straight to say that vaccines will cause lasting damage (that is impossible to diagnose and treat) to many/most of the takers. It also has a very specific fixation on how vaccinated children will have developmental issues that will change their whole life for the worse. It is very recent to see the “vaccines are potentially lethal” narrative in those circles (IMHO, because they are just now picking up the raw data). So, lasting undetectable damage, to helpless children… I do think there is a fear to iatrogenesis in general, to the helplessness of the patient in the hands of a doctor that won’t care if harm is done, and who won’t admit it after the fact. Also a fear of the inability and/or unwillingness of the Pharma/Medical industry to self-police

    * By this label I do not mean hesitation to take undertested experimental treatments which more often than not only superficially resemble the actual technology of vaccines. I am talking about the belief of the ultimate irredeamable evilness of every medical intervention that makes use of attenuated versions of a pathogenic agent to trigger a specific immune response.

  61. Many municipalities have requirements to spend a certain percentage on public art to decorate the space inside and outside of these edifices. I’ve noticed that the art has the same disdain for beauty as the buildings. I ask myself, why do they even bother?

  62. https://ashtarbookblog.blogspot.com/2018/09/the-gnosis-beyond-antarctica.html

    There are as many versions of Flat Earth theory as there are Flat Earthers, which is interesting itself. The conspiracy theory seems to have been very “democratic” or “anarchic”, somehow.

    The guy I write about above is an atheist and even believes in the Western Idea of Progress, and yet combines this with Flat Earthism. An interesting example of how mutant this meme was!

    I almost think Flat Earthism was a kind of more benign version of QAnon, which is also an ever-changing mutant meme, but much much darker somehow…

  63. There are people who believe that David Icke´s space lizards really is a literal metaphor or cover. Icke could be sued to kingdom come if he claimed that various politicians and other public figures are psychopathic child molesters, but imagine suing somebody for claiming that you are green shape-shifting lizard from another galaxy molesting children! You would be laughed out of court, pun intended.

    I happen to think that Icke means it, though.

    But yes, the equation lizards = demons is überobvious, and so is demons = unaccountable elites. (The skeptics inevitably believed it was lizards = Jews, based on Icke´s bad habit of quoting the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in earlier books, but here, I think the skeptoids are wrong. As I said, he really means lizards!)

    Icke´s success is…almost as crazy as the man himself, but could perhaps be decoded by the method you propose in the essay.

  64. I had a sampling of this recently when someone asked me if, as an astrologer, I accepted that the Earth was a plane — that is, flat. When I asked them to clarify, they told me that they no longer believed in Copernicus or his heliocentric theory of the cosmos. This was bewildering to me — and I admitted that in traditional astrology, one is often doing mathematics to determine the placement of planets in relation to a fixed location, and it’s helpful in that math to think of the place you’re calculating for as “flat” or at least on a plane that is tangent to the sphere of Earth… but that this is a mathematical shortcut, not a description of reality (and I brought up Sacrobosco’s *De Sphaera* [On the Sphere] to emphasize this point… it’s not just Copernicus who thought the world was round!).

    I eventually laid out this point — that Copernican mathematics and theories are not incompatible with the idea that the realm of the stars is populated with a range of beings. To go with the cosmos of Iamblichus, perhaps we can call them spirits, intelligences, daemons, powers, angels, archangels, archons, demigods and gods. The universe is absolutely teeming with entities whose power and intellect exceed, mirror, or underperform our own.

    And that seemed to satisfy: that you can hold with a Copernican worldview and still encounter angels and ministers of grace and other entities from the stars. You don’t have to reject the former to believe that the latter are still possible.

    But — it occurs to me that the rejection of Copernicus is another Tartarian Empire rising on the fringes. It’s a statement that rejects the idea that Earth is simply one planet among many, out in a forgotten arm of a gigantic galaxy, orbiting a not particularly remarkable sun. And it’s a claim not dissimilar to American exceptionalism — it’s not just America that’s specially exempt from the normal patterns of the rise and fall of nations, but Earth as well: Nature’s laws may apply to us, but as the center of the cosmos we will not fail or collapse… and of course, anyone who intends to get into space is probably building a Spacecraft of Babel that the god(s) will doom to fail…

    Hmmm. A lot to think about, Mr. Archdruid

  65. Just for fun, some more conspiracy theories in distilled language:

    “Taylor Swift is a transexual” = I don’t find popular female media figures attractive — there’s something offputting and unfeminine about the standards imposed upon them, and I don’t see the appeal.

    “Shape-shifting reptiles” = I needed a coded way to say “The Jews” and not get censored.

    “The Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax” = I think the media takes advantage events like these as way to advocate for gun control, and I also don’t want to think about how utterly dysfunctional my country has become.

    And my vote for ugliest and most uninviting building I’ve seen in person is the “ArtScience Museum” in Singapore, a city with plenty of competition in that department, let me assure you:

    http://www.worldfortravel.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Museum-ArtScience.jpg

  66. JMG

    We canceled cable about 20 years ago, so I have no insight into Waukesha coverage but a very wise friend said this to me, “This story will die by the end of the week because once they figure out it is a domestic violence issue since neither side (CNN, MSNBC vs Fox, OANN, NewsMax) has any interest in 1) addressing let alone solving the issue and 2) can tie it to the other party. If Fox et al cannot paint it as a Democrat problem and MSNBC et al. can’t show it was caused by dastardly Rs, there is no room for it on the air.”

  67. Dear JMG – I’m so happy you brought architecture into this discussion. While I like NeoClassical style, my true love is Romanesque Revival. I’ve been lucky enough to spend time in Denver, Boise and Downtown Detroit lately where they have such extraordinary examples of these buildings. I am so smitten by the elegant 1/2-circle arches, colonnades and the use of contrasting materials. To look at virtually anything this side of Bauhaus is an assault on the eyeballs. As a joke, my daughter gave me a picture book of Soviet Brutalist Bus Stops and it is absolutely hilarious how much pomposity can be packed into a simple roadside pick up & drop off spot!

  68. I hadn’t considered “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius” in conjunction with the conversations we charcoal burners have about the strange origins of the Green Wizards’ Benevolent and Protective Association when we get together with the unicorns to play cards on first and fourth Saturdays…
    Perhaps the next thing we should discuss is what our stories about a poor Ruinman who walked away and became the first Green Wizard tell us about ourselves and our world…?
    Please advise.

  69. G’day John. I’m quite familiar with the examples of ugly, inhuman, modern “archecture” you referenced. I worked in one of them for a while. If anyone’s interested, they’re located in Belconnen, a suburb of Canberra, the national capital of Australia. I think they’re being demolished at the present time, to make way for high-rise apartment buildings.

  70. I feel inspired tonight (Swedish local time). OK, here is a topic for reflection. What does the Trump Russian collusion narrative mean? That´s also a conspiracy theory, after all. One of the few liberals are (openly) allowed to believe in.

    Another reflection: if the wave of the future comes from the fringes of today, that´s good news at least in one sense. It means that the crazy notions that are *dominant* today (and which really “should” be fringe) won´t be around forever…or even for very long. Glad to get rid of some of those! None mentioned here.

    Even from a purely “secular” viewpoint, so to speak, there seems to be a correlation between belief in conspiracy theory and actual conspiracies (or rather actual *exposed* conspiracies). Thus, few people in Sweden believe in conspiracy theory, much more in the United States, even more in Russia and the Middle East, and in Africa people seem to believe literal demons are around the corner. See a pattern developing?

    This pattern is a problem for sociologists and others who try to explain away belief in conspiracy theory as purely irrational in character. I suppose you could see con theory as “irrational”, but if so, it´s an irrational response to a real problem. Now, if only somebody could tell us what the *rational* response might be, mu-hah-hah…

    Of course, the skeptics won´t dare to analyze the Russian collusion hoax as a conspiracy theory, since it would force them to ask too many awkward questions.

  71. JMG – to drop a comment on the Book of Revelations and John of Patmos. I am both a practicing Stoic and an Episcopal with time with Evangelicals in my adolescence. The heavy emphasis so many Christians put on Revelations at the expense of the Gospels never fails to disappoint me. (It is also a bottomless cauldron for conspiracy theories, as my youth can attest to!)

    Even Martin Luther felt is was a substandard book and questioned its presence in the Christian cannon.

    By my estimations, by NO means universal, I feel that, when done “right”, Christianity is a religion for the losers. Those who should love without expectation, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, comfort the prisoner. Revelations takes the Jesus message and turns it on its head too many times for my taste.

    I would feel a lot more comity with my co-religionists if they clamored to carve Matthew’s depiction of the Sermon on the Mount or, better yet, Luke’s Four Woes into marble slabs rather than the 10 Commandants or threatening passages from John of Patmos.

    I think it was George Bernard Shaw who made a comment along the lines that he predicted someday there would be philosophical movement very much like Christianity, just without Jesus. I think this is the modern impulse behind why so many Gen Z and younger Millennials are flirting with Socialism. It is not hard to drop Jesus from the Latin America’s 1970s Liberation Theory Movements and see Luke’s Acts of the Apostles as a blueprint for such a society.

  72. “…no matter how often programs meant to improve the schools make them worse…”

    I’m not American, but our country does run a pirated version of your public school system. Anyway, I recently saw this CNBC video on Youtube talking about Common Core, which is so notoriously, memetically bad that even we have heard it and about how bad it is. In the middle of the video, it’s mentioned that it’s been a decade and the results are in: some things got a little better here, some things got a little worse there, but it’s mostly been a wash.

    The rest of the video talks about why Common Core “failed”, like how it was packaged as part of a federal stimulus program and then subsequently got “politicized”. But then I was like, waitwaitwaitwaitwait, you’re telling me that Common Core did… _nothing_?!?! Never mind why it “failed. The shocking and obvious implication that they never talked about being that school is actually _useless_. “, I mean, if a _total overhaul of the national curriculum and standards_, did _nothing_, then not only was the reform useless, but _whatever was being done before_ was also useless! At least, school appears to be completely useless in “education” or whatever else it’s supposed to be doing.

    At least, it was shockingly obvious to me. Not sure if it was obvious to the experts because they never seemed to address the implication!

    The icing on the cake is that the video concludes with the narrator saying “Education in America will continue to improve as long as there are those who believe in the value of education.” I stopped facepalming and moved to bang my head on the desk. After spending 15 minutes explaining why more than a decade of school reforms basically did nothing. Maybe the proponents of Common Core didn’t believe hard enough in education?

  73. @Quin #16: An intended hoax that develops a life of its own is the plot of Umberto Eco’s novel “Foucault’s Pendulum.” I read it years ago and it’s one of those novels I’ve intended to re-read but…. life’s too short and some art is too long. As I recall he also made use of Francis Yates scholarship and her book “The Art of Memory.” There’s plenty of occult lore in Eco. I thought your comment was a good one.

  74. @ Jeanne #39
    re: ‘Vdara Death Ray’ buildings. It seems to me that with the intense focusing of sunlight, as well as causing (amplifying) strong wind gusts, that the technologies used in these building need to be repurposed as sources of alternative energy…

  75. I first heard of the Tartarians (the conspiracy theory Tartarians) via SciManDan (Dan Roark) from YouTube:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vf4IlAs1WDE

    This video is on the “mud floods” conspiracy, but it’s the same conspiracy. Tartaria is the civilization which was covered by worldwide mud floods several centuries ago, and that’s why some buildings have windows at below-ground level. SciManDan got started by going after the Flat Earthers (which he still does every Friday–there’s Flat Earth Fridays and Tinfoil Tuesdays), and was astonished as he began attracting literally millions of viewers.

    Dan is, of course, a skeptic, and I consider myself one as well. Even the wildest conspiracy theorist is a skeptic about *something* (you can’t believe in the Flat Earth without denying the Hollow Earth). Skepticism to me means trying to think about things critically (including self-critically), and not delude ourselves. I tend to disbelieve in the various forms of woo that have been proposed, but am open to changing my mind if I am offered a good reason. I wonder why anyone would take offense at such an approach.

    Some odds and ends:

    Swedenborg once said that the true meaning of the gospel had been preserved somewhere in magna tartaria. (See Anders Hallengren, “The Secret of Magna Tartaria,” in “Gallery of Mirrors: Reflections of Swedenborgian Thought,” also edited by Hallengren.)

    ————————————————

    The design of the Tartarian flag reminds me of the Qing Dynasty flag:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_the_Qing_dynasty

    Of course, national flags are a modern phenomenon, and presume romantic nationalism as well as a certain material culture. Qing China realized that their ships were expected to fly flags during the 19th century, and thus had to design a flag to be thus flown.

    ———————————————–

    Since I know a thing or two about conspiracy theories as well as vexillology, I might as well achieve the perfect trifecta of geekdom and demonstrate my familiarity with comic books. Here is a great comic about conspiracy theories, called “The Department of Truth.”

    https://readcomiconline.li/Comic/The-Department-of-Truth

    I don’t want to spoil the premise, but if you read the first issue (about the Flat Earth), you will see what it is–and it’s brilliant!:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phantom_time_hypothesis

    A few issues in, it covers the “phantom time” theory mentioned above by Mary Bennett (no. 21). SubGenii will recall their church’s explanation for why “X-Day” failed to occur on July 5, 1999, as predicted by J.R. “Bob” Dobbs–because the conspiracy had monkeyed with the calendar, so we can’t be sure what year we are living in! Praise “Bob,” the one true oasis of sanity amidst all this madness.

    ——————————————-

    On the flat earth, during the 20th century most of its adherents were Christian fundamentalists. In the 21st, there has been a shift to non-religious Flat Earthers who come from more of a conspiracy background. If I may contribute one more piece of bulldada, here is a short film by YouTuber Logan Paul, which I thought was quite witty:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpljiOgd9RQ

    In it, Paul converts to Flat Eartherism after falling in love with a Flat Earth believing girl, and goes to one of their conventions. There’s even a music video.

  76. JMG,

    Thanks for expanding my too-tight frame of reference! Never heard of Tartaria until now. Your essay and the comments give me a way to understand several people I knew who were on and on about reptilians, drinking babies’ blood, chem trails and etc. Thought they were crazy. Not so sure about that now that I can glimpse the metaphors.

    Lots for me to ponder. And less for me to judge. Perhaps it’s time for me to cease mindlessly pigeonholing people, and start reflecting on how it is they seem to see things the way they do. That exercise will require me to gain more awareness and acceptance of my own no doubt odd views as well. That old ditty about assumptions seems to apply here…

    Thanks as always,

    OtterGirl

  77. This is marvelous. For one thing, it seems to me that the Great Tartarian Empire makes a fine background for an alternate history timeline; since the relevant historical period reaches up into the early 20th century, we can include steampunk as a motif. For another, the style of architecture featured in, say, the photo from the World’s Fair in Paris reminds me of the fantasies of Winsor McCay, creator of the great comic strip series Little Nemo in Slumberland, of which I’m a big fan. Further, the recurring architectural element of the dome is one I love. Finally, the mode of destruction of the Tartarian Empire, by deluges of mud, is reminiscent of the fate of Atlantis; for Plato mentions that after the submersion of the Atlantean land mass, that region of the ocean was impassible long afterwards because vessels would there encounter seas of mud.

    So we have Renaissance palaces, star fortresses, a globe-girdling empire – no doubt with navies – the pleasure dome of Kublai Khan and steampunk, all wrapped in a cataclysmic ending like unto that of Atlantis. What’s not to like?

    I feel sure that the great Tartarian tradition has been discreetly preserved by surviving esoteric orders of unbroken lineage. In case any elders of that order chance to reading this, I would like to submit my application for nomination to the Order of the Tartarian Empire in the form of this design for a dome, represented by a large scale model:

    https://www.instagram.com/p/B2iiKczhZGZ/?utm_medium=copy_link

    While I wait breathlessly to hear back from the O.T.E., I’ve a good mind to make a big Tartarian banner and display it on my wall, if not in my front window.

  78. “Tartarian” civilization-that’s a new one. Honestly it reminds me of the “New Chronology” proposed by a Russian professor that was popular ten or fifteen years ago. (Basically, the standard account of world history is the result of the original chronicle being garbled by copyists into four different versions which were then sequenced-so Jerusalem and Byzantium were really the same city, the lives of the English kings were garbled accounts of the lives of Byzantine emperors, and all of literate human history took place over roughly a thousand years.) Some quick Googling though produced a couple of entertaining articles, and the whole thing seems even more charming than it is outlandish. Hilariously enough, I once wrote a timeline on an alternate history website in which the real-life Tartars defeated and conquered the upstart Russian principalities and became a world power that produced, among other things, great architecture (though of course it was more Islamic/Central Asian, adapted to Siberia).

    As to the actual critique JMG says is embodied in the “Tartarian” conspiracy theory, I agree with it 100%. I recently got a job in the center of the denindustrialized Appalachian city where I live (about three-four hours south of JMG’s old home), and during my lunch have had the occasion to walk around downtown a lot. One very quickly notices two types of buildings: those from before 1950 and those that came afterwards. The former constitute the majority of downtown and are generally pleasant to look at. Special mention goes to our very own luxury hotel, a wonderful Tudor-style building:

    https://i0.wp.com/files.tripstodiscover.com/files/2019/07/Hotel-Roanoke-Conference-Center.jpg?resize=784%2c588

    There’s also the Wells Fargo tower, a pre-WWII building in spirit if not chronology, which shows that even a high-rise office complex can be attractive if you want it to be:

    https://roanoketower.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/400_0719-scaled.jpg

    The post-WWII modern architecture, on the other hand, ranges from the oppressively dull:

    https://www.emporis.com/images/show/685469-Large-fullheightview-from-elmwood-park-to-the-southeast.jpg

    To the maliciously hideous:

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/b0/Taubmanmuseumt.jpg/1024px-Taubmanmuseumt.jpg

    (Yeah, that’s our art museum. I’ve never been inside, but one hopes the objects contained within are more attractive than the funhouse prison our city’s well-to-do built for them.)

  79. I see modern and neoclassical as different types of ugliness that were dumped here in the Americas. The tamanous-inspired architecture that eventually replaces both is a very long way ahead.

  80. Hi John Michael,

    Never heard of the Tartarian Empire, so many thanks for the introduction.

    Incidentally, I just finished my third, or perhaps fourth reading of Jack Vance’s: Dying Earth series of four books. It’s remarkable that as an author, Mr Vance imagined and penned so many novel worlds and cultures. And it hardly surprises me that I can’t pick up a more recent science fiction book and not have my senses assaulted by narratives of cyber punk, or high technology, or the rather dull plot device that artificial intelligence (AI) will save us from our own stupidity. My gut feeling suggests that AI might very well be tempted to put an end to us…

    And the current culture of mindless consumption just leaves me feeling cold and uncomfortable. And the great joke of nowadays is that the culture can’t deliver on the basic mindless consumption story and is unable to be honest about that outcome, or even attempt to self correct. No, the culture has chosen instead, to hide and quail in fear. What a fine joke it has played on us all. We can do better. It probably annoys the sceptics and their ilk, that we as a species actually have done better in the past. And maybe that reality is what drives people to dream other dreams?

    Rant, rant, rant! 🙂

    It looks like some warmer weather has arrived here, and the plants are finally growing. However, in another few short hours, a late afternoon monsoonal storm will arrive and temperatures will again drop. This will give a few good days for some hard work to get done.

    Cheers

    Chris

  81. About flat earthers, I know one flat earther and have had long conversations with him. He’s the only serious flat earther I’ve known, and it sounds like there’s nothing close to unity within the flat Earth scene, so I’m not sure how much of what I say applies to flat earth-ism in general. I’ll refer to him as Fred (not his real name).

    First of all, Fred is a very capable person in his everyday life, he’s built his own unusual house for instance, and is raising a family on a homestead. When it comes to his flat earth theories, however, they’re incoherent and not thought through very well. I’m not even talking about contradicting science, I mean they don’t match the world that we see with our eyes, which is ironic because he claims he believes the world of his experience the most, rather than what others tell him. For instance, his ideas about how the sun really moves are that it’s much closer to the Earth than is believed and never actually goes below the horizon, just makes a circular path on a plane above the flat plane of the Earth. He says it seems to disappear the same way as an airplane that’s getting farther and farther away eventually disappears from view. I really don’t understand how he could believe that, considering that if such a thing were the case, it would appear smaller to the eye as it got further toward the horizon, as well as appear to be moving more slowly. However, it’s really not any dumber than some things being taken seriously by the mainstream right now, like shunning unvaccinated people despite it being acknowledged that the vaccine doesn’t prevent transmission of COVID.

    Anyway, I think there are several motivations for Fred to believe in the flat earth conspiracy. One is a feeling that he’s discovered the truth that only a tiny select few know, but that’s shared by most conspiracy believers. I’d say Fred is attracted to flat earth ideology in particular because it’s the most polar opposite ideology to the “trust the science and the experts” ideology promoted by the mainstream. Flat earth turns that upside down, everything the experts say is dead wrong. But, as is said frequently on this blog, the opposite of a bad idea is usually another bad idea.

    The interesting thing is, when talking to Fred it’s clear he hasn’t had many people counter his arguments the way I did. I brought up how they didn’t fit with the world as we experience it, and made no appeals to authority. He even admitted he might be wrong about particular theories, for him the important part is that everything we’re told is wrong, but he thinks the flat earth community is on the cutting edge of trying to figure out how the world really is, but they haven’t gotten a lot of it figured out yet.

    Fred is very eclectic in his other views too. Before he was a flat earther, he used to be more leftist and into things like climate change activism. Now he thinks that not only is climate change a hoax, but it’s actually getting colder. He questions some of the woke stuff like transwomen competing in women’s sports, but in other ways still has some far left views too, for instance saying that Mt. Rushmore is the equivalent to if Germany carved Hitler’s face into a mountain, because of how those presidents treated native people.

    I think there’s a decent possibility flat earth-ism will gain a lot of followers in the years ahead. Either that, or another ideology will fill that niche of people looking for the polar opposite of the “trust the experts” ideologies that are failing us. The truth is, the majority of people who aren’t flat earthers don’t know any more about earth science than Fred and other flat earthers do, actually they probably usually know less because the flat earthers at least have to know a little something about geoscience in order to critique it. The difference is who they choose to believe, and especially if there are serious long-term consequences from the COVID vaccines I imagine a certain percentage of people will find flat earth-ism or something similar very appealing.

  82. Speaking of Uglicist architecture, here is the classic TED Talk by James Howard Kunstler, covering many of the same points we have been discussing.

  83. Galen, a case could be made!

    Elisa, you’re welcome and thank you!

    William, I wish I could say I was surprised.

    CR, nicely done. Even in the case of experimental genetic treatments, you know, such motivations might well be involved…

    Jon, that’s welfare for art school graduates, and another opportunity for the managerial class to tell everyone else, “We don’t care, we don’t have to.”

    Tidlösa, I wonder if one of the attractions of flat earth theory is precisely that it claims that the world really is infinite — if the Earth is flat, after all, there can be an infinite amount of petroleum underneath it. As for Icke’s theory, yes, that’s one I was thinking of.

    Andrew, excellent! I like citing John of Sacrobosco’s On the Sphere at people who insist that Europeans in 1492 thought the world was flat — not least because it offers sound logical proofs showing that Earth is a sphere, that it’s bigger than the Moon and much smaller than the Sun, and that the stars are so far away from Earth you can’t even imagine it. Not bad for a high school textbook written in 1230!

    John, that building looks like a bunch of bananas redesigned by an unusually stupid robot:

    KevPilot, I have to say that a picture book of Soviet Brutalist bus stops makes me wonder if publishing has jumped the shark!

    Rhydlyd, I recommend discussing it with the unicorns!

    Bootstrapper, one of the few good things about modern architecture is that it’s usually so shoddy that it gets demolished sooner rather than later.

    Tidlösa, I think analyzing the Russian-collusion theory as a conspiracy fantasy is a great idea. Of course the skeptics won’t touch it, because they only criticize those conspiracy fantasies that don’t support the interests of big corporations…

    KevPilot, and yet the socialists promptly end up acting just like the Christians you’re critiquing — what starts out as a soaring invocation of love and brotherhood ends with prisoners being marched off to labor camps or gunned down in cold blood. It’s one of the enduring facts of history that any attempt to create heaven on earth reliably results in the opposite.

    Carlos, good. Yes, that’s the logical implication, isn’t it?

    Bei, duly noted. Tell me this: do you also apply your skepticism toward things that aren’t labeled “woo” by authorities — say, the pronouncements of the medical industry, or the latest claims of (cough, cough, replication crisis, cough, cough) science?

    OtterGirl, excellent! The people who believe such things can still be wrong, of course, in the strictest of factual senses — but there are reasons they think the way they do, and those reasons are by no means necessarily bad ones.

    Mary, nothing wrong with it that a 155mm recoilless rifle wouldn’t fix… 😉

    Kevin, I’ll look forward to the appearance of the first volume of your Tartarian Trilogy!

    Tolkienguy, it’s very reminiscent of the New Chronology, and other ventures in parahistory.

    Lunchbox, start trying to imagine it now. That’s how it will come into being.

    Chris, one of the most fascinating things to me about recent science fiction and fantasy is just how formulaic and hackneyed it’s become by comparison with the older literature. I think too many people no longer believe there will be a future.

    Kashtan, fascinating. It wouldn’t surprise me if everyone who tried to critique his ideas before you started talking with him pulled the standard authority-trip ipse dixit routine — it’s astonishing how many people who claim to speak for science and reason go around demanding “believe me because I say so!”

    Galen, thanks for this.

  84. @Eugene and sgage stated:
    “I fear the day the internet collapses because I don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t read your latest blog posts. ”

    Amateur radio has advanced to the point where we can have textual messages peer-to-peer (no 3rd party reliance) world-wide. Some of us hams are organizing groups that can provide a simple protocol to allow non-hams to easily pick up a blog site from the air around us. No new technology here, just need DIY effort.
    Some of the more rational people (now a minority) at Peakprosperity.com started such group.
    73`s AK4VO

  85. I had never heard of the Great Tartarian Empire. I always learn something from your blog.

    The concept of conspiracy theories as societal schizophrenia makes a lot of sense. I have been having more and more heretical thoughts lately. While I often find the wingnut conspiracy theories somewhat less than convincing, if I am perfectly honest I have to admit that they make more sense than what the people on CNN are saying. I KNOW that stuff is BS. Since society’s gatekeepers of truth are increasingly recognized as liars, that leaves a lot of people looking for something to hold on to.

    Thanks for the thought-provoking essay, as usual.

  86. Alan–there is a Biblical precedent for a “mark” to set certain people apart from society–the mark of Cain. Not an exact analogy, but one that might have occurred to John.

  87. Yesterday I was about to put this comment through, but I didn’t because it was Tuesday already. But it is more relevant to this week’s post.
    The word “gaslighting” is appearing more frequently everywhere — blog comments, podcasts, social media. I have seen it in discussions related to the Rittenhouse trial, Inflation, the Supply Chain crisis, the Border immigrant crisis, the pandemic and vaccines. It’s everywhere.
    And when you started on conspiracy theories, I first thought you were going to discuss QAnon, what with the Epstein trial going and all that. The Tartarian Empire was a nice surprise. I hadn’t come across this one. Thank you.
    Oh wait, Know Wonder already brought up Q. Yes, the epithets “Satanic cabal” and “Pedophiles” make a lot of sense when looked at that way. I remember a Cracked article from long ago that explains how Republicans and Democrats look at each other as Zombies and Vampires respectively. https://www.cracked.com/article_19402_6-mind-blowing-ways-zombies-vampires-explain-america.html
    In other news about soulless “modern” architecture, Charlie Munger (Warren Buffett’s business partner) wants to build a windowless 11-story dorm for UCLA. The plan makes maximum security prisons look like B&Bs. And this building will be right on the seashore.

