Thursday, May 25, 2017

Discussion With 9/11 Truther Friend About Epistemology, Belief, Certainty And Purpose

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Dear R,

I hope you are well.

Thanks for your recent email.

After reading it, I spoke with friend, fellow musician and clinical psychologist Chuck about 9/11 Truth, Sandy Hook and other forms of conspiratorial thought (to use the most common term) and he communicated several illuminating observations and resources. 

The one I found most useful was an article by a 9/11 "apostate" whose life-changing decision to shift focus from the relatively narrow bounds of "trutherism" to "transendant" perennial issues impresses me as "the absent cornerstone" of our discussion.

To quote author Saman Mohammadi, "I want to go from excavating history to transcending it."

I am again reminded of Carl Jung's observation that whenever he counseled someone whose life was at a painful impasse, his patient never "solved the problem by grappling with it" but instead set a new goal and, in the process of "climbing that mountain," got to a point where he eventually turned around and -- although he could still see the original problem in the distant valley, right where he left it -- it no longer mattered. 

The new quest-purpose of Jung's patients "made them new again" and it was no longer necessary to re-hash the tormenting circularity of painful idées fixe.


I am reluctant to undertake World War II revisionism, partly because I am not very interested whether Roosevelt was complicit in the attack on Pearl Harbor. 

I do not believe FDR was complicit but if complicity was needed to shake America out of its pre-war isolationism, I'm not going to lose sleep over it. 

But mostly, World War II revisionism does not interest me since on "the conspiratorial side of the aisle" I see a superabundance of Holocaust deniers, a view I consider as unhinged as the assertion that no one was killed in Newtown --- that those twenty six "deaths" were staged. (Again... It is impossible to persuade a predominantly Republican township to collude in a massively-staged cover-up whose purpose is to slag The Second Amendment. For me, this scenario does not pass the straight face test. True, you might get as many as three people to "keep a secret"... but only if two of them are dead and probably not even then.)

I am not suggesting that you (or others) "cannot" subscribe to such views. 

For better or worse, I believe 20 children died at Sandy Hook and, as I detail (below) in "District Attorney Declares Texas Mother Of 5 Innocent In 2007 "Murder" Of Foster Child," reason alone makes a persuasive case that there was no hoax in Newtown.

We humans can - and do - believe anything

But personally I draw the line at "perseverant evangelization." 

I will gladly share my beliefs. 

But I shun any compulsion to make others "see the light" as I do.

I fundamentally agree with "apostate" Saman Mohammadi's "born again" determination to transcend the Byzantine "nature of history" by abandoning never-ending historical excavation bent on proving iniquity-and-cover-up in any given individual's "conspiracy-of-choice" so that -- finally!!! -- there will be such incontrovertible clarity that everyone will "see the same light."  

Vince Foster And Torquato Tasso Weigh In On Comey "Revelation"

Everyone will NOT see the same light.

They didn't even see the same light when confronting the manifest monstrosity of Donald J. Trump.

In my own life, I want to move deeper into creativity and not dig my way, mole-like, to supposedly "conclusive" forensics concerning "Yoruk's skull."

High on my list of "seldom homilized bible verses" is Jesus' advice in Luke: "Let the dead bury their dead."

I see no "salvation" in the dead past.

It may seem appalling to you that an intelligent, well-read fellow like myself is not more interested in The Truth.

Simply put, "probing Truth" -- as an intellectual act -- is not as important to me as figuring out how I can be materially helpful to the people "in my life," many of them people who have not enjoyed white privilege and whose pressing concerns have nothing to do with 9/11, Newtown, the Bataclan massacre or "the false flag" of Pearl Harbor.

Listen to the following audio file. It's marvelous.

Mohamed Bzeek And "The Boy With Long Lashes" From WBUR's "Kind World"

The people "in my life" need personal loans and small business loans. 

They need help navigating rules and regulations. 

They need access to healthcare. 

They need an English-speaking intermediary to advocate in court, in immigration proceedings, in the upheaval of divorce.  

I realize that when anyone's life crystalizes around a single issue -- an All-Consuming Central Truth -- everything else seems trivial.
("Extra ecclesiam nulla salus.") 

My central Truth is the sine qua non importance of "social" and interpersonal service.

