A Bridge over Muddied Waters
I gazed down in the river's mirror
And watched its winding strum.
The water smooth ran like a hymn
And like a harp did hum. - Bob Dylan
In the 1930s, Russian neurophysiologist and father of biomechanics Nikolai Bernstein dressed some people in black leotards, painted white dots on their joints, set them against a black background and filmed them dancing, jumping, walking and performing various other common activities.
In The Holographic Universe, Michael Talbot describes what happened next:
When he developed the film, only the white dots appeared, moving up and down and across the screen in various complex and flowing movements. To quantify his findings he Fourier-analyzed the various lines the dots traced out and converted them into a language of wave forms. To his surprise, he discovered the wave forms contained hidden patterns that allowed him to predict his subjects' next movement to within a fraction of an inch.
Bernstein's work was influential to Karl Pribram's development of his holographic model of brain function. Discovering hidden patterns of locomotion was another example of the primacy of wave theory in explaining both our apprehension of the universe and the character of the universe itself.
The trouble with a great deal of conspiracy theory isn't the conspiracy, it's the theory. There just isn't much of it. And what there is, with notable exceptions, is too particular.
"Connect the dots." We hear that - we say that - a lot. But dots, even when connected (even when they should be connected, and are not drawn into the picture simply because they are dots), don't begin to describe the interpenetrating connectedness of our actual subject: the hidden and fluidic patterns of power. So perhaps rather than a pointillist particle theory constructed of dots we've linked together, we should consider an organic, whole-in-the-part wave theory, imagined as ripples on the water.
We're talking metaphorically of course, but metaphors help us organize our thoughts, order the world and frame our arguments. And in a holographic universe metaphors may be the best we have, and carry us much closer to the truth than pure logic.
We can do better than the scattershot method of much conspiracy theory that goes not much further, nor deeper, than a litany of seeming anomalies and breaks to the system. Because any system which helps to structure power can bend itself to conspiracy without breaking. That is to say, parapolitics doesn't just happen when things go wrong with politics, but also when things go right. It's embedded, and so difficult to see and understand if we're trained to look only for the exceptions. To think of another metaphor, it's a forest/tree problem.
Since it was something no one had seen before on such a scale there are a lot of tall trees left standing from 9/11. Some deserve attention, some simply draw attention to themselves, and some have our attention drawn to them by forces which mean for us to miss the forest. Such trees, perhaps, ought to be cut down.
An extreme example of scattershot conspiriology is the film In Plane Site. No anomaly or apparent contradition, whether a shadow or a flash or a puff of smoke, is too subjective or irrelevant to be excluded, and nothing else in the way of evidence is admitted, regardless of whether the whole coheres as an alternative narrative to the official account. In fact, and common to such work, no narrative at all is offered. By way of contrast, the original research of Daniel Hopsicker is all about constructing a narrative - identifying the pattern - which takes him a long way from Ground Zero but much closer to the event's organic nature. His April 17th story, for instance, concerning a DC9 seized in the Yucatan last week after hauling more than five tons of cocaine from Caracas. A co-owner of the aircraft is Brent Kovac, a Tom Delay appointee to the Business Advisory Council of the National Republican Congressional Committee. The plane's Florida charter company, "Royal Sons," used to be housed in a hanger at Florida's Ground Zero of Huffman Aviation, from which Mohammed Atta, according to Hopsicker's research, also used to make drug runs to Venezuela. "A close look at Royal Sons," writes Hopsicker, "reveals evidence indicating that the firm is part of a cluster of related air charter firms being used as dummy front companies to provide 'cover' for CIA flights." And let's remember, just three weeks after Atta enrolled at his flight school, its right-wing evangelical owner, Wally Hilliard, had his private plane seized with 43 pounds of likely Afghanistan heroin on board. Hilliard made some calls. Hilliard wasn't charged. Hopsicker's narrative is drugs and money, and from Iran/Contra to Indochina's Air America to Bonesmen profiteering by China's Opium Wars, it's a long-established and predictive pattern.
Which methodology seems more profitable and encouraging and troubling to power, and which evidence most merits dissemination? Which is the only one to receive play, as though it were representative of the whole, in America's corporate media?
Similarly, a study of High Weirdness should be more than a laundry list of anomalous events and Forteanea, particularly now that analysis is catching up with the phenomena. We shouldn't shy from using Occam's Razor, even though it's a favourite tool of debunkers claiming to follow a parsimonious scientific method, because the new science is not in their corner, and the most economical explanation is sometimes the weirdest.
Bernstein employed dots to see the pattern, but it was the pattern that was real and the subject of the study, not the dots themselves. The dots were his necessary fiction to manifest the pattern.
We have the pattern. But if we can't see the pattern for the dots, maybe it's time to erase some dots.