(from 16 Maps of Hell)
Grand Unified Conspiracy Theory
“Consequently a necessary step for
most of us in the work of renouncing This World is to become aware of it as an
engineered control system. Thus the act of investigating the structure and
exposing the agendas of the New World Order, for those dedicated to the
spiritual path and also called to this work, can be of direct service to the
contemplative life. If we can witness the darkness of This World with apatheia, with detachment and
equanimity, then we will have accomplished the greater part of the work of
‘shadow-integration’; we will be led, God willing, to the point of supreme
nausea where we can vomit the World, along with the Ego, its master and slave,
out of our souls forever.”
—Charles Upton, System of the Antichrist
Personally, I can freely admit that I do not know if there is a unified conspiracy being implemented by a constant and persistent group over long periods of time. But can the “skeptic” admit they don’t know there isn’t? Nor do I personally feel much need to try and find this out, since the very terms of such a proposition make it impossible to do so. A conspiracy revealed is no longer effective as a conspiracy (unless the conspiracy is to make us believe in one).
What I do find myself wondering is this: if the people who promote the idea of a grand, unified conspiracy had a better understanding of the subtlety, intimacy, and intricacy of psychological, social, cultural, and even spiritual engineering involved, would they still be able to maintain their belief? By the same token, on the other side of the river Styx, what of those who reject the idea as absurd? If they were to spend sufficient time sifting through the evidence—which generally they haven’t—would they feel secure in their position?
As any Marxist will tell you, there’s plenty of evidence of how a “purely” economic-based society acts as a program of dehumanization, with all the earmarks of organized malevolence or a “grand conspiracy.” A medical institution that “unconsciously” (covertly) prolongs people’s stays and undermines their healing process to maximize profits comes up with policies designed to fragment, destabilize, and unhinge the patients. This can be put down to cynical corporate profit motives; but at the same time, it’s quite in accord with how a “CIA MKULTRA front” would operate. So which is it? We have here a case of the effects of a conscious conspiracy, without the necessity of positing a fully conscious causal agency. The ball was set in motion long ago, and now it is simply rolling down grooves laid down by decades—or centuries—of “business as usual.”
In the same way, the cheapest sort of architecture tends to be the ugliest, and ugly architecture undermines people’s morale, their sense of meaning, purpose, and community, making them less and less at home in their families, their lives, and their bodies. Naturally, this also makes them more and more susceptible to being controlled externally, whether merely to consume the products being sold to them or, more proactively, to “act out” in ways that benefit the power structures lurking behind these corporate-based architectural decisions. Conspiracy, or blind economic forces?
I suspect there are as many examples of this sort of thing as there are destructive (or at least counter-productive) social trends and policies. All of them can be superficially accounted for with financial opportunism, greed, corruption and a lack of ethics (even stupidity). Yet all (I suspect) might also be seen as congruent with known psychological principals for demoralization, fragmentation, and dehumanization.
The common thread would be this last effect: running a society on the basis of a (fake) economy is inherently anti-human, because a system that doesn’t represent any natural, human reality renders human beings as currency within a system of numbers (René Guénon called it the reign of quantity). Could all of this conceivably have been researched and formulated in advance (by the Fabian Society and their economic wizard John Maynard Keynes, for example)? I don’t see how this can be ruled out, any more than it can be assumed merely from observing the consistency of the results.
In its loosest definition, conspiracy indicates malevolence, or at least criminality. There is a tendency for both conspiracy researchers and debunkers not to be able to separate the exposure (or simply the seeing) of organized malevolence with the need to oppose it. This unnecessary conflation feeds into both the conspiratorial and the anti-conspiratorial mindset. On Wikipedia, for example, it says: “A ‘conspiracy theory’ is a belief that a conspiracy has actually been decisive in producing a political event which the theorists strongly disapprove of” (emphasis added).
Making the element of disapproval—moral judgment—central to this definition suggests that the only reason to want to understand something is to condemn it. Yet exposing the hidden machinations of organized malevolence can also be part of a healthy desire to understand ourselves better in relation to the world. It can be a way of seeing more clearly our complicity with, and consent to, the malevolence in the world, but also our distinctness from it: how we are not of the world we find ourselves in.
This is very different from scapegoating—even the opposite of it—and potentially it can be the means to heal a split within ourselves, a split that was both caused by the world, and that is the cause of the state the world is currently in.
The World-Psyche as Split in the Soul
“Socrates believed that oratory was not a morally neutral skill that can
be directed at good, bad or indifferent ends, but intrinsically rotten because
it betrays the trust necessary for genuine conversation and, in so doing,
erodes the conditions of political (and other forms of) judgment. We should
think the same about spin. For many years, we in the democratic West have
praised conversation in politics as though it expressed an ideal of democratic
accountability. That may be a sentimental illusion about the nature of
politics, encouraged by politicians who spin counterfeits of conversational
intimacy to make us more vulnerable to manipulation.”
—Raimond Gaita, “Even Socrates drew the line at spin”
Schismogenesis is a term derived from the Greek words skhisma “cleft” (borrowed into English as schism, “division into opposing factions”), and genesis, “generation, creation.” The creation of a divide. Anthropologist and OSS intelligence operative Gregory Bateson developed the concept while working for the OSS, and coined the term to describe “progressive differentiation between social groups or individuals.”
