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Integral World: Exploring Theories of Everything
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
Frank Visser, graduated as a psychologist of culture and religion, founded IntegralWorld in 1997. He worked as production manager for various publishing houses and as service manager for various internet companies and lives in Amsterdam. Books: Ken Wilber: Thought as Passion (SUNY, 2003), and The Corona Conspiracy: Combatting Disinformation about the Coronavirus (Kindle, 2020).
TABLE OF CONTENTS | REVIEWS
QAnon, When Conspirituality Meets Politics
The Corona Conspiracy, Part 18
But for sure, the current corona crisis has turned out to be David Icke's finest moment.
Yesterday, September 26, 2020, another lockdown protest was held at Trafalgar Square, London, for an estimated 15.000 people. Those attending these events have widely different opinions about the coronavirus—ranging from it does not exist to it is a harmless virus—but they are all united in their conviction that the current lockdown measures are disproportionate, unnecessary or evil. David Icke again took center stage, and held the following incendiary speech:
‘a choice right now between fear and love’
In a previous speech at Trafalgar Icke had summarized his message in three sentences, to a roaring crowd, and qualified the UK politicians in the following, rather unsophisticated way: "They have no power! [Crowd: Yeahh!!] If we don't give it to them! [Crowd: Yeahh!!!] They are all psychopaths! [Crowd goes insane.]" For someone who has been delusional for three decades in a row, since he proclaimed himself to be the Son of God in a BBC tv program, this is quite ironic. But for sure, the current corona crisis has turned out to be David Icke's finest moment.
In this speech, "the psychopaths" (politicians) feature prominently again. They are tyrrants, fascists, who rob us of our freedoms, and our health. Again, the PCR test is ditched as "a fake test, producing fake cases, to produce fake excuses, for real fascism." In his opinion, masks don't ensure your health but are "to be a symbol of oppression, of submission, a symbol of being silenced, a symbol of the destruction and deletion of individuality, and an exercise in mass global dehumanization." So he shouts: "People of the world, if you want to express your freedom in the face of fascism, take your bloody mask off!" And make no mistake about the gravity of the crimes: "The deceit is so premeditated, so long planned so calculated, so cold and so callous that we must not rest until those responsible... until those responsible are before a Nuremberg type trial for crimes against humanity!"
Switching tones and taking a wider view, Icke has a positive and spiritual message for his audience: "We are unique expressions of all that is, has been and ever can be, having a brief experience called human, people, human family across the world, awaken to who you really are, remember, remember who you really are, and it's not what they have been telling you!" And: "There's no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves, and what the human family has done is allow the psychopaths to hijack our imagination of ourselves, and we need to take it back!" Life is all about "just a choice right now between fear and love [Applause] and that is all it is, all it has ever been!" In the end resistance will prevail: "And what love brings is a backbone of steel, and the power of No. 'No, I will not cooperate with our own enslavement.' And there are billions of us, and a handful of you, when we wake up to that the game is over..."
As I detailed in Part 1, Icke's thoroughly paranoid worldview has religious roots in the tradition of gnosticism. In the gnostic worldview, the world has not been created by God, but a lesser god, alternatively identified with the Jewish god Jehova, Satan, the Demiurg and so on, who are heading a multitude of archons or demons. High above these lesser gods are the realities of Sophia and ultimately the Godhead. Icke sees our world as a "demon haunted world" (Carl Sagan's famous book), and urges his audience not to comply with these lesser authorities, but to seek a way out through love and awakening, by contacting the Godhead or higher Self. Huge irony can be found here as well, when someone who preaches love against fear, sees demons everywhere around us—in evil technology (5G), foreign governments (China) and secret elites (the Illuminati, the Jews). This merging of conspiracy thinking and spirituality has been called "conspirituality", and it has become a factor of influence in the modern world, among both New Agers and right-wing extremists. This time, the government is framed as "Satanic" and the "deep state" is something to overthrow.
This rather sinister worldview has similar examples in the Netherlands as well. We have a movement called "Virus Truth" (formerly known as "Virus Madness", but this was blocked by social media), which is headed by Willem Engel, a handsome Brazilian dance teacher with a background in bioscience, who urges his followers to live a life of "love and truth", and to disregard and defy the lockdown measures because they are felt as too restrictive. Engel is full time busy criticizing the mainstream news media or suing the government for imposing lockdown measures on the population. Not surprisingly, those who have felt the downside of these measures most forcefully are vulnerable to this message. He has found ways to reach a younger audience through a couple of Dutch YouTube "influencers" (who are ignorant about virology), who disseminate these ideas on Instagram and other social media.