  88. One thing to keep in mind about modern architecture is not just that it’s ugly, but 1) it wasn’t built to last (at least not in North America). The “revitalization” projects of the 60s made the construction industry from top to bottom realize that buildings can be just as “disposable” as the rest of consumerist society, and they looked forward to more profits later when the stuff had to be rebuilt. Those poor condo owners in Florida that got crushed never really had a chance, and you’ll see a lot more of that happening in the future, because it’s literally impossible to maintain those buildings indefinitely. They’re at the end of their lifespan now.

    And 2) they are impractical in every way when energy gets expensive. Most office and govt buildings don’t have operable windows, for example. As soon as you can’t air condition them they’re useless – and that’s unfortunately true of a lot of houses, too. I used to work in a building that regularly had to call the fire department to rescue people from the elevators, at least once a week, because the foundation wasn’t settling evenly and the elevator shafts were slowly but surely tilting out of alignment, so they got stuck often. It was a pre-war bldg that had been remodeled, but with so many post war bldgs put up on landfill and/or built ummm, shoddily, that will be a common occurrence too in the future. Skyscrapers aren’t useful if you have to carry stuff up more than 10 flights of stairs.

    As an aside, ten stories is about as high as most firefighters can effectively fight fires. Your average small or mid-sized city doesn’t really have equipment for taller structures.

    I’m a big fan of art deco, arts and crafts, and Prarie style (Frank Lloyd Wright) myself, but neoclassical is still better than the ubiquitous glass curtain wall and concrete panel garbage going up now. And don’t even get me started on that fake dryvitt foam junk. Every place it’s been used has ended up a moldy mess. Why didn’t they just use real mortar, plaster and stucco? So it would be easier to re-do it later. Disposable facades. It’s all worthless.

  89. Tidlosa, The Trump Russia hoax was just that, a manufactured false flag which had several purposes. One was to handicap the incoming administration. Another was H. Clinton’s revenge and naturally showed her habitual incompetence. The plan was to capitalize on residual hate Russia sentiment among the electorate, which sentiment is dying out anyway. There is a limit to how many wars on behalf of someone else’s ethnic resentments even the dumbest of voters is willing to indulge.

    Carlos M, American public education, you should excuse the expression, is a jobs program for adults. Plain and simple. I once asked a group of parent advisors why our high school could not have a few more vocational education classes for kids who might not have the means or inclination for college. I was taken aside and told, sotto voce, that those jobs are for immigrants. I am not making this up.

    New and improved curricula are rolled out every five years or so. The way the scam works is you assemble a group of the most underprivileged kids you can find, put them in a nice clean classroom with experienced teachers, low teacher student ratios and no shortage of supplies and maybe even free nourishing meals. Probably that is the most one on one adult attention some of the kids have ever had. Of course test scores go up! Armed with the “data”, you then go forth and sell your gimmick across the nation.

    How does someone become a practicing Stoic?

  90. “such dubious causes celebrés of modern historiography as the 1619 Project.”

    Care to elaborate?

  91. JMG, a note of thanks from the far end of the planet, New Zealand. We sit here at the periphery of empire acting out the same nonsense that fills the centre of empire. Covid madness, the same grasping PMC, the same palpable fear of the unknown. We are not brave in the absence of God, our fellow has become our enemy. Your perceptive words and knowledge are a salve, thank you again.

  92. Mary Bennett #21:
    Kudos for referring to conspiracy “hallucinations”. I use the phrase conspiracy “fantasies”. Theories require evidence and logic.

    JMG: about the hackneyed nature of contemporary science fiction: Star Trek’s Federation is a science-fiction self-portrait of America. As America’s self-image darkens, so does the Federation.

  93. Note that standard (or to be precise, elite) narratives can also be described as conspiracy fantasies, even when they deny conspiracies. Call them “null-conspiracy” fantasies. For instance, the Magic Bullet theory is an obviously absurd attempt to explain away the Zapruder film’s proof that JFK was shot from the front, hence Oswald did not act alone. Also there’s the Pancake theory of the fall of the Twin Towers, despite the tower’s falling at free-fall acceleration, and the fact that no skyscraper has ever pancaked to the ground before 9/11, or since, or (I submit) on 9/11. In both cases, elite narratives deny basic forensics.

  94. Hey jmg

    What do you think is the best website or book about the Tartarian empire conspiracy?

  95. Your piece brought to mind Thomas Pynchon’s early short (for him) novel “The Crying of Lot 49” based on the suppression of the Tristero (or Trystero) postal messaging service and its persistence as a secret society of the imagination.
    W.A.S.T.E – We Await Silent Tristero’s Empire
    RogerCO, Ecologer.

  96. Dermot – I have sat many, many times in Busaras, waiting to catch the number 30 bus to Donegal. I have never, ever known there was a theatre in the basement. Thank you!

  97. My comment on current architecture and its forms – here’s a question to ask – “What would Beavis and Butthead do?” Well, OK, what would a sufficently smart BnB do when assigned the task of designing a public building? Huh. Huh huh huh.

    It’s kind of a chicken and egg question for me, did the ugly buildings come first and then the Beavis and Buttheads? Or was it the other way around? There does seem to be some self-reinforcing mechanism there.

  98. @ Ben “what does the Flat Earther movement say about contemporary America?” The Flat Earther movement seems to make a huge fuss about all the lies we are told about “Space”.

    If you think about it, they seem to be putting forward the premise that the earth under our feet is real, while “Space” is a huge fantasy propped up by CGI and other tricks. And considered in those terms, there is a lot to be said for it.

    Let us consider the foundational Faustian idea that humanity’s destiny is “infinity and beyond” – “to boldly go where no man has gone” – to travel the stars, and to expand without limit.

    Well, the Flat Earth movement is basically saying – pull your horns in, folks. Apart from fiction, as presented in books and movies, we, as a species are going nowhere in “space.”

  99. Marvin Motsenbocker,

    I also just ordered your book, and looking forward to reading it. Although I am guilty of ordering it from the putrid river site….lol.

    I work professionally as an EE (no PE required) even though my degree is in physics. I also was a technician for 15 years while completing my BS so I may take you up on that circuit board offer!

    Since you’re in research, is anyone studying how we can adapt/repurpose/hack all these old electronics we have floating around? I’m interested in trying to figure out how to use older android phones and tablets as PLCs via the usb interface but my initial research into some of the custom ROMs indicates that some OEMs have locked alot of good stuff up in proprietary code and firmware. Even TVs could be used since they run a flavor of Android and have USB ports.

    Its a casual project at this point, more driven by how to degoogle an old tablet so the memory isn’t wasted so my apps aren’t limited.

    Good luck with Chinese venture. Unfortunately for us, they are looking into all the research that has been cast aside by our corporate masters and marketing fools to find the true value in projects such as yours.

    JMG, As always, thank you for one of the best blogs on the internet. I always learn something worth learning and even look forward to your magic columns 🙂 so good luck keeping the normies at bay. I also enjoy the comments as much your writing which is among my favorites.

  100. This is a concrete bus shelter here in Cornwall:

    <img src="https://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2014/07/01/article-0-1F44A21800000578-289_638x499.jpg&quot;

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2675898/Nice-shelter-pity-theres-no-bus-Village-unveils-new-stop-despite-fact-service-six-years.html

    The odd this is that at the time it was installed, there hadn’t been any buses on that road for 6 years, and it did make me think of the cargo cults when I read the quote “We are aware there are no buses coming here at the moment but we’d like to hope that the new shelter might encourage them to come back.”

    (apologies if this appears twice, the first time I posted I messed up the link HTML)

  101. That was a pleasure to read and very instructive! The biggest lesson of the last years for me is how impossible it is to deal with outlandish conspiracy theories through rational arguments. In Brazil, a pastor I knew and trusted started to talk about the government forcing gender change on all school children right before the 2018 election…

    There is a synchronicity here in that I wrote a comment for the Open Post, which became and took too long to post yesterday. In it I mention the same phantom time hypothesis that Mary Bennett also recalls:

    There is a curious historical “conspiracy theory” that proposes that the years from 614 to 911, including the whole reign of Charlemagne, were invented by later monks. This can of course be easily disproved by using Byzantine or Moslem history, dendrochronology or even carbon-14 dating. However, the grain of truth in it is that these centuries did not “go” anywhere, things moved “sideways” and in circles most of the time. France in 987 was hardly different from France in 888. Bari, Amalfi and other Southern Italian ports were rather fortunate in these centuries, they had their ups and downs, but did not develop in any specific direction.

    I have now posted the entire comment today and hope you still put it through, JMG! Otherwise I may find some other place to post it.

  102. Catriona McDonald #34: Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology? You didn’t happen to go to Bryn Mawr College, did you?

  103. What really happened to the Tartarian Empire? That’s pretty obvious. Tartarian society polarized into separate left-oriented and right-oriented factions, and when those reached exactly equal numbers, Tartaria became optically inactive, and disappeared! In a way it still exists but it’s now called the Racemian Empire. A valuable cautionary tale, even if it’s untrue.

    (I don’t know if this is an ideal venue for stereochemistry jokes, but it’s worth a try!)

  104. Of all the various conspiracy theories the moon landing is one of the most interesting. It has multiple motivations from very rational ones like the problem with the effects of ionizing radiation on humans, to pure disbelief in peoples belief that the government can be trusted to tell us anything. But one that baffled me up until recently was the moon landing belief held by one of they guys I share a shop space with. He is an old world skilled coppersmith who specializes in copper gutters and fancy leaf catch boxes and downspouts for rich people, but makes only a modest living himself. He is a big tech fan, much better with computers than me and gets most of his information from podcasts. What confused me is that he is a huge believer in Elon Musk, Spacex, Tesla, Starlink and the proposed trips to the moon and mars. But he fully believes the Apollo moon landings were faked. This baffled me for the longest time. Then I realized that it was a position that was needed to really believe in the religion of progress. After all in the world view of those looking forward to the singularity everything gets better, cheaper and more advanced every year no matter what. So if you we believe that we actually went to the moon in 1969 you would have a hard time reconciling that with that fact that we have never been back. The techno utopians would believe that every year after 1969 lunar travel would have become easy, and cheaper with a trip to the moon reduced to a triviality by 2021. So instead you have to believe that is very difficult and could not be achieved by the primitive technology in 1969 but is well within our grasp now that we have wondrous computers, AI and the genius of Elon Musk. I for one believe we did make it there in a single shining moment when we were at the apex of Americas Empire with the greatest industrial machine of all time and dedicated force of no nonsense engineers, machinists and technicians who were forged in the cradle of the depression, WWII and the hair-shirt engineering schools of the time and we spent 2.5% of our GDP for a full 10 years. As a declines I believe that time is past and now we are so far down the back side of empire we have difficulty doing simple upgrades to passenger planes or making new fighters that actually work.

  105. About conspiracy theories.
    One of my duties at the FED was to deal with the people and their conspiracy theories…of which many abound about the FED. Of course, if you have an institution that governs money, is secretive by nature, and is mysterious and misunderstood, you get all sorts of conspiracies. The only one that was true was that Alan Greenspan was a follower of Ayn Rand. He ran his monetary policy according to her theories.

    I personally found the theories to be boring since they all involved some sort of secret cabal that governed everyone lives. Sometimes, I wished someone would be more inventive or imaginative or something. What it reminded me of is how everyone cited everyone else in a circle, without checking outside of the circle. (UFO enthusiasts do the same thing.)

    My take on conspiracy theories is that they provide an answer to life’s misfortunes. If you believe that good fortune is in short supply, and someone else has it, then you need to tell yourself why. After all, aren’t you just as deserving? The other thing is that they provide a distraction from the real problem.

    I often felt that UFO abductions were a substitute to talking about incest. A lot of the FED conspiracy theories dealt with the structural imbalance of power and money.

    My favorite theory has been one that the Squirrel Lady (yes, such a person) said. The squirrels have taken over and run the planet now. They are responsible for what is happening, which is of course a bit squirrelly.

  106. Just remembered another piece of Bateson’s thinking.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Map–territory_relation#Relationship

    QUOTE: Elsewhere in that same volume, Bateson argued that the usefulness of a map (a representation of reality) is not necessarily a matter of its literal truthfulness, but its having a structure analogous, for the purpose at hand, to the territory. Bateson argued this case at some length in the essay “The Cybernetics of “Self”: A Theory of Alcoholism” (1971).

    To paraphrase Bateson’s argument, a culture that believes that common colds are transmitted by evil spirits, that those spirits fly out of people when they sneeze, can pass from one person to another when they are inhaled or when both handle the same objects, etc., could have just as effective a “map” for public health as one that substituted microbes for spirits. UNQUOTE

    It’s possible for a person to have a belief system that is “untrue” but which functions as a map to reality that works, for them at least. To return to the Reptilian alien CT, a person who believes this nonsense literally has an advantage over the person who believes that most politicians mean them well and try to ‘serve man’. Well, as per the classic Twilight Zone episode, they DO serve man, but it’s a cookbook. It’s a cookbook! The CT paranoid’s map is (in ur-truth mode) a better map of reality than that of the naive believer in democracy (assuming there are any left).

  107. This article also gives me a sense of compassion about the way conspiracies have spread. Everyone needs something to believe -and the narrative of the Cult of Progress is falling apart -stories that somehow make sense of things will fill the void. I just hope they don’t come after the mages, magicians, and innocent goth kids playing at being dark.

    A friend just sent this… I don’t know who wrote it originally, but I thought it was good. I read it just after completing a session of OSA work:

    “If we were all perfected beings we wouldn’t be here in the physical world. The fact that we’re all here in these bodies means that we’re not perfected. So having accepted we’re not perfected, we can allow for each others inadequacies or failings with a little compassion.”

    ~~~
    It is interesting to think of the cultural engineering possibilities with conspiracy theories. If the Tartary one was engineered I can’t say I’m in disagreement with the reasons!

  108. @JMG

    Regarding conspiracy theories and traditional architecture, there’s a popular conspiracy theory (believed, unfortunately, by many Indian Hindus) that says that the Konark Sun Temple and the Kailasa Temple (at Ellora), both in India, were built by aliens, or by some ‘hyper-advanced civilization’ some 15k+ years ago. While this is to me at least a fine example of narcissism directed at all cultures other than post-1500s Faustian culture, it doesn’t seem surprising at all when one takes into account the rather prominent role played by Progress in this. I had, before reading your writings, thought of proponents of such theories as soft racists, but I now see that they aren’t necessarily that.

    I suppose conspiracy theories are so popular partly because of the religion of Progress and its many manifestations, because almost all of them tend to over-estimate the capabilities of whatever sinister agent(s) is/are behind the thing in question. The ‘our Progress is so powerful it can destroy literally anything!’ belief acts out in the form of ‘X is/are so powerful that they can do anything they want!’. Thus, I think that as Progress winds down, it will likely take quite a few conspiracy theories with it.

  109. Could there be a common thread between the Tartarian conspiracy theory and the alternate-reality interpretation of the Mandela Effect (also perhaps covered up by conspiracy)? Both imply that reality is brittle enough for the world to systematically change without going through any tedious process of cause and effect or stressful transitional historical events. It’s the possibility of apocalyptic change, but with the apocalypse itself (mud floods?) merely optional. In SF this has often been the either feared or desired result of changing the past through time travel, and now Hollywood is sending in a new spate of “multiverse” stories (different mechanism, same effective result). It’s also inherent in “the universe is a simulation” concepts, because in principle the operators of the simulator could make arbitrary changes whenever they wanted to (in most versions, without us even knowing it had happened). This could express both fear of the world falling apart (“for no reason,” aka “not my fault”) and the hopeful fantasy of the world getting better with no effort, parallel to the apocalypse/Star Trek dichotomy you’ve often pointed out.

  110. Thank you for this most topical post! I have been thinking a lot lately about how much of my prrsent worldview could be considered “conspiracy theory”. I fancy myself to be a fairly skeptical person, albeit prone to slipping into cynicism, which I try to catch and check. The idea of conspiracy theories standing in place of implausible or incoherent parts of the official narratives makes a tremendous amount of sense to me. My thoughts turn to the way that a significant number of conspiracy theories have turned into conspiracy fact (from an official narrative standpoint), and are incorporated into the official narrative. Viewed through the lens of the incessant gaslighting that is the msm these days, it almost seems like a novel way of keeping both msm narrative believers and more free thinking types off-balance, a kind of ‘limited hangout’ kind of thing. The manner in which these changes in status occur, like a light switch, and not after a fact based debate, lead me to my suspicions. Do you have any thoughts about this?

  111. I’m surprised that nobody made the point that Camelot and the Arthurian Legends probably began as something like a conspiracy theory.

  112. I notice the Tartarian flag is very similar to the Welsh flag. Only the color scheme varies. Hmmmm… is there some sort of Druid link?

    We have a star fort here in Cape Town on the southern tip of Africa. It was completed in 1679 by the Dutch East India Company for the purpose of discouraging the English from taking over the Cape. Well, that’s the story we are told. But is it possible that the DEIC was in fact a front organization of the Tartarians…?

  113. I am presently in a land of amazing delusion and mirage. Of course water and energy will continue to be abundant so come to the desert, build and grow. New houses and freeways are everywhere. November has broken temperature records – for daily temperature and for number of days in the month more than 5 degrees above average. The weather report makes light of it. We are in a suburb of Phoenix visiting Beloved Granddaughter who is living in another ‘burb nearby.

    Water can come from the ocean and be desalinated. Power can come from the sun to purify water and run the AC. Everything is fine, FINE.

    Come soon. Housing prices are shooting up.

  114. I was interested to see an echo of this:

    > No matter how disastrous the consequences turn out to be—no matter how often the economic policies that were supposed to yield prosperity result in poverty and misery, no matter how often programs meant to improve the schools make them worse, no matter how many drugs released on the market as safe and effective turn out to be neither, and so on at great length…

    In a technical blog that floated to the top of Hacker News today.

    > Software stacks, governments, and financial systems: they all keep getting more and more bloated and complex while somehow delivering less per dollar, gigahertz, gigabyte, or watt.

    https://apenwarr.ca/log/20211201

    Written from the very different perspective of someone working as a technical specialist in the Bay Area, presumably spending their days dealing with the highly complex but deeply abstract systems that underpin some of Western Culture. Yes, they are falling apart in places. In others they are kept together by large collections of engineers frantically trying to fix metaphorical planes in mid flight.

    The technology ’the name that must not be spoken’ is Blockchain. For some software engineers it’s like mentioning COVID to a Druid.

  115. The Mark of the Beast is the image of caesar. It was on the coins and on seals of documents so you couldn’t do any business without it. It was everywhere and a humiliating symbol of subjugation.

  116. Really Mr. Greer … now you’ve got me questioning whether or not to throw away my old, scratched Hoffman lenses …

    NOW what am I gonna do? Even without them, I STILL sense those ghouls walking by, baring wristwatches .. all wanting to turn me in!!

    Regarding the Howard Museum monstrosity photo you posted above .. to my mind, when I came across that image, I immediately likened it to a concrete version of totally blocked intestines. Talk about seized up!

    Architectural Freudian slippage indeed.. I’ll take a dome or star-enhansed design over that dreck any day over what passes for ‘hip & novel’ – whether tartarian or not.

  117. Borges is amazing. Every one of his stories has a mind blowing theme like this (in “Pierre Minard: Author of Don Quixote” for example, he takes the seemingly simple concept of a man who wants to “rewrite” Don Quixote to all of its logical extremes.)

    Your post also made me think of another piece of literature: The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, through the lens of mythology. Your description of modern architecture vs classical architecture is almost identical to hers, and yet somehow the modern architect (and Frank Lloyd Wright standin) Howard Roarke is the hero of the book.

    She agrees for example that classical architecture exists in conversation with its surroundings and the past, and that modern architecture represents a break from… something. In her telling, classical architecture is hopelessly stuck in the morass of the past, never moving forward, and modern architecture represents the mastery of the (individual) human mind over nature and the rest of humanity.

    Pure Faustian propaganda.

  118. I don’t know if this stat is true, but I can believe it is from a “man on the street” perspective. It is that 54% of Americans reading comprehension is below a 6th grade level. That can explain a lot of the lack of nuance when it comes to tackling various subjects and issues. Combine that with emotional volatility, and voila, you have impassioned people believing to a T various theories.

    On the other hand you still have very smart people, bookish or otherwise, who take these on like a coat of arms. & maybe that is why: in a hostile environment, it offers some kind of psychic protection.

    Just some afternoon thoughts.

  119. Thanks for the wise “schizophrenia” revelation. Appropriate to refer to the victim as IT because dehumanization is a necessary. Not sure if before or after isolation. I knew about Tartary and Barbary because my dad was old enough to have heard those terms in history class. Actually laughed at someone going on about mudfloods just recently.

  120. @JMG

    Speaking of imaginary empires, California recently approved an “ethnic studies” requirement for high school graduation, which – at least judging by the sample lessons – is essentially a long list of grievances against the white man, with the African-American section being the most militant, probably enough to make Howard Zinn blush and say “Hey man, don’t be so harsh.”

    Anyhoo, also in this section is a thinly veiled attempt to claim Egyptian history as African-American history, merely because it was on the same continent I guess? There’s also a bizarre lesson plan on “Adam’s Calendar”, supposedly Africa’s Stonehenge proving that Africa was advanced thousands of years before Europe. It’s been debunked ad nauseam, but never mind this is what passes for scholarship nowadays.

    If I were African-American, I would be profoundly embarassed by this content. African-Americans have many legitimate accomplishments and legitimate civilizations to study from their origins in West Africa. Why the need to construct pseudo-historical narratives to cast themselves as the “hidden” origins of every creation known to mankind?

  121. Before I start responding to comments, it occurs to me that I neglected an important detail when I posted this essay yesterday. December this year has five Wednesdays, and I don’t have anything in mind for the fifth Wednesday. That being the case, I’m open to suggestions. What do you want to hear about?

    Also, I’ve had several people try to post arguments, most of them lengthy and labored, for and against the truth of various conspiracy theories. I’ve deleted those, because, ahem, that’s not what we’re talking about here. If you want to insist that France has had a secret space program since the Middle Ages to import green cheese to Earth because most of its cheesemaking regions don’t actually exist, or for that matter if you want to denounce that belief, do it somewhere else.

    With that said, let’s proceed.

    Weilong, that’s exactly it. Daft as the Tartarian Empire theory is, it makes more sense than the stuff being shoveled out by the corporate media on a daily basis.

    Bei, glad to see that somebody remembers the Deros!

    Drhooves, thanks for this.

    Anonymous, nah, the Qanon business is boring. It’s just a rehash of the blood libel used against Jews in the Middle Ages, refurbished with more technology and less religion.

    Leah, that’s one of the reasons I feel hopeful. Most modern buildings will be considerably less ugly when they’re heaps of rubble.

    Njguy, if you do a little research online you can find detailed criticisms of the 1619 Project’s distortions, omissions, and falsifications by respected African-American historians. I suggest you look them up.

    Nick, you’re welcome. Hang in there!

    Paradoctor, I recognized that the Federation was the United States in drag back when the original series aired — the Klingons are the Russians, the Vulcans are the Japanese (slanted eyebrows — tacky!), the Romulans are the Chinese, and Captain Kirk is a fantasy version of General William Westmoreland who always succeeds in pacifying his extraterrestrial Vietnams. I haven’t watched any of the later rehashes. As for conspiracy theories in the mainstream media, well, of course — it’s precisely when official narratives are obvious garbage (Tonkin Gulf incident, anyone?) that conspiracy culture thrives.

    Panakaos, good question. I wish we could see his like again.

    J.L.Mc12, I haven’t read enough of them to have an opinion.

    RogerCO, now there’s a blast from the past!

    Owen, you know, that explains so much!

    Mawkernewek, okay, that looks like the packing crate for the new bus stop!

    Foamroller, Rhode Island exists. That doesn’t justify the claim that there was once a Rhode Islandian empire that ruled most of the world’s surface, or that every Baptist church anywhere in the world was put there by said empire. You’re going to have to do better than that!

    Matthias, yes, I put it through. The proliferation of really bizarre historical theories these days fascinates me.

    Walt, okay, that was genuinely funny. Recherché, but funny.

    Clay, that’s exactly my take on it. People who deny that the Apollo missions went to the Moon are frantically trying to defend the notion that progress is still possible. Otherwise, “If we can put a man on the Moon, why can’t we…” has only one answer, and it’s not one that believers in progress can bear to think about.

    …and it suddenly occurs to me that there’s a further implication here. For decades after the Apollo landings, you heard “If we can put a man on the Moon, why can’t we…” attached to this or that unsolved collective problem. Logically, that’s an if-then statement: “If we can put a man on the Moon, then we should be able to do X.” One simplistic response to that is to invert it: “If we can’t do X, then we couldn’t have put a man on the Moon.” QED! It strikes me that this may be part of the logic behind that bit of conspiracy culture.

    Neptunesdolphins, oh, I know. It’s like the conspiracy-culture fascination with evil space reptiles. How come reptiles always get the bad rap? I considered floating a rival conspiracy theory that claimed that everything wrong with the world is caused by evil space opossums — they’re using mind control beams to get us to generate lots of excess trash for them to paw through, for example, and global warming is caused by them microwaving the stratosphere to get the planet warm enough to be comfortable opossum habitat from pole to pole. Fear the coming of the mighty Marsupial Empire! 😉

    Dermot, that’s an excellent point.

    Justin, that’s excellent advice.

    Viduraawakened, that’s sad. Hindu culture was certainly capable of architecture on the grand scale a very long time ago, and the people who insist on dragging in alien subcontractors to take care of building projects are just making themselves look stupid.

    Walt, very possibly, yes.

    Selkirk, let’s take a current example — the way that the Covid-19 virus’s origin in a lab in Wuhan was conspiracy theory, until it wasn’t. It’s possible that, as you suggest, that was done deliberately as a way of keeping people off balance. It’s also possible that it happened because people in power were scrambling around looking for someone to blame, and the Chinese were a convenient option. Which one of those fits the facts better? That’s a good question and, since the facts are ambiguous at best, it’s something that can be left as an unknown for now.

    Nate, interesting. I’d like you to expand on this a bit.

    Martin, funny. Welsh Tartarians running the Dutch East India Company! You should probably find some way to fit the Martians in there somewhere…

    Robert, thanks for this! It’s a very good example of the way the star forts could be adapted for local terrain — since it’s on the end of a peninsula, the standard star-pattern only needs to be in place on the landward side, while the three sides facing the water were modified to focus on cannon fire against naval targets:

    Rebecca, a great example of inverse conspiracy culture — everything’s going to be just fine, because we say so! I hope you can get out before things start getting really ugly.

    Andy, good heavens. Do you think they’ll actually realize that there’s something called the law of diminishing returns?

    Polecat, I ain’t arguing. If a bunch of crazed fanatics brandishing a black and gold flag seize power in the name of the Tartarian Empire, at least a lot of eyesores will be removed!