[I]f two groups exhibit symmetrical behavior patterns towards each other that are different from the patterns they exhibit within their respective groups, they can set up a feedback, or “vicious cycle” relation. For example, if boasting is the way they deal with the other group,and if the other group replies to boasting with more boasting, then each group will drive the other into excessive emphasis on the pattern, leading to more extreme rivalry, and ultimately to hostility and the breakdown of the system. .. . Schismogenic behaviors, when put into equations (!) and graphed as curves,are “bounded by phenomena comparable to orgasm.” They reflect conscious or unconscious hopes for release of tension through total involvement.
Complementary schismogenesis is the term coined by Bateson for what happens when people with different cultural norms come into contact: they each react to one another’s differing patterns of behavior with the opposing behavior. This is colloquially known as “doubling down.” Given two groups or types of people, the interaction between them is such that one kind of behavior from one side elicits another kind from the other side, as exemplified in the dominant-submissive behaviors of, say, a class struggle or a sexual relationship. Furthermore, the behaviors may exaggerate one another, leading to a severe rift and possible conflict. One of the factors said to exacerbate conflict is “information asymmetries” between the two groups, that is, when one party has more or better information than the other, creating an imbalance of power.
The imbalance of information asymmetry might be seen to exist within each of us. When denied access to the more instinctive, atavistic wisdom of the unconscious (or the body), our rational minds are rendered helpless in the face of seemingly irrational acts (which the world is full of). At the same time, when our more primitive, instinctive awareness is denied the leavening influence of reason and logic, it sees patterns and meanings—devilish or divine—in everything. It has no way of deducing that, while we are being manipulated by shadowy forces, part of the manipulation is designed to engender our belief in something that isn’t real, to render us even more susceptible to manipulation. Hence we have the maddening paradox of a conspiracy to engender belief in conspiracies, sometimes referred to as “the revelation of the method.”
Another form of schismogenesis is known as “systems of holding back,” “mutually aggregating spirals” which lead people to hold back positive contributions they might otherwise make, because they perceive others to be likewise holding back. Again, this is easily observed in a marriage, family, or long-term relationship, when we choose not to be vulnerable or considerate because we want first to receive reassurance that the other person will do the same. Unless we make a conscious effort to counter this tendency, our interactions seem to naturally fall into these holding back systems. Because of this, they have been called “the single most important key to life-decreasing, reciprocity-trivializing and vitality-downgrading mechanisms in human life.”
So we have systems within systems. We do it to ourselves, but we also have help. Perhaps the most critical feature of conspiracy theorizing in general is the failure to refer to personal, everyday experience and accountability within the agendas of social control being described. The cartographer fails to include his or her own faulty instrumentalities—as compromised as everything else—on the map being assembled. There is an outward gaze that projects wounded agency onto the systemic malevolence that has caused the wounding. But there is no inward gaze that recognizes how the wounding also causes the systemic malevolence, or malfunctioning. There is the acknowledgment of conspiracy, but none of complicity.
This split of schismogenesis—both self- and other-engineered—may be central to maintaining and extending power and control over human psyches, both individually and collectively. Divide and conquer: as within, so without. Our intuitive, subrational mind believes in demons and in the divine aspect of existence because it has direct experience of archetypal—or at least “psychic”—reality. Our conscious, rational mind “knows better”: its job is to manage the everyday, mundane realm of hard, cold facts. Yet both are effectively useless without a dialogue with the other. Schismogenesis is the key to maintaining territorial jurisdiction over both sides of this divide.
As C.S. Lewis’s Screwtape Letters has it: “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and un-healthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.”
The Conspiracy Demon depends both on our disbelief and our belief, and uses whichever modus operandi suits his ends. Yet his only power over us is by installing his “program” inside us, and ditto the State. If the conspiracy believers and the conspiracy debunkers were to get together and compare notes, both sides might come away with a more coherent and wholesome picture of the world. For the maintenance of the sociocultural hegemony of “the world,” however, it’s paramount that such dialogues, both inner and outer, do not happen.
Continued in Part 3
This series forms the basis of 16 Maps of Hell: The Unravelling of Hollywood Superculture.
 Christian Hubert, citing Bateson’s Steps towards an Ecology of Mind, p. 68, 111. http://christianhubert.com/writings/schismogenesis.html Schismogenesis “was built on Bateson’s experience as an OSS intelligence officer in South Asia. Bateson spent much of his wartime duty designing and carrying out ‘black propaganda’ radio broadcasts fromremote, secret locations in Burma and Thailand (Lipset 1980:174), and alsoworked in China, India, and Ceylon (Yans-McLaughlin 1986a:202).” “Bateson’sSchismogenesis as a propaganda tool,” Off-Guardian,February 18, 2015. https://off-guardian.org/2015/02/18/batesons-schismogenesis-as-a-propaganda-tool/
 Saarinen, E., & Hämäläinen, R. P. 2007. Systems Intelligence: Connecting Engineering Thinking with Human Sensitivity. In R. P. Hämäläinen & E. Saarinen (Eds.), Systems Intelligence in Leadership and Everyday Life: 39-50, Espoo: Helsinki University of Technology, Systems Analysis Laboratory.