Now I want to be clear up front that this whole field is quite diverse, and opinions can be sorted on a spectrum ranging from regular and conventional science to full blown conspiracy theory. There is a commonly accepted scientific view of the pandemic, as described in Part 2, that sees it as a zoonotic disease, a "spillover" from the animal to the human kingdom, as most if not all viral diseases have done in the past. Yet, within science dissident opinions can be heard, which cast doubt on this narrative (as no intermediate animal species has yet been found), and suspect the virus might have accidentally escaped from a lab (see Part 18). Then there are those who reject the allopathic view of health and replace it with some form of alternative medicine. Most of these practitioners don't see viruses as harmful, and if they do, they advise us to "strenghen our immune system" instead of inventing dangerous vaccines. And then there's the most extreme view of conspiracy theorists, who see a plan behind the whole pandemic (a so called "plandemic", see Part 14), set up by an elite of evil agents working behind the scene (Bill Gates being the favorite villain in these circles). Those in this category can also suspect the virus has been created as a bio-weapon.
Also, this is not to say there are no grains of truth in these unorthodox views of science, health and society.
Those in the third and fourth category often play fast and loose with scientific data, as we have seen in this Corona Conspiracy series, to provide "evidence" for their views. They try to prove that vaccines are mostly harmful, that the current PCR test don't work, or that viruses "have never been isolated". This might be seen as harmless amateurism, but the truth is, they reach a huge audience, mostly on online media channels, and this can have real impact when the respect for scientific experts and institutions is undermined. Even worse, when hard working politicians are accused of being pedophiles or Satanists, are assaulted on the streets and receive death threats (this has happened to a Dutch politician), things obviously have crossed a red line.
It is personally baffling to me how lockdown measures such as social distancing and wearing masks—which make perfect sense in the context of a new virus to stop its spread, even if the result can be modest—are experienced by certain parts of the population with such hysterical dread. You only need to go over Icke's rethoric and metaphors to get the impression that it has become a matter of life and death. Ironically, again, it is a matter of life and death, but not in the way he intends it to be. A new virus can kill hundreds of thousands, old and young, if we don't take the appropriate measures. Resisting these measures only risks more of these lives.
Can this run out of hand in our society at large? Can culture wars devolve into a real civil war? Shouldn't we stand up against these inflammatory movements which in the name of love and light cause chaos and disorder? To answer this question we need to turn to a conspiracy movement called "QAnon", which originated a few years ago on an obscure online message board, but has now reach the offline world of politics.
Shouldn't we stand up against these inflammatory movements which in the name of love and light cause chaos and disorder?
QANON: The Jewel in the Conspiracy Crown
Touching base with Wikipedia first we find out that:
"QAnon is a far-right conspiracy theory alleging that a cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles running a global child sex-trafficking ring is plotting against President Donald Trump, who is battling them, leading to a "day of reckoning" involving the mass arrest of journalists and politicians. No part of the theory is based on fact.
Although preceded by similar viral conspiracies such as Pizzagate, the theory proper began with an October 2017 post on the anonymous imageboard 4chan by "Q", who was presumably an American individual but most likely has become a group of people. Q claimed to have access to classified information involving the Trump administration and its opponents in the United States. NBC News found that three people took the original Q post and expanded it across multiple media platforms to build internet followings for profit. QAnon was preceded by several similar anonymous 4chan posters, such as FBIAnon, HLIAnon (High-Level Insider), CIAAnon, and WH Insider Anon.
Q has accused many liberal Hollywood actors, Democratic politicians, and high-ranking officials of being members of the cabal. Q also claimed that Trump feigned conspiracy with Russians to enlist Robert Mueller to join him in exposing the ring and preventing a coup d'état by Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and George Soros. "Q" is a reference to the Q clearance used by the U.S. Department of Energy. QAnon believers commonly tag their social media posts with the hashtag #WWG1WGA, signifying the motto "Where We Go One, We Go All".
From these first three paragraphs alone one already gets the impression of a worldview that is seriously deranged and even pathological. Unfortunately, many think otherwise.
As an example of how this uniquely American body of ideas has been exported to Europe as well, even to the Netherlands, we can use the videos created by Dutch former crop circle specialist and conspiracy theorist Janet Ossebaard. Her English language videos promoting QAnon (perhaps with some local Dutch additions of her own, see below tables) have attracted millions of viewers worldwide.
Ossebaard made headlines when in an interview by rapper Lange Frans they floated the fantasy of killing our prime minister Mark Rutte. The only reason she would not do that herself was "to keep my karma clean." And then she explicitly gave the message: "We need help." Given the fact that the Netherlands have had the political assasination of Dutch politician (and potential prime minister candidate) Pim Fortuyn in 2002, this is totally irresponsible, given the suggestibility of their audience. But it is in line with the QAnon dreams of a violent endgame in which a host of "criminal" opponents will be convicted for their "crimes", mostly of child trafficking and abuse.