    Jack, Borges is the spiritual heir of Nietzsche — his stories so often require the same kind of sustained reflection as Nietzche’s aphorisms. As for Rand, well, Objectivism was never much more than Marxism with the value signs reversed, and embraced the same myth of progress.

    Justin, two valid points.

    Siobhan, it’s a weird time.

    Brian, do you catch the underlying dynamic there? They’ve abandoned the myth of progress and are opting instead for the myth of a golden age. That’s what social and political movements do as they get ready to lose.

  122. Dear Mr. Greer,

    (And you do not have to publish this.)

    I thought I’d let you know that, along with a number of other posters here, I am no longer seeing your photo avatar attached to any of your posts. It also appears that when your photo avatar suddenly disappeared, a couple of weeks ago or so, so did the avatar images of many other (but not all) posters here as well.

    Regards,

    Alan

  123. Rebecca Zegstroo (. no 126) “The Mark of the Beast is the image of caesar. It was on the coins and on seals of documents …”

    Then why is it on hands and foreheads, like a tefillin / phylactery?

    ————–

    Walt F. (no. 119), I am aware (via SciManDan) of one YouTuber who has written / video’d on the Mandala Effect (which she links to CIA manipulations of the counterculture via psychedelic drugs). (Did you know that Pokemon are demons from the Solomonic magical tradition?) Here’s her channel:

    https://www.youtube.com/c/StashaLillianEriksen

    And here’s the SciManDan response to her remarks about the Hollow Earth, which is one of his funniest ones:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1q6wA-9bNo

    If there is a common thread, it may simply be that nobody believes just one conspiracy theory–they’ll believe five conspiracy theories. It’s like rich people donating to each other’s charities.

    ——————

    neptunesdolphins (no. 115), alien contact used to be far more benevolent (think CE3K). The big shift came in the 1990s. with Whitley Strieber and Burton Mack (and reflected in pop culture like the X-Files). One theory is that our attitude towards space aliens reflects our attitude towards real aliens (from other countries) and globalization. Wanna join the Federation?

    ———————

    JMG (no 87) “…do you also apply your skepticism toward things that aren’t labeled “woo” by authorities…?”

    I do to some extent, but since I am not a biologist or medical man (for example), it is hard for me to evaluate medical claims, so I am forced to make decisions based on insufficient information (a situation Dilbert cartoonist / management writer Scott Adams often talks about). In general, for practical purposes, the scientific community has a better track record than any of the conspiracy communities. Since I *am* familiar with those, I know enough to throw up my hands when I find somebody on OFW, for example, approvingly quoting David Icke.

  124. Hi John Michael,

    There’s the old fable of the ‘boy who cried wolf’, and I tend to believe that the fable is of relevance today. And the thing is, if the official voices are caught lying, they lose credibility. And it becomes really stupid because if credibility is lost, then how can the officials then point at some other group and cry: ‘they’re lying’. It’s a huge problem in society, and I’m unsure how it will all play out.

    Cheers

    Chris

  125. One thing has just occurred to me. Many of the popular conspiracy theories assume that the people opposing/repressing us are what game theory would call “rational actors.”

    In other words, any given conspiracy theory assumes that the malefactors in question have identifiable goals, and that they are “rationally acting” to achieve those goals.

    However, it is as evident to me as it is to many in this commentariat, that our “betters” are not, in fact, “rational actors.” They are simply possessed by what they know not.

    This reminds me of the development of my own thinking on this subject. Twenty or more years ago, I was deep into studying things like the Illuminati, the Bilderbergers, the Bohemian Grove, the Committees of 300, etc.

    As time went by, I dropped that line of inquiry and focused instead on structural and class analysis. That is, I said, “If our Overclass is, in fact, a self-conscious class, what are the ‘rational actions’ they would take to maximize their overall power and welfare?”

    Now, since 2016 and Trump Derangement Syndrome, I no longer assume that our Overclass consists of rational actors. Their isolation in their own bubbles and the cognitive dissonance of the breakdown of their narratives have rendered them hysterical and subject to demonic possession.

    I am reminded of what Carl Jung said about Nazi Germany in his essay “After the Catastrophe.” He said, “To my mind, the history of the last twelve years is the case-chart of an hysteric patient.”

  126. With regards to MSM gaslighting, there has been growing criticism of the very different ways the mainstream press has covered the Waukesha parade massacre and the way they covered the Kyle Rittenhouse and George Floyd incidents. Hypocrisy and double standards don’t begin to describe it. There is a good reason why the establishment has very little credibility left and why so many people find conspiracy theories more plausible than the official narratives.

  127. John–

    Re 5th Wednesday topics

    This may be a bit out there (and not necessarily likely to win in terms of votes), but to follow-up on your reply to my initial comment, I’d be interested in a discussion of ‘reason’ and ‘sanity’ as tools, the limits of such tools, as well as other tools (i.e. modes of thought or states of mind) and the appropriate application thereof. If reason and sanity are simple tools in one’s toolbox, what other tools might there be and in what situations might one use them? Our society has framed reason as the sole arbiter of truth and sanity as the only healthy state of mind. What else is there and how can it be (safely) used?

  128. Here´s another conspiracy theory never labelled as such: the idea that we are besieged by dangerous and possibly evil…conspiracy theorists!

    Funny how that works.

  129. On the fifth Wednesday…well, I noticed that many people (including here oversigned) want to know about the fall of man and his meetings with demons on Lemuria, and what the sin of separatness is, and so on. I know you already commented on this, but if there is more to say, an essay could be interesting…

  130. @tomriverwriter #23:
    I’m an architect, and I can remember when the State of Illinois Building was heralded as the latest and greatest in public buildings. I probably still have the issue of Architecture Record with it on the cover. Of course, the usual suspects are trying to save the monster from the coming wrecking ball. Particularly instructive are the articles on how bad it was to work in the building.

    @ Foamroller #109 & JMG
    Not only does Rhode Island exist, we installed the 2012 Miss Universe! She’s now a “social media influencer”, laying the ground for our plan to rule North America after the collapse of the American Empire.

  131. Leah Kiser,

    Our house is, unfortunately, Prairie Style. (I found a picture of MY fireplace in a book of Falling Water photos. Really. Mine’s a smaller copy, but the same exact shape.) Definitely not a Frank Lloyd Wright, but very much inspired by.

    It’s very pretty and very unlivable. We rented a number of houses before moving here and the most livable was the old Victorian. Built on the cheap end of the spectrum, but with doors (mostly glass) with transoms over them between all the rooms, it could be quieted just by closing a door, cooled by opening the transoms . . .

    This house is very noisy, requires central heating, but fortunately the climate is such that A/C is not necessary. If it gets hotter here it will be, and it is impossible to close rooms off to save energy. Rooms? What rooms? It’s all, on three levels, open. It’s designed with angles so that doors can’t be installed in most areas. It may require gutting. I have no idea if there’s even a sensible place TO put the kitchen, but it surely is not in the middle with no exterior walls so it HAS to be open to everything to have any light, is it? Noise was not an issue when my parents were raising their one child (me), but we have a brood, and they aren’t all quiet bookworms.

    Two of the places we rented had been built in the last century by resident owners, starting with a small structure and adding on as funds and time permitted. They both were functional, if not particularly attractive.

    I think that to figure out proper building for the future we must look before coal or in areas that never had access to coal or more modern heating, and find the proper climates to draw inspiration from: what works in my high desert will surely not work well in someone’s swamp!

  132. I can’t claim to have studied flat-earthism extensively, but from what I have seen, there are two main types of arguments for a flat Earth:

    a) religious arguments that take certain verses of the Bible overly-literally

    b) empirical arguments that misunderstand how light works

    I once ran across a really fascinating bit of “evidence” that combines both of the above: take a camera with a really strong zoom and take pictures of a planet or star at night. You’ll apparently see a diffusion pattern on the face of the planet or star that’s similar to what you get if you shine a light through a tub of water. Hence, the argument goes, what you’re really seeing is the “water above the firmament,” and planets and stars are really holes in the firmament.

    (My guess is that what’s really going on is that the pattern is caused by the atmosphere.)

    I think what’s behind (b) is the rejection not just of the scientific establishment, but the barbarism of reflection. The arguments are based on empirical, reproducible results, and conform our naive “lived experience” of the world.

    And the truth behind both of them is that the so-called “scientific picture of the world” — really, the materialist picture we’re told we have to accept if we accept science — is a cold, bleak place unsuitable for human existence. If flat-earthism is true, that picture is totally wrong.

  133. I’m a day late but its a new week and its time for another blog post and highlights of the past week on the Green Wizards website.

    First up, we get our fingers dirty with the first in a DIY tutorial series titled “An Introduction To Metal Wall Studs
    Part One Begins Here

    One of the things that will be important as our society gets harder and harder will be finding was to get by with more help. More help may need some space in the garage or it may need a bedroom in the basement. Metal Wall Studs are a useful construction material that is easy to use and costs less than wood. Its recyclable too.

    Green Wizards isn’t the typical prepper, frugal living or sustainable website. We discuss several topics you won’t often find on other sites and this week they have gotten some discussion on topics you might be interested in.

    First, Green Wizards knows the importance of both family and children. We have a forum circle dedicated to discussing issues that relate to the important people in our life. Check out these hot topics:

    “Why Children Should Garden”
    “Babies and Sleep”
    and “Changing the Role of Santa in a Collapsing World”

    Being a storyteller will be an important and valuable position in the Long Descent as society collapses back to an earlier level of technology and economics. Green Wizards has many members who are writers, some who have published in the new niche of “Climate Fiction”. If you are a writer as well, join us and share your thoughts and techniques of telling a tale.

    This week we talk about, can you afford to actually be a writer?
    “Sad But Probably True For Most Writers”

    As always, reading the posts open to everyone. Commenting requires a free account. Contact me either on FB Messenger HERE or via email (greenwizard dtrammel at gmail dot com)

  134. Hey hey JMG,

    I miss Jon Stewart. He called BS on narratives that badly failed the sniff test. The Daily Show had a great piece back in 2011 when Iran captured a US stealth drone. It starts out with news footage of a computer simulation explaining how the drone ended up in Iran:

    Jon Stewart – “How did that happen?”
    News – “US officials tell NBC News that CIA operators on the ground were flying the drone when it suddenly veered out of control and headed deep into Iran.”
    Jon Stewart – “That brings us to our new segment:”

    NEW SEGMENT: I’m no expert, but that sounds like BS

    https://www.cc.com/video/bpp7b1/the-daily-show-with-jon-stewart-game-of-drones

    Not having access to the halls of power where the important decisions are made I use the “I’m no expert, but that sounds like BS” test often. A lot of news and official statements fail the sniff test these days and I have a thought as to why it is more likely to generate conspiracy theories these days.

    Cui bono? More and more the answer to that question is not me. Who benefits from whatever is happening? Not you or the people that you know. The same way that you can look at the moon landing and say “If we can put a man on the moon, why can’t we x?” and then reverse the logic with the contrapositive “If we can’t do x, then we couldn’t put a man on the moon.” The logic of the who benefits question works out like this “I work hard and I play by the rules in a fair system, so things should be good for me.” is converted to “I work hard and I play by the rules, but things are bad so the system must be rigged.”

    But who is rigging it? That’s the hard part. People aren’t good a dealing with uncertainty. It is much simpler and more satisfying to say that the bad people are rigging the system to some nefarious end then it is to say that the system isn’t rigged, it is jury rigged because it is a barely functional Rube Goldberg machine kludged together by the lickspittle of a senile elite.

    Thanks,
    Tim

  135. Last week Patricia Mathews asked:
    “@David Trammel – if you could print these up on paper, I would very grateful for a copy, and pay you for the effort.”

    Sorry I notice this comment too late to post a reply, Patricia.

    Patricia, printing the hot topics each week might not be the best thing to do. These posts often get replies and comments days or even weeks later. Its better to just read them online at the Green Wizard website. Do you have an account, so you can post comments? If not contact me and I’ll set one up for you.

    That said, I should tell you that there are plans to get these topics, other interesting information and tutorials into hard copies and out to the people who want them eventually. Its a little early but I can say that I am hoping in the Fall of 2023 that we at Green Wizard can begin publishing companion Workbooks to John’s original book “Green Wizardry”. His book will be 10 years old in 2023. Maybe we can get him to update it with new material and new thoughts from the last decade, and re-release it in an anniversary edition.

    These workbooks will be much like the old Firefox series, as a collection of DIY tutorials, informational articles and some just fun posts on the principles and skills Green Wizards advocates for. There will be 13 main chapters, one for each of the Green Wizard Circles. Each chapter will have 2-3 long tutorials and 5-8 shorter features. You can see something of what we want to put in the workbooks with this week’s “An Introduction to Metal Wall Studs”. Check out the Forum for the different general categories we hope to explore in depth.

    I also hope we can tempt John to write something new for the first book as well.

    Its my hope we can publish one of these Green Wizards Workbooks every two years for as long as I can put fingers to keyboard, or as long as the person who takes over for me when I’m gone has the Internet.

    I will note this, I’m committed to providing the information to people without cost, if their economic situation means they can’t buy the books. So there will be downloadable copies available. The proceeds from the books will go towards supporting Green Wizards and the non-profit which we’ll be setting up next year to keep it running past my tenure there.

    So Patricia, read the stuff online for now, and look for the books under your Yule tree in 2023.

  136. Ye gots that right matey! .. and with those flag-waving ‘upsurpers’ inclining to force the flunky architects who designed the derm things .. to walk the plank – straight down to Davy Jones’s dreary concrete locker, but not before making full restitution for all the spoils commissioned thereof!

  137. Nathanael Bonnell, just to let you know we have a Writer’s forum over on Green Wizards. If you want to do up a post describing “New Maps” with contact info and story submission guidelines, you are welcome to post it in the Resources forum there.

    Or email it to me and I’ll post it for you, if you don’t have an user name with us. Let me know. Not sure if it will help you spread the word, but we have been increasing our membership almost weekly now.

    (greenwizard dtrammel at gmail dot com)

  138. Just a couple points.
    I find it fascinating the degree to which plot points or mcguffins from popular films subsequently turn up in various conspiracy narratives. (Nanobots in the blood which allow one to be tracked across continents, for example, was a plot point in the James Bond movie “Spectre” and it is now a real claim made and believed by anti-vaxxers.) I marvel how much the imaginary world of fiction informs the myriad ideas of conspiracy theorists, and how the ideas from one get absorbed into the other.
    On absurd architecture: I heard a talk from early 2020 that included a point about ‘modern’ art is that it is a way for the cognoscenti to imagine themselves better than the plebes. The seductive ego boost is the idea that one is privy to a better, more refined sense of taste, and also privy to a degree of understanding that those street rabble cannot achieve; by dint of better education, or refined sensibilities. It is a way to feel superior which gives one the exalted feeling of being privy to a secret knowledge which baffles the clueless hordes. It occurs to me this same attitude prevails among the upper-classes about confusing brutalist architecture without human scale or decoration or recognizable form inflicted on the masses, since the sponsors, and architects, and boosters who expound in the media, and professionals who hand out prestigious awards for what the average person considers a monstrosity (the waste of space at the Royal Ontario Museum being an excellent example, with every flat exterior and interior surface a different vertical angle, which means most of the space is unusable) all seem to exhibit the same self-congratulatory and self-laudatory attitude.

  139. @Cliff #47
    I think Flat Earthers are touching on the myth that everyone thought the earth was flat until brave Columbus decided to prove them wrong! (and get to the spice islands of the south Pacific or something) Perhaps the Flat Earthers are pushing the other way on that myth, saying no, it actually is flat and everyone else is lying about it being round because history is mostly fiction anyway. So who’s to say what’s real or not?
    QAnon is harder to pin down, because it is such a catch all for every other conspiracy theory out there. If we examine its origins as the postings of a secret military man of mystery with “Q” clearance, it sort of points in the direction of “everything is under control. Don’t worry, there’s a plan. The universe isn’t as random as it all seems.” Because that is the sentiment of the actual ruling class, it’s only fitting that the non-ruling classes have a man/movement of their own saying the same thing. A shadow side, if you will. As for what it means now? Your guess is as good as mine.

  140. Sorry, had to add this example of bleed from fiction to conspiracy, and as far as I can tell, no one who talks about/laughs at David Icke’s Space Lizard seems to mention this connection, viz. Icke’s Space Lizard rantings began shortly after a 1980s Sci-Fi series called “V” aired.
    The plot to “V” was that a race of aliens arrived and they looked like us, in reality, they had been monitoring us and devised human skins to fit over their lizard forms to lull us into accepting them, as they quietly captured millions of humans for food and siphoned off our planet’s water for their own world, while also quietly coming to dominate the upper levels of our governments… and so on.
    Icke seems to have picked up on seasons 1 & 2 and decided it was an in-depth documentary instead of entertainment.

  141. I repeat a nomination I made several months ago for the 5th Wednesday: William Butler Yeats, Magic, and Modern Life.

    Thanks,
    Jacques

  142. Hi! I’m a long-time reader, first-time commenter, and I skipped a bunch of comments so apologies if I’m being repetitious. I read a lot, with an interest in science and journalism, and many of the themes you discuss are popping up all over the place. For further reading: 🙂

    The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity, David Graeber and David Wengrow
    I recently finished this, and its entire premise is that academics are so blinded by the myth of Progress that they can’t see the evidence of human history for what it is: endless experimentation with a variety of societies and civilizations. The Davids are an anthropologist and an archaeologist who started a dialogue on the topic of “overcoming social inequality” and quickly realized they were asking the wrong question. They start looking into the origins of the phrase and begin to see how people-scientists have blinded themselves to a whole range of human possibilities, even though the science has started to show considerable evidence for humans being pretty creative. Several times throughout the book I thought of this community’s reactions to ideas such as:

    – Humans are only fully conscious when engaged in dialogue; that’s why so many of our thoughts are essentially conversations and why so much of our classical writing is the same;

    – The human sciences have become so entrapped by the Myth of Progress that none of the terms of discussion are even appropriate: the Clans to Tribes to Farmers to Cities to Civilization trope is the only language we have. (It’s amazing how really looking at the terminology we use as a society can reveal the biggest blind spots…)

    – If archaeologists/anthropologists weren’t so blinded by the Myth of Progress with its Stages of Civilization they might see the evidence entirely differently. My favorite example was their discussion of the Temple of Knossos on Crete, which shows female leadership unless you’re trapped by the myth, in which case you’re still looking for evidence of the Great Male Leader;

    – And the better question might be, why have so many of us humans lost the ability to even imagine a different society?

    Another point that this book brought up in extensive discussion fits neatly with your thought of ideas evolving on the fringes. They call it schismogenesis, I think. Basically it’s the tendency of one group of humans to look at another group of humans and say “they’re nuts, ew.” This tends to result in societies that become opposites, like Athens and Sparta, with the process of change happening in a fracture zone in between.

    The Unmitigated Pedantery blog, acoup.org, recently did a series of posts on sieges which talked about the importance of corner fortifications so you can shoot down the side of the building at the marauders. I see the star fort is an evolution of the Roman and medieval fortifications he discussed.

    Also, I picked up a Fort McHenry quarter when I paid cash for our beer the day this was posted. 🙂

    And one last recommendation, this on tamanous culture in the Americas:

    Roger Welsch is a local Nebraska folklorist (some of you may remember him from CBS Sunday Morning back in like the 80s?) who has a knack for making friends of many kinds, via food mostly, and who was adopted into a local tribe and is good friends with many others. He is funny as heck and has written about tractors, dogs, and food, in addition to collections of folklore. He has a number of books on being the white guy among Indians; you could start with “Embracing Fry Bread: Confessions of a Wannabe,” “Touching the Fire: Buffalo Dancers, the Sky Bundle, and Other Tales,” (which is based on a true story), and really any of his other work. I found some on bookshop.org but you can also likely get books via interlibrary loan.

    Oh, and I also recently read “Coyote America” and that’s good reading if you’re interested in learning about America’s favorite Changer. Even if there’s a lot of science in it. 🙂

    I’ve thoroughly enjoyed these conversations.
    Thanks!

  143. @ Marvin Motsenbocker post #57

    Hi Mots, I have your book and have found it inspirational and would love one of the circuit boards to put together. I used to be an electrical engineer and can solder. I am not sure how to get ahold of you, I clicked on your name and did a contact at the web page it directed me to, are you still active on that web page ? Otherwise, my email is debibaker@protonmail.com

  144. Hi JMG,

    The actor Alec Baldwin, who parodized Trump for years gleefully, is now in the middle of dark controversy. That is he possibly elected to stand directly in the path of the energy of the changer archetype, and then something strange and terrible happened. He is currently in the spotlight for a crime, a killing, he allegedly committed that he denies he is guilty of. The man discharged a gun he didn’t know was loaded on set of a movie entitled Rust of all things.
    You have done an incredible job detailing aspects of the changer archetype and as a secondary benefit provided your audience fair warning to potentially avoid above mentioned fate.
    I would vote for a post on telltale signs of other North American archetypes that society is otherwise generally ignorant of.

  145. Toronto is ghastly. They’ve been building massive condo buildings like rows of tombstones. The city motto ought to be Altior Deforme (‘higher uglier’ in Latin per google translate)

    Architectural grotesquerie isn’t a new problem here. Many years ago we were camping in the Rockies. A couple from Germany in the next camping spot over marveled at all the nature. But the German fellow lamented, ‘Canadian cities are not, well, how do I say, not nice.’

    Yes, for sure, not nice. So if you were thinking of coming here as a tourist come soon before it gets worse. If you want beauty go to Italy.

    If even a moderately competent and eloquent leader were ever to unfurl the Tartarian banner here, given the societal malaise in this place, I could foresee long lines at the recruiting office.

    What do young men want? What attracts the underemployed, unemployed, impoverished like bees to honey? Trumpets, flags, drums, a uniform, belonging, camaraderie, and especially a cause to give direction to directionless lives. And throw in some pay. How can it miss? I being only half-sarcastic.

  146. The part on architecture brought back to mind something I noticed, pretty much immediately on seeing it, as I recall, one time I was called in for jury duty: the courthouse was a tall white modern-architecture tower surrounded by a large stretch of open lawn, with the doors reached by a bare wind-exposed concrete walk, the tower looming increasingly overhead as one approached. Sure seems like that architecture and landscaping was sending a message, and “this is a place based on consent of the governed and fair judgement by one’s peers” wasn’t it.
    (I was rejected from the trial, by the way, after I couldn’t honestly say I’d support the current laws over my own conscience in any and all circumstances.)

    The post also brought to mind a conversation I had in passing once at a railway museum, with, as I recall, someone who didn’t appear at all mentally disturbed but talked of there actually being a living underground city in San Francisco, buried by earthquakes decades ago but still inhabited (I don’t recall whether the existence of this city was supposed to be actually _secret_ or just not well known.). Or something close to that, at least; my memory of exactly what they said is, unfortunately for the purposes of this comment, rather vague, as the conversation was years ago and I wasn’t myself particularly convinced.

    Though, speaking of things I’m convinced of, I believe I’ve mentioned it in comments on this blog before, but now seems a potentially appropriate time to bring up the North American Aboriginal Horse Hypothesis again, the idea that the horse never actually went extinct in North America at all, and was in fact domesticated by various native peoples long before European horses arrived. With, naturally, the colonists later not putting this in the history books in favor of their own narrative. To me, the evidence I’d seen for the NAAHH seems fairly compelling, and I’d give it good odds of being one of those conspiracy theories that’s true. But then, of course, I expect believers in the glory of the Tartarian Empire don’t hold that believe because they think they have _bad_ evidence for it, even though it doesn’t seem to me to stand up very well, and there are certainly people who disagree with the NAAHH.

    As JMG commented in the post, though, whether conspiracy theories are true or not isn’t necessarily the most interesting thing about them — so now I’m wondering what a preference for, regardless of the weight of evidence for or lack thereof, or ultimate truth of, the NAAHH, or there being an earthquake-buried but still inhabited city in San Francisco, might say about the ones holding those preferences.

    So, another thought-provoking post, JMG (and I don’t think I’d previously heard of the Tartarian Empire idea, so that the idea exists was an interesting bit of new knowledge), and since I don’t comment all that often, thanks in general for your blogging and venue-providing!

  147. Great post! One of your readers pointed me at the Nordic Animism channel, where the poster (a Danish scholar of religion) posted a video on how conspiracy theory is deficient myth-making (I know video is not your cup of tea, JMG, but some of your readers might be interested): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXh14lltcPo&list=PLpgfnnXC81dWkpF1ENTsZ9_CLrJHDIAbn&index=2

    I found the argument that conspiracies are best analyzed as if they were dreams rather compelling, so thank you for that!

    As for Fifth Wednesday topics, a few ideas:
    1) Mircea Eliade and the pros/cons of his universalizing comparative method
    2) C.G. Jung as an occultist who successfully passed his work off as “science”
    3) More on the planes and/or subtle bodies
    4) Updated thoughts on how best as individual to deal with living in a declining civilization with most of its economy made of castles of sand

    Thanks as always for what you do!

  148. Alan, I know. I’m pretty sure one of the software upgrades messed up the avatars.

    Bei, fair enough. I’m in the other camp to some extent — I’ve seen far more people hurt or killed by “scientific” medicine, for example, than by alternative health care, and so I act accordingly — but I roll my eyes at David Icke.

    Chris, what started out as a crisis of credibility has now turned into a crisis of legitimacy.

    Michael, exactly. I wonder what diagnosis Jung would have put on our current case.

    Galen, I’ve been watching that too. As I noted to Chris above, the crisis of credibility suffered by the establishment has turned into a crisis of legitimacy — the kind that governments very often don’t survive.

    David BTL, so noted.

    Tidlösa, I’m reminded of an old Giza X song: “Help! Help! The paranoids are coming! The paranoids are coming! They want to get me! They want to get me!” Your vote has been tabulated, btw.

    Peter, it’s got to be a conspiracy, then. 😉

    Slithy, interesting. Thanks for this.

    Tim, exactly. Incompetence, arrogance, and corruption in a failing system is so much less satisfying an explanation, even though that’s what the facts suggest.

    Renaissance, two direct hits. I’d also noticed Icke’s dependence on V, and assumed that he must have smoked way too much weed while watching it.

    Jacques, I’ve tabulated your vote.

    LaLeenda, thanks for all of these. It’s good to see common sense beginning to trickle through…

    Ian, so noted! I’ve tabulated your vote.

    Roger, I know. I’ve been waiting for strange bright banners to be unfurled for a while now. We had a little of that in 2016-2020, but the attempts to stuff that orange genie back into the bottle don’t seem to be working. What the next round will be like worries me.

    Reese, you’re welcome and thank you.

    Jeff, so noted; I’ve added those to the tabulation.

  149. Hi John,

    Not only did the senile elites fail to stuff the Orange Genie back in the bottle, but if recent polls and news stories are any indicator, he stands a good chance of running for president again in 2024 and winning. As if that were not enough, waiting in the wings is a whole new generation of populist conservatives following in his footsteps, ranging from Ron DeSantis, Gregg Abbott and Kristi Noem to Paul Gosar, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert. Attempts by the Dems to vilify the former and punish the later are only making them more popular and credible in the eyes of those who are fed up with the status quo.

