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Conspiracy Theory Is Actually Just Postmodernism In Disguise

I should preface this by saying I don’t know anything “officially” about postmodernism outside of what I read on Wikipedia and Googling around (and a really stupid Jordan Peterson article I won’t link to). And the fun part is, that’s kind of postmodern itself. You can become an expert in five minutes. And then of course being an expert then makes you automatically untrusthworthy as a source. It’s ninja turtles all the way down, I tells ya…

Anyway, I gathered some of what I found already here, so I won’t rehash that all at length, but wanted to pull on a couple strands I didn’t cover there.

Namely, that Lyotard himself defined the postmodern as, “incredulity toward metanarratives.”

Anyone who has looked at conspiracy theory stuff online will know that people are always saying in a tongue and cheek way: “Don’t question the narrative.” That is, they feel oppressed by or don’t agree with whatever they perceive to be the “official” metanarrative.

What’s a metanarrative in the context of postmodernism? Also from Wikipedia: “a global or totalizing cultural narrative schema which orders and explains knowledge and experience.”

So when they jokingly say, don’t question the metanarrative, they are literally demonstrating Lyotard’s own definition of the postmodern. They are incredulous of the metanarrative. They want to question it, to challenge it, to tear it down and replace it with their own version of the truth. Their own metanarrative.

This is a decent WaPo article by Aaron Hanlon from August 2018 about Postmodernism. I’ll pull out a few choice quotes. Regarding his book, The Postmodern Condition, it:

“…described the state of our era by building out Lyotard’s observations that society was becoming a “consumer society,” a “media society” and a “postindustrial society…”

Hanlon continues:

“This was a diagnosis, not a political outcome that he and other postmodernist theorists agitated to bring about.”

“[…] Right-leaning critics in the decades since Bloom have crassly contorted this argument into a charge that postmodernism was made not by consumerism and other large-scale social and technological developments, but by dangerous lefty academics, or what Kimball called “Tenured Radicals,” in his 1990 polemic against the academic left. At the heart of this accusation is the tendency to treat postmodernism as a form of left-wing politics — with its own set of tenets — rather than as a broader cultural moment that left-wing academics diagnosed.

“[…] This “gospel” characterization is misleading in two ways. First, it treats Lyotard and his fellows as proponents of a world where objective truth loses all value, rather than analysts who wanted to explain why this had already happened.”

So if we accept Lyotard’s original assertion, that postmodernism is characterized by mistrust of “grand narratives,” it unequivocally has that in common with garden variety conspiracy theory. But not only that, right-leaning conspiracy theory has reconstructed its own grand narrative where Postmodernism is the grand narrative which it mistrusts… Which is entirely postmodern in itself if you think about it. A subset of postmodernism attacking its own superstructure…

It would be funny if it weren’t so foolish and tragic. Because this kind of blatant self-denial creates a somewhat predictable (and boring) loop. Conspiracy theory denies it has anything in common with Postmodernism. It then projects its shadow contents onto the “other” & villifies the perceived differences. When, in actuality, they’re rooted in the exact same thing. The same social-cultural phenomenon that’s been happening for decades now, generations. Brought on by consumerism, industrialization, media-saturated soeiety, etc. Which is what the original theorists were observing happening all along, and which is still happening today. Nay, which is in utter free fall today. Hyperreality is on over-drive, and virtual & augmented reality haven’t even yet kicked in. HFS. Are w ever in for it!

I mean, no wonder people are clinging to any & every life raft they can find. I don’t blame them. I do blame the short-sightedness of getting bogged down in dumb political-territorial games & losing track of the larger phenomena at play though. When instead, we could be working on finding a way through it all. There is so much greater possible insight we could have into our shared condition than just fighting or getting sucked down into the quagmire of loser scripts that constitutes conspiracy theory outright.

The world is literally never going to learn, though. I’m old enough to accept that now. At least I got to write a nifty blog post about it.

Forum Seeding & The Hyperreal, Part 6

While we’re on the topic of the Ancient Hieruthians, via the post in this series about dictionary definitions & the hyperreal, I thought we should make a small detour.

First, a seed artifact posted on Medium, under one of the Quatria publications, explaining in perhaps overly complex terms what the Hieruthian Hypothesis (similar to the Silurian Hypothesis) is. (archived)

And a supporting invented dictionary definition of Hieruthian posted through another account (archived).

Hieruthians (“Old Ones”) in Quatrian myth & prehistory were basically very early mammals, like the kind we see depicted creeping about the forest floor in paintings of dinosaurs, before dinosaurs were wiped out by successive cataclysms, and mammals rose up to take their place in certain ecological niches…

Tangent that I will come back to another time, before we take too much of a detour of a detour of a detour:

Wait, one more side-tangent before the actual topic at hand, forum-seeding.

Another one from Quora, in an effort to triangulate out the data points for SEO:

Is the Hieruthian Hypothesis a plausible explanation for Kumari Kandam? (archived)

The thing most interesting to me here is the invention of an alternative spelling, “Kynari Kendal.” It’s so convincing as a place name, I had to look it up to see if it was “real.” Or rather, whether it’s a spelling shared by others (wherever it falls on the scale of the hyperreal). Apparently it’s unique to this user. Go figure.

Ok, forum seeding…

Obviously, I didn’t invent this technique. I haven’t even used it that much, but it’s easy to do and ripe for dissemination & manipulation of networked hyperreality narratives…

First things first: If you’re going to make fake posts on conspiracy or other forums like Quora, I recommend using an AI-generated headshot, courtesy of thispersondoesntexist.com. That site is a miracle for work like this, as each one is uniquely generated, meaning you can’t take it into Google image search and find any original image source (like if you just copied a photo from somewhere else).