Here's a fragment from the video (1:03:14) that has received half a million views in the Netherlands in two months time (since August 5, as of today, October 8, 2020):
JO: And yet, in the end, we will be the ones that remain. I truly believe that! In the end, it all falls like loose sand, and then we will still be standing.
Trying to make sense of the apparent nonsense of Ossebaard's ideas and narratives, which are shot through with violent fantasies of death and revolution, I have been greatly helped by the work of Dutch skeptic Pepijn van Erp, who has extensively debunked both her views on the QAnon ideology (in "Fall of the Cabal") and on COVID-19. I have summarized the topics covered by Ossebaard and Van Erps conclusions in the following two tables (but please do read his own articles for juicy details).
Since our Corona Conspiracy series is about COVID-19, I will provide somewhat more details in the following table releated to Janet Ossebaard's video about COVID-19 (but again, check out Van Erps articles for more). The video has 4 parts and 10 storylines.
Having spent a whole day immersed in these QAnon aberrations, my first hunch is: there should be medication for this. Or a psychiatric diagnosis. False-oppression syndrome? Paranoid explosion? Do these well-fed people shouting "Tyranny!" and "Fascism!" know what they are talking about? How to bring these people to their senses again? Looking at these protest meetings it doesn't look like this calmness of mind will be coming any time soon.
Darker Politics, Nazism Rebranded
There is a darker undercurrent in these systems of belief, that are clearly anti-Semitic. Gregory Stanton argues that these very ideas are echoes of Nazi ideology :
A secret cabal is taking over the world. They kidnap children, slaughter, and eat them to gain power from their blood. They control high positions in government, banks, international finance, the news media, and the church. They want to disarm the police. They promote homosexuality and pedophilia. They plan to mongrelize the white race so it will lose its essential power.
Is this a description of what QAnon believers read online today? No, it is part of the fake document The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, "the most influential anti-Jewish pamphlet of all time." Says Stanton:
It was written by Russian anti-Jewish propagandists around 1902. It collected myths about a Jewish plot to take over the world that had existed for hundreds of years. Central to its mythology was the Blood Libel, which claimed that Jews kidnapped and slaughtered Christian children and drained their blood to mix in the dough for matzos consumed on Jewish holidays.
The Nazis published a children’s book of the Protocols that they required in the curriculum of every primary school in Germany. The Nazi newspaper, Der Stürmer (derived from the German word for "Storm") spread the Blood Libel. Hitler’s Mein Kampf, his narcissistic autobiography and manifesto for his battle against the Jewish plot to rule the world, copied his conspiracy theories from the Protocols.
Is it a coincidence that David Icke has frequently been accused of anti-Semitism as well?" Indeed, "His endorsement of the antisemitic forgery "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" in The Robots' Rebellion and And the Truth Shall Set You Free led his publisher to refuse to publish his books, which were self-published thereafter." (Wikipedia) And is it a coincidence that "QAnonists" talk about the coming "Storm" or "The Great Awakening"? Is it a coincidence that neo-Nazis stormed the government buildings during a similar lockdown protest in Berlin, a few weeks ago?
QAnon currently seems obsessed with the issue of child abuse. At a recent lockdown protest meeting, a Dutch rapper and conspiracy theorist Lange Frans, a huge supporter of Janet Ossenbaard, was asked about his support for QAnon. Unwilling to answer any questions, he just stated "There are a lot of people here who believe in God and are against child abuse." Of course, opposing child abuse is a good thing, but hijacking this topic within the context of myriad fabulations is entirely something else.
Clearly, where most of the QAnon literature comes across as catering to autistic nerdy types (just check out QAnon: An Invitation to the Great Awakening, 2019, written by a collective of mostly anonymous authors), who take pleasure in decoding "Q drops" from on high, this emphasis on child protection appeals to the female members of the community. This child abuse meme has given a boost to QAnon's diminishing popularity, but interest seems to be on the decline again. Until, that is, some other misinformation topic shows up.
For with QANon, anything goes.