I simply do not see "social service" and the incremental slog of "practical politicking" anywhere in the 9/11 Truth movement. From the truther point of view, it seems that "all existing social and political structures are built on lies," so why bother?

Speaking of practical politics... If SOBMF gets his way, 23,000,000 Americans will lose health coverage and many thousands of "the disenfranchised" will die, year after year, from curable pathologies. (Note that this death tally does not even broach the incalculable pain of the sick-and-wounded whose suffering is often worse than death itself.)

Harvard Study: 45,000 Americans Die Annually For Lack Of Health Insurance

I do not say these things to "get in your face." 

I say them to point out that "beliefs are beliefs" -- that Absolute Truth is everlasting elusive -- and that "spinning our intellectual wheels" is intrinsically painful unless we rally under "The True Flag" of "the poor, the needy, the marginalized and the disadvantaged" whose position in life immerses them in the mysterious "kingdom of heaven" more dependably than the "ideas" that fixate, obsess and compel us comfortably-situated intellectuals.    

Image result for steinbeck poor people

As a practical matter, where does 9/11 Truth lead?

What is the "end game?" 

And how does the "end game" actually impact The Body Politic?

Just as importantly, how does 9/11 Truth impact a "believer's" life.

How does 9/11 Truth make one more peaceful rather than agitated-without-end?

A few requests...

Please watch the documentary "Newtown" which streams on Netflix.

And please keep in mind my previous request that you visit Newtown and speak with bereaved father Lenny Pozner, a former "conspiracy thinker."

Sandy Hook Conspiracy? Lenny Pozner Was A Conspiracy Theorist. Then His Son Was Killed

And finally, watch the most eye-opening political documentary I've seen in recent time - "13th."

Several years ago, my daughter Maria alerted me to Michelle Alexander's groundbreaking work on the sustained, system-wide oppression of black people in the wake of the Civil War and supposed "Emancipation." 

But I was unaware of The 13th Amendment's role in making life enduringly miserable (and not infrequently lethal) for much of this huge demographic.

"13th," A Made-For-Netflix Documentary About The 13th Amendment And Slavery's Prolongation

The Future Of Race In America: TED Talk By Michelle Alexander, Author Of "The New Jim Crow"

As you probably recall, my Thomistic training has imbued me with the understanding that virtue depends on perspective, proportion and acting in areas where we can have material impact on the actual embodiment/incarnation of goodness.

From my vantage, I do not see "the good" that can emerge from 9/11 Truth - except in the theoretical sense of "setting the record straight."

It pains me that 3000 people died on that fateful day. 

But it pains me much more that one-in-three black "kids" is systematically "criminalized" so that the rest of his life becomes a fucked-up horror. 

We can do something about that.

I do not see how we can do anything about 9/11.

People don't care about Vietnam where 3 million died.

People don't care about Bush-Cheney's ego-driven whimsy war in Iraq where a million died.

People don't care about Mossadegh's overthrow.

Or Arbenz Guzman's overthrow.

Or Salvador Allende's overthrow.

Or Reagan's vanity war in Nicaragua. 

If you want more, here it is - the entire Byzantine mess.

The History Of U.S. Military Interventions:

Do the math R. 

The world never really listened to Jesus.

Instead "the Pharisees in every generation" converted him (and continue converting him) into The Prince of Bourgeoise Smarm

And tens of millions of "Christian" "conservatives" just saw fit to elect The Prince of Darkness.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, and say, ‘If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ “So you testify against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets.“Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers. You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?" Matthew 23: 29-33 

You can read all the "Woe" passages -- an enlightening endeavor -- at 

It Is Important To Know These Things So Religion Doesn't Do You More Harm Than Good

What Too Many Christians Get Wrong

James' Epistle: "Judgment Without Mercy Will Be Shown To Anyone Who Has Not Shown Mercy"

Even if 9/11 Truth were to coalesce around one "definitive set of findings" that PROVED 9/11 was an "inside job" --- a jawropping horror of the most treasonous, diabolical kind --- what then?

