Few people know that Franz-Joachim von Sagowor, once an Austrian nobleman of Croatian descent, lived from 1776 to 1839. The last emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and the first emperor of Austria II. He held special posts under Franz’s administration, later serving as chairman of the petition commission under his successor, Emperor Ferdinand I. From the machinations of his inner circle, he formed a firm conviction that the driving force of history was not the force of necessity or the will of the leaders, but secret conspiracies at the second or third levels of power.
In the late 1830s he published a pamphlet Die Fehler in der Ehepolitik als Ursache für den Zusammenbruch des Reiches (Errors in the Politics of Marriage as the Cause of the Fall of the Empire) and a book: Geheime Hebel und unsichtbare Fäden. Die Rätsel und Antworten auf politische Siege und Niederlagen, insbesondere in Österreich und Frankreich um die Jahrhundertwende ”(Hidden levers and invisible threads. Riddles and riddles of victory and defeat especially in Austria and France at the turn of the century).
In the twentieth century, when Marxism, Freudianism, social Darwinism, geopolitics and the theory of civilizations dominated, these ideas were long forgotten, but recently they have become increasingly popular and bear their name. creator: “Conspiracy Theory”.
Of course, this is a joke.
Although I fear that someone will take it seriously and quote it – as in the story of Stalin, Truman and the splitting of the moon. Author Roman Arbitman wrote a fantastic story in 1993 about how, at the Potsdam Peace Conference in 1945, Stalin proposed to American President Truman to divide the moon into spheres of influence. The author came up with the name of an American translator who never existed, and the name of his alleged “memoirs” recounting it.
And now there are documentaries about it (there have already been three!) and TV shows in which grown-ups, so-called serious experts, with a knowledgeable gaze refer to an imaginary person’s dream book. And the attempts of the author of this fantasy to return people to the land of reality did not succeed.
And this is understandable. Similarly, attempts to counter “conspiracy theories” fail. Why? Probably, our European consciousness is looking for some kind of logic, something reasonable, rational, explainable in everything incomprehensible, if not on the fingers, then at least in clear and precise words. As old Muller said: “They met, he said, and passed.”
It was no accident that I spoke of European consciousness. I’m not a big expert on Indian, Chinese, and Japanese thought, I’m not an expert on Zen, Brahmin, and Tao – so I’ve read a couple of books from the World Philosophy Library series – but it seems to me that there is some kind of culture in these cultures. the cult of objective irrationality. The winds of the universe blow the sand of destiny, the wheel of samsara turns, and the Tao that can be expressed in words is not the true Tao.
Perhaps it is this somewhat amorphous and fatalistic approach to life and destiny that responds much better to the challenges of our times than our boring European logic, this damned “if…then…”, this is Aristotle’s painful legacy. Our thinking is based on the so-called “fundamental premise” formulated by Leibniz in 1714 (but long-established in the entire tradition of European worldview, starting with the ancient Greeks).
Here it is: “No phenomenon can be true or real, no claim is true – without adequate reason why this is the case and not otherwise, but these reasons may not be known to us in most cases.” The end of this wonderful phrase – after the word “despite” – explains a lot about the origin of conspiracy theories. But about that later.
By the way: as Leibniz said, “Nihil est sine ratione” in Latin “There is nothing without a cause”. Let’s pay attention to the word “ratio”. So by “base” we do not mean “base”, “base”, “matrix” or “historical roots” – that is, rational, logical justification. Not so much, I repeat, the main reason – feel the difference.
And finally: even though these reasons are unknown to us, we still believe they exist. Someone we don’t know planned and thought through everything and executed it according to his secret but absolutely logical project.
The first source of conspiracy theories is the uncertainty of the whole mechanism for making big decisions. In short, the opacity of power. People don’t understand what, how and why at the gravest peak of the state – and people want clarity. My good friend, now deceased, a former minister, then a businessman, said: “I’ve had terrible breakups and blockages at my company, and I’ve learned a terrible thing: In 99% of cases, our projects are not created by a person but by a secret enemy or a “mole”, a competitor. intruder , but a basic confusion, irresponsibility, stupidity, laziness. But even if people have not read Leibniz, they are still brought up with him. Masha is on maternity leave, Sveta is on vacation, e-mail passes, and Petya is a dentist They cannot come to terms with the fact that grandiose failures occur due to the fact that he has a 16.30 appointment with … secret plan! And of course they find out.