  150. @ BoysMom #143

    You’ve identified another big problem- people going “oooo, that’s pretty” and plopping down various home designs in places they are simply not suitable. Lots of new England colonial era homes had that sort of centrally located kitchen hearth, to keep the heat in and warming every room and area round it as much as possible. But now that’s not going to be the biggest problem, and house designs that conserve heat are going to be a nuisance, not a benefit. Victorians have great tall windows for ventilation, to let heat out. Not many in Alaska, lol.

    And I’m amazed that so many window companies apparently have no idea how double hung windows are supposed to work. That is one of my pet peeves, too. No full screens anymore, only half, so they can’t be used correctly without letting in flies and such. You have to raise the bottom sash and lower the top one, too, together. Heat rises, and if you don’t lower the top sash, it can’t get out. Hot air going out the top creates a negative air pressure that draws cooler air in the bottom, even if there’s no breeze. But now there are no top screens and worse, people caulk the top half shut. That’s why lots of folks think they need a/c when they really don’t. Disfunctional windows.

  151. If we examine its origins as the postings of a secret military man of mystery with “Q” clearance, it sort of points in the direction of “everything is under control. Don’t worry, there’s a plan. The universe isn’t as random as it all seems.”

    You know, that makes a lot of sense. What keeps coming up with these conspiracy theories is terror of having no one in control with the situation. Better to have bad actors with a bad plan, than no plan at all, maybe?

  152. Trilogy?! I’ve a good mind to just plant that banner and declare myself emperor of the New Tartarian Empire. My first policy objective will be to demolish the most hideous building in town and replace it with something esthetically pleasing in service to the public weal. I should do at least as well as the Emperor Norton.

    The rightfully ruined rubble of the odious edifice should as useful composite for the foundations of the new Empire.

    *******

    @ team10tim –

    “…the system…is jury rigged… kludged together by the lickspittle of a senile elite.”

    I love the brutality of your concluding phrase, finding it to be abundantly justified: particularly in light of the events of the last 20 months.

  153. While I agree much modern architecture is ugly I’m afraid I think the same of neoclassical. I find it dull, reptitive, and almost as soul crushing as modern stuff. JMO of course but give me Art Deco over neoclassical any day.

  154. @Reese (#158):

    Underground San Francisco is an old, old local myth (“A story that never was, but always is”) in the Bay Area. It’s been told and retold there at least since the late 1800s, constantly changing in its details (as does any living local mythology). It has several supports in reality.

    The first is the actual existence of an enormous number of abandoned sailing ships from the Gold Rush era down under the landfill on which most of the modern San Francisco waterfront has been built.

    The second is the actual existence of a very large Chinatown there, which followed its own Chinese laws and customs while giving lip-service to Anglo city government, which was completely opaque to the non-Chinese gaze, where some few Chinese entrepreneurs made their stakes by catering in secret basement establishments to the vices of the Anglos. See the movie “Big Trouble in Little China” for an over-the-top presentation of this mythology of San Francisco’s Chinatown.

    And of course the third is the actual Great Earthquake of 1906, which promptly gave rise to many many stories about things suddenly swallowed up by the earth. I remember seeing a 1906 photograph of a scar in the earth–a fault that opened and then suddenly closed– with the tail of a deceased cow sticking up above the soil. (It was probably faked.) Books with photographs of the post-Earthquake devastation became immediate best sellers in the aftermath.

  155. Hi John Michael,

    Yeah, that’s not a good outcome.

    Hey, by way of recent off topic interest, I noticed that the Baghdad Battery is not dissimilar from the Leyden jar, but perhaps the Baghdad battery was a more advanced form. They’re technically not quite a battery, but they’re more of a capacitor, which were used to store and then release an electrical charge. Dunno.

    With all of the craziness of late in mind, I’ve been working at getting the infrastructure here on the farm in a better arrangement than what it previously was. It’s a big job to correct this stuff. Anyway, what has surprised me were the material shortages, but also some of the costs are about maybe 40% more than I’d anticipated. It’s all bit of a worry really.

    My house insurance bill has risen up to 20% most years, and I read an article the other day suggesting that it may rise even higher. Holy Frackery Mr Archdruid! 🙂 That is an alarming prospect, and even at 20% compounding annual increases, it won’t be too many years before I drop off that system. But before that day arrives, many others may be experiencing far worse prospects. That’s a vicious cycle of decline that story.

    The recent summer warmth disappeared, and the next couple of days are very cool (today was only 63’F). Crazy stuff. Still cool summer weather is time for hard work. And so hard work we shall do.

    Cheers

    Chris

  156. Hi John Michael,

    So what I heard was that the possums (our perhaps nicer herbivores, unlike your toothy opossums) are responsible for the War of Waste. 😉 Yes, you read that claim correctly. Sometime last year I was in the big smoke and had to grab some take away food for dinner on my way home (a very tasty charcoal grilled Souvlaki) before the curfew restrictions (yes, there seriously was a 8pm and 9pm to 5am curfew) kicked in. So there I am in an inner city park eating dinner whilst not being accosted for stopping anywhere, and I chucked the paper bag (increased waste is part of the current craziness, I would have happily dined using ceramic and stainless steel cutlery) into the bin. Well, blow me down, but the paper bag was rudely ejected from the bin. Being cursed with a curious mind, I had a good look into the bin only to discover that a possum was rifling through the contents and had cheekily rejected my waste. Thus I believe that the Space Possum People are creating all of the waste. The logic is sound and irrefutable! Hehe!

    Cheers

    Chris

  157. Just a small side point on David Icke. In at least one of his books, the mega-tome “The Biggest Secret” (in which he introduces the reptoids), he actually references “V” as evidence of the existence of reptoids, and says that the script-writers or directors must have been influenced by some kind of vibrations in the cosmos to pick up the truth (albeit in distorted fashion). So Icke is aware of the similarity himself! Life imitates art?

  158. I also noticed the strong connection between conspiracy theory and pop culture. I wonder if this is mostly a US phenomenon? Still, it has a certain logic. If the facts are fiction, maybe the fiction is fact? Also, if there are secret messages encoded in, say, architecture, why not even more secret messages in films, songs or popular books? Ironically, however, this simply traps the conspiracy theorist even more firmly in the Spectacle. He becomes even more obsessed with pop culture than the brain-washed majority he so despises…

  159. @ Alan #133 – and anyone interested in the “avatar” situation.

    I have noticed that my own avatar is going strong and has not disappeared from my posts.

    So, for what its worth, and for the attention of whoever is interested, may it be known that I keep my avatar registered at “gravatar”. Perhaps there are avatar registers that are active, and others that have stopped being so?

  160. Dear J.M. Greer,
    I saw you make some interesting remarks about divine beings, during the past couple of Magic Mondays:

    ‘What we learn from the old polytheist faiths is that “god” is a general label that includes many different kinds of being, with many different origins. Some are primal cosmic powers, some are beings like us who completed the journey we’re on long before our time, some are human souls of remarkable holiness and power, some are egregors, and so on. The only workable definition of the word “god” I know of is “a being that humans worship.”….
    Which planes a deity can influence directly varies, as you’d expect, from deity to deity. Those that can inspire us with new ideas, visions, and symbols can reach down to the mental plane, which is the highest plane we can contact at our present stage of evolution.’

    I wonder if you’d consider writing an essay on theology – what is known and conjectured of the theota, theomes, and the theosphere, and how those things relate to the other planes and their beings.

    Regards,
    Josh Rout

  161. Not for the first time, I’d like to register my annoyance at lumping all terrible modern architecture under “Brutalism” when my standing impression is that Brutalism proper is ironically the one modern architecture form that has actual artistic merit to it. Properly done, Brutalism is awe-inspiring in the same way that a raging river, a Great Old One, or a deity/angel (“BE NOT AFRAID”) are awe-inspiring; you’re right to note a message of “we don’t care”, but that’s a second-order effect of the actual message “you are very small, and that which this represents is very large”. (I’m tempted to call it a fundamentally Saturnine style – the Gods of the Copybook Headings come to mind as a suitable metaphor for what Brutalism represents.) It’s appropriate where that message is appropriate (certain kinds of monumental architecture, arguably legal buildings, buildings associated with modern warfare – the Pentagon isn’t done well, I don’t think, but the basic idea of using Brutalism for the headquarters of a war department isn’t bad, and I can think of few styles more appropriate for enclosing a Tomb of the Unknown Soldier). I think it could also work for spaces where the message is “the world is large, and you are small – so there is so much to explore!” (I could see it working for a library – I’m envisioning a design where you venture out from more habitable lobbies + reading rooms into Brutalist stacks before returning) and with work maybe also “you are a small piece of a large system, but even a small piece’s contributions are important” (it might work for something like a factory). Brutalism’s issues are that a) it’s not a very *habitable* style even before taking into account the modern architect’s disdain for practical issues like heating/cooling and water issues, precisely because of the very message it encodes, and thus is only appropriate in specific circumstances (it’s a *terrible* choice for an apartment building) and b) there is a LOT of bad Brutalism still around, and not just because it’s newer and thus hasn’t had time to filter out the 95% that’s trash yet. (Among other things, I find the style really, really demands associated greenery to balance out the concrete.) But I think there is a baby in the bathwater; the task is to figure out what worked and what didn’t and to refine it into a mature style that can be used when and where it is appropriate.

    The *rest* of modern architecture, though… oof. There I will freely agree with you: all of Generica, the glass-heavy corporate building style (and especially the Apple-ified modern version of it), and especially the anti-style of the last twenty-odd years of McMansion design are terrible and have no redeeming value whatsoever.

    (As for neoclassical, my impression is quite similar to Lunchbox Bike’s: it’s not a *bad* style, but it is horrendously maladaptive in the North American context. Art Deco and the traditional American brick storefront are far better places to look for inspiration for replacing bad modern architecture; certain elements of traditional Russian architecture like the onion dome and the color schemes also look like they might be good candidates for adaptation, and I think pagodas would do well in at least parts of the US.)

  162. @JMG re: reptiles. Aw, c’mon, a kindergarten kid could answer that one, and why dump the bad rep on poor, helpless possums? Okay – shaking my head and laughing and let’s see if I pass the Symbology 101 entrance exam –

    They get a bad rap because they’re cold-blooded, and that’s been a synonym for “heartless” and “lacking human emotion” at least as long as I’ve been alive. Fish are also cold-blooded, and you’ll still hear the term “He’s a cold fish” about somebody like that. But reptiles also include alligators, crocodiles, and above all, rattlesnakes and other venomous snakes. Hence, reptiles. Especially, for the upper-uppers who are actively vicious as well as heartless, “rattlesnakes.” And merely heartless but very treacherous, every other kind of snake, because they do sneak up on you. And to indicate that one of them is essentially harmless, “garden snake” is the usual metaphor. And of course, this is still a culture which is at least vaguely acquainted with the story of Adam and Eve and the Snake. Especially here in the Bible Belt.

    Lizards because they’re closer to humanoid than snakes, and aren’t even trying to be sneaky. Q.E.D.

    Oh, and I hear Kermit the Frog will be representing Pogo the Possum in a “cease & desist or be charged with slander” case. Miss Piggy will be selling popcorn outside the courtroom.

  163. Several thoughts from the comments:
    There have been a number of books, TV shows and movies that feature “hidden, underground, thriving” cities, all over Along with this, a number of intelligence agencies thought the James Bond movies were real, spending millions in countering a non-existent threat.
    Where I live in Costal Virginia, there have been pictures of Coyotes on the Atlantic beaches, and “Do NOT feed the Coyotes” official signs. Though I remember seeing some off the GW Parkway in Va, right across the Potomac from Georgetown, DC, with the spires of the university rising above the trees. This was in 1968. They have been East for quite a while, so long that there is now a sub-species of Eastern Coyote
    Then there are the claims of World’s Fairs and such being leftovers from the Tartarian Empire. I’m old enough to have actually been to a number of them, in several countries. More likely they are remnants of Ancient Parthia, and empire that stopped Rome from the West and China from the East. Parthia will rise again!!
    Good weekend to all!!

  164. @Reese re: the underground city myth. Stories of homeless people living in abandoned tunnels and the like under San Francisco or New York or (insert city name here?) have been circulating for years, and often show up in fiction, especially urban fantasy. I have no problem believing they might exist, if on a much smaller scale than the myth indicates.

  165. John–

    Hopefully not too tangential to this week’s post, but I’d like to spend a few minutes on acausality. More specifically, the quite visceral reaction I have to the idea (which I realize is a product of my conditioning–much, much more mediation on the subject is in order!).

    When I read your comment, I was conscious of a very strong internal response, not dissimilar to my initial reaction to the post, as I commented above. Was is Arthur Machen who talked about true horror being the stones beginning to talk? It was that sort of thing. Now, I understand that causality is not necessarily linear and generally isn’t even close to that simple. I can manage causality being complex, nonlinear, and unknown. Perhaps one input to my decision about what to have for breakfast this morning is due to some subconscious impression I have from an experience I had when I was two years old that I can’t remember–this is something I can rationalize. I’ve even gotten to the point where I’m somewhat comfortable (though not happy) with the understanding that causes may not only be unknown, but also unknowable–though fifteen years ago, that notion gave me the same kind of mental and emotional heartburn I’m dealing with now.

    But if the universe is acausal–and this is the internal dialogue that I’m talking about now, not what I’ve been learning through my spiritual practices and the many years being part of the community here–then everything comes unhinged. A chain (or more properly, a mesh network) of causes, even if unknown or unknowable but nonetheless existent, provides a foundation for reality. Without causality, nothing is given, everything becomes unstable and uncertain, the planets follow in their courses only because they decide to do so and that decision can be altered at any given moment. Nothing is stable, nothing is safe. How does one live in such a universe?

    As I said, more meditation is obviously in order.

  166. The idea that current events influences the corresponding conspiracy theories makes sense, but where do the lines get drawn between a conspiracy “theory”, the historical narrative and true history (if there is such a thing)? An example might be what Neptunesdolphin (#115) touched on about the Federal Reserve. I’m reading “Creature from Jekyl Island” right now, and it sure paints a different picture than what I was taught in high school history class.

    Since many in the U.S. believe the Fed to be well, a department of the federal government, where does conspiracy begin and good PR end?

  167. About UFOs and conspiracies.
    I have done a lot of reading about them. Living in northern Maine, there were a few stories of aliens and loggers abounding. I was afraid of the UFOs coming for me.

    Anyway, I have noticed as aliens were presented on TV, they began to be described in the same way in UFO discussions. I have often wondered the link if there is any. Is it a topic that spooks people, who then get the picture on TV and then reinvent the whole thing?

    The UFO conspiracy theories have been for a very long time. One thing that I have noted is how Area 54 stories become mutated over time. When I first heard it in the 1960s, it was FDR and his secretary was threatened with her federal pension if she told. Since then, we have aliens, secret craft, men in black, and all the rest being embroidered into a lasting saga.

    I wonder if that is how conspiracy theories start and grew by generations feeding them and nurturing them.
    —-
    As for me, I welcome our Evil Space Opossum Overlords. (Are they Opossums as in Virginia Opossums or Possums as in from Australia?)

    That conspiracy makes the most sense since I do have a nuclear Opossum living in my local trash dumpster. No one puts their trash in it after dark or the Opossum gets them.

  168. John–

    Just a quick follow-on to my comment on acausality just now. Interactions on planes above the material are also okay because they can be incorporated into the causal model, albeit with a greatly expanded field of play. They are still causes that produce effects.

    I’m bothered by how much this whole thing bothers me, if that makes any sense.

  169. I’ll add my vote to the demons/Lemuria bucket. More generally I’d be interested in anything magic related.

    I enjoyed this post. There’s an obvious connection between the architectural discussion and spirituality but I can’t speak about it intelligently at this moment.

  170. @Mary Bennett #96:
    Stoic (ˈstəʊɪk) philosophy makes virtue (courage, temperance, justice i.e. fairness, & wisdom) the highest good, concentrates on ethics (do the right thing, what is best for all, despite the cost), and inculcate control of the passions and develop an indifference to fortune both good and bad (we learn and grow from adversity and from gain).
    Sometimes mistakenly seen as unemotional and cold, it’s more a case of not being overjoyed at a sunny day and dismayed at a rainy one, but rather feeling pleasure at the sun for the brightness and accepting the cold rain as nurturing the soil.

    The writings “Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius, “Discourses” by Epictetus, and “Letters from a Stoic” by Seneca are considered the core texts.

  171. Orange genie conspiracy theories. They seem to abound.
    I would be interested in hearing what comes next since the Orange Genie is alive, well, and walking on the face of the earth. They can’t seem to dispel his mark on their souls.

    I watch the Sunday News Shows (yes, I know, guilty pleasure.) Only one seems to be carrying the conspiracy theories about the Orange Genie – Chuck Todd of Meet the Press seems to be obsessed with the Orange One. He presents all sorts of commentators and guests who believe firmly that the Orange One is immortal (well in newspeak anyway). Their mission is to put the stake into He Whose Name for Future President Must Not Be Said. It is like watching a conspiracy theory go mainstream with people subscribing and embroidering it even more.

    I think at the end of the day, the Orange One will seem more than human….

  172. Hi John

    I’d just like to second Jeff’s vote for a discussion of coping strategies for an individual living in a declining civilization.

    Thank you.

  173. So, a few random thoughts that are topical, but possibly slightly tangential.

    1) the term “conspiracy theory” itself is vague enough to mostly work as a thought-stopper, and is actually pretty effective at this job. There are certainly some mad “theories” of how the world works going around, but, since I find myself being shut down fairly regularly these days with the accusation of being a “conspiracy kook” I’m beginning to get a bit raw on what the term actually means. What *I* think I am mainly doing is raising questions about quirks and gaps in the mainstream narrative, without feeling any need to proffer any alternative theory at all to fill in its gaps. The asking of the question is itself reason to be called a “conspiracist” and those throwing the accusation around are not actually careful to inquire about what your theories are.

    2) I do have a special impatience for people who are inclined to call others “sheeple” and who are likely to anticipate some imagined moment when everyone will “wake up” and THEN everything will change. This strikes me as another one of the ways people have to excuse themselves from taking any action, because no one else is. When “the sheeple” (other people) “wake up” (ie come to agree with me) THEN I will do whatever it is that I think needs to be done, but, my doing so is entirely contingent on THEM “waking up.”

  174. Brutalism always makes me thing of Albany, New York which looks like someone said, “Hey, let’s redesign the government area to look like a distopian sci-fi movie set!” I’m with pretentious_username at 162 on this: used rarely and in the correct place, brutalism can be awe inspiring. Albany shows the other way you can go.

    The Egg in Albany is the sort of thing that is cool if there is just one thing of that type in the region. But then again, The Egg is more “raygun gothic” than brutalist

  175. I just wanted to add that just because modern buildings are ugly doesn’t mean that they must be ugly. I am, for instance, fan of art deco style (though i must admit furniture in this style is better than architecture)- for me they are great mix of modern and older concepcts (for those who don’t know art deco was dominant style in interwar period).

    It’s strange, but know when i think about it, sharp divergence between elites and masses started after World War II. Before then, elites at least tried to gain popular support, and after war elites stopped caring in any way whether what they were doing has public support or not.

  176. JMG – is there maybe an entire subset of `memes` that we can also view with this lens?

    I’m thinking of Rick Astley and how his song “Never gonna give you up” has become a go-to “oh, let me link you to something you want. Ha ha, it’s Rick”. There were a lot of songs in the 80’s with that sound and there’s plenty of songs since. But that decade could also be tied to the peak of US prosperity. So it almost points a finger at “you could’ve had that, but nope, you can’t have it”. Pulls the rug right out from under you.
    The musical version of “ok, boomer.”?

  177. BobinOK
    Re: “adapt/repurpose/hack all these old electronics” in order to use cell phone apps on android google systems. I am not a cell phone app person (I avoid smart phone and am using a “galapagos” stupid phone that lacks the apps, for basic unencumbered communication) but would instead revert to open source linux such as raspberry pi to stay away from control by the Effete.

    Regarding recycling, I remove individual parts via a hot air station (easy to do, especially with surface mounted devices). I am interested in your good idea and would like to hear from you (search my project at yugeshima.com and use the email for akashi). I intend to take an extra step or two backwards by relying on peer-to-peer direct communications (LoRa meshtastic for local, amateur radio text mode for distant communications).

    You know a lot more than me on this topic of using cell phone software/hardware. I observe that the world is bifurcating into two competing systems: the Chinese system led by wechat, where the govt sees and controls everything, and the Western system led by google where the corporate/govt collaboration (i.e. fascists) see and control everything. Perhaps the outlines of the new dark ages are beginning to appear. All the more reason why someone with your skills and ability to hack the google apparatus is very valuable. It would be great if you could get a group together and teach us your skills. I would welcome such a course.

  178. Mr. Greer,

    I wonder if you have read Umberto Eco’s Prague Cemetery? It’s a fictional account of a Piedmontese forger who plays on all the late 19th century conspiracy theories about Jesuits, Jews, Masons, etc. It’s a good yarn, though a little tedious at points.

    That said, as I might have mentioned before I was educated by the Jesuits. It was certainly a better education than the one on offer at the public school, but it was also rigid, way too focused on “excellence”, and hopelessly occidental in orientation. But I digress…

    Anyway, one of our favorite pass-times as teenage boys was looking up Jesuit conspiracy blogs from the school’s computer labs. This was the early 2000’s, so the internet was a still a wilderness. We found them so funny because it seemed preposterous to us that the imperious in the class room (though avuncular (and often drunk) outside the classroom) men we knew could barely organize a backyard barbecue, let alone an international conspiracy.

    But then, in my late 20’s I read this book: https://www.basicbooks.com/titles/mark-riebling/church-of-spies/9780465061556/ and found out there is good reason to believe the Vatican, using the Society’s lawyer in Munich as an intermediary, ordered the Jesuits there to undermine, and, if an opportunity presented itself, to assassinate Hitler. I was skeptical at first, because of what everyone “knows” about Pius XII. And some parts of the book are a little too swashbuckling to be totally plausible… but the list of citations to primary sources is longer than the book itself so I am convinced some version of the story went on. Eerily, I also got the impression, reading between the lines, this wasn’t the first time this sort of order was given.

    And sure, undermining the Third Reich was obviously a good idea. But then one observes that Avery Dulles was a Jesuit and later a Cardinal, the influence of Georgetown University on the US foreign service in 20th century, the secrecy of the Vatican bank, and, well, one simply wonders what other documents are in the Vatican archive and the General Curia’s files….

    Cheers,

    Anonymous Millennial

  179. @Galen Diettinger (#58):

    Sorry this comment is a couple of days late, but just to follow up on your “school to prison pipeline” observation. Over Thanksgiving I was talking with my uncle, who is now retired after a lifetime teaching public high school. The conversation turned to the accreditation process, and he described having been chosen occasionally to accompany accreditation teams that visited other public high schools. I asked him what was involved, and especially what kind of criteria were used. He said that overwhelmingly the relevant criteria were all about student behavior. Have the students in your school “learned how to behave”? If yes, you get your accreditation. If no, not. Simple as that.

    I know nothing more about it, so if anyone in the community can contradict me please feel free. At the time I just nodded and tried not to look stunned.

  180. Galen, one of the fascinating differences between the two parties here is that the Democrats have next to nobody who can make a convincing run for the presidency — that’s how we ended up with the puppet on a stick currently in the White House — while the GOP bullpen is bursting at the seams. I’d love to see a DeSantis/Noem ticket in 2024.

    Kevin, I hope you’re joking. I’m pretty sure that would spin out of control in some extremely unsettling ways.

    Christopher, I’m rather an Art Nouveau fan myself.

    Chris, that’s a fascinating point. One of the odd things you find in occult literature is the claim that the ancients knew how to do much more with static electricity than we do. As for the space opossums, excellent — we have evidence proving their vast conspiracy! 😉

    Tidlösa, okay, at this point we’re deep into strange-loop territory. Icke gets his conspiracy theory from a bad TV show, and then insists that the bad TV show was put there by the conspiracy…

  181. @ Hosea Tanatu:

    I am not in the least bit surprised. The American public school system has gone from being the envy of the world to a pathetic joke and a national embarrassment. A large part of that is the way public education in this country has been dumbed down. There was a study that came out in the 1990’s which showed that on average, school text books since the 1930’s have declined a grade level per decade, so that a 12th grade textbook in the 1990’s would be roughly equivalent to 6th grade textbook from the 1930’s. That’s a stunning indictment. The fact that so many people these days are coming out of a K-12 education so poorly educated and ill-informed is one of the reasons why our society has so many problems.

    There are many causes for this, but I suspect a big part of it is based on what your uncle was alluding to: the emphasis on ensuring that public school inmates become obedient little corporate drones incapable of questioning the status quo or thinking for themselves. I also think this is one of the major factors behind the aggressive push to make Woke indoctrination an integral part of public education. Just the other day, the University of Oregon announced that successful completion of a course in Critical Race Theory will a requirement for graduation in the future, thereby ensuring that only those who toe the Woke party line get to earn their diploma, especially considering that these courses are invariably taught by true believers and that people who don’t sufficiently kowtow to the latest dogmas of the “social justice” left and confess their “white fragility” or whatever while groveling are guaranteed to flunk. Conformity uber alles!

    I’ve talked to professors who have told me that they have to spend an inordinate amount of time teaching what amount to remedial education because so many high school graduates are simply not prepared for higher ed. I have also had public school teachers I know flat out tell me that high school these days is little more than a glorified babysitting service for teenagers, people who in most cultures throughout history would have been regarded as young adults and expected to act accordingly. The pervasive infantilization of young adults by our society is one of the major reasons it is so screwed up.

  182. Oops.

    Please delete my first post. Must have put a typo in my username.

    Anyway I vote for the following:

    First choice: Demon/Lemuria – I’d really be interested in this one as I’ve spent time meditating on it as well as tracking down some info from the east that mentions it. However, I want something from the unique perspective the western occult traditions have to say about it.

    Second choice: Unknown Archtypes influencing the U.S.

    Third choice: What the western traditions have to say about ascent of humanity back up the Planes.

  183. Hi John

    I would like to ask you if you think the actual dynamic in Germany and Austria, regarding the proposal of forced injections and the prosecution of a minority, could be related to their long history of progroms in the Middle Ages, Great Witch Hunt in the Baroque, different prosecutions in bewteen and the explosion of murder in the 30’s and 40’s of the past century.

    Could be that the “collective unconscious” in fact never change, and only have some periods of sleep between bursts?

    Because what another thing could be?, why right now must be those especific countries that start to introduce the more fanatic prosecution of the unvaxxed? is something related to their History?

    (Well we can discount the Penal Colony Down Under, as you said, this is the Founding Myth at work)

    It seems like the “Morphic Resonances” of Sheldrake at work, waves os memory from the past shaping the present in a dismal and somber way.

    Cheers
    David

  184. Thank you for your post, it brightened my day.
    My favourite conspiracy theory is the Battle of the Grass against the Trees.
    Humans are just pawns in a ongoing fight to take over the Earth. The good thing is that nature always wins, unfortunately humanity doesn’t.
    I read about it years ago on the internet.
    It shines a light on how grasses (especially corn)are now so reliant on humans to grow, but the co2 that we produce helps the trees.
    Thanks again, Angella

  185. Hi John Michael,

    Yes, the intense focus on just one potential (please excuse the unintentional electrical pun) activity of electroplating was a dead give away that something fishy was going on with the critiques. Just because we don’t know, doesn’t mean that the ancients didn’t know.