"Do War's Really Defend America's Freedom?"
(Homage To Marine Commandant, Major General Smedley Butler)

"Why We Fight," Excellent Documentary With Ike's "Military-Industrial Complex" As Springboard

Scare The Sheep 
And They Will Applaud Military-Industrial Profiteering

American "Patriotism": Why So Many Americans Are Fundamentally Violent And Paranoid

Republican Lawmaker From Nevada Sends Christmas Card Featuring Fully Armed Family

The Age-Old Normalization Of Warfare Through Stupidity, Ego And Religion

The Mistaken Concept That Reducing Cultures To Rubble Results In Peace

Punishment Rarely Reforms But Instead Tends To Reinforce Wrongdoing

I am not a big fan of utilitarianism, certainly not as a final litmus of "The Good."

But there must be some significant utility in any path of political action if it is to truly serve "The Common Good," "The General Welfare" and the peace-of-mind of activists themselves.

I am abidingly suspicious of any political program that is disproportionately focused on (what I call) "too pure principles" and the overly-passionate beliefs they engender about "systems of thought" that promise "Total Remedy" or "Absolute Good."

Consider what happened the last time God used apocalyptic catastrophe to cleanse the earth of evil.

Thomas Merton wrote a friend: "You are fed up with words and I don’t blame you. I am nauseated by them sometimes.  I am also, to tell the truth, nauseated by ideals and with causes.  This sounds like heresy, but I think you will understand what I mean.  It is so easy to get engrossed with ideas and slogans and myths that in the end one is left holding the bag, empty, with no trace of meaning left in it.  And then the temptation is to yell louder than ever in order to make meaning be there again by magic..." 

Merton also wrote: "The terrible thing about our time is precisely the ease with which theories can be put into practice.  The more perfect, the more idealistic the theories, the more dreadful is their realization.  We are at last beginning to rediscover what perhaps men knew better in very ancient times, in primitive times before utopias were thought of: that liberty is bound up with imperfection, and that limitations, imperfections, errors are not only unavoidable but also salutary. The best is not the ideal.  Where what is theoretically best is imposed on everyone as the norm, then there is no longer any room even to be good.  The best, imposed as a norm, becomes evil.” "Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander,” by Trappist monk, Thomas Merton

More Merton Quotes

And finally, a "revelation"... 

My real reason for writing this "cover letter" is to introduce the following two articles in which I write "abstractly" about the "conspiracy theories" you and I have been discussing. 

Since I did not write these articles directly to you, I hope they provide useful perspective on how I consider these matters without simultaneously having to "take care" of our relationship.

District Attorney To Declare Texas Mother Of 5 Innocent In 2007 "Murder" Of Foster Child

I look forward to your reply.



PS Although this postscript may seem "off point," I must include it as necessary prelude to understanding the essence of America's ongoing "culture war" of which conspiratial epistemology is a core component. Conservatives -- particularly "Christian" "conservatives" -- use abortion as their bedrock justification for demonizing non-Christians and other non-"conservatives." In fact, it is "conservative" "Christians" themselves who are responsible for the world's most astronomical abortion rates, a fact that is slowly coming to light. If abortion is murder, Christian conservatives are murderers sans pareil.

Pro-Life Advocates Cause Abortion Rates To Soar. Pro-Abortion Advocates Cause It To Decline

The History Of Sex, Sin, Abortion And American Law. (An Eye-Poppingly Informative "1A" Show)

Excerpt: Traditionally, abortion has not been considered immoral until "quickening," that milestone in pregnancy when a mother feels the first movement of her fetus. Thomas Aquinas also believed that "quickening" marked the transition of the non-yet-human fetus into a fully human being.

PPS I am a proud product of The Enlightenment and I believe in the broad outlines of Liberal Democracy. For me, it is understandable that there are people who gag on my beliefs just as I gag on theirs. But I see a fundamental difference between "Liberal Democrats" (in the broad polito-philosophical sense of the word) and people who subscribe to conspiracy theories. The latter seem outraged - or at least profoundly betrayed - when others do not "sign off" on the presumed Bedrock Truth of conspiratorial thinking. On the flip side of the coin I, as a liberal democrat, feel no compulsion to make conspiracists believe in the truths I hold just as deeply, just as centrally. As a result, "the deck always feels stacked," as if somehow The Absolute Validity of Conspiratorial Thinking deserves special consideration because "after all, Conspiratorial Thinking is REALLY true" whereas my non-conspiratorial beliefs only serve to illustrate the sad delusion of someone who has fallen for The Big Lie. 
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