A popular plot device in movies is the hidden conspiracy where the main players slowly learn about a secret group that is actually running things. This secret group makes it look like the official systems are running things, but in reality, they are manipulating things behind the scenes for their own purposes. The movie The Matrix is basically a conspiracy story, except that the conspirators have conjured all of reality for humanity, who they have enslaved as batteries for some reason.
The flaw in all of these stories is that the people behind the conspiracy are so good that they are able to pull off the conspiracy. On the other hand, they make basic errors that allow the good guys to discover the conspiracy. This is done for the sake of expediency so we can get to the showdown between the good guys and the villains. Movies are about two hours of run time, so the filmmakers have to rush through the discovery phase in order to have time for the final act.
What they get right though is that those little things that do not make sense but are generally ignored by people. After all, if there is a secret group running things, it means they are changing things in violation of the rules. This was the basis of the Russian collusion hoax mania. The believers in this conspiracy were sure they had stumbled onto an event that had clearly violated the rules of the universe, thus proving that there is someone secretly manipulating things.
This makes even more sense when you consider that the people who fell for this conspiracy theory live in the world of narratives. Their understanding of existence is through narrative devices created by the likeminded. The people sure Trump was the result of a secret Russian plot think they live in a long running movie. For them, all of reality is just a long running story, the flow of history. The Russian collusion hoax was proof that existence is just one long story.
As nutty as these people sound, they are right in that if we are living in a simulation or one long story, then there is someone responsible for it. Maybe it is just a first mover who set the story in motion or maybe it is a computer programmer. Like The Matrix, our consciousness exists in a computer simulation. Instead of something cool like Warhammer 40K, we are stuck in a poorly drawn version of a world where child molesters get a whole month to honor them.
The other thing about those movies that ties in with the Russian collusion hoax and other popular conspiracy theories is that the people who discover the truth are always the weirdos and oddballs. It takes a person who naturally lives outside the normalcy of life to see the flaws of the narrative. Pursuing these anomalies in the story in the face of popular opposition requires a willingness to be unpopular. The movies are right that the people who will discover the conspiracy will be the oddballs.
The Russian collusion hoax was not real, but the people who were into it were strange characters who do not get along with others. We live in an age in which these people are selected by the people running the media, but it does not change the fact that these people are not right in the head. They are the same people who think their food is out to get them, that their gas range is in a plot with the minivan to kill Gaia and that there is an invisible Nazi army lurking in the shadows.
If you were a character in a conspiracy movie, the stuff in that previous paragraph would be a clue that things are not as they seem. After all, if the world operated by the rules everyone swears are in place, it should not result in the mass media being dominated by paranoid lunatics. Once it was clear, for example, that Rachel Maddow was wrong about the Russian conspiracy stuff, someone would replace her who is not suffering from these paranoid delusions.
It is not just the crazies that fall outside the rules. It is possible that these people are selected by the media because some people like freak shows. Most people do not like a freakshow, but some people do and it is a lucrative audience. In other words, it makes no sense to employ foaming at the mouth nutters in the media, but it makes sense if that part of the media is a circus. The universe suddenly makes sense again when you can explain these anomalies within the rules of the universe.
Of course, like the characters in a movie wrestling with the contradictions in the narrative, the story does not end there. What explains Jennifer Rubin? Look at her life story and explain how that makes any sense. Throw in the fact that she is clearly insane, and she is a massive bug in the code. Now, there are people out there who would offer an explanation, but that is just an alternative explanation for who controls the simulation that is our consciousness.
Like the kooks in the circus part of the media, the “serious” part of the media is full of examples that are not easily explained. How has a goofy looking bugman like David French risen to a perch at the New York Times? How has a talentless hack like Jonah Goldberg become a rich and famous pundit? Look around at public life and little of what you see makes sense within the rules as stated. Maybe the answer is we are living in an increasingly bug riddled simulation.
Again, maybe there is an explanation that does not require us to question the very nature of reality. Maybe there is a good reason we only have two mobile phone companies or two political parties that say the same things. Perhaps within the rules this all makes perfect sense once the rules are explained properly. You always have to keep open the possibility that it is not the world that is going crazy. You are the one who is going mad, and the world is perfectly fine.
Alternatively, the madness of this age, including the popularity of conspiracy theories and narrative hoaxes, could be in response to the fixes in the code. As the late physicist John Barrow explained, complexity results in error and the more complex human society gets, the more errors we experience. Many of these fixes fall outside the rules of our reality, so they lead some to question reality itself. The madness of this age is the result of a cumulative bug fix some have noticed.
If we take a step back from the simulation and conspiracy stuff, maybe the answer is simply that the incoherence of the world is due to an incoherence in the rules that govern our world. Through some combination of evolution, design, and serendipity, we have ended up with a set of rules that make perfect sense in terms of outcomes, because the rules are just as nutty as those outcomes. In other words, it is not a conspiracy we are seeing. It is entropy.
That may also explain the increasing popularity of conspiracy theories, especially among the primary beneficiaries of the system. It is far more comforting to think the rules are mostly fine and it is just some secret forces out there in the shadows responsible for the anomalies, than to think that maybe the problem is the rules and that maybe the system is in collapse. Most people would prefer to think they are living in a computer simulation than face up to reality.
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