And of course, these kinds of child abuse related accusations go back a long way, long before Nazism appeared on the scene:
Blood libel or ritual murder libel (also blood accusation) is an antisemitic canard which accuses Jews of murdering Christian children in order to use their blood as part of religious rituals. Historically, these claims—alongside those of well poisoning and host desecration—have been a major theme of the persecution of Jews in Europe. (Wikipedia)
As there is a strong affinity between QAnon and extreme right-wing Nazism, there is also a family resemblance with orthodox Christian beliefs about the End of Times that are at hand. "QAnon's precepts and vocabulary are closely related to the religious concepts of millenarianism and apocalypticism." (Wikipedia) This might explain why many Republicans support (overtly or covertly) the QAnon ideology. "According to a March 2020 Pew survey, 76% of Americans said they had never heard of QAnon, 20% had heard "a little about it", and 3% said they had heard "a lot". A September 2020 Pew survey of the 47% of respondents who said they had heard of QAnon found that 41% of Republicans and those who lean Republican believed QAnon is good for the country, while 7% of Democrats and those who lean Democratic believed that." (Wikipedia)
If these segments of US voters are influenced—even a little—by QAnon ideology, it is far from impossible that the coming US Elections will get a decisive push in the direction of Trump being re-elected. That's why the only thing Trump said when asked about QAnon was: "I don't know anything about them, except they seem to like me." (Of course he knows, he regularly retweets many QAnon related tweets during his daily Twitter sessions). And in response to a journalist asking him about pedophiles, Satanism and cannibalism, he said, avoiding the issue, "Is [being against] that supposed to be a bad thing, or a good thing? If am am able to save the world from problems, I am willing to do it". A clear signal to the QAnon audience looking out for a World Savior. The video is flooded with QAnon comments.
Journalist: "At the crux of the theory it is this belief that you are secretly saving the world from this satanic cult of pedophiles and cannibals. Does that sound like something you are behind?
Conspiracy thinking has come to the real world. And it has become serious business. Even when it is in the form of the most nutty and deranged version I have come across while doing this series of articles: QAnon.
These QAnonists think "God" is on their side, and whatever they detest or don't like comes from "Satan". It is dangerous medieval mythology.
“If a criminal became a president, imagine what they could achieve! They could use the full weight of their executive power to commit much larger crimes, and ensure they and their friends were enriched to the fullest extent possible. A criminal president could create alliances with other criminal presidents, and then collaborate on more global criminal activities.”
— WWG1WGA, QAnon: An Invitation to the Great Awakening, p. 3-4.
Appendix 1: Trump and QAnon
At a recent town hall interview Trump was asked about his relationship to QAnon, and if he was aware that they teach that "Democrates are a Satanic pedophile ring and that you are the Savior of that". His answer: "I know nothing about QAnon." But he did not denounce it. Given the fact that Trump has retweeted hundreds of AQnon related tweets in his daily Twitter session, this seems extremely dishonest.
Appendix 2: QAnon as computer game
Now that Trump has lost the US 2020 election, most Conspiracy theorists will undoubtably see even this defeat as part of a greater Plan. That's how it works with true believers. But evidence is accumulating that the whole QAnon scheme was about Trump propaganda from the start, in the form of a giant computer game, which spilled over in real life.
His campaign would require the creation of a completely Alternative Reality. One where he was a strong, powerful, righteous hero, on a selfless mission to save the world from the clutches of an evil cabal of democratic deep state operatives. Not only was he rescuing children from satanic sex trafficking rings, he was even going to lead the world in a spiritual ascension to the next galactic realm.
 Icke explains this episode here: "Gay Byrne talks to David Icke days after his controversial interview with Terry Wogan on the BBC." www.rte.ie, 1991.
 Pepijn van Erp, "Debunking Fall Cabal by Janet Ossebaard" (a series in 10 parts), www.pepijnvanerp.nl, April-May 2020.
 Pepijn van Erp, "Debunking Janet Ossebaard's COVID-19 video series", www.pepijnvanerp.nl, March 19, 2020.
 Gregory Stanton, "QAnon is a Nazi Cult, Rebranded", www.justsecurity.org, September 9, 2020.
 Kevin Roose, "How 'Save the Children' Is Keeping QAnon Alive", www.nytimes.com, September 28, 2020.
 "'Is that a bad thing?' Trump says he opposes 'satanic pedophiles' when asked about QAnon", www.rt.com, 19 Aug, 2020.
 CBS News, "Trump grilled on COVID-19, QAnon, personal finances at town hall", www.youtube.com, 16 Oct 2020
 David Gilbert, "QAnon Is Here to Stay—Even Though Trump Lost", vice.com, November 9, 2020.
 Daniel Morrison, "'Qanon' is Propaganda, and we know who's responsible", medium.com, November 18, 2020.
83 Vaccine Myths from docbastard.net
To all those who claim SARS-CoV-2—or any virus—does not exist: the virosphere consists of 4 realms, 9 kingdoms, 16 phyla, 2 subphyla, 36 classes, 55 orders, 8 suborders, 168 families, 103 subfamilies, 1421 genera, 68 subgenera, 6590 species. Take that. https://talk.ictvonline.org/taxonomy/
A summary of early parts of this series has appeared in the Dutch magazine Skepter 33(3), September 2020, as "Viruses don't exist" (covering Parts 1-5). German: Skeptiker (December 2020); English: Skeptic.org.uk (January 2021)
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