    Oh, please forgive my off topic comment – things are moving rather fast these days – but remember that we were discussing fertilisers and natural gas recently? Well here’s an aspect of that story I hadn’t considered: Shortage of urea, used to make diesel anti-pollution additive AdBlue, threatens to grind Australia to a halt, transport industry warns. Cows make the stuff for free, but I believe that we source it from natural gas, and obviously exports.

    Mate, this is gonna hit the food supply, no doubts about it. Little wonder that the powers that be seem to be running around like chickens without heads.

    🙂 And it’s possible that the Space Opossum’s are behind it all! You heard it here first! It would be good if it were true.

    Cheers

    Chris

  186. You’ve probably addressed this before, but I’d like to read your take on the Book of Urantia. Like, where did this come from?

  187. Hi JMG,

    I really enjoyed this post. I had not heard of the Tartarian Empire, but I have to admit I really do like that flag.

    In last week’s open post Matt and I both know folks who were into a sovereign citizen theory having to do with one’s social security number in all caps. I have had a really hard time understanding how my otherwise intelligent and perceptive friend could subscribe to such a ridiculous idea.

    As a side note, I was invited over to his house one time and as a gift I brought him your Conspiracy Book. He loved it! He felt completely validated that conspiracies are real, and it helped a lot to be able to talk to him about actual conspiracies based on fact. It now occupies a place of honor in his living room and he tells me that he shows it to virtually all guests in his house. So, he might have allowed himself to get carried away with nutty theories but he has also become your biggest salesman. There is always a silver lining!

  188. For the fifth Wednesday, I would like to hear your thoughts about how Austria and Germany seem to be heading right back to their World War Two roots, this time via scapegoating the unvaccinated to the point of threatening to put them in concentration camps (or something close). It just amazes me that after years of apparently trying to shed their horrific reputation, they are now walking right towards it again. How does this happen? Any point of view, or multiple points of view : historical/psychoogical/occult, etc. would be most welcome. Thanks for considering.

  189. Have any of you seen the latest from James Howard Kunstler? Among other highlights, Kunstler writes

    For instance, a new study and warning from the American Heart Association concluded that mRNA vaccines dramatically increase risk of developing heart disease between 11 and 25 percent. Twitter slapped an “unsafe” warning on anyone attempting to transmit this news on its sacred app. Unsafe to whom, or what? Why, to the sacred narrative, of course, which is that the USA must be kept in a never-ending paranoid uproar over Covid — certainly until at least past the 2022 elections, in order to maintain all the emergency mail-in ballot provisions that enable voting fraud.

    Not only did Twitter censor this unwelcome contradiction to the official narrative, but defenders of the status quo promptly came out of the woodwork, claiming the AHA’s study was false, false, false! One headline read

    There’s No Evidence mRNA Vaccines Cause Heart Disease, So Why Did American Heart Association Publish It?

    https://www.science20.com/content/theres_no_evidence_mrna_vaccines_cause_heart_disease_so_why_did_american_heart_association_publish_it

    And what evidence did they have to back up any of their claims? Why, none at all, unless you count “because I said so” as serious scientific evidence. Evidence, we don’t need no steeenking evidence! So the crisis of legitimacy continues to grow, propelled by the numbskull stupidity of the elites and their hangers-on. At this rate, sooner or later the pitchforks are going to come out and when that happens things are going to get really, really ugly.

  190. Everyone should watch this latest Chris Martenson video in which they discuss the mass psychology behind the vaccine narrative…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRo-ieBEw-8

    As a major X-FILES “Trust No One” type I love exploring conspiracy theories as they often raise good questions… and on some very good questions. In this day and age of officially sanctioned disinformation so-called conspiracies are turning out to be anything but.

  191. @Pablo (#190):

    From here on the ground, it looks to me like that began to happen once the machinery of choosing party candidates shifted from party conventions to direct primary elections–a huge mistake, IMHO. Once that happened (some years after the end of WW2), the PR flacks of both parties seized control of the selection process, using all their techniques and tricks to game the popular vote in the primaries. There was no longer any need for either party to think of anything other than how best to present its candidates to appeal to the voters–platforms and specific agendas became mere PR gimmicks, not anything any in sider expected to be held to.

    I’m just old enough to remember watching old-style party conventions on TV (with minimal intervention by the networks’ talking heads).

  192. JMG I read in your commentary, Strange Bright Banners, your noting the extreme use of language, people bandying about the term ‘fascism’ for example, and accusing their ideological opposites of that particular political transgression. I’ve made the argument myself that the path to shooting is greased by shouting, that kind of rhetorical overstretch a prime example. But there are many others, like calling people with a distaste for certain sexual or cultural or religious practices ‘phobic’ ie Islamophobic or transphobic, or accusing political adversaries of waging ‘war’ on women, on Christianity, on Christmas, on the poor etc.

    It does look to me that given the festivities on the streets of certain cities, deemed mostly peaceful by news correspondents standing in front of burning buildings, that open warfare isn’t far off with political factions duking it out Beirut-style. There’s no shortage of firearms, nor vociferous discontents, nor animosities plus there’s a lot of ex-military with not only the training but combat and leadership experience.

    IMO the recent spate of political and legal and investigative malfeasance that characterized the failed attempts to undo Trump’s 2016 election win changed the behavioral landscape forever and not for the better. What was previously unthinkable is now not only manifestly thinkable but doable.

  193. CS2, so noted. I’m going to ask you for a bit of help, though. What do you mean by “William Butler Yeats, Magic, and Modern Life”? I’m kind of scratching my head trying to figure out what these three things have to do with one another. Do you mean how to apply the magic Yeats practiced in the modern world? Or what?

    Josh, I’ll consider it.

    Username, you’ll notice that I used “modern architecture” instead of “Brutalism” in my post. I loathe Brutalism but it’s only one fetid flavor in the putrid mass of modern Uglicist architecture.

    Patricia M, so noted! Pogo — ah, there you’ve stumbled across one of the keys to the Great Opossum Conspiracy. Written backwards, it’s an acronym for Opossums Govern Our Planet — Walt Kelly was trying to warn us all!

    Marlena, has it occurred to you that the coyotes might have built the World’s Fair grounds? 😉

    Patricia M, so noted.

    David BTL, when Jung suggested that synchronicity was an acausal connecting principle, he wasn’t saying that cause and effect didn’t exist, but rather that there was another principle that weaves through the warp of causality to create the fabric of reality. I’d suggest that strict determinism and strict acausality are equally extreme and equally inaccurate as descriptions of a world in which causality and synchronicity interweave, in which individuals have some freedom but are subject to some degree of constraint, and in which the planets stay in their orbits because it would be a really big hassle for them to haul themselves onto some other trajectory… 😉

    Drhooves, always a challenging question! I would say that conspiracies unquestionably exist; theories about them zoom off into schizoid delusion when they start claiming that One Big Conspiracy runs everything, or when they have to rely on frantic cherrypicking and bad logic to defend their claims.

    Neptunesdolphins, ding! We have a winner. Every detail in the UFO mythology showed up in pop culture at least a decade before people started reporting it.

    David BTL, it makes a great deal of sense.

    Youngelephant, so noted.

    Neptunesdolphins, that’s why I started calling him the King in Orange. He’s taken on a genuinely archetypal role in the imagination of the Left — not merely the Shadow, but something very much along the lines of a Lovecraftian horror. Thus it’s funnier than anything that one pundit is now referring to the new virus-panic variant as the Necron-Omicron…

    Steve, so noted.

    Scotlyn, thanks for these. The latter point is, I think, especially good; “when the ‘sheeple’ wake up” has become another excuse for provisional living.

    Chris, so what you’re saying is that Albany is an example of truth in advertising!

    Pablo, I think that’s a crucial point. It was indeed after the Second World War that the elites started defining their culture in opposition to popular culture.

    Alex, interesting. Quite possibly!

    Patricia M, thank you for this! I admire people like that.

    Anonymous, no, I find Eco very labored, so I haven’t read it. As for the Jesuits, sure, they used to be much more secretive and conspiratorial than they are now.

    Will, so noted.

    Bliss, you’re welcome.

    Panda, so noted!

    DFC, I admit the thought has crossed my mind.

    Angela, funny! That’s a good one.

    Chris, I’m still watching the fertilizer thing closely.

    Phil, it’s a channeled text that was received by a trance medium in Chicago in the middle of the 20th century. There are a lot of texts like that — if you like the Urantia Book, you might also enjoy OAHSPE, a similar volume that was published in 1882. (You can find it online here.) Apparently there are a lot of beings on the inner planes who like to dictate books like that.

    Samurai, I’m delighted to hear it! The things I like to point out is that conspiracies really do exist; there are lots of them, they are typically at war with one another, most of them fail, and the United States was founded by two of them — the Committees of Correspondence and the Sons of Liberty, after all, were full-blown conspiratorial secret societies. That doesn’t justify the claim that One Big Conspiracy runs everything. Well, except the space opossums. 😉

    Lydia, so noted. Remember that I don’t live in either country, my exposure to both of them consists of a week in 1977, and I don’t necessarily know much more than your average clueless American about them!

    Galen, funny. The attempts to defend the narrative are getting very, very shrill.

    TJ, well, not everyone. I don’t do videos, remember.

    Roger, at this point I think the one thing that’s preventing civil war is that a lot of people on the rightward end of things think the Covid vaccines are likely to have a high long-term body count. Why fight a war when you can just wait for your enemies to drop dead? Other than that — yeah, it’s a real possibility.

  194. Ah, JMG, the fine examples of Uglicist architecture which you have posted bring back fond memories of my undergrad days at York University (in Toronto). When I first went there in the early ‘80s, the main campus was a collection of a few austere concrete monstrosities and a scattering of uninspiring residential high-rises plunked down in the middle of a farmer’s field. Couldn’t have looked more Soviet if you tried. The funniest part was that the main entrance to the campus ended with a gigantic concrete ramp which went atop the lower windowless giant-brick-shaped base of the Ross Building (upon which sprouted an 8-storey cubist poured-concrete and glass rectangular monstrosity). Rumour had it that the ramp was made to enable tanks and other military vehicles to go up in case campus riots needed to be quelled (these buildings first came up in the late ‘60s), though I never believed it – but the rumour fit the ‘vibe’ of the place. One of the great ironies of my undergrad years was our Renaissance Humanities professor screening the film “Man, the Measure of All Things” (mostly about Italian Renaissance architecture) from within a windowless Gulag-inspired poured-concrete classroom (which seemed to be telling us: “The cement truck: the measure of all things”). Had I wanted to study amidst good architecture, I would have gone to University of Toronto (downtown campus), but I figured that I’d rather study at a place that had uninspiring architecture but inspiring Profs instead of the other way around… Fortunately, by the late ‘90s, York’s landmark ramp had been replaced by more reasonable, human-sized, brick-and-mortar buildings: so now on the rare occasion that I walk there, it no longer resembles the good old days when one felt like a political prisoner!

    I am glad that Andrew001 mentioned Toronto City Hall. Not bad for ‘60s architecture (especially since it has curves as well as a sense of proportion). But the best thing is that across the street is Old City Hall in all its 19th century neoclassical red sandstone glory. Sadly, many other beautiful stone buildings have not been preserved – the price that is paid in a city that is hell-bent on the Manhattanization of its downtown. Fortunately, the Eaton Building and many of the old buildings on Bay Street have held on (so far).

    I love talking about the more outlandish conspiracy theories with my (young adult) kids: once we get beyond the ‘I can’t imagine how anybody can believe that!’ stage, we then explore the reason why people believe such apparently outlandish things. And I ask them why they think that this phenomenon has snowballed over the past few decades. We get into some pretty deep and interesting territory!

  195. JMG, found a full transcript for you!

    https://www.peakprosperity.com/mattias-desmet-on-mass-formation/

    So this is the most crucial thing, always in mass formation. So that’s the real reason, the real reason why people buy into the story, even if it is utterly absurd. Is not because they believe in the narrative. It is because the narrative leads to the new social bonds. That’s the very reason. And then there is a fourth advantage. All the frustration and aggression can be directed at an object, and that object is the people who, for one reason or another, do not want to participate in the mass formation.

  196. I originally suggested the essay about Yeats. I’m interested in JMG’s elucidation of Yeats’ views on magic and/or historical cycles and how those views might illuminate some of our predicaments of today. Thanks, Jacques

  197. @ Galen Diettinger (#207)

    Of course, if (just hypothetically) the folks at Science 2.0 had wanted to *broadcast* the AHA results without inviting attacks on themselves, one way to do it would be to describe the results in detail, carefully give a link, and then shout about how false, false, false the results are (without providing an argument). Anyone who wants to know more can click the link; the rest will scroll on by.

    (If that sounds far-fetched, then maybe I’ve been reading too much Leo Strauss. Never mind, I’ll go back to lurking now.)

  198. I’ve never heard of the Great Tartarian Empire myth, but we have plenty of other such inventions from the past. Atlantis. The Garden of Eden. El Dorado. Shangri-La. The Great Flood.

    Some are thought to be memories of real events. The destruction of Santorini inspiring Atlantis, which was later elaborated upon by the mind of Homer. The Mediterranean breaking through the Bosporus and creating the Black Sea inspiring the Biblical flood, also elaborated upon by story tellers for ages until being written down and used as religious propaganda by intellectual elites exiled in Babylon.

    Nomadic people have been sweeping across the Indo-European Steppe for thousands of years. A random nomad in the Urals just poking about could eventually reach France. Think of the Aryans and how they were used in the mythology of the master race in the same way the flood myth was used as part of a narrative to validate a chosen people. Herodotus mentions an ancient people who became known as the Scythians and how they defeated invasion by Darius I himself. If Greece could barely keep the Persians off, no mere horse herders on the steppe could possibly do so. It seemed that every time some army went north of the Black Sea they had their Bronze/Iron Age butts handed to them by seemingly undefeatable barbarians. Never mind that those barbarians might not be the same barbarians who were there the last time. Add the Mongols of the twelfth century and you have a narrative that writes itself. They must be all the same people and part of a great empire. Why not? People tend to just smear similar things together like a film maker combining two book characters into one for simplicity sake.

    Art mirrors life. The way we record, mythologize, tell stories about, propagandize upon, edit, rewrite, lie about, and generally sew new dresses out of scraps of old, quasi-historical cloth says more about where we are now than where some ancients supposedly used to be.

  199. @ Scotlyn #173

    Rapping…
    My Gravatar avatar
    Escaped the abattoir
    Why that is so bizarre
    Is I ain’t a superstar.

  200. @Robert Mathiesen #167:
    Ah, thanks! I don’t think I’d known that information about the myth before. I’ve never been to the area, and the meeting with the person in the museum was east of the Mississippi; it now seems plausible, though, that they were visiting from there, or had at least lived there in the past, or somesuch thing.

    @Patricia+Mathews #178:
    Oh, agreed.

  201. “Just the other day, the University of Oregon announced that successful completion of a course in Critical Race Theory will a requirement for graduation in the future” — Galen Diettinger

    This reminds me of Vladia, an engineer who escaped from communist Czechoslovakia and boarded with my aunt for a while prior to emigrating to America. This would be around 1970. He told me that a requirement for graduation as an engineer in Czechoslovakia was a two-year course in Marxist-Leninist dialectics. A complete waste of time, he added.

  202. So one categorically related conspiracy (or rather family of conspiracies) that I’ve been seeing pop up in a bunch different settings but inevitably with the same core elements is something akin to a semi regular orbital event that occurs in ~ 12k year intervals. Either it’s a sun pulse or an asteroid debris field but the result always involves some combination of an advanced civilization losing its mighty technology, sea levels changing rapidly, and inexplicable oddities/relics. More recently they’ve been involving mundane subplots like the cia sealing NASA photos and other docs that show melted glass on the moon which then explains this or that theory about polarity/orbital inclination/presence of metal isotope X…

    In any case, I’m cautiously optimistic it’s a nicer little cousin of the major apocalypse cults of a decade ago; the framing is lighter and lacking the nihilistic “we’re all gonna die,” replaced instead with a tacit “the computers are gonna fry.”

    That is, I think some people (in some places) are finally praying for the end of the internet and are letting go of mental taboos and sunk costs that it ties into. Lot people tuning out, all the streaming platforms flatlining in eyeball hours and diminishing returns on so called “content” of all kinds. Not as grand in scope as the Tartarian empire but at least a directional switch from the drab purgatory we’ve brought upon ourselves.

  203. @JMG,

    With regard to my nomination, anything on Yeats will do! I was copying Jacques’ nomination and thus ended up with Yeats, Magic, and Modern Life.

    I bought a copy of A Vision when I thought it would be the next book club text, and now I’m singing poems by Yeats and Rilke during my SOP. Their work is clearly magical.

    In my case, I am at such a beginning stage that I don’t know what I don’t know, so any clarification coming from me would be fishing in the dark.

    At the moment I am up to my ears in studying Neoplatonism and theurgy, so anything on Yeats that I can be armed with before I dive in would be appreciated. Much obliged.

  204. I shall register a vote for the demon-Lemuria lore, since prior to reading a comment here, I know nothing at all about it, so it seduces my curiosity. On the other hand, the problem of [the seeming lure and intractability of] evil is a perennial interest, which such a topic might touch on, so I feel like, in modern lingo, a “stakeholder”.

  205. >The American public school system has gone from being the envy of the world to a pathetic joke and a national embarrassment.

    Nah, it’s always been a sad joke. Look, it’s a jobs program, welfare for people with a work ethic, a way to buy votes. That’s it. If you think the schools are there to do anything else, it’s you that’s deluded. Don’t like it? Do it yourself or put them in a private school like all the teachers do. You don’t see them feeding dogfood to their own kids.

    The reason for the dumbing down and all the crazy pet ideologies, is to cater to welfare recipients, er, the teachers in the system. Let’s face it, work is no fun, so let’s not do any more of that than we have to. And the kids love not having to do work either. Everybody wins. Or something,

  206. Hi John Michael,

    A few weeks ago you linked to an essay by a bloke who drove trucks and had considerable experience with the port systems. It was a fascinating read, and oh my, the implications. I’d chuck in a vote in for the subject of people or institutions pursuing advantage for themselves even when it becomes a self defeating strategy. There seems to be a lot of that about at the moment…

    Hey, I dunno whether you heard the talk about the net zero Space Opossum business by 2050? Apparently they’ve become so ingrained in the control of the establishment, that the best estimates is that it will take the next three decades to clean the house so to speak. I’d tell you more, but this is a public forum after all. Hehe!

    Cheers

    Chris

  207. On architecture: “My Architect” is a documentary film about the son of Louis Kahn, trying to piece together his father’s life and career. You can see his “great” work: the National Assembly of Dhaka (Bangladesh). I think it’s a cross between a Brutalist monolith and a shape-sorting toy for toddlers (“does the round piece go through the square hole?”). His personal life was messy (which is why his son had to dig for research material). One of my favorite sequences in the film is the son’s interview with one of his father’s peers (competitors), who goes off on a spluttering rant about how bad Kahn’s designs were.

    ————————————————-

    5 Interesting Facts About Louis Kahn’s National Assembly of Bangladesh

    This on-line commentary says: “Its structure is made up of 8 volumes located around the main assembly hall: this symbolizes the importance of democracy and is an indication of Kahn’s functional attitude.”

    Say what?

    “The building is surrounded by a large artificial lake and all 9 blocks around the octagonal main hall stand alone. Each of these 9-story blocks connects to each other at only three elevations. The complex transport network of different types of elevators enables the transfer from one to the other to happen easily.”

    They call it a lake: I call it a moat, and possibly a large-scale mosquito-breeding facility.

    “It is also built with concrete inlaid with white marble, which is crucial for resistance since the Bengali desert climate tends to go to extremes. ”

    A castle with a moat, sited in a desert. What could possibly go wrong?

    “Kahn’s masterpiece has been acclaimed by publications all around the world and has also been awarded the prized Aga Khan Award for Architecture.

    Moreover, The High Court of Bangladesh has recently passed an act to secure the preservation of Kahn’s original vision from any future alterations. ”

    …Because that’s what you do when you’re confident that everyone will be happy with the design, long into the future.

  208. Brilliant. Thanks. This is a fascinating project to explore irrational fringes and delusional expressions to understand the subconscious archetypes which often are the most stable influences driving human cultural evolution.

    A key insight is “the prevalence of massive dishonesty in the conventional wisdom of our time.”

    People need authorities to help them simplify life to make it manageable. But the very process of establishing authority has been delegitimized. It is easy to identify the way profit above all has enabled this undermining of clear thinking. Many generations of political authoritarians have also contributed. But human cultures have evolved mechanisms to resist political authoritarians who claim that everything will be fine if we just trust them. I guess the root is when a culture faces a bleak future, they turn toward messages that tell them what they want to hear, and that is rarely the truth in those times.

    “The history taught to children in every literate society is a mix of well-meaning attempts to summarize the terrifying complexity and ambiguity of the past, on the one hand, and self-serving mythologies meant to justify existing distributions of wealth and influence, on the other.” I would suggest that there are several other hands involved. A third hand are myths that are well meaning attempts to justify and stabilize essential cultural traditions and values. A fourth hand are simplifications of the past that are carefully documented and referenced but are self-serving strategies for maintaining privilege. A fifth hand are histories that are malignant strategies to destabilize existing cultural traditions. The historians that dominate many elite universities these days are often explicit about their intent to destabilize the western tradition in which they have been trained with no real plan for replacing it except the establishment of justice for all under the guiding hand of anarchy or some central committee. It is a stark irony, the historians failing to note that these have been tried before. Previously western cultural expressions were one of many multi-cultural traditions they celebrated. But now if it is western, it is racist, and obviously “doubleplusungood”. The fact that such “authorities” that trash cultural values will be thrown out by whatever means happen to work is another of the often repeated rituals of human history.

  209. JMG said, in regards, to the question about the FED (U.S. Federal Reserve):
    Drhooves, always a challenging question! I would say that conspiracies unquestionably exist; theories about them zoom off into schizoid delusion when they start claiming that One Big Conspiracy runs everything, or when they have to rely on frantic cherrypicking and bad logic to defend their claims.

    What struck me about the Fed conspiracy theories was that people were frustrated with the Fed’s secrecy. As they well should be, since the Fed did everything to keep what they were doing out of sight. It was to stop people from influencing the markets, however like all things the Fed went overboard in not publishing any minutes of any meetings that the Board of Governors and Bank Presidents held. The Federal Open Market Committee was off-limits to everyone except the participants. It reminded me of the Mafia and their Code of Silence.

    Even today, with the Fed more open – at least they do publish the minutes of various meetings a couple of months later in their Bulletin – I am still reluctant to discuss what went on. I do feel like a member of the Mafia in that regard.

    I believe that the -ahem- code of silence coupled with the murky status of the Fed makes it ripe for conspiracies. (Murky status as in the Glass-Owen Act made the Fed a private entity separate from the federal government but had the President appoint the Chairs, Governors and Presidents of Banks.)

    What just occurred to me is that conspiracy theories that concern the Mafia are not as abundant as the Feds. I do know of the JFK killing and the Chicago Mob. But I am racking my brain for others.

    I wonder why some groups like the Vatican and Fed get conspiracy theories in spades but not others like the Mafia.
    —-

    Space Opossums influencing what we perceive or is that the Matrix? Or are the Vatican and Fed a threat to the plans of the Space Opossums? Maybe the Space Opossums are working with the Mafia?

  210. @ Neptunesdolphin re # 230

    “Space Opossums influencing what we perceive or is that the Matrix? Or are the Vatican and Fed
    a threat to the plans of the Space Opossums?
    Maybe the Space Opossums are working with the Mafia?”

    That’s what the Underground Gophers want you to think. You know,
    the ones building the monster subterranean bunker on La Palma island and getting
    everybody to think it’s just a volcano erupting. Tricking us into keeping our
    eyes on the skies when we should be sticking our heads in the ground. 😉

  211. For the fifth Wednesday, I vote for the demons and Lemuria details.

    Somewhat related to the theme of the post, I would like to share a monologue from the start of Foundation’s episode 9:
    [GAAL NARRATING] Ask a historian,
    “What was mankind’s greatest invention?”
    Fire? The wheel? The sword?
    I would argue it’s history itself.
    History isn’t fact.
    It’s narrative, one carefully curated and shaped.
    Under the pen strokes of the right scribe,
    a villain becomes a hero,
    a lie becomes the truth.

  212. The comment by neptunesdolphins, which seems to reassure us that the Federal Reserve is undeserving of the bad press it receives, is highly misleading.

    1. there is no such thing as the “U,S, Federal Reserve” or “United States Federal Reserve” and the constant misrepresentation that this is a “United States” entity itself is proof of conspiracy. In fact some years ago a Saudi Prince once published the known owners of this private bank and they were mostly Europeans. This may account for the fact that during the 2008 crisis, what the conspiracists call “U.S.” or “United States” Federal Reserve printed up almost a trillion dollars and gave it to (themselves or dear friends) in Europe.

    2. It is conspiracy fact (ie. a fact of a real conspiracy) that the Federal Reserve was created via a secret bankers meeting by the richest people at the time who wanted to control America. These established facts can be found in Edward Griffin`s book (Creature from Jekyll Island), none of which have been refuted. These are solid facts of a real conspiracy that created a mechanism for the richest people in the world to employ the IRS as their enforcers to force all Americans to work for this private bank and give their money to it under penalty of prison. The Federal Reserve was created along with the IRS. The IRS works hand in hand with the Federal Reserve to enslave the people of America. These are facts of a real conspiracy. Note that the leader of the IRS /US treasury and the leader of the Federal Reserve trade places, since they are basically the same these days.

    Any discussion of “conspiracy” and “Federal Reserve” should commence with a true accounting of the real owners of this bank, The (mostly) foreigners who own the Federal Reserve are buying up all of America. They own a few trillions by now and are rapidly increasing their legal ownership of the United States. They are not a government agency or a US owned entity. The real facts of this existing conspiracy illuminate the ongoing creation of a new feudal society, both owned and controlled by (yes; secret) owners that use money for control.

  213. @ pretentious_username #175
    I concur that “Brutalism” should be reserved for a certain type of modern architecture, but I strongly disagree that it has actual artistic merit. The root of the name is beton brut, meaning raw or unfinished concrete, and it was so named by Le Corbusier, who built most of his later buildings in that style. It was enthusiastically picked up as a style in the 1950s by the next generation of architects, and petered out in the 70s as it was supplanted by the latest Modern fads. Like the rest of Modern architecture, most examples were plopped down without any regard to context or climate.
    As a young man, I sought out many of its most famous examples, including Boston City Hall and La Tourette. My best known local example in Providence is Brown University’s Sci-Li (Science Library), longtime crown holder as ugliest building on College Hill. The reaction of many of the users of these bleak monuments was the typified by the architecture students at Yale, who set fire to Paul Rudolph’s Art and Architecture Building in 1969. The only example I met where the users professed to enjoy the building was the Dominican monastery of Sainte Marie de La Tourette, and they have dedicated themselves to a life of poverty and prayer.
    I would suggest that your comment that it “really demands associated greenery to balance out the concrete” says more than you intended. The essence of the style is the power of the raw concrete. In most cases, brutalist buildings can only be recommended for their temporary firmness, having neither commodity nor delight. Most are built of reinforced concrete, and we have been discovering that reinforced concrete has a pretty short lifespan compared to traditional building materials, as was demonstrated in Miami Beach recently.
    On the other hand, raw monolithic unreinforced concrete can be used in a building exemplifying commodity, firmness, and delight. The Pantheon in Rome has been delighting visitors for about 1900 years with the largest monolithic concrete dome in the world.