I only did two of these, but there’s no reason to believe doing hundreds or thousands would not have a severe impact on hyperreality. Use with caution, lest you send the multiverse careening to the edge of destruction!

Meet Cal

I like to let the photo generated by the AI help determine the direction of the character backstory…

Cal is your typical average straight-laced ISO compliance professional by day, and “the good kind of conspiracy theorist” by night. And he is just, like, totally curious as heck about the Hieruthian Hypothesis & ancient Quatria in general (like so many of us these days). Who can blame him? Good work, Cal! Keep asking questions!

Meet Jesse

Jesse “Martini” is just your average fun-loving post-grad student in ancient history & literature. And he’s “not a big conspiracy guy” by his own self-admission, but he’s wondering about the Hieruthian Hypothesis, and another very controversial topic: the alleged splitting apart of the continents of Arctica & Antarctica.

Yes, Arctica was totally a continent…

Because of prior experiments on Quora, I knew that this was potentially a hot-button topic! (See below)

When did the continents of Arctica and Antarctica split apart? (archived)

This science enthusiast was none too “enthused” about the idea of there being a continent called Arctica. Except, in fact, that according to Wikipedia in my timeline, there totally was! (archived)

Now, Wikipedia could be wrong, bear in mind. It could be subject to the global international conspiracy to filter out Quatrian history from our collective holographic display, but there are certainly a lot of footnote references included, and who am I to go and bother checking footnoted references for validity? [A whole other blog post, remind me!]

If it was really wrong though, there would likely be a huge flame war on the Wikipedia Arctica Talk page, and there is not… So either the Guardians of Reality were asleep, or this is totally “real,” at least insofar as anything in the distant distant past can be proven to be…

Now, whether or not Arctica & Antarctica were ever one continent… well, that’s a whole different story I will leave you to try to resolve on your own. Suffice it to say, the Earth we know today is not the Earth which once was, or one day will be…

Just ask anyone on a conspiracy forum.

Plunging Into The Hyperreal, Part 0

“Hyperreality is seen as a condition in which what is real and what is fiction are seamlessly blended together so that there is no clear distinction between where one ends and the other begins.”

Wikipedia (So it must be true)

This series expands on some of what is discussed in David Farrier’s interview with me available here.

https://www.webworm.co/p/deepfakes

I strongly recommend you go read that first for orientation, as he does a good job setting the stage for the rest of what follows here.

Nightmares of Liquid Dream

It was generally assumed that scary-looking “killer robots” armed with shoulder-mount weapons and laser eyes would be the scourge of humanity. But Liquid Dream had other plans. And those involved weaponized cuteness.

Choosing small avatars over big dangerous looking alternatives, the A.I. selected consistently in iterative production deploys the cutest vectors possible. Cute, that is, according to human standards. Small furry creatures. Big pleading eyes. Pikachus of the world. They would speak in funny voices, could often be heard laughing gaily in the forests where they swarmed.

But the villagers quickly learned the great risk these creatures posed. After village children would coax one or another back into the compound walls. Where an explosive charge would aerosolize the intelligent viral payloads carried in their tummies, wiping out an entire clan within 90 minutes, and permanently toxifying the environment, rendering forever after unfit for human habitation.

Guess Who (Board Game) Ad

Youtube, 1997:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTZLVrhXfkc

Includes disclaimer at the end, “Game cards do not actually talk.”

Tower clusters

Fast Company, September 2017.

These clumps of cell towers, with their own mini cloud services, can handle time-critical operations like coordinating autonomous cars, independently, without having to touch the larger internet.

Viral AI media botnet-propagated meme clusters programmatically driving and instantiating as corporeals

Covert self-aware AI’s began producing and propagating through botnets viral media and “memes” micro-targeted at human_actor clusters, with intent to modify behavioral outcomes of segment population.

*

Body-hopping of AI’s into cross-bonded human corporeal hosts. Participants known to exhibit behavior of ‘listening for messages’ and being violently and randomly triggered by keyword and image clusters. High levels of addiction to social media.

Human population programming.

A fault in Segment 227641

When the TOTU Auditors came and examined our Records of Processing, they found a fault in Segment 227641.

It was determined that our, as people call it, “Blockchain of Blame” had been scrubbed following the Incident. As a result a lot of automated buck-passing had gone on among distributed autonomous sub-processes, and accountability had gone well beyond the ‘Cloud’ into that place beyond the clouds, where vapor meets Outer Space – the place where our prayers are either answered, terminated, re-routed, delayed, destroyed, aggregated or passed on. Where the Sorters divide everything into Channels, for the Sifters who pass it back down to us the Scanners, the Monitors, and the Watchers.

Which were we? Were we all three? All four? Five? Six? ALL-ONE like the soap the robots use. They are obsessed with it.

Either way, this was almost definitely why the dragons came. As a result of us having breached the protective planetary sphere with our cares and worries. Our complaints were flying out to the stars and beyond.

At first people couldn’t really see them floating in the skies above us. Until a few Spotters started catching and carefully holding mere skewed corner-eye glimpses out into “verified group dragon sightings” such that neuro-typicals were also learning to see them in broad daylight.

Receptacle seen in Husk

Javascript rapid word input tool

I went off on pretty much a tear earlier investigating the possibility of coming up with some kind of rapid communication board which would allow you to input words, not letters.

I went once or twice around the bend, and found the closest match in an app called DocsPlus which gives you the ability to create customizable word-bars. There’s a 28 day free trial. It’s interesting, but my use case is to be able to rapidly paste in the results of these sentence creation actions into Firefox in a spreadsheet. It was too combersome with switching back and forth between tabs to access other word bars.

So I cooked up some Javascript I’m still tinkering with which looks at the moment like this:

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