Krypt3ia

(Greek: κρυπτεία / krupteía, from κρυπτός / kruptós, “hidden, secret things”)

The Post Conspiracy Age

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In last weeks episode of The X-Files, the whole notion of conspiracy theories, truth, and reality were amusingly deconstructed. The premise of the episode was put into one of the more amusing funny X-Files over the years but the core observations it made were something to think about outside of satire. The story line follows the idea that Mulder and Scully had a partner that neither can remember because he has been collectively erased from their memories by a “Dr. They” a hypnotist spooky doctor of some kind. The plot line slides along greased by all the conspiracies over the decades of the show concerning belief in cryptozoology and aliens while making the case that the human memory is not only fallible, but it is also highly manipulatable.

Throughout the story line the notion that people remember things differently per experience also is at play with the idea that forces are at possibly at work shaping the collective memory. One of the ideas they drag up is that of the Mandela effect, where people have varying memories of Mandela dying in prison as opposed to him being released in 2013. Of course Mulder offers the theory that these are often explained by parallel universes, but that is shot down by Scully and “Reggie” the alleged partner they cannot remember. I for one have heard of the Mandela effect but then Reggie says it is not the Mandela effect, it’s the Mengele effect. The Mengele effect as far as I can tell is just a plot device for this episode of the X-Files but the Mandela effect is another matter. It seems many who misremember go on to substantiate their own inability to remember things properly as an “effect” to save face.

“It’s the Mandela effect. When someone has a memory of something that’s not shared by the majority or the factual record. For instance, there are some people that have a memory of seeing a movie called Shazam starring Sinbad as an irrepressible genie. Even after it’s pointed out to them they’re probably thinking of a movie called Kazaam starring Shaquille O’Neil as an irrepressible genie. Especially because a movie named Shazam was never made.”
“But what if I don’t remember either movie?”
“You win!” – Mulder and Scully

Aside from the idea that there are Mandela effects, aliens, squatches, and government conspiracies, this episode focuses not on them for me as much as the methods these ideas are spread and the nature of just what is truth anymore. In a meeting near the end of the episode, Mulder meets the mysterious Dr. They, who is seen standing by a sculpture making the “tsk tsk” or naughty hand gesture that you see above. He starts off talking to Mulder about how the kids today have no idea what this means anymore and that we are living in a “Post conspiracy age” where nothing is real anymore anyway so conspiracies just mean nothing.

“They don’t care if the truth gets out. Because the public no longer knows what is meant by the truth.” – Dr. They

Basically They tells Mulder that none of his truth seeking matters anymore because we are in a post truth society. In effect, nothing can be true anymore because everyone just believes what they want to paying no never mind to facts and things that are known to have been truths. It was this scene of the episode that just hit home for me. In a time where social media has given rise to the common man’s ability to leverage their own cognitive dissonance as part of a larger machine of propaganda and psyops by nation states and corporate entities, nothing is real anymore. Even if you present people with facts and data, they can just discount it because of they now have an arcology of communities that they belong to which re-assure and amplify their own ideas whether or not they are patently wrong and provably so.

….In essence an arcology of echo chambers.

“Believe what you want to believe. That’s what everybody does nowadays anyways.” – Dr. They

As I watched that scene over again a few times it all hit home in a way that I had not overtly thought about in a while. We are living in an age of subtle Nihilism where nothing really exists or matters on a factual or truthful level. It’s all “Truthiness” as it was coined by Stephen Colbert. You choose the level of the truthiness and it’s content per your belief system and no one will be able to assail your notions because they are just wrong. In the X-Files episode the quote by Orwell was brought up twice of “He who controls the past controls the future.” which is then re-stated by They in the meeting scene with Mulder where he says that it was Orson Welles who said it. He is corrected by Mulder that it was Orwell, but basically They then says “for now” as if he is about to manipulate everyone’s memory to change that. It’s amusing as a scene but the reality is that with the facile minded and the misinformation of the internet and manipulative media, it is a possibility that it could become a reality where the masses believe it was in fact Orson instead of Orwell, and then it will be come de facto fact as someone edits the Wiki page and commits.

“We’re living in a post-cover-up, post-conspiracy age.” The “poco”

I was left thinking after this episode about the problems I had been mulling over concerning counter narratives and programs to fight active measures campaigns like the one that Russia carried out and is still carrying out on us. One could just buy into the idea that there is no real way to fight this because we have a system now that allows and perpetuates these echo chambers. Twitter is a steaming pile of minis-information and food pictures. Facebook, well, Facebook is another animal altogether and Zuck has recently doubled down on the problem by saying they plan on only having more inter-networked news being passed on by it’s users instead of real news service feeds. This will only lead to amplification of misinformation as those groups only echo those “truths” they want to believe as opposed to facts. It all makes one want to embrace Nihilism all the more and really believe in nothing at all because what can you believe in when everything is just opinion as fact?

Today we are bombarded with information that has been created, ,managed, or manipulated by the unseen hand of corporations, people, governments, and cabals if you want to believe that. It is up to the consumer to do the leg work and discover what is truth, but unfortunately for the masses it seems, the truth is just subject to their own cognitive dissonance. In 2018 we are about to embark on a new roller coaster of disinformation and active measures not only perpetrated by Russia and other actors, but ourselves. How do we really fight that power?

K.

Written by Krypt3ia

2018/01/29 at 14:58

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