Wednesday, January 10, 2018

more conspiracy theories

facepalm af
Recently, this illustration has been passed around, offering an explanation of how the world really works:

(High res here.)

It tries to expose the sinister levels of deception and manipulation behind our apparent reality. The picture originated here (from Autonomous on 4chan, but has been taken down) and was popularized here (MAGA Pill tweet). It has been called The Swamp or Down the Rabbit Hole.

For my own take on conspiracy theories, see this post. As an author of the study that produced the following figures appearing in the illustration (see right-hand side of the first level down)

I would like to comment the following.

Regarding the topic of the media (at the top level) I would focus on false news, post-truth, conspiracy theories, filter bubbles, echo chambers, lies (yes, alternative facts), hidden agendas, divisiveness, hatred, and propaganda. Relating to the overall state of affairs, this perhaps summarizes best:
As a species, our recent terraforming activities have fundamentally transformed the biosphere we rely on, resulting in considerable impact for us individually. In a nutshell, we have devised linear systems that extract resources at one end, which, after being consumed, are disposed of at the other end. However, on a finite planet, extraction soon becomes exploitation and disposal results in pollution. 
Today, this can be witnesses at unprecedented global scales. Just consider the following: substantial levels of pesticides and BPA in vast populations and even remote populations (like Inuit women whose breast milk is toxic due to pollutants accumulating in the ocean’s food chain), increase of chronic diseases, antimicrobial resistance, the Great Pacific and the North Atlantic garbage patches, e-waste, exploding levels of greenhouse gases, peak oil and phosphorus, land degradation, deforestation, water pollution, food waste, overfishing, dramatic loss of biodiversity,. . . The list is constantly growing as we await the arrival of the next billion human inhabitants on this planet. 
Compounding this acute problem is the fact that today’s generations are living at the expense of future generations, ecologically and economically. For instance, we have reached Earth Overshoot Day in 2015 on the 13th of August. Each year, this day measures when human consumption of Earth’s natural resources, or humanity’s ecological footprint, approximately reaches the world’s biocapacity to generated those natural resources in a year. Since the introduction of this measure in 1970, when the 23rd of December marked Earth Overshoot Day, this tipping point has been occurring earlier and earlier. Moreover, just check the Global Debt Clock, recording public debt worldwide, to see an incomprehensibly and frighteningly high figure, casting an ominous shadow over future prosperity. Yes, the outlook is very dire indeed.

(Taken from my contribution to HOW TO SAVE HUMANITY)

OK, let's dive down the rabbit hole. Can we please add people like Charles and David Koch, Rupert Murdoch, and corporate and finance tycoons to the list, thank you. By the way, my statement on the question if our study has exposed a global conspiracy, unmasking the all-controlling, all-powerful Illuminati:
What should you take home from all of this? Well, the high degree of control you saw is very extreme by any standard. The high degree of interconnectivity of the top players in the core could pose a significant systemic risk to the global economy. And we could easily reproduce the TNC network with a few simple rules. This means that its structure is probably the result of self-organization. It's an emergent property which depends on the rules of interaction in the system, so it's probably not the result of a top-down approach like a global conspiracy.

So far so good. Regardless through which political lens you choose to view the world, the status quo appears deficient and things could be arguably a lot better. Power and wealth have accumulated in the hands of very few, a condition accompanying the human species since over ten millennia.

Moving on to the second and third levels down the rabbit hole. This is where things become unsavory and appalling. This is where the batshit crazy enters and I am not talking about the pathological paranoia (advanced secret space programs, "certain" bloodline families dominating all aspects of our lives, trauma-based mind control, ...). No, I am talking about this:

Luciferianism, worshipping the Dark Side, next to child and human sacrifices.

Dude, seriously?

Another thing I object to is CERN being associated with the devil. Obviously, the logo of the three accelerator rings reveals the hidden symbolism of evil: 666! Ghasp (and not to be confused with 999). So, all scientists are bad people, ha. They are all corrupt and dishonest. But ever wondered where the gift of technology comes from?

It is an interesting idiosyncrasy of our times that we have become increasingly accustomed to the ongoing success of the human mind in probing reality and understanding the world we live in. Indeed, the relevance of this ever-growing body of knowledge, describing the universe and ourselves in greater and greater detail, cannot be overstated. It allows us to engineer and design reality at will! Sadly, we have come to expect our technological abilities to constantly accelerate and reach breakneck speeds, without giving it a second thought.

The good souls laying the foundations of knowledge, enabling and fostering technological progress are and have always been---drumroll---scientists. People love reaping the fruits of technology (from transistors in microchips to a global information network, from smartphones to rovers on Mars) while at the same time vilifying the hardworking scientists making this possible, based on petty social and political preferences. However, a simple solution is the following. If you deny science (from flat Earth, to creationism, to climate skepticism, to anti-vaxxers, ...) you don't get to use a smartphone and the Internet. Also, no electricity...

In closing, perhaps people should spend less time online and actually look at and engage with the real world around them. Perhaps a walk in nature could help cultivate a healthy and sane mindset. Or observing a sunset or gazing at the night sky. Perhaps a bit of contemplation and reflection could counter all this toxic thinking. Pro tip: Ever engaged in critical thinking? You know, stuff like this:
Critical thinking involves both cognitive skills and dispositions. These dispositions, which can be seen as attitudes or habits of mind, include open and fair-mindedness, inquisitiveness, flexibility, a propensity to seek reason, a desire to be wellinformed, and a respect for and willingness to entertain diverse viewpoints. 

Just sayin'