Generation X, the first generation of internet users, a generation lost to the half truths of cyberspace, a generation confused by an infinite number of stories reported from an infinite number of sources, divorced from reality, and ultimately apathetic towards the truth. For some unknown reason the conspiracy theory is highly addictive to generation ‘X’. It eats away at their minds, and leads to the illogical reasoning of a drug addled hippy, reasoning along the lines of:
“Well if I can’t disprove the claim, no matter how outlandish it is, then there is a possibility it could be true.” See onus probandi: the burden of proof rests with those making the claim.
It’s along similar lines of reasoning that since the dawn of man so many have fallen into a trap, and follow gods of which there is no proof, hence the so called “leap of faith” a non-believer must take to become a believer. It’s called a “leap of faith”, but in reality it might better be described as “a sidestepping of reality”.
Those of us born between 1970 and 1985 are generation X, and on this occasion x doesn’t mark the spot, there is no spot, and even if there was it’s unlikely that the shadowy figures that lurk in the corridors of power would ever let people like you or I know where ‘x’ was, or even if it exists.
Generation ‘X’ is at best skeptical, but more often than not just downright cynical of everything, believing that anything we’ve been told could be a lie, we’re highly suspicious as to whether there’s even a right way round to sit on a toilet. Give your average member of generation “X” five minutes thinking time, and they’ll be able to start spinning a web of conspiracy regarding almost any current news item. It’s no coincidence that during our teens generation ‘X’ were influenced heavily by programmmes like “The X Files” which caught the zeitgeist of the moment, and encouraged us all to be cynical towards governments and any agency wielding authority. To generation ‘X’ everything happens for a reason. A powerful network hides behind our governments, pulling strings, and manipulating societies at their whim. They play with us for their sport, much the same way the Gods of ancient Greece played with the destinies of Athenians.Unwittingly, all the conspiracy theorists of generation ‘X’ have actually done is to substitute a belief in an unprovable, omnipotent deity, with a belief in unprovable, omnipotent societies of man, both seem equally as preposterous, and subject to the same inherent fallacies of onus probandi and the Argument of Ignorance.
Although I am firmly ensconced within the parameters of generation ‘X’ (born in 1976), I find it hard to believe that man is capable of organizing such complete, and pervasive control over one another. I come from a country (the U.K) that can’t run a train on time, it’s therefore requires quite a stretch of my imagination for me to believe that a small group of people are so well organized that they control the entirety of our chaotic society. But, in truth if there are a small group of individuals wrestling for the control of my life, then I give them full permission to take control of my life given that I’ve made such a mess of it.
To categorize or group all generation “X” together is in itself a paradox, as Jeff Gordinier, author of “X Saves the World,” writes that Xers are:
“said to be the defiant demographic, dedicated to shredding whatever raiment the marketing apparatus tries to drape us in; because we’d prefer not to be categorized at all, thank you very much”
As Gordinier alludes to I resent being tarred with the brush that suggests every generation “X” is a conspiracy theorist. I have tried very hard to stay out of the foul clutches of the neuroses and paranoia required of a conspiracy theorist. To me it seems little more than a pastime of the pseudo-intellectual, people who believe that they are some how clever if they go around disagreeing with everything, because somehow they are aware of “the hidden agenda”. One sure way of confusing a conspiracy theorist is if you propose the theory that there is no agenda, hidden or otherwise, everything is a mess, everything is in chaos, life itself is an absurdity because mankind has to use all his wits just to get himself to work on time each morning. Propose this to a conspiracy theorist and they’ll likely reply,
“that’s what they want you to think, they’ve got you just where they want you”.
And who is the “they” that conspiracy theorists are constantly referring to, Illuminati, Masons, Bohemian Grove, Yale University’s Skull and Bones, the Bilderberg Group, or the mystical cabal of Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn? Whoever “they” are, they are still ordinary human beings and in my experience I have found us to be a quite an underwhelming, under achieving species, and I’m less than impressed with our abilities to organize anything but the simplest of things, birthday parties, poker nights etc. To believe that there are a few of our species capable of influencing everything would seem to me to be placing far to much confidence in the abilities of mankind.
Conspiracy has been defined in the United States as:
an agreement of two or more people to commit a crime, or to accomplish a legal end through illegal actions. A conspiracy does not need to have been planned in secret to meet the definition of the crime.
With this definition of conspiracy any it’s impossible for conspiracies not to occur. What is debatable is the levels of conspiracy that generation “X” seem capable of believing.
That’s not to say that all conspiracy theories are bunk, absolutely not. In fact nearly everything underhand that happens in day to day life has required people to conspire. Conspiracy has long been a platform for entertainment, in his play, Shakespeare tells of the conspiracy led by Cassius and Brutus to assassinate Julius Caesar. The Boston Tea Party was a conspiracy, as were the Gunpowder Plot, and Operation Valkyrie (the failed plot to assassinate Hitler). History has proven conspiracies occur time and again.
Discussing the unprovable might just be the definition of futility, it has even produced its own branch of philosophy, absurdism. To the philosophers Albert Camus and Søren Kierkegaard discussions on the existence of god, or any subject that cannot be proven was considered absurd as any effort to find inherent meanings in life can only fail.
Whilst I do believe that conspiracy theorists are the equivalent of a blind man, in a dark room, looking for a black cat; that isn’t there. I must confess to just not knowing any of the answers. And that is where I differ from the conspiracy theorist and ardent followers of religion, I am happy knowing what I don’t know, and acknowledging my ignorance. I am happier doing this than constructing assumed facts based on spurious sources, or abnegating all responsibility of discovering the truth with the catch all excuse “it’s god’s will”.
And although I say this, I can’t escape from the fact that I’m a generation “X”, and conspiracy theories are like an embarrassing itch that just has to be scratched, no matter how many people are looking. For we live not in a world of black and white, but one in which we must appreciate the nigh infinite nuances of hues in the spectrum. Humans are made complex creatures by there complex desires, and their willingness to be dishonourable in order to achieve these desires. Questions in the realm of human behaviour rarely present us with binary solutions, absolutes of yes or no, true or false are unrealistic answers to anything but the most simple question, or the most simple person. It is unreasonable to draw absolute conclusions on the complex behaviours of people in our evermore complex societies, and we give credence to any conspiracy theory by reminding ourselves with idioms such as “there’s no smoke without fire”.
Recently I came across a conspiracy theory that has shaken the very core of my identity. A conspiracy theory that is in the public domain, but still has far reaching social implications as well as personal. A conspiracy theory that I intend to research thoroughly, and present as objectively as possible in order that the reader can determine for themselves what they think. And as I start on my journey through the smoke and mirrors of cyberspace, in search of something tangible, I’m reminded of a line spoken by the character Dana Scully: