Whenever anyone uses the phrases 'my secret contacts,' or 'black ops' or calls something Project whatever it's called, I just stop listening. It's not that I don't believe what they are saying. It's not that I believe they are all paranoid and delusional (which many are), it's just that they are missing the big picture, and what they are going to say is probably not useful to me.
I actually used to be somewhat of a conspiracy theorist. I loved the read about crazy things people were doing below eye level. And when I started working for the government, this was kicked into high gear.
I worked for two years at the American Embassy in Moscow. When I got there, we were still in the grips of the Cold War, and there were a lot of great, juicy stories.
I was very excited that I had a top-secret security clearance. The FBI had come out and investigated me before I took my Moscow job. They had poked around town, asking about my credibility, looking at my school and medical records and talking to neighbors and employers. It made me feel very important. Really fed my ego.
Then I started my job. The first job I had was that of a laborer. I worked in all the back corners of the embassy, and saw and heard lots of things. The 'information' I got was in isolation; just little bits here and there. But my mind worked incessantly to try to connect all the dots. I would think through scenario after scenario until I came up with what I was sure was the exact story that allowed me to put all my little pieces together.
We had been sternly warned not to talk about what we saw, as the wrong information in the wrong hands could jeopardize the work of the embassy, as well as possibly be dangerous to the people who worked there. And I took these warnings seriously, and never did reveal what I was thinking. Had I been a little more vulnerable, as Marine Clayton Lonetree had been a few months before I arrived, selling his secrets to Russian spies for some insignificant monetary compensation, it would have been easy to spin my tales for people. I never did, but I sort of wanted to. It was very exciting to be in possession of such secrets. I would have made a great 'secret source.'
When I worked in Moscow, it was during the presidency of George H. W. Bush (the elder one, that is,) and he was the topic of many conspiracy theories. I spent a lot of time with the guys I worked with talking about The New World Order and the Trilateral Commission and Skull and Bones other secret societies. This just fueled my brain and added layers to my tales I had concocted from the secret information I was exposed to.
The 1991 coup attempt happened mid-way through my time in Moscow, and after that time, relations between the Soviets and Americans changed significantly. We suddenly went from being foes to allies, and much information that had been secret before was revealed during my second year.
It was embarrassing how far off my scenarios were from the truth. I learned that among the information I had been exposed to, some of it was misinformation that was seeded around intentionally so that when people like me and the guys I worked with saw it or heard it, that we would be lead to draw false conclusions. Also, there were quite a few people there who enjoyed 'messing with people's minds.'
One of the things that is characteristic of the conspiratorial mind is the amount of minutia, tiny details that had to fit just right, and the amount of unusual coincidence that has to occur to make everything work out. I have learned in my life that when things get too complex, there is something wrong.
So, do I believe that there are people who work together for evil purposes? Yes. Surely. For instance, I am well convinced that people like the Koch brothers and execs from Goldman-Sachs and other Wall Street bankers work together to buy off politicians and influence policy for the convenience of the wealthy. I also believe that they are waging class warfare against the middle class. Also I believe they are trying to destroy the Public School system.
A conspiracy theorist person would extrapolate that these people are part of the illuminati, a group hundreds of years old with secret ties to the Freemasons and a secret bloodline from Jesus Christ that have been attempting to control empires since the middle ages, and that there are ties to the Teutonic Knights and the work they did in Israel during the crusades. This is the type of minutia that serves to cloud things rather than to help create fairness.
And so when conspiracy theorists start to spin their yarns and tell me about secret operations they know of because of their sources, I think what a good 'source' I would have made from 'deep within the American Embassy - Moscow,' and just how confused I had been, and how manipulated I had been.
Also, when I see some of these conspiracy theorists talk, I wonder what type of 'source' would seek them out. After all, don't the real whistle-blowers in positions of power go to Bob Woodward, or some credible journalist who will help protect them and provide them some serious compensation?
Perhaps some of the conspiracy theorists are all correct with the minutia they spin. But I still don't listen. Are they, after all, providing any sort of service? Fifty years after the assassination of JFK, does it really matter who shot him? Governor John Connally was in the bar at the embassy when Oliver Stone's JFK movie came out. He watched the CNN feed we got on the TV and declared to everyone in there that he had been in the car and had been shot himself, and he heard one gun and the bullets came from one place. End of story. He was there, and all the confusion stirred up by all the subsequent theories didn't do anything to change it. He made a good point.
A dozen or so years ago, I started reading Wayne Dyer and Ram Dass, and some people like that. In what they discuss, there is one story that they tell in hundreds of ways to make the story easily accessible to everyone. There are a myriad of writers and speakers who all say the same thing from a variety of points-of-view. It is a simple story, with no weird coincidences or minutia. They point to a big picture that is simple and easy to understand.
That is what I think the conspiracy theorists miss - the big picture of what we are all doing here.
The current GOP are operating like a bunch of conspiracists as well. They all have complex stories about how Obama is ruining the country. The have sources that give them faulty information. They make up situations and stories and statistics to make people afraid, and promise that they can protect people from these scary things. Some of them even have God himself as their secret source! They all seem to know about the US cities that have been taken over by Muslims, and people are eating this up!
There is certainly something very alluring about conspiracies, and I can understand how contagious it is. I think the people really involved in the conspiracies love the theorists, because it is so easy to further confuse their stories. And when people get so involved in trying to trace the bloodline of Jesus Christ and learn about the Teutonic Knights and the illuminati, The Koch brothers just go on buying off politicians and breaking up unions. They love the fact that we have lost focus.
I have spent the last 20 years working with very disturbed people through the course of my work. In addition to serving students with mental illness, I also have the opportunity to be around many budding psychopaths and con-men. I have learned to have a keen 'gut,' and even when the evidence in front of me points to something else, if I start to get the creeps, I act on it. My gut feeling have lead to a number of investigations that have turned up some truly sinister behavior. My gut feelings have also kept me and others out of harm's way quite a few times. Many times I am around a conspiracy-focused person, I start to get this creepy feeling.
It is important to carefully consider, with your gut, what things you are exposed to, and what you believe.
Stephanie and I did a number of wedding ceremonies last year as part of the couple-month-long process of our nuptials. One was an 'esoteric' wedding which we did in Montana.
We had become enthusiastic about some books by Elizabeth Clare Prophet. A great deal of it seemed to make a lot of sense to us. We thought it would be fun to do this little ceremony at a place called "The Western Shambala" just north of Yellowstone Park that is run by her group. We were able to locate the office of "The Summit Lighthouse," the publisher of Prophet's books on our GPS, and went there. We found a chapel and an office building. The people enthusiastically greeted us, and were very pleasant, and quickly allowed us to go up to The Western Shambala for our wedding. But even before we got there, a few things got my creepy gut feeling going. One was the way that Elizabeth Prophet and her husband were painted in and among the Ascended Masters and Angels around the compound. The other was the way that people referred to Elizabeth Clare as either Guru Ma or Mother.
But what harm could a hike in the mountains do?
We drove up to an area in 'The Western Shambala' known as 'The Heart.' People gave us detailed instructions to walk along a road, past an old skeleton of a tent, where their retreats used to take place, and so forth. But they forgot to mention the vast, underground bomb shelter that was on the other side.
With our creepy guts going strong, we walked well past the bomb shelter to a nice bend in the creek, and did our little ceremony there. After all, there really is no harm that can come from a little walk in the mountains. Our ceremony was fantastic!
So, when we got back into wi-fi range, we started doing a little research.
It turns out that starting in the 1970s, the Prophets were investigated and busted several times for stockpiling weapons. In the 1990s, Elizabeth had said that she had been told by the Ascended Masters that the end of the world was imminent, and that they needed to build a bomb shelter. The members of the church that the Prophets had started were asked to give all they had for the creation of this bomb shelter, and on a couple of given dates, all the now-broke members of the group funneled into the bomb shelters. As nothing happened, they were told by Prophet that their prayers had saved the world.
Most members left the church to start their lives over again.
It turns out that in addition to her doomsday prophesies, Elizabeth Clare also had affairs with many of the church members, was abusive to her children and so forth.
This does not change the fact that some of the things she said in her books are remarkably inspired and ring true in a very profound way.
I believe she is an extreme example of the characteristics we all have: That is that we all have a remarkable ability to tap into some sort of amazing, divine intelligence, and are all gifted with profound insights. But at the same time, if we start to believe what we say too much, we become victims of our ego, and confusing and contradictory messages start to seem as clear as those divine messages.
I think this is particularly true of the conspiracy theorists. While they probably all have some unique, divine insights that can help us all, their message becomes confused with all sorts of useless or harmful ideas that negate the positive information they can offer to us. So I stop listening.
So, I like to do what I can to stop some of the conspiratorial influencing of politicians in negative ways, or conspiracies to destroy the Public Schools, and other cornerstones of our civilization. But if you start to tell me about the black ops and Projects and military involvement and your secret sources, I may still look at you, but I am probably thinking about something else.