    PS: My previous link to Rhode Island’s designated social media influencer appears to have been broken, so here’s another, with a Space Opossum in the guise of a cat.

  214. Ron, good for you. More parents should have such conversations with their kids.

    TJ, thanks for this!

    Jacques, okay, got it. That’s a good deal clearer.

    Marlena, Parthian Coyote and the Space Opossums sounds like the name of a third-rate acid rock band from 1972!

    Jon, I tend to think of the identification of Atlantis with Santorini as an example of modern mythologizing, but other than that, no argument. Human beings think with myths as inevitably as we eat with mouths and walk with feet.

    Chris, interesting. Yes, that’s an intriguing shift and, to my mind, a hopeful one.

    CS2, so noted! I’ve made that annotation to the list.

    Scotlyn, so noted.

    Chris, I’ve added that to the list. As for the space opossums, I figure that when they say “net zero,” since “net” is the opposite of “gross,” that by 2050 everything will be really, really gross. 😉

    Patricia M, thanks for this! The Spaniards knew perfectly well about the properties of the stone — that’s why they made the walls vertical instead of beveling them in the usual way with thick earthen berms, which do the same thing to cannonballs.

    Lathechuck, it looks like they brought in the building in a packing crate and then forgot to unpack it.

    Ganv, I’d suggest that the destabilization strategies are in fact ways by which the managerial elite try to shore up their own position. Managers have to have problems to manage, and if it’s inconvenient to deal with the actual problems facing society — Toynbee has quite a bit to say about that — ginning up fake problems via destabilization moves is a standard ploy. The managerial caste always sees itself as overturning the past, since the past is always their first choice of “problem” to “solve,” and abstract justice as a goal rather than a specific endpoint is part of the gimmick — if you have an endpoint in mind, what happens when you reach it? Instead, just as the medical industry today treats a patient cured as a customer lost and prefers to keep the patient sick so they can manage the symptoms, the managerial caste is in the business of managing problems, not solving them.

    Neptunesdolphins, where’s the fun in revealing that the Mafia is up to no good? Everybody knows that. Half of what motivates conspiracy theories is the freedom to point an accusing figure at respectable people and say, “They’re up to no good!”

    Packshaud, so noted.

    Robert, his works are now out of copyright, so I hope to see much more of his magical writings online in the near future. Thank you for these! “Yeats, Swedenborg, and the Desolate Places” is in my favorite A Vision anthology, which includes that and several other relevant essays of his.

  215. @Peter Van Erp

    > Like the rest of Modern architecture, most examples were plopped down without any regard to context or climate.

    That was certainly my experience of the CS building at UMIST In Manchester where I learned the rudiments of my trade. A tall block isolated on a large plaza at one corner of the campus it was clearly intended for a gentle Mediterranean climate. Unfortunately Manchester is one of the wettest and windiest cities in the UK and the building was oriented to face the prevailing wind.

    Gusts at high levels would run down the face of the building and anyone trying to get in under those conditions would have to walk against a stiff breeze at ground level and horizontal rain apparently originating from the building itself. Nobody got into the lobby with dry clothing.

    Happy days!

    Although the institution is long gone, the campus itself remains, partly because it would take a small nuclear device to demolish it and partly because it is seriously described by city officials as a ‘Brutalist Paradise’. I like to think that my terrifyingly inept student efforts are somehow commemorated by its survival.

  216. Just my opinion. I think flat earthers are putting earth (and therefore humans) back in the center of the cosmos. If earth is flat, it has to be at the center of the galaxy, right? Probably not all flat earthers think that, but I suspect that’s the core tenet of the theory, that Earth really IS the center and we really ARE the special chosen species. It doesn’t say all that much about our culture except that a lot of people must feel totally disenfranchised, to turn to this narrative to feel special and important.

    Sincerely,

    Jessi Thompson
    anotheramethyst

  217. It is worthy of note that many times what appears to be a conspiracy is in fact just an illusion created by circumstance. Consider my favorite example of systematic wrongdoing: the Prohibition laws. Three of the groups strongly supporting this nonsense were:
    1. Protestant churches and related social-virtue organizations (eg. The Temperance Union);
    2. Suppliers of non-alcoholic beverages (coffee, tea, soda, etc.); and:
    3. The Mafia.

    Did the leading citizens of these groups collude together to oppress the masses? Heck no – they seldom even spoke to one another. What actually happened was that these independent and mutually disinterested groups, in pursuing their diverse self-interests, held expectations that the same social-justice cause could benefit them directly – albeit in different ways.

    Fast-forward a few years, and we can fit current events loosely into this framework by making the following analogy:
    1. Academia & the scientific community are analogous to the church groups;
    2. Politicians are analogous to the beverage suppliers; and:
    3. Pharmaceutical corporations are analogous to the Mafia.

    So is there a collusion between the leaders of these groups, that they should work together to achieve world domination? Not likely. Other than the fact that all three groups are noisily promoting the virtues of a highly controversial vaccination program (and like a century previous, only #3 could make significant financial gains therefrom), the only thing they have in common is that a certain Dr. Fauci seems to be wearing a Space Opossum Mask for all three leagues.

    So there you have it: no conspiracy behind Covid.

  218. I vote for Yeats. Would love to know more about his occult activities, the Golden Dawn and your views on whether his play The Countess Cathleen really did send forth certain men the English shot

  219. @JMG and Peter Van Erp (aka Peter Khan) #142

    Thanks for your responses! I was just trying to inject some humor in these (often too deadly serious) discussions!

  220. JMG, I have had time to nurture my vague thought in my previous comment. I would now say Neoclassical architecture is alchemical. From some brief research it seems Neoclassical architecture came about around 50-100 years after the Renaissance ended and after alchemy turned into modern chemistry. If I have assessed that correctly it seems Neoclassical architecture came after the popularity of alchemy/the Renaissance, which I find interesting. Now this is some very, very amateur research on my end but 1) is that a reasonably accurate assessment and 2) From your perspective, why would such an alchemical architecture (derived from the point you made about buildings designed in human proportions) come after the Renaissance in which alchemy thrived?

  221. Mr. Greer,

    Talking about dreams…

    Two events posted recently on Zero Hedge:

    “CNN fires Cris Cuomo over recent suspension..”
    AND…..
    “Wall Street Firms Tell Employees To ‘Dress Down’ As Violent Crime Rages..”

    Strange Days Indeed! Are we finally rounding up to a ‘faze change’ ??? … Are pigs finally flying into oblivion?

    Speaking as one those of us ‘who can see’ .. are our less focused brethern finally now allowed to wipe some of the Ghoulish Corpserate ‘Sleep-of-Death’ from their collective eyes, or does this seem like a kind of panicked ersatz jujitsu version of MOARRRRR elite gaslighting?

  222. “ Kevin, I hope you’re joking. I’m pretty sure that would spin out of control in some extremely unsettling ways.”

    Er, well, yes. I might just limit myself to hanging up the Tartarian banner and making some fun art work. It’s simply that I enjoy the level of imagination that goes into this particular theory, and the longing for beauty and romance that I feel it implies. It will become part of my reality labyrinth rather than a reality tunnel, to borrow the phraseology of Robert Anton Wilson.

    As to the debate between brutalism and neoclassicism: I’m not sure that I would focus on a particular style or its superficial attributes. What I object to in uglicism is its expression of what I feel to be an anti-human ideology, and also one which is hostile to nature. What I would like to see is a resurgence of art and architecture that answers to deep human psychological and aesthetic needs, as well as to practical needs. Whereas uglicist architecture has been aptly described by Mr. Kunstler as essentially despotic in character.

  223. @JMG; That is a great question: Why do so many of the managerial class/intelligencia explicitly undermine the cultural traditions and myths of the society that supports them? And you give a good answer: that by destabilizing cultural norms they create artificial problems of their own design that they can then propose solutions to, rather than face the more intractable real problems the society faces. That answer is a good part of the truth. Another piece of the puzzle is that the culture in question has created a cult of progress and so a leader needs to announce what parts of the backward past they are replacing with their shiny new future. In the world of ideas and history and myth, this culture of progress has degenerated into a catabolic phase where it is destabilizing itself and descending into incoherence because the metrics used to measure individual success require innovating and replacing some part of the past by everyone who wants to stand out as “successful”. With everyone trying to tear down some piece of the cultural heritage and propose a replacement but almost no good paths for actual progress, we end up with whole academic disciplines that do little more than destabilize the society they depend on.

  224. Ganv and JMG, that last line, that authorities will get tossed out by whatever means happen to work, is an oft repeated ritual in human history that today is overlooked I suspect because of monumental hubris on the part of those same authorities. They no doubt tell themselves, it’s different this time, things have changed because WE (meaning themselves) are the ones that changed them.

    Things sure have changed. Things always change, but as my dad used to say, it’s the ending that’s the same. That the Iron Curtain comprised of machine gun towers and multitudes of soldiers and tanks that sat across Europe not so long ago like, well, an iron curtain, protecting totalitarian regimes that looked as immoveable as mountains, came down seems to elude today’s big thinkers who seem to behave as if their own position and their own institutions and the regimes that coddle them are all forever and for all time. They appear to believe that the societal ecosystem that gives them privileged positions can maybe be dented or maybe scratched. But overturned? I think it will be like the bankruptcy in Hemingway’s novel, happening gradually, a bit at a time, and then suddenly and all at once.

  225. Very apropos and wise. I just tried to delve into the “they’re trying to kill us all with the vaccine” theory and found it lacking in the details, but my friend was not convinced even after I showed him the statistical fallacies of his “smoking gun” paper that he found on the internet and explained P values to him. He is not interested in the details, only in the big picture. The thing I found most disappointing is that my other friends who are part of the privileged classes, did not want to look at the details either, but had already decided that the theory is bogus and the people who came up with reasonable (but ultimately false on the detail level, true on the archetpal level, as you, Jung and Alian de Botton understood) arguments and data interpretation were idiots. Or else they just offered their own debunking, disregarding what was presented in this paper. I am disappointed in them because that is not how I was taught to discuss ideas and it’s not part of my culture of science, but this is where we’ve gotten to in our culture with two opposing camps that are not willing to really listen to each other and disdain each other.

    Did you have the same insights in your book debunking UFOs? DId you look at the underlying psychology of why people want to believe in extra-terrestrials rather than whether they are making contact on earth in an objective way?

  226. Denis, I’ve been fascinated by the way that the corporate media Is. Not. Talking. about the dismal sales on Buy Nothing Day — or for that matter Cyber Monday, which had a year-over-year decline in sales for the first time since it got started. The whole spectacle is serious popcorn material — the managerial caste shut down the economy for a year, and now they’re horrified to discover that the resulting pause gave millions of working people the chance to realize that life really is better when you’re off the work-and-consume hamster wheel.

    Jessi, I could see that.

    Steve, exactly. As I’ve noted before, conspiracies exist, but when you can explain the facts quite adequately as a result of corruption, arrogance, and stupidity on the part of ruling classes well supplied with all three characteristics, I don’t see a need for collusion narratives.

    Robert, so noted.

    Foamroller, fair enough. Remember that I have Aspergers syndrome and so by and large don’t get the joke.

    Youngelephant, that’s an interesting speculation. I’d encourage you to pursue it further!

    Polecat, when you start seeing people talking about that outside of fringe venues such as Zero Hedge — which is not a putdown, btw; I read ZH daily — we’ll know that a phase change is in process.

    Kevin, oh, I’m not stuck on Neoclassicism myself; as I noted in response to a comment above, I’m very fond of Art Nouveau, and I’m also a fan of Shaker architecture and design. I’d just like to see Uglicism handed over to the very few people who can stand it, and people given the right to have a voice in the nature of the built environment they have to put up with.

    Stellarwind, thanks for this.

    Ganv, exactly. The entire belief system of progress requires the destruction of the past — and above all it requires the destruction of any part of the past that works better than its up-to-date replacement, to preserve the illusion that we’re on our way to a shining utopian future.

    Roger, that’s my take. The current elite class in North American and Europe has forgotten that they can lose. That act of collective senility, in turn, is the main reason they’re going to lose, because they can’t imagine why they need to avoid the actions that are bringing about their own destruction.

    Iuval, yes, that was a central theme of The UFO Chronicles. Another was the necessity of breaking out of the false binary that insists that UFOs must be (a) alien spacecraft or (b) nonexistent.

  227. @Marvin Motsenbocker

    I just checked out your site, looks interesting. What do you think about the prospects of having an atmospheric electricity generator of the late 19th – early 20th century variety? Could it be a possible standalone alternative to what you’ve suggested, or maybe, something that can be used in conjunction with your invention? It’d be nice to have multiple options. If atmospheric electricity generating devices (which obviously have an efficiency <<1.0) could be used to boost crop growth, that could improve the quality of life for many people in Third World countries like mine (India).

    @JMG

    I would like to put in a vote for anything about W. B. Yeats.

  228. @ Jessi #240 – for what it’s worth, I think you are right about the Flat Earth Mythos. It is one I’m fairly familiar with, because I have a proselytising Flat Earth friend who is continually supplying me with what they consider to be “persuasive information”.

    As far as I can make out the “conspiracy” aspect of this mythos is the proposition that NASA spends all its time using Hollywood CGI effects to create videos and photos of an imaginary “space” which humans will never get to.

    There are ironies, because many of the Flat Earth proofs consist of photographic and video evidence counterposed at NASA photographic and video evidence, which means that if your argument is based on the fact that photos and videos can be doctored, well…

    The thing is that there is a level at which I wonder why my friend encounters such stiff “personal” dismissal (ie not dismissal of his ideas, but dismissal of his personal worth), because, on the face of it, what is the harm? It is not like there is any human economic or social policy with economic or social consequences that would be altered in the smallest bit by establishing that the shape of the earth is like this or like that. (well, maybe it would shrink NASA’s budget, if the Flat Earth Mythos entered the circles where budgets are made). But it is very hard to picture this person, or any of his mythos-mates, as a danger.

    On the other hand, though, I just tell him, from time to time, that I cannot unsee what I see with my eyes, without resorting to photos or videos:

    1) that you can’t make water produce the appearance of an “edge” – like the one we can see looking out to sea from this fishing port – without some sort of container. Picture a plastic drink bottle. If the earth was flat then I would always be able to look across the water and see something “higher” than it which contains it. Or else, I’d be able to sail right up to the transparent wall that holds the water in place and touch it for myself. (A challenge the local fishermen are quite capable of answering from experience).
    He cannot seem to step out of the mantra “horizons are flat because water finds its level…” which I reckon is unfinished, as it is a conditional statement, the condition being that it is “…in a container”.

    2) that I can stand here and see Orion oriented one way (sword apparently below waist), while never being able to forget that that time I visited Australia, when I spotted my old friend Orion, how surprised was I to see that he was upside down (sword apparently above the waist). That is to say, the lack of consistency between Flat Earth Mythos and the sky we actually see is something that is hard to unsee once you see it.

    Needless to say, these continue to be my firm reasons for remaining proselytised. But they do not in any way shake his mythos.

    One last thing, though. Are there not many ways to consider ourselves special and important? One of them being the direct opposite of the Flat Earth Mythos – what we might call the Destiny Among the Stars Mythos?

    Perhaps the hardest thing of all is to adopt the Know our Place Mythos, that (in the words of a shoggoth well known to many here) “The universe does not have eyes, but we do”. That our own concerns are small and insignificant in the greater scheme of things, but that at the same time, they are significant to us, and that should be enough.

  229. @ clejaniuval #251 “I just tried to delve into the “they’re trying to kill us all with the vaccine” theory and found it lacking in the details…” and “The thing I found most disappointing is that my other friends who are part of the privileged classes, did not want to look at the details either, but had already decided that the theory is bogus and the people who came up with reasonable… arguments and data interpretation were idiots. Or else they just offered their own debunking, disregarding what was presented in this paper.”

    Well, this is the area where I myself enter the crossfires, too. And it all started several years ago when I tried to figure out why this particular young girl who I happened to know personally entered into such a debilitating spiral of autoimmune disease and dysfunction following her HPV vaccine. At that time I was familiar with, committed to, and had never found any reason to question, the Vaccines Save Lives Mythos.

    So, I read and read and read. What I chose to read was entirely within the field of evidence as presented by scientists, or as discussed by people familiar with the evidence who took the time to analyse it. I quickly found that some of the relevant scientists and some of the relevant evidence had entered the Fortean category of “the damned” ie “the excluded”. But mostly what I found out was that there were big, giant evidenciary holes in the Vaccines Save Lives Mythos – and that these were not hard to find within the peer-reviewed scientific literature itself. Even though, as I also discovered, every scientific paper on the matter appears to be obliged to contain what I came to call the “catechism declaration”. A paraphrase of this, which is found in almost every scientific paper on any aspect of clinical science related to vaccines, says something like: “as we all know, vaccines save lives… now we shall discuss the evidence we are presenting [sub-text: which, no matter what it shows, should not lead you to think we question the mythos].”

    Ultimately, I became an apostate to the Vaccines Save Lives Mythos. I never joined the Vaccines Destroy Lives Mythos* – mainly because it, too, lacks an evidence base. I have not even “hung out” in places where “nanobots” in vaccines – and such – are discussed. It seems to me that if anyone feels genocidal, they could probably figure out quicker and easier ways to go about it. I cannot imagine a more inefficient way to carry out such a plan than by using vaccines.

    On the other hand, to my mind, vaccine makers simply do not make a convincing enough case for their products to be set apart from other pharmaceutical products in re regulatory matters related to safety (especially) and efficacy. And there is certainly no sound case at all for mandating the administration of even a single one of them to the unwilling.

    For arriving at this position, I have been called an “anti-vaxxer” and (as you point out) find that no one is ever interested in discussing available evidence. They simply want to paint me into the “here be dragons” corners of their mental maps, and disregard anything that I have to say – the thought-stopping term “anti-vaxxer” still effectively does this.

    At first I found this caused me great dismay (I mean *which* vaccine do you say I am against? For which people? under which circumstances? what do you mean by “against” etc) But, over time, I have realised that even though the epithet is far too vague to be factually correct, in mythic terms, of course, it is absolutely right. Because, over time and after much reading and considering, it turns out that I AM a heretic, an apostate, a dissenter, who has simply stopped accepting the validity of the Vaccines Save Lives Mythos, and who therefore fails to grant sufficient deference to its proponents who are currently in the ascendancy.

    But here is the thing. I find I have no need to join any actual alternative mythos. I appear to be capable of letting what I cannot know, remain unknown to me. I do not need a “conspiracy” mythos to see that various vested interests have both combined and clashed in various ways, creating sometimes pernicious, but mostly unforeseen and inadvertent outcomes, to which the response can consist of “doubling down” as often as it does of “learning and moving on”.

    For myself, I would be happy if vaccines were simply reduced back to the status of any pharmaceutical product, fairly and transparently regulated, and offered only to those who genuinely wish to avail of them, without resort to threats, bribes or duress.

    * Although the *specific* evidential case that the DTP vaccine increases the risk of all cause mortality for African children by two to five-fold, per the work of Peter Aaby, is particularly strong and compelling.

  230. What an excellent post. Eric Raymond wrote a similar article a while ago where he described lizard people as a metaphor for sociopathic elites. However, I have never seen a key to interpreting conspiracy theories presented so well. Gaining a new intellectual tool always makes me happy.

    Funny, for an ostensibly rational and scientific society we certainly have a lot of taboos. I suppose the purpose of the ambient propaganda we are constantly subject to is exactly to enforce these taboos.

    I also suspect that the absence of great and transcendent art is a factor in our collective mental illness. If truth is taboo and great art speaks the truth, then art must also become taboo. And so it is.

  231. Marvin, this reminded me of my senior year while getting my electrical engineering degree. I participated in a school funded project to make solar chargers for laptops (aka, solar powered laptop project). The other three students weren’t really doing anything on the project so I took a couple of solar panels home along with a couple of the old/donated laptops. I put a single diode between the solar panels and plugged them directly into the laptop (sans the AC to DC charger for a normal wall outlet) and voila solar powered laptop!
    I’m sure I could have made the setup a bit better but my inclination was to think, “I’m missing something, this should be more complicated.”, which is almost certainly how most people would think (I’m glad that you’re helping to cut though the mental clutter surrounding solar).

    I just bought a copy of your book and I’m starting to read. More thoughts to come on that.
    Have you ever posted anything about your DC solar setup at permies.com ? Seems like the sort of appropriate tech solution that Paul Wheaton would like.

  232. The author of a book on the Gulen movement, commenting about the prevalence of conspiracy theories in Turkey, noted that as she was writing, Turkey had had four military coups (now five, I guess, depending on how one counts failed coups), each one of which was, by definition, preceded by a conspiracy. The thing about “conspiracy theories” of the popular kind is that they are far more expansive–not just a faction within some government, but a shadowy global cabal (for example). For those who aren’t aware, Turkish president Erdogan never accepts blame for anything that goes wrong in Turkey–rather, it is the fault of the Gulenists, Armenians, Greeks, Freemasons, and “foreigners” in general.

    Why are we talking about Lemuria and demons? It so happens that premise of the “Eternals” movie which is out now (a Marvel superhero movie based on “The Eternals” comics from the 1970s, by Jack Kirby) pits a race of godlike ancient astronauts (with names like “Ikaris” and “Sersi” and “Thena”)–the titular Eternals–against a race of demon-like Deviants who live in the undersea city of Lemuria (and have names like “Tode” and “Kro”).

    David Icke also has a Marvel connection via the Avengers, which 20 years ago rebooted itself with an eye to producing a comic that would be easier to adapt to cinema (“The Ultimates”). In it, Thor was not presented simply as the god of thunder–rather, the reader was left to wonder whether he really was a Norse divinity, or a crazy European environmentalist who only thought he was a Norse divinity. This Thor was modeled to some extent after David Icke (and looks like Icke as a young footballer). (Recall that at one point, Icke was claiming to be the messiah.) Also, the shape-shifting green alien “Skrulls” from the original comics were rebranded with the less comic-booky name of “Chitaurians” (after the star Chi Tauri). This is Icke’s name for the reptillians.

  233. Marvin Motsenbocker@ 193,

    My background is more electrical than electronic, I started with powerlines in the service and then moved to robots and CNC systems as a civilian. Because of that, I try to look at existing circuits or systems since the assembly and design is already done. I can write code or troubleshoot from a generator to an individual system’s board level all day long, but I’m the last guy you’d want designing a board or troubleshooting component.

    I had a flip phone until 2015…lol. Funny how many of us old techies just want something that works no matter what. My migration to a smart phone was fueled by work unfortunately.

    Android apparently uses the Linux kernel. I’m still learning about the details, trying to find information is fairly difficult since most of the guys who deal with this don’t have to write tech articles to ensure their next job.

    For peer-to-peer communications, I know its possible to use sockets and set up a local comm network using just a wifi router or just the phones themselves. After the Fukushima disaster in Japan, I believe the Red Cross was working on this. Messages would hop from phone to phone until reaching the destination so that each phone within range of another phone can become a repeater node.

    I’m a ham as well, KF5KZY. I haven’t experimented much with digital. This is what drove the initial interest in hacking old phones and tablets. A buddy restores old computers and uses a Commdore 64 to do his morse code on HF. I got through high-school because of one and remember well how easy it was to access the IO ports compared to a PC. Of course, that C64 is much more user-friendly than a proprietary tablet or phone but not even close to the capabilities.

    I agree with you that we’re headed for another dark age. Too many traditional skills and hard won knowledge have been forgotten in North America and Europe. I’m not looking forward to the temper tantrum of our coddled urbanites at all. China on the other hand will still be China no matter what and if things collapse, it won’t be too much different than the 20th century for them. They’ve been through it before.

    73s,

  234. I also vote for the demon-Lemuria lore ;thank you for this wonderful educational platform.

  235. Jeff, I think it was Genghis Khan!

    Viduraawakened, so noted.

    Starfish, thank you! It’s exactly because we pretend to be a rational and scientific society that our lives are so heavily loaded with taboos, myths, and rituals. Societies that are open about having taboos, myths, and rituals generally do a better job of keeping them from getting in the way of daily life.

    Bei, Lemuria has a big presence in pop culture. Didn’t Mothra come from Lemuria originally? But that’s because pop culture has been much more heavily influenced by occultism than most people realize.

    Patricia M, oh, it’s perfectly on topic. We were just discussing the delusional histories promoted by conspiracy theorists, weren’t we? 😉

    BobinOK, excellent! I was saying earlier this year that we need more mad scientists. Nice to see the law of supply and demand taking care of that.

    Jeffinwa, so noted.

    Denis, this year I’m not feeling in need of a break — quite the contrary, I’m looking forward to the new year and will probably keep on blogging straight through the winter.

  236. @JMG and @commentariat
    Thanks for this piece and the wide ranging comments. It seems that some of this empire’s dreams have become nightmares!

    This speaking of architecture brought to mind my freshman year in high school back in ’68; lovely 2 story brick buildings with windows that opened to an ocean breeze, trees with birds, and lawns available for sitting and talking. My second year, due to crowding, I was transferred to a newly built, fenced in, concrete monstrosity w/out windows in the classrooms (well, there was a narrow 6″ by 4″ window in the door) with air conditioning (even though it was only a few moles further inland). Security guards at the steel gate entrance’s to make sure no one could leave the campus w/out approval.

    I’d always been one to “question authority” anyway, politely and reasonably and with humor, but this forced change in environments really sent me over the edge. The humanity had been removed and now “1984” was all too real. What a sad, gloomy environment that was for teachers and students alike.

    It did inspire me to really start looking for other than mainstream avenues for education and inspiration and Divine Mother did not disappoint.

  237. BoBInOk (KF5KZY)
    you pointed out that
    “its possible to use sockets and set up a local comm network using just a wifi router or just the phones themselves. After the Fukushima disaster in Japan, I believe the Red Cross was working on this. Messages would hop from phone to phone until reaching the destination so that each phone within range of another phone can become a repeater node.”

    1. can you give more information about this?
    2. Is there anyone else on this blogsite interested to collaborate on building such communication?
    lets do something. It is too difficult for me to work with the peakprosperity blogsite anymore because that space is now dominated by non-intellectual discussions.

  238. viduvgawakewd
    good idea. The amount of energy that can be harvested from the atmosphere is extremely tiny. IF you build something for thousands of dollars you might be able to get enough electricity for a tiny LED light now and then. I was forced to write a patent application on this about 12 years ago. I say forced because my client absolutely refused my advice to let it go due to impracticality. I dont know if we ever filed it.
    Tesla wrote (about 3 pages) on this. I intend to upload his writing and my analysis to a website this Winter because I have been queried on this subject many times and have spent much time defending the idea that yes, there are some higher voltage electrons to be gathered but no, compared to the currents created and used in modern machines, these are kind of trivial. I will put the posting up under diygrid.net, which itself is under http://www.yugeshima.com

    David James. thank you for the recommendation and I will look up that website.

    It seems that JMG is encouraging madness.

  239. On Flat Earth, the desire makes sense from what I’ve seen.
    Seems driven by the desire to return to Expansion & Exploration.
    i.e. ‘just over the mountains/ice-wall there is a limitless world of new space and resources that we could explore and exploit if only the conspiracy and conspirators could be overthrown.’

  240. Hey jmg

    I reread “tlön,Uqbar, Orbis Tertius” and wondered about the closest real life example, and it occurred to me that any really popular work of fiction that can influential enough that even intellectuals discuss it would fit, lovecraft and lord of the rings for example.

  241. I recall reading a piece written by someone who had worked with Icke for a number of years, and seen his view of the NWO develop from simply nefarious humans to actual shapeshifting lizard vampires. The uptake was that Icke’s source for the reptilian stuff was someone the writer found deeply suspect, and over whom even Icke himself had raised some doubts.

    Whether or not this applies in this instance, I would not be at all surprised if people like David Icke and Alex Jones are fed a constant stream of misinformation. Icke has at points been vindicated (eg, he predicted an attack on US soil a few years before 9/11, and raised the alarm over child abuse in the British establishment a decade or two before Operation Yewtree and suchlike), so if he is throwing the odd truth bomb out there, it makes perfect sense to muddy the waters by feeding him a lot of weird nonsense as well.

    I don’t necessarily think this means Icke or Jones are insincere, just that anyone who is so caught up in their own ego-trip is likely to be susceptible to all kinds of strange influences…

  242. JMG
    I second David BTL’s comment on reason and sanity as tools. I think it would make a great post!

  243. Hi John,

    I figured from the start that QAnon was almost certainly an intelligence community info op, like so many others we’ve seen over the last several decades. The author of the QAnon posts claimed to be a military intelligence officer and least in that, he probably was probably telling the truth, even if most of the rest of what he was peddling was lies and deceptions. As Joseph Goebbels and others have pointed out, a lie is most convincing when it contains an element of truth. The American intelligence community, mass media and others have mastered the art of the Big Lie to an extent that even Goebbels and Edward Bernays could only imagined in their most feverish dreams.

    I recall your discussion of lullabies a while back in a post on The Archdruid Report. It’s pretty obvious QAnon was a classic example of a lullaby in action, intended to lull Trump supporters into a false sense of complacency as he was being sabotaged and taken down by his enemies from within.

    PS – An earlier version of this comment appears to have vanished into cyberspace. I got a weird error message when trying to post the first time around.

    PPS – Your observation that most people on the right haven’t taken up arms yet because they are waiting for what they believe will be a mass die-off of the vaxxed reminds makes me wonder if those claims are being circulated on anti-vax sites as part of another QAnon style info op/lullaby intended to discourage right wing dissidents from taking action on the grounds that the problem will be taken care of for them in the not-so-distant future. That is a question I have mulling over for some time now. If the Deep State learned anything from the QAnon hoax, its how effective such disinformation campaigns can be, especially since there were so many conservatives and right wingers who willingly fell for the narrative they were pushing. Of course, a different part of the same establishment has been manipulating liberals and leftists using a somewhat different set of narratives, but the basic principles at work appear to be the same.

  244. To be clear, I have no idea if claims that have been circulating on anti vax sites of a coming die-off of the vaxxed are part of a Deep State info op or not. It is very unlikely anyone here knows the answer to that question. I was merely throwing it out there as a possibility that people need to take into consideration, based on certain resemblances to patterns seen in known disinformation campaigns from the past.

  245. @ JMG – Thank you! I enjoyed reading your essay and many of the comments that have followed in response. It also made me recall a post you did on thought-stoppers. I, and perhaps others, would like to re-read that one, if you could kindly provide a link. I will now also have to take another look ‘The Conspiracy Book’.

    I meet weekly with a small group of people that discusses spiritual/religious/historical topics. Most recently (last Wednesday evening. Coincidence?) we were discussing certain events that occurred a century ago and viewing them in a contemporary context. One of the participants, probably unwittingly, nearly derailed the group discussion by wondering out loud if conspiracies were keeping some people from going along with the ‘party line’ (my words, not his) in regards to a certain public health issue* – fortunately, the convener appropriately used a thought-stopper** to bring the conversation back on track by firmly stating, “THESE IDEAS DID NOT OCCUR IN A VACUUM”. These words resounded with what you had written regarding the deeper truth behind the wackiest of conspiracy theories.

    * This participant could brought-up any other typically divisive mainstream media topic that has been swirling around recently, not just the health issue, that threatened to derail the conversation.
    ** I realized here that sometimes thought-stoppers can be used in a constructive manner, and also in a way that would provoke deeper thinking about an issue at a better time.

  246. JeffinWa, well, then the concrete monstrosity served its purpose.

    Marvin, encouraging madness? No, just recognizing the hard limitations of human reason.

    David, fascinating. Do any of them ever try to organize expeditions?

    J.L.Mc12, those are good examples, but there are some even closer. Are you at all familiar with the origins of the Rosicrucian movement? Some merry pranksters at the University of Tubingen in 1610 or so cooked up this story about a mysterious sage named Christian Rosenkreutz who learned all the lost secrets of everything, and whose miraculously preserved body had just been rediscovered in a mystic vault crammed with eldritch tomes. They published it in pamphlet format. People became convinced that Rosenkreutz and his mysterious order were real, and in due time, the order became real.

    Luke, that’s entirely plausible, since disinformation is a known habit of counterintelligence and COINTELPRO-type outfits in government.

    Tom, so noted.

    Galen, excellent! I caught that purely because the Qanon business used the same strategy as the Air Force intelligence schemes that manipulated the UFO community — MJ-12, Planet Serpo, etc. As for the dieoff thing, yes, that’s also possible.

    PatriciaT, sure thing; you can find it here.

    Pyrrhus, a nicely turned phrase.

  247. Re fifth Wed…

    – The bad bargain one sounds good.
    – The one on the various bodies/planes sounds good.
    – Anything on how divination works (not the mechanics of eg geomancy but the way in which the spirit of the questor engages with whatever is providing the answer and where the provider is getting it from etc)
    – Anything on Australia (unbiased) would be good.

    Mind you even the posts on subjects I would never conceive of looking into are interesting and sometimes spawn a new interest (eg I would know nothing about Swedenborgianism if it wasn’t for your posts)

  248. JMG (no, 266) “Bei, Lemuria has a big presence in pop culture.”

    Okay, but I don’t recall it being associated with demons. Occultists usually turn it into a knock-off of Atlantis, if maybe a little less evolved (thinking of lemurs?). The Lemurian Fellowship (Robert D. Stelle, Richard Kieninger) thinks very highly of Lemuria:

    https://www.lemurianfellowship.org/

    http://www.danieljglenn.com/the_podcasts/Stelle/Documentation/He%20Walked%20Among%20Us%20Part%201.pdf (<– an expose)

  249. Dr. Motsenbocker @268

    Apparently alot of work has been done on this since I looked at it last. There’s even open source code too and existing apps too. The question on stack overflow is just a gateway but the answer can lead you in 1000 different directions but GitHib is the big one.

    The normal issue with tcpip sockets in this way is that you have to have an authenticated connection where each messsge is acknowledged where as the older protocols like Netbui (sp?) and Arcnet could just send information without receiving a response just like radio if need be. Its only really an issue because every programmer on the planet used practically the same socket library for whatever flavor of OS.

    For me, the main application of this would be a neighborhood with a wifi router up high since old phones will be more common than HTs in a grid down scenario. The router could be powered by a car battery with the internal supply possibly bypassed to eliminate conversion losses.

    https://www.computerworld.com/article/2510683/peer-to-peer–wireless-network-could-help-in-disasters.html

    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/261040476_Peer-to-peer_communication_on_android-based_mobile_devices_Middleware_and_protocols

    https://www.bustle.com/p/emergency-apps-you-can-use-without-wi-fi-during-a-disaster-2307076

    Here’s the gateway to a very deep hole of code if you want to pursue it.

    https://stackoverflow.com/questions/54004739/mobile-application-peer-to-peer-communication

    Pdf warning.

    http://www.mitre.org/sites/default/files/pdf/12_2943.pdf

  250. Re: QAnon as a lullaby….the whole QAnon phenomenon struck me as an elaborate troll at first, but as time wore on it really did seem to be an effort to keep the credulous portions of the far-ish right from causing trouble.

    Re: Fifth Wednesday…Lemuria and the entanglement with demons sounds fascinating. I have another topic I humbly ask that you consider for a future article: the connections between the occult and 1950s-1970s California. More specifically, the occult history of California, and any connections with between the occult and the wave of creativity in music, living arrangements, technology, and so forth….and also any connections to the darkness of, e.g., the numerous serial killers of that period & the Manson family. This is a topic I suspect Robert Mathiesen could contribute some significant insights to, as well.

    Thanks!

    Brother Kornhoer

  251. When I was in my first year of high school (back when Atlantis ruled the waves) I came across a chapter in a book that claimed that red hair was the genetic signature of homo superior … let’s see if I can remember some of the points …

    – apparently per captia more redheads were burned as witches in the middle ages than any other hair colour (because of their natural superiority which spawned the jealousy of their neighbours)
    – a wide range of historical characters that had been red heads (again punching way above their weight … I seem to remember that Jesus was included but not sure about a red headed first century Jewish Semite)

    There were a lot more but I don’t remember (I do remember being redder than my hair when I presented it before my class!!!) I do remember that every red head I told about it found the points most relevant, valid and full of compelling logic (not so much the other hair coloured folk)

    Of course red hair being a recessive gene might be counter intuitive to the whole genetic marker of homo superior thing.

    But here is the kicker (and the relevance to the post) – when we think of red hair the country that most often springs to mind is Ireland. The Irish have a global reputation for stupidity (despite them doing rather well equally world wide). What better cover for a group of superior humans could their be than a reputation for global slowness. I mean we have folk who believe the Vatican, the Illuminati etc are in charge but what self respecting conspiracy theorist is going to present that the Irish in fact rule the world?! Proof positive that it is true (of course)

  252. @ Galen Diettinger #275

    The large increase in all-cause mortality suggests the vax problems are only getting started, and the media’s having a helluva time trying to keep the story under wraps.

  253. @Luke Dodson

    What I’ve seen of the glowies, they like to start with something true and then mix in a bunch of nonsense, hoping that the nonsense repels the normies from looking at the true part too closely or manipulatuing the normies to classfy it all as false.

    Trickery and deception, those are their tools in trade. But the power of a lie has limits.

    JMG – which has more power? Truths? Or lies?

  254. @Marvin and @BobInOk

    What are you interested in building? For examples of peer-to-peer applications, take a look at the “fediverse” (not to be confused with Facebook’s metaverse). P2P via a phone can be done but the problem is that the cell service may go down or be shut down. This makes it unreliable for emergencies. I think LoRaWAN is promising for what you are describing. It is low bandwidth and requires its own radio, still, it has good range and is cheap.

  255. Dr. Motsenbocker @268, BobInOk @281

    Brings back a LOT of memories. I was very involved in Packet Radio way back when. Ah the protocol wars! 🙂 I put up the first ‘LEO Geosynchronous’ packet switch – up on top of Pikes Peak (14110 ft) covered all of eastern Colorado. Haven’t kept up with what has been happening in Amateur Radio lately.

    TCPIP can work without an authenticated connection it’s called UDP.

    The OneLaptopPerChild project had an interesting Mesh network setup. (Still have an OLTP laying around.) The brain fog from cancer treatment knocked out my following up on it. It was back around 2010.

    Marvin, have your book on order. The PCB might be of interest.
    Hope you enjoy China. Beijing is not at all what it was when I first went there in ’87. Have a deep fried scorpion for me.

    Bob, where in OK. I’m from Enid and an OU grad.

    John – Coop Janitor
    NJ0C

  256. @ Galen Diettinger says:
    # 275 December 5, 2021 at 7:22 pm

    Well, there are now much more information about what the vaccines made to the healthy young people, like this study in Hong-Kong (for sure you’ll not see any of this kind of studies made in USA or in the “Free World”):

    https://academic.oup.com/cid/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/cid/ciab989/6445179

    Results: Among male adolescents, the incidence after the first and second doses were 5.57 (95% CI 2.38-12.53) and 37.32 (95% CI 26.98-51.25) per 100,000 persons vaccinated”

    So you have an incidence of 5,57 (first dose) + 37,32 (second dose) = 42,89 per 100.000 people of ACUTE myocarditis , and that means 429 per 1 million people, but for adolescents the risks of severe Covid that could induce similar damage is around 2 orders of magnitud less, around 4 per million.

    These are only the ACUTE myocarditis, that is, the peak of iceberg, the full extend of the damage we will only see in some years.

    It is beyond reckless to vaccinate healthy young people with this poison, and now 5 -11 years old….

    This paper show, clearly, what the mRNA vaccines do to the endothelium and the cardiac muscle:

    https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1161/circ.144.suppl_1.10712

    They say: “These changes resulted in an increase of the PULS score from 11% 5 yr ACS (Acute Coronary Syndrome) risk to 25% 5 yr ACS risk. At the time of this report, these changes persist for at least 2.5 months post second dose of vac.We conclude that the mRNA vacs dramatically increase inflammation on the endothelium and T cell infiltration of cardiac muscle and may account for the observations of increased thrombosis, cardiomyopathy, and other vascular events following vaccination”

    Yes, and increase from 11% to 25% in 5 years, more than double of the risk for all the population, some hundreds million people, and the younger the people the higher the increase in risk.

    I cannot understand why still the physicians are supporting this insanity, they should change side following their survival instinct, this will not end well.

    Cheers
    David

  257. Apropos of senile empires, from Marc Wilson on the Bujold fandom list,

    “Truth decays to beauty, and beauty becomes merely charm-
    in the end, all that is left is strangeness.
    But up and down are forever. – laws of physics.”

  258. Oh heck yeah! So glad to hear you will keep on blogging.

    I have something else to add to the mix of our current predicament. Last year my husband’s employer gave an extra bonus for covid and there was a lot of rah-rah from upper management. Everyone got a raise of at least something too.

    This year upper management went back to the old way of doing year end reviews with four quadrants of rating people – one exceptional, one above average, one average, and one needs improvement. The average and needs improvement folks will not be getting raises, and get lower bonuses. All managers must put there people into the four quadrants with a percentage into each, 10% exceptional, 10% needs, improvement, and then the other two 40% each.

    I’m assuming his isn’t the only company doing this horrid return to normal in a year with rising inflation, uncertain work conditions, and raging illnesses throughout families (if not covid, then from the vax, plus the regular run of sickness).

    It’s going to be a very grinchy grumpy Christmas for a lot of PMC folks this year. This also could be what was driving the lack of spending for Black Friday as these announcements are often made in October at many companies.

  259. “there are some higher voltage electrons to be gathered [from the atmosphere] but no, compared to the currents created and used in modern machines, these are kind of trivial.”

    People confuse power and voltage all the time. Power is amps times volts. P= I X E. And since E = I X R, R being resistance, P is also equal to I^2 X R, the bane of electrical engineers everywhere. That is why the wires heat up at high current flows. Twice the current is four times the heat generated in the same wire.

    You can generate 60,000 V petting a cat while wearing an acrylic sweater in the winter, but you have no current flow, so power is basically nothing.

    And then we get into power vs energy, which I’m not going to wade into other than to note that a kilowatt is power, and a kilowatt-hour is energy, one kilowatt continuously for one hour. Journalists keep going on about the X megawatt PV arrays that can power Y houses, not realizing (or not caring) that that calculation works only at high noon on a clear day.

    Right now (11:00 AM) the solar panel that runs the water tank level transmitter is putting out 118 milliamps under our usual November/December overcast. In the summer that same panel puts out 1400 milliamps. Same voltage in both cases, so to keep the house running I would need 12 times more solar panels now than in July. Even worse, the day now is about half as long as in July, so it gets even worse since I have to store enough energy to get through twice as much night.

    Solar-powered air conditioning works a lot better than solar powered heating. Contrary to popular opinion, in a renewable energy economy Phoenix is much more viable than Minneapolis.

  260. I just wanted to say that I’m so glad someone, especially you, published an article on this subject. Not on Tartaria but on the direct link between the rise of “Conspiracy”\New Folk culture and the decline in trust in our institutions. Maybe I missed it in your article but I feel a large part of the fuel for this growth of “Conspiracy” culture is the collapse of Moral Authority in leading institutions. For example, the rise of “Pizzagate” and “Satanic Pedophile” narratives is not spreading, in my opinion, in response to new revelations but because IF IT WERE TRUE, and revealed today, alot of people who say “it all makes sense now”. That wouldn’t have happened in the 1990s but today, it doesn’t seem that far fetched of an idea that your president or prime minister “apes” kids, kills them, and drinks their blood.

    I have been talking privately to my friends and family for years. Whenever someone would mock or ridicule countervailing narratives to the mainstream “MESSAGE” I would always explain that those “conspiracy theorists” were largely justified in their assertions. Does that mean they are correct? No, maybe not. But taking an honest tally of what lies have been told to the public, versus the truth that was later revealed, a betting man would have to gamble on the assumption that everything his leaders says is a lie and the authorities are dishonest.

    Just my two cents.

  261. Starfish said: “What are you interested in building? ”

    Indeed. I looked up fediverse, that seems limited to using the internet via 3rd party hardware/software. (Let me know if I am wrong)

    My definition of P to P basically incudes: a. speaking in the same air to another and sharing the same air vibrations without requiring a third party (such as a gossiper) to re-transmit. or b. generating my own radio wave (like on another continent) and sending to you wherein you directly absorb my wave energy and get my message, again without using a third party (such as multiple internet links/ISRs) to re-transmit.

    The idea of LoRaWAN is very appealing and the meshtastic system seems like a real good example, for two reasons.
    One, writing and reading short messages lends itself to and encourages mental discipline and efficient use of both mental energy and resources. This is a reason why the present JMG blogsite may be a haven to thinkers who need to go beyond the thin verbal and visual nonsense that fills up other possible outlets for our precious time and attention.
    Two, LORaWAN is low bandwidth, particularly in all permutations that involve reasonable distances, but has excellent line of sight distance vs energy consumed and has developed message forwarding (between trusted nodes/members). Furthermore, trunks-main conduits of long distance can be created using fixed directional antennas. Meshtastic is fantastic and has an encryption mechanism (how good is it?) although someone could add an undecipherable page tear off encryption.

    Low bandwidth text communications, besides helping us focus on quality and efficiency of mind also provides the ability to go P to P intercontinental using short waves.

    Selecting audio/video communications for P to P raises bandwidth and difficulty at least two orders of magnitude in my opinion and may a filter between groups that are serious about idea sharing vs those who just want to sound off.

    I suggest that the answer to your question “What are you interested in building? ” can be:

    1. a local text communication system based on meshtastic or other LoRa based hardware; and

    2. a long distance text communication system based on reflecting shortwave signals off the troposphere (exact frequencies depending on distance desired and time of day/season) using one of the digital modes such as PSK31. Regarding the latter, a handful of transmitters could serve the entire world (time of day permitting) and feed blog entries to a vast number of receive only stations. The latter would cost about 150$ using a high quality software defined radio connected to long wire antenna. If someone wants to hear the spoken word, we could always add software to convert the text to speech. Such software has become very good recently.

  262. On the day this was posted, was talking to a person in the fire service who was discussing why volunteer recruitment is so down in the U.S. One thing he mentioned was that all the rules and regs preventing people from “just being a a fireman.” When pressed, he described how as a kid he used to emulate firefighters in a variety of ways. Literally just playing, but that playing was an exercise in the imagination. In effect, he was complaining that the imagination was being cut off, and that resulted in people not taking that avenue.

    Whether he’s correct or not, I think it connects on a deeper level with what is going on in American society (and elsewhere), and that is the range of what can be imagined is being changed in a variety of ways. As you suggest, one first must envision something before it takes shape in the “real world” (physical plane). Something out of Giordano Bruno, as it were, that would seem to be occurring across the wider society.

    Axé

  263. JMG–no need to reply to this, I’m mostly just popping up to say hi to everyone,
    Your reply to Starfish about societies open to taboo, myth and ritual made me think of Japan. It may be one reason they’ve been so successful at keeping their people harmonious and satisfied even while forging ahead economically and technologically. It was observed by someone several decades ago that Japan seemed to be a contradiction in supporting ancient traditions while becoming a technological powerhouse, but it served to help people stay rooted in the past, which was healthier than being cut off from it.
    Given recent trends, though, I can only hope that the government will allow people the choice of staying “rooted” in nature, rather than being forced to participate in a society that is becoming increasingly divorced from it. They have established a “Digital Agency” to oversee the transformation of Japan toward transhumanism, which has been stated as a goal by some in the government for several decades from now.
    Recently I tried to send a Christmas package to the US and was told that to do that I would need to prepare the labelling, using specifically a smart phone or a tablet (which they had on hand). I told them I could not do that and left with my package, which is still sitting here.
    My mother in the US, also smartphone-free, tells me that they are making it harder and harder for people who lack them, and she understands that some things we used to take for granted are no longer possible.

  264. I also vote for coping strategies for an individual living in a declining civilization as a discussion topic.

    Joy Marie

  265. Re 5th Wednesday topics – I concur with David BTL – a discussion of ‘reason’ and ‘sanity’ as tools, and their appropriate use.

  266. It’s late in the cycle now, but one peculiarity I’ve just noticed about many conspiracy theories – especially what I’m going to call the “Grand Conspiracy” (i.e. the whole NWO/Agenda 21/one-world government one) is how frequently its adherents feel the need to reaffirm it, saying things such as “this is planned!” or “all of this is deliberate!” among a group that, more or less, already agrees with this. This applies mostly to commenters, but can also apply to the bloggers/etc. themselves (how many unconverted “sheeple” do you really think are reading your blog?)

    Is this simply the conspiracy-theorist equivalent of “amen, brother!”, or is it something different and perhaps more talismanic in nature? Warding off, perhaps, the nagging possibility of doubt and everything that said doubt might imply? Because if it isn’t planned, of course, if it isn’t done on purpose… then there’s nobody to blame for it, nobody to potentially hold accountable (unless you want to hold everyone accountable), nobody to punish either in this life or in the afterlife, and no way to stop the situation (or something similar to it) from spontaneously arising again.

  267. Australian Dreamer #248 Check out Tara in Ireland. Being redhead from both lines, I’ve been aware of all kinds of stuff said about us. Most of it true 😉 There are a lot of redheads in the Czech Republic, 35% of native born Czechs have Celtic DNA. Then mix in the Slavic line. The Czechs even have our own brand of the Eastern Orthodox church. Czechs even taught the Mexicans how to make beer.

  268. John-CoopJanitor @288.

    Thanks for the reminder! Last time I worked with directly with sockets was writing a C++ library for a local network within a Cnc inspection machine. The choice between Tcpip and Udp was a no brainer since tcp did all the error checking for you, I don’t think I’ve ever worked with udp directly but my understanding is that its essentially like a serial port where all the error checking is up to you. I’m going to have to learn a bit more about these mesh networks.

    I’m in Guthrie, just down the road from you. I’m not a native though, I arrived here with the service in 99. We also both seem to share the given name of our host here, I started using “Bob” back when there was a reasonable assumption of anonymity on the inet now its just to stay hidden from cancel culture. Being an OU grad, I think you know why I chose Bob…lol. I graduated from UCO. You can occasionally catch me on the HF weather net during the week but I listen alot more than I talk on ham radio.

    Starfish @277

    I think Dr Mots’ intent was to have communications independent of the cell network. The mesh or P2p network is essentially self organizing and will do that for you. For a village without a cell tower, you’d still have local comms although admittedly limited bandwidth and no out of network traffic. The wifi and Bluetooth transceivers essentially become repeaters or networknodes ifbyou prefer. Old cell phones are alot more common than any other device and still have value since their processors and memory are pretty potent if you can get the bloat ware out of the way. The beauty of Android phones is that you can reload the OS and apk (apps) directly via USB. I’m still researching how to do this but I have some old tablets that still work well but are essentially useless because of the bloatware.

  269. It occurs to me that another truth that is exaggerated by the Tartarian Empire theory is that the supporters and benefactors of the status quo in our society are eager to cancel what they deem as threats. Not to denounce or decry, but to (attempt to) erase completely. Thus the Tartarian Empire theory also makes a place for cancel culture.

  270. @JMG – my vote for the 5th Wed is for the topic that Gail Tverberg touched on in her latest blog – “end times”. Surely there are some common “end times” components to societies in crisis and/or decline. I’m thinking like an update on peak oil/economic paths, taking into account the pandemic which has, if nothing else, appeared to have disrupted some of the timelines of collapse, and some are in full panic mode now.

    @neptunesdolphin – I would argue that the secret activities of the Fed are a symptom of fanning the flames of conspiracy, but when you cut through some of that, then the cause of it is more along the lines of what Marvin Motsenbocker pointed out. “Follow the money”. The book Creature from Jekyl Island proposes that the Lusitania sinking was carefully planned and executed to get the US in WW1, and of course there’s no denying that war is a money making machine – for some. Proving the charges isn’t easy, as there’s often the associated cover-up, which like secrecy tends to fan the flames of conspiracy.

    Your comments about northern Maine and UFOs and loggers reminds me of another conspiracy. I was stationed up in your neck of the woods at Loring AFB in the mid 1980s, which was a SAC base, and had nuclear B-52 bombers – which are probably on par with a nuclear Opossum in terms of ferocity. In the last 10 years I’ve read numerous accounts that some believe nuclear weapons are fake. That is pretty mind-blowing to me, but again – does make some sense if you follow the money. Trillions down the drain for Cold War arms.

    BTW – I rode my motorcycle out on many of the logging roads to the west of the base, but never spotted a UFO. It’s kind of spooky out there though, especially at night.

  271. In case someone is curious about the actual way in wich Star forts were besieged and taken, you should look into wikipedia the name
    Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban, Seigneur de Vauban, later Marquis de Vauban

    Explained in a nutshell: Starting just at the point where the enemy cannons fall out of reach, a great trench was begun,
    and dug into the right angle so that the enemy guns can’t hit into it.

    The earth of that trench went into a baskets that were lined in the sides of the trench.Week after week, the trench keeps advancing towards the city or fort, making a great zig-zag pattern.

    At some point they even place guns inside it, at an angle wich makes possible to bomb the fortifications transversally. In the end, the trenches reach almost to the very foot of the wall,and if possible, make a breach by blowing up the walls from below.If not, then the artillery concentrates on those points and make the necessary breaches. Then the assault begins.

  272. Conspiracy theory.

    Premise: Inflation is running hot. The 30 year treasury bonds, issued at 1.0 zilch percent can’t keep up.

    Conclusion: The federal reserve will buy the bonds, as buyer of last resort.

    Monetary and fiscal policy merge. UBI etc come to pass. You all now own nothing and you are happy.

  273. About the FED: The conspiracy theories that are about the FED all point to the idea of a cabal of moneyed interests running the world. Actually, that could have merit since J.P. Morgan single handily saved the U.S. banking system and financial sectors several times in his lifetime.

    What it speaks to is the lack of power among ordinary people to conduct their lives as they see fit. I think all conspiracy theories have some element of that in there. An appeal to ordinary people that something lurks in the shadows that they need to be wary of. That something varies from group to group.