Therefore, conspiracy theories are primarily a child of censorship. In Soviet times, people thought about the order in which the elders of the Politburo stood on the podium of the Mausoleum, and drew global (albeit completely meaningless) conclusions from it. These are “grassroots conspiracy theories,” so to speak. Ordinary people, including smart analysts, are trying to somehow rationalize all this Brownian motion.
But the opacity of power also leads to “conspiracy theories from above,” so to speak. Decision makers are also prone to conspiracy theories. Herzen wrote about Russia in the 19th century: autocratic power surrounded itself with such a dense veil of secrecy that it ceased to distinguish the outlines of objects. You could call it the “veil phenomenon” (or “tinted glass”) – no one sees you, but you’re also almost blind.
Not only ordinary people on the hill see secret conspiracies in which they do not exist – they see Jesuits, priests, Freemasons, Rothschilds, Bildebergers and other (alleged) agents of “world government” everywhere. Likewise, authorities look at the people at issue, without believing in any objectivity and impersonality of historical processes. For example, not believing that infant mortality fell sharply in rapidly and successfully industrialized Russia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, which means that population growth increased sharply and new industrial enterprises were unable to absorb it. Unemployment, mass discontent, war and general mobilization, a depopulated village and as a result the strongest protests of 1905-1917. Why don’t they believe? Because there is no “rational justification” embedded in the brains, there is no reduction of history to a common denominator of calm rational thought (and in principle it cannot exist). And now, with a serious look, serious experts prove that the great Russian revolution that began in 1861 (by the way, Leo Tolstoy was the “mirror” of this particular revolution, industrial modernization in a large peasant country) was brought from Russia. outside. They prove that the Russian peasant is God-fearing and tsar-loving, and that everything that happened was the intrigues of the Anglo-Saxons and the German General Staff. And in general (I heard about it) – some bad people in St. He paid the workers of the St. Petersburg factories one ruble for a one-day strike and one for going to a rally. Something domestic has been heard about State Department cookies …
The second source of conspiracy passion is the most common paranoia. Do not be afraid of this psychiatric term. Unfortunately, in any population – two to four percent of mentally ill people. And not just neurotics or those prone to depressive reactions – we are not talking about them. When both sophisticated tolerant psychoanalysts and old-fashioned vulgar psychiatrists agree on the diagnosis, we are talking about real lunatics. Mental illness is exactly the same disease as the heart or musculoskeletal system; There is nothing to be ashamed of. However, a person with arthritis is not recommended to run, and a person with myocarditis is not recommended to lift weights. Of course, this could be a personal (possibly suicidal) choice – but the results are unlikely to interest fans. It’s exactly the same here: we cannot forbid a paranoid person from communicating their paranoid nature to others. But it doesn’t make much sense to listen to them so seriously. Conspiracy theory – like ordinary everyday paranoia – is a kind of compensatory logic. An attempt to create a coherent picture of the world in which the flashing of a light bulb in a neighbor’s window is associated with the price of Brazilian rubber and the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Paranoia need not be deterred: it’s an empty lawsuit. It will build you into its own system. Better to leave and go your own way. I must admit, it is very difficult. Because that goddamn “basic phrase” settles in the minds of the smartest and calmest people, and when someone is wrong, we rush to deter them from the same rational positions. Forgetting this paranoia (along with conspiracy theories) is a kind of chemically pure – and therefore toxic – version of rationality.
Finally, the third source of conspiracy theories is unsatisfied arrogance (at all levels—social above all). Conspiracy is a tool for self-raising, self-esteem.
The local conspiracy theorist raises his eyebrows and says, “Very few people know about this…” and everyone falls silent. Everyone wants to be a partner in confidential information. This “few people know…” – especially along with the second favorite conspiracy phrase “undeniably comes from the unpublished archives…” – eliminates any possibility of discussion. Because few people actually know what’s going on in the unpublished archives. But anything can come out of these archives.
It is pointless to fight conspiracy theories – how pointless it is to fight with primitive passion to find out someone else’s secret, with the desire to build a super-logical scheme and at the same time flaunt it in front of your interlocutors.
For a person, the ability to distinguish between Good and Evil is much more important than the study of hidden levers and invisible threads. Let’s leave it to the Austrian official F.-I. von Conspiracy, especially since he’s a fictional character.
The author expresses his personal opinion, which may not coincide with the editors’ position.