    As someone did point out, various entities have a stake in how things should be since they make money and power off of the status quo. They don’t work together as in a cabal, but their interests do merge from time to time. They know about each other and do manipulate things to their advantage.

    One conspiracy theory which seems to be factual is the Mafia’s killing of Kennedy. It seems that the Mafia wanted Kennedy as President and made it so. Then Kennedy didn’t return the favor…. Conjecture aside, one could say that the two entities – Kennedys and the Mafia worked together to further their own ends. But they were separate and not-hand-in-glove. So, whether all the entities all work together or work off of each other is where the conspiracies lie.

    One conspiracy theory that rankles me is the 9/11 one. I witnessed the plane go into the Pentagon, along with lots of others. The Pentagon sits at the nexus of three interstate highways. When I first spoke to the people about this theory, they firmly believed that 9/11 was a government conspiracy to get more power to the Deep State and to go to war. I pondered that and came to the same conclusion that a number of people here have – that is a lack of trust in institutions of any kind. Again, the feeling that people are lying to them to get them to do things they don’t want to do.


    As for the FED buying bonds – they have been doing that since the 1920s. Only thing is that it is no longer working.

    As for logging roads in Northern Maine, they are dark. One person from the city who was visiting us once mistook a moose crossing the road as an UFO.

  274. @ methylethyl #297
    “sticking missiles in shipping containers and sending them to ports around the world! Who would have even imagined such a thing?”
    A couple years ago, at the height of the Trump vs Rocketman hysteria, I hypothesized that Supreme Leader Kim would package up several nukes in shipping containers, equip them with a dead man’s switch, and ship them to the US. He could identify one to prove existence. and then the US would leave him in peace.

  275. Again, OT: straws in the wind.

    #1, a felicitous phrase from the preface to the first Maisie Dobbs murder mystery, set in England, 1929, flashbacks to WWI. Maisie “Broke the class ceiling.” I marvel that phrase dead-ended in that one book – it seems so useful these days.

    #2, a headline story from The Gainesville Sun, “Gen Z has a hard time.” Subhead, “poll shows pandemic stress has been particularly tough for teens and young adults.” Sidebar, “It’s this perfect storm where you have isolated learning, decreased social interaction with peers, and parents who are also struggling with similar issues.”

    My comment – That’s the age of my grandchildren and grand-nieces and – nephews. I also spent some of my childhood in times of crisis and turmoil; people in their 80s and 90s can all give you chapter and verse on how tough those times were. But we didn’t have to cope with being locked away from everybody. Perhaps those who were children and teens during the 1918 flu did.

    I also note the ruling adults during years we seniors grew up in were children of the Social Reform movement of the 1880s – Settlement houses, Immigrant assimilation classes, the 8-hour-day movement, etc. As well as health-and-diet quackery that gave us dry cereal for breakfast, and a lot of which proved to be healthier than the earlier diets. In short, a very civic-minded lot, unlike the much wilder Transcendentalists and Boomers. I think that’s what helped the nation finally pull together. There are ideologies and ideologies, and as those go, The Social Gospel was geared to do a lot more good than “wokeness.”

  276. Ok, so, apart from on this blog, I heard my first mention in real face to face conversation, of the Tartarian Empire today. One of the mentioner’s points was that (you will never guess!) the Tartarians had free energy. All of those beautiful architectural domes? Used to connect everyone to all the energy they could possibly want or need. So, of course they are suppressing all info about it!

    Wow!

  277. @Dr. Motsenbocker,

    I’ve ordered your book and look forward to reading it.

    I’m in the process of designing and incrementally building an off-grid solar power + battery capability, collecting advice from various sources such as Will Prowse’s videos and documents. His designs use the standard array of intermediary components (some of them “smart”) including solar charge controllers, battery management systems, and inverters. Such devices notoriously lack the longevity of the panels and (some types of) the battery cells themselves, so instead of treating them as black boxes that perform a certain function I’m eager to learn how to repair, build, or do without them should replacements become unavailable in the future. It appears your book will be a great help in that area.

    It’s notable that off-grid solar power systems are usually described as “for vans, RVs, campers, and boats” rather than for homes. There appear to be three reasons for this. The first is the possibility of tying the system into a motor vehicle’s electrical system, integrating the vehicle’s battery and alternator. This has advantages and also certain pitfalls, but overall it doesn’t make a great deal of difference in how the system works. The second is that it tends to establish reasonable expectations on how much power the system can store or deliver. Many small appliances (such as miniature fridges) sold for such “RV” or “marine” use already run on minimal DC power. The third relates to building codes. As soon as you mount a solar panel on a dwelling it becomes subject to a host of regulations, including some new ones (already in effect in some states and coming soon to others) that require complete “emergency shut off at the source” capability even for off-grid systems. Those rules force you to either use more elaborate failure-prone hardware (such as a “smart controller” on every individual panel), or limit the whole array to essentially the operating voltage of small 100W panels, connected in parallel rather than much more efficiently in series. So I’m designing to conform for the time being, but with the expectation of reconfiguring the same components when the need arises.

    Might that be part of the reason your technology has been finding resistance in America and Japan? There’s clearly a lot of pressure in the direction of home solar power systems being grid-tied (and therefore grid-dependent), despite the utility companies’ constant complaints about the difficulties that causes for them.

  278. Dreamer, so noted!

    Bei, we’ll get to that, or so it appears.

    Brother K, the lullaby aspect of QAnon is certainly a real one. As for California, I’ll consider it, but I’ve spent most of my life keeping my distance from California culture, so I may not be the best person to ask about that!

    Dreamer, funny! There was a UFO book some decades ago titled Celtic Factor Red, if I recall correctly, which insisted that the Irish were descended from aliens or what have you. You could probably use it as raw material for your bestselling conspiracy theory book.

    Owen, each has its own power. Truths get their power from their relationship to what’s actually happening. Lies get their power from their relationship to what people wish was happening.

    Patricia M, funny.

    Denis, thanks for the data point! That kind of bad practice may well have a Grinchification effect.

    Patricia M, we can hope so.

    Publiclink, you’re welcome. The collapse of confidence in the official version of reality is one of the biggest political realities of our time, but it’s something that the mainstream will not discuss.

    Fra’ Lupo, that’s an excellent point, and worth careful study.

    Methylethyl, when I put that in Twilight’s Last Gleaming, it wasn’t original — people were discussing the possibility on blogs. So the Chinese were apparently reading the same blogs I was!

    Patricia O, it’s one of the things I admire about Japanese culture.

    Joy Marie and Patricia T, so noted.

    Brendhelm, exactly. It’s a defense against the horrifying realization that maybe the universe isn’t subject to human control, and things just happen whether human beings want them to happen or not.

    Alexander, hmm! That’s a good point.

    Sammy and Drhooves, so noted.

    Guillem, thanks for this. The huge investment in time and labor needed to do that makes a star fort worth having, since while the other side’s army is busy with that, your army can get up to all kinds of mischief!

    PPT, the Fed is already buying a very large share of US treasury bills, why not the rest? There’s a term for this, however: “Enron financing.” It works, until it doesn’t.

    Patricia M, thanks for the data points.

    Scotlyn, fascinating.

  279. 5th Wednesday Post: Lemuria and demons please. I didn’t even know that was a “thing” but it sounds fascinating.

  280. John Dee made a deal with demons to erase the Tarian Empire using the Mandala effect. The killing of Harambe marked the breaking of the first seal, allowing the glimpses of the original timeline. Six more seals will need to be broken to Make Tartaria Great Again. No one outside of the Vatican knows what the other six seals are or how many remain. (Rumour has it one was built by LeCorbusier)

    — how’s that for a conspiracy? I like it, anyway.

    @John-CoopJanitor, BobInOK:

    Last time I was reading about LoRA, I was amazed to learn you can use it for intercontinental ranges by bouncing LoRA off the moon. I mean, lots of HAMs bounce signals off the moon, but that’s not exactly the context people talk about LoRA.

    Also, I’d just like to be contrary and point out that CB provides much of the functionality of your desired mesh network, no ICs required. You can even do it with tubes.
    Like on page 49 of this pdf: https://worldradiohistory.com/Archive-Radio-News/50s/Radio-News-1959-03-R.pdf
    (Apparently this schematic was used for Heathkit’s CB-1)

  281. neptunesdolphins (no. 301), on 9-11 Trutherism, remember how nobody every just believes one conspiracy theory–if you believe one, you’ll end up believing at least five? Well, there’s a guy on the internet who debunked the myth of female orgasms, which don’t exist and are propaganda…

    https://www.bustle.com/p/this-mans-post-about-how-women-cant-orgasm-is-going-viral-because-of-the-hilarious-twitter-response-5510665

    …and guess what *other* conspiracy theory he believes in? One wit put it like this:

    “Kyle: Jet fuel can’t melt steel beams.
    “Also Kyle: The female orgasm is fake news.”

    ———————————

    drhooves (no. 307), I keep telling Gail that the “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great” verse doesn’t actually refer to Babylon, but she keeps on trotting this out as if it were an actual historical datum rather than an apocalyptic symbol.

    Anyway, what are “end times”? In a sense, everything ends; but in another sense–well, is anybody a Watchmen fan? (I refer to the comic book miniseries by Allan Moore.) In it, Ozymandias (Adrian Veidt, a hyper-intelligent, well-intentioned villain who stages a massacre by interdimensional monstrosities in order to prevent a US/Soviet nuclear war) asks a departing Dr. Manhattan (an omnipotent and omniscient former nuclear scientist who finds himself growing increasingly distant from humanity), “I did the right thing, didn’t I? It all worked out in the end.” To which Dr. Manhattan replies with an amused smile: ‘In the end’? Nothing ends, Adrian. Nothing ever ends.” And then disappears.

    ————————————

    Brendhelm (no. 302), Daniel Quinn noted this about religions–that churchgoers, for example, hear the same story again and again, and seem to think the repetition is necessary. Of course retelling the story can become a marker of group identity, for Christians as well as 9-11 Truthers. (It helps if you have a good story.)

    ————————————

    While trying to look up the name of a book I remember liking–it was Jesse Walker’s “The United States of Paranoia”–and discovered that Wikipedia actually has decent articles on conspiracy theories:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conspiracy_theory

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_conspiracy_theories

    Anyway, Walker identifies five types:

    1. The “enemy outside”
    2. The “enemy within”
    3. The “enemy above” (i.e. evil elites)
    4. The “enemy below” (think revolting proletarians)
    5. The “benevolent conspiracy” (e.g. Ascended Masters)

    While Michael Barkun identifies three:

    1.Event-based (like 9-11 Trutherism)
    2. Systemic (think Elders of Zion / Davos)
    3. All-encompassing “super-conspiracies” (think David Icke)

    And Murray Rothbard distinguishes between “shallow” and “deep” conspiracy theories. Thus spake Wikipedia: ‘According to Rothbard, a “shallow” theorist observes an event and asks Cui bono? (“Who benefits?”), jumping to the conclusion that a posited beneficiary is responsible for covertly influencing events. On the other hand, the “deep” conspiracy theorist begins with a hunch and then seeks out evidence.’

    Anyway, I find all of these useful in differentiating the various notions (some true, some fantastic) floating around. I actually know a guy who studies conspiracy theories–his focus is 9-11 Trutherism, which never struck me as very interesting, since I’m more interested in the religious dimension.

    One of these days, I’m going to come out with my own conspiracy theory, which takes all of these others and asks, “What if they’re all lying to us?” That is, what if the earth really is a globe, Oswald shot JFK by himself and on his own initiative, there are no lizard people etc.? The mind boggles.

  282. JMG,

    Please put me down for Lemuria and demons. I know next to nothing about Lemuria but was married to a demon at one time.

    Dusk Shine,

    I won’t argue that there are alot of things that can work, but look around and see what is going to be the most common device you can rescue from the trash or scavenge. CBs aren’t that common anymore and 27 meters is a pretty lousy frequency when compared to VHF and UHF options for local comms. However, the Baofeng uv5r as popular as it is, doesn’t even come close to the production numbers of the cheapest Samsung or generic android phone. We hams have plenty of options, but I’m certainly not going to be carrying my FT101E in a back pocket. Treat old phones and tablets as a potential PC with comm abilities.

    Bob

  283. In _More Than a Woman_, English feminist Caitlin Moran writes about the trials of young people, especially young women.

    One of the author’s daughters became anorexic and self-harming. Fortunately, she recovered. But Moran comments on the burden our generation has laid on the young. We sit around the living room or dinner table discussing everything that is wrong with the world–whether we are a liberal family worried about racial inequality, climate warming and income discrepancies or a conservative family worried about declining moral standards, rising crime and loss of freedom. Then we turn and say, “But it doesn’t matter that _our_ generation has screwed things up–because the next generation is _amazing_. . . . —-you kids are incredible. The kids will save the earth.” She continues: “So what we’re essentially saying is the most terrifying thing a child can hear: _Save Mommy and Daddy. We don’t know what to do_.” She concludes, specific to the problems of girls in our society: “We do not make being a grown woman look like an appealing job. We do not sell the idea that being a woman is, yes, difficult–but also amazing, and joyous, and powerful, and freeing. We do not show them a world where we value the skills of women or seek out their knowledge. . . . Currently what eleven-year-old girl would volunteer for growing into a woman?

    I imagine that a similar analysis could be made for troubled young men, though their rejection of male roles would take a different form.

  284. Marvin,

    For wireless mesh networks.
    Short range via cell phone, you can use Bridgefy. Mainly used on cruise ships so people can text on board.
    For something along the lines of city wide text mesh network, goTenna makes a device that connects to cell phones. Has a longer range and if your city has enough of them can send texts quite a ways. I found another device along these lines earlier this year but don’t remember what it was called.

    Fedaverse is designed to replace social media…. So you host your own content if you are a news or content creator and the protocol allows a reader to create a list of content they want to view. Think RSS reader. It is to stop internet centralization and censorship by big tech.
    Web3.0 is also along the same thing. Very crude now, but designed to allow for decentralized web hosting, i. E get away from Amazon web hosting type centralzation. Picture the crypto mining servers but rather then purposefully useless math, they do web hosting. Crypto currency is actually a web3.0 tech, money is the only use case currently

    I sent you a message via your website’s contact box. Very interested in your DC PV system.

  285. @DFC #289: The report you linked to includes this: “Between 14 June 2021 and 4 September 2021, 33 Chinese adolescents who developed acute myocarditis/pericarditis following Comirnaty vaccination were identified. 29 (87.88%) were males and 4 (12.12%) were females, with a median age of 15.25 years. 27 (81.82%) and 6 (18.18%) cases developed acute myocarditis/pericarditis after receiving the second and first dose, respectively. All cases are mild and required only conservative management.”

    I admit that I’m having trouble reconciling “acute myocarditis/pericarditis” with “all cases are mild.”

  286. I heard Francis Collins, retiring head of the US National Institutes of Health, interviewed on NPR this afternoon, on the topic of the shortcomings of American health care. He seemed truly mystified that Americans haven’t followed the directions of medical experts to limit the impact of the coronavirus, one of three things that, combined (with unstated synergy, in fact) to produce a lower life expectancy that our developed nation peers. The other factors: obesity and diabetes, and the opioid crisis.

    Well, we’ve heard complaints about obesity and diabetes for generations, yet the store aisles are still stocked with sugar (even though we now know that the sugar industry produced propaganda “studies” linking obesity to dietary fat), so when will the medical industrial complex take that on? And opioids? Weren’t the experts telling us just a few years ago that Oxycontin was “safe, effective, and non-addictive”? Yet the Sackler family keeps billions in profits. Dr. Collins doesn’t need to look very far to find the root cause for the loss of expert credibility.

    https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/12/07/1061940326/the-nih-director-on-why-americans-arent-getting-healthier-despite-medical-advanc

  287. @Dusk Shine
    Boy does that Mag bring back memories! Predates my involvement in electronics and radio by about 2 years! HeathKit, Knight Kits, Allied I remember them all….

    JMG:
    Just saw that Wrath of Gnon linked to this essay on Twitter.

    BobInOk: I’m in Colorado Springs now. But I get to the OKC area most years.

    John – Coop Janitor
    NJ0C

  288. @JohnMichaelGreer

    Exactly, and the attacking side needs to have anyway many trained engineers, enough artillery and the capability to keep the army supplied.To speak none of the morale and discipline needed to enforce the digging.

    But the thing is, riots, revolts and minor warlords in colonies lacked all of the above, so with them the forts were almost totally untakeable.

  289. …And i second the Lemuria-Demons subject. It matches the season and the mood, so to speak!

  290. Phutatorius #325:

    Easily reconciled. In medical terminology, “acute” just means that the condition is of short duration, and recent.

    Myocarditis is the inflammation of the heart muscle. It’s usually caused by a viral infection. It’s fairly common (a couple million acute cases per year, globally), especially in adolescent boys, and is usually “mild” and brief.

    It’s well-documented that the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna, not J&J) coincide with elevated reports of myocarditis and pericarditis in susceptible populations. The reaction is very uncommon and extremely rarely severe. But it’s non-zero, and that’s also tragic.

  291. It doesn’t do much to explain architecture, but my favorite conspiracy theory is that we’re all poisoned. Increasingly poisoned, in modern times, the white lead of the Romans just a prequel to the poisons that are all around us, running through us today. Poisons that make it harder to think. Poisons that lead to sickness and weakness. And how could we resist? We have to eat. Can’t possibly stop wearing clothes, breathing, going to those places where everyone else is going.

    People who like this conspiracy theory choose anything that they don’t like in society and blame it on poison. Women acting like men, men acting like women? Because of poison. Some people are rich and some are poor? Well, the rich are less poisoned, or have antidotes. There is even a version for why people were colonized and enslaved: that the foods brought by the colonizers were poisonous and made them weak. Wheat or tomatoes typically shoulder the blame. Family fighting? Poison. Crops won’t grow? Poison. Can’t stop thinking bad thoughts? It’s not you, it’s the poison. Not living just how Grandma & Grandpa lived? Because this generation is more poisoned. Internet doesn’t work? 5G is also a poison, and fits in. Got a great job that pays well, but feel sad every day? Poison in the air ducts and in the water. Note the water filters and the ubiquitous office water cooler.

    (Though it’s more common to get the same sort of poisons that humans have always feared. Those in the fibers of clothing and in the diet.)

    The most fun thing about the poisons conspiracy is how little is actually done about it. It’s the same old conspiracy about the global elites keeping the rest of us from being happy and well, so to admit that poisons are real, to find them in lab tests and try to eliminate them from the environment…somehow, the mind resists it.

    Well, to really know about poisons in a way that the knowledge could be used could upset the status quo. It’s forbidden knowledge. Knowing means joining the conspiracy somehow. No one wants to make themselves a suspect like that. Oh no. Better to keep things the same. Knowing, who could resist using the knowledge?

    The heretics in this little conspiracy are people who hone in on one type of poison and consume it with relish. Smokers used to be very common. Lately I’ve found people online who claim to love the family Solanaceae, and daturas, and use herbs for flying ointment, and relief of inflammation. They still don’t really know that much about poison, only that they’ve consumed some without it killing them and it feels great!

  292. Reese @ #158:
    In re the SF buried city, some years ago one would go into the underground streetcar and BART stations, and to an extent, they actually were inhabited. The homeless started camping out there in large numbers. This persisted for several years until BART finally, under a lot of public pressure, cracked down, so this condition is no more.

    As far as the NAAHH theory goes, it would seem that this would be easily proven one way or the other. If the native Americans had horses, there should be plenty of skeletal remains at the sites of their pre-Columbian settlements.

    *********

    Re: David Icke:

    I recall some years back, Icke made a statement along the lines of: “If you were to grab Queen Elizabeth II by the face, and pull, her human face would come away and reveal the green scales of a lizard-head.”

    And its not just Elizabeth II. For whatever reason, Icke seem to have it in for all the old European royal families; the Habsburgs, Hohenzollerns, Romanovs, and others. Why? I have absolutely no idea.

    Antoinetta III

  293. I would like to vote for the Lemurian demons option. If I recall correctly, Clark Ashton Smith wrote several short stories set in Lemuria.

    Pesci at #332
    It’s not a conspiracy, but the reality is that vast amounts of poisons are pumped into the environment by numerous industries. Especially with corporate agriculture, with their pesticides and herbicides. In addition to this, there is the widespread distribution of tiny particles of non-degradable plastics, and no doubt, many more.

    Antoinetta III

  294. @Antoinetta III

    The conspiracy theory is not that poisons exist, but that we’ve been poisoned by shadowy global elites to keep us weak and sick on purpose. Also that primitive peoples who didn’t know about refrigeration or mycotoxins or that lead and mercury are not good to eat, who thought eating poisons like the manchineel or handling poisonous snakes was a good show of whether the gods favored them, and blamed sickness on miasmas and ghosts, were somehow “less poisoned” than we are now. With some other mumbled excuse about why we live longer now, if the conspiracy theorist even accepts that as a fact.

    It’s that whole thing about humans not being like other animals, even if other animals poison their environments, or eat so much that they starve, humans must be made out to be unlike animals, and worse than animals. All of the condemnation for polluting, none of the credit for cleaning and curing.

    The conspiracy isn’t about real poisons except in passing, but about spiritual pollution.

    Just as conspiracy theorists who are squealing about global elites don’t really care about the Pandora Papers, the Panama Papers, or about bank reforms, bringing up real information would cause power to shift to knowledgeable elites and ruin the fun of the conspiracy. As long as nothing can be done, the conspiracy continues to be a fun fireside story.

    Which leads us to why fans of fantasy love conspiracy theories. Because knowing the conspiracy theory makes them superior, and one way or another being able to do anything about the conspiracy theory makes them superior. If they’re a technocrat then they’re one of the elites who can do something. Usually though, technical knowledge is rejected and the pure-blooded Carebear Stare is what is supposed to actually set everything to rights again. In the case of the poisons conspiracy it would be somebody who refrains from polluting themselves enough to regain their wits and thwart whatever evil plans the elites have.

  295. An artist had fun with one of the flat earth symbols, and I think it is a Halo(game) world it got
    https://howardtayler.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/image.png

    on old architecture, there is a park on the east end of Toronto where an artist couple snagged many of elements of the nice buildings being demolished in the 1950s into the 1970s. It is a nice spot to walk through in addition to seeing those elements
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guild_Park_and_Gardens
    https://www.toronto.ca/data/parks/prd/facilities/complex/406/index.html

    When madness becomes the norm, sanity becomes that ‘other’ that norms decry

  296. Surprised to see so many people never heard of the Tartarian conspiracy! I went down that rabbit hole a few years ago and enjoyed it a lot. Then the main site (stolenhistory) got taken down, possibly nefariously, and some of the original members got together and crowdsourced and remade it (now stolenhistory.org). I haven’t bothered much with it for a while as I lost interest. But the takedown of why people find these theories of interest is fascinating.

    I never quite know how far down the rabbit hole to go. If a conspiracy has a lot of anti-semitism nuts in its fringes making snide remarks about how “they” own/rule everything, it’s a big turnoff for me. But I also know that that would be a great way to shut down any hint of a truth from bad actors wanting to suppress alternative narratives. Anyway, it tends to drive me away.

    I read (before C-19) the book “The Invisible Rainbow: A History of Electricity and Life” by Arthur Firstenberg and try as I might, I can neither dismiss his work or believe all of it. I think he has some of the truth, but I simply can’t believe that viruses don’t exist. It’s too much for me to swallow. However, I got a lot of value out of other parts of the book. And must admit his timing was spot on. There was a massive pandemic with the rollout of the next upgrade of tech (fi53gee) as there had been pandemics in the past with similar stuff. There was also a lot of research. I think the simple fact is that technology absolutely has an effect on immune systems and can weaken them. But I can’t follow him all the way, and this seems to be a common thread with people interested in the health effects of tech. They either go all the way and become hard to follow or accept, or they try to distance themselves from that with carefully worded studies, etc. Yet I don’t think he’s a conspiracy theorist. I think he just went real, real deep — possibly a little too deep.

    What worries me was when Reddit found an excuse to ban the No New Normal subreddit because they had a lot of rowdy people speaking out about vaccine problems / sharing links to health reactions. It was irritating, because even though the sub was poorly moderated with a lot of the dogwhistle antisemitism stuff going on, there was a lot of good info and a place to blow off steam without being shouted down for daring to question whether every single person in the world HAD to be vaccinated, over and over, of course.

    Well, they ended up making their own forum. app.nonewnormal.com Fine and well. A good idea, very go-getter of them. But, I didn’t join. I didn’t really know if it would be any better moderated and I wasn’t particularly interested in joining. But I was glad they found a way not to be silenced completely, even if it meant making their own platform. Seemed like a place that deserved to exist (though again, I still think if it devolved into only welcoming “hard right” people and making racist jokes a big part of the place, it wasn’t going to do much actual good for anyone). i wasn’t sure which way it was going and didn’t want to find out the hard way.

    Anyway, I checked back recently, a couple of times, and it’s simply gone. I don’t know why. That makes me feel kinda unnerved and conspiratorial myself. I know big pharma doesn’t like to be questioned. But could they, would they, how did they manage to get it shut down? I just can’t believe it could’ve imploded that quickly to simply DISAPPEAR off the internet even with the worst possible management in the world.

    What the hell happened?

    The rowdiness aside, and some questionable attitudes, the place had the ability to meme and skewer the official narrative and do a stunning job of “predicting” the need for endless boosters, vaccine passports, and a changing goalpost for vaccine “success.” They weren’t wrong, mostly.

    I think in the end my conspiracy theory is this, what is most frightening to me: if it’s harmless to the establishment, it can exist. If it poses any threat to the establishment, even one little grain of truth, it must be squashed, and labelled “anti-vaxx, anti-science,” and drowned in all the vitriol that billions of dollars and near total media control can summon.

    That’s scary s***. Because the truth is, most “anti-vaxx” people are (and have always been) concerned more about the details than the broad brush of “never any vaccines.” Or they’ve been harmed by vaccines, or know someone who was, whatever BS studies there are that say nobody has been hurt, ever.

    People’s questions, doubts, fears, and desire for better options / labeling / manufacturing / choices have been put down with jackbooted enthusiasm. And people who haven’t seen behind the curtain a little bit just cheerfully go along with the mockery.

    Mockery is always a bad way to win a battle. Even if you’re right — but I suspect, this time, the “pro vaxxers” are on the wrong side of history, because they are becoming unpaid (?) shills for big corporations, rather than supporters of actual scientific accountability.

    But I can’t prove it. So I guess it’s just another conspiracy theory, right?

    Anyway. Back to browsing conspiracies to find something less scary and more fun to focus on! Something that doesn’t affect the real world much.

Courteous, concise comments relevant to the topic of the current post are welcome, whether or not they agree with the views expressed here, and I try to respond to each comment as time permits. Long screeds proclaiming the infallibility of some ideology or other, however, will be deleted; so will repeated attempts to hammer on a point already addressed; so will comments containing profanity, abusive language, flamebaiting and the like -- I filled up my supply of Troll Bingo cards years ago and have no interest in adding any more to my collection; and so will sales spam and offers of "guest posts" pitching products. I'm quite aware that the concept of polite discourse is hopelessly dowdy and out of date, but then some people would say the same thing about the traditions this blog is meant to discuss. Thank you for reading Ecosophia! -- JMG

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