Tuesday, December 22, 2020


 I haven't known much about QAnon. It may be a larger phenomenon than I knew.  Granite Dad sent me an interesting analysis of why the beliefs are so attractive and reinforcing.  It is in the method of delivery and discovery: you believe that you have discovered these things on your own through your own research, based on hints - called "breadcrumbs - that Q has left out for people to follow in hopes of discovering the truth. But you are not discovering these things on your own.  It is a game that plays you.

The method of leading you along to the desired conclusions is not only similar to cults, it is similar to what are called Alternate Reality Games (ARG), Live-Action Role-Playing (LARP), or Experience Fiction (XF), which are immersive games, and a game-designer explains how the puppet-masters of QAnon create situations which not only provide you with a feeling of accomplishment (and dopamine hit) when you solve the puzzle, but put you in a culture where this is reinforced. The technique is called guided apophenia, the latter word meaning "the tendency to perceive a connection or meaningful pattern between unrelated or random things, such as objects or ideas." 

I think I am going to have a lot to say about this.  I first encountered that technique of a cult letting you think you have reached your own conclusions in the late 1970s when the Unification Church of Sun Myung Moon used it to set the table so that people going to one of their retreats or seminars would come away believing that he was the messiah. Nor is it always nefarious in intent.  Teaching by discovery is a powerful technique - which is why cults use it.  This modern incarnation uses the same principles but highly refined and thus even more powerful. 

What surprised me is how this powerful technique is being used to convince people of some very tired and cliched paranoias.  It's the Jews who are behind it all, you see, and the Illuminati, and various royals and American politicians and central cultural figures who are not-so-secretly serving occultic powers.  The alert observer can spot this because of the symbols these oppressors are using, such as owl or Y-head (Hook 'em Horns!) jewelry, hand gestures, or tattoos. When you are part of this community, you start to see such things everywhere, and report back to the others your new finds.  There is a magazine cover with Beyonce - and she is flashing the Illuminati symbol! You found it yourself.  The others congratulate you and take it as further proof.

The hint is continually give out that these powerful figures have to communicate with each other and show their colors by using these symbols.  Why they couldn't just email or talk on the phone does not seem to be explored much.  They have to, have to, have to you see because...well, occult. And they like teasing you by laughing into their sleeves while they do this right out in the open, you sheeple.

These sorts of paranoias seem to be a mostly conservative phenomenon, so it behooves us to figure out how this happens and why. I've been through this with the Illuminati, 666, Trilateralists, and New World Order. In history it has often been anti-Catholic, anti-Masonic, or anti-Semitic and the same boring examples keep popping up.  I'm getting tired of every generation discovering that it's the Rothschilds.

Liberal used to have their own strings of paranoias, but now that they are ascendant they tend instead to be too trusting of authorities and institutions.  "Question Authority" used to be a common liberal bumpersticker, but that hasn't been true for years. For now, just read and reflect, and we will discuss this further.  If something occurs to you, please put it down in the comments before you forget it.  I am also wondering whether these are the same people who would be paranoid about something else or if this is more powerfully reaching into the merely cynical and suspicious.


Christopher B said...

The biggest difference between liberals and conservatives on this point is not that liberals don't question authority. The difference is that *their 'authorities' are not questioned*.

james said...

Interesting article. But it seems to be in its own way a mirror of Qanon--"There's a conspiracy to deceive you."

Perhaps so, but I'm not sure a group of people is doing the planning. Sometimes mad ideas seem to spread. They seem more common in times of stress and disaffection, and in the West the mad ideas frequently do seem to involve the Jews.

TheUsualSuspect said...

This article demonstrates why the author is only the "Assistant" idiot, keep working.

Harold Boxty said...

Scott Adams talks about the Russian collusion hoax, the fine people hoax, the bleach drinking hoax. There's the 9/11 truthers and the "not all women are born with female reproductive organs" believers.

It seems that while people on the right may have what others dismiss as conspiracy theories to explain observations, the left is just in plain denial of truth.

I don't know how to separate confirmation bias from gaslighting. I don't think you would gaslight me, but I can't say which one of us suffers from confirmation bias either.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

@ The Usual Suspect: Written in 2011, and it still hold. https://assistantvillageidiot.blogspot.com/2011/03/blog-name.html

Harold Boxty - I'd forgotten about the 9/11 truthers, thanks. I'll keep them in mind as I think further. They come from both left and right. Yes, the left believes some ridiculous things and can be fooled, but that's not quite the same thing as paranoia. They just think Trump is an idiot and corrupt, they don't think he is a front for some group out to rule us. Most conservatives thought the same about Obama (or Hillary), that he was just narcissistic and/or power-hungry, not part of some shadowy network. But some conservatives did ascribe those sorts of malevolent hidden global network motives to him, which is a whole different level. Deep cynicism, which most of us here share, is not the same as paranoia.

PenGun said...

The whole thing is a dog sheep deal, The sheep want to be like each other and the dogs want to herd them around. This is just another way to do that.

As for the Jews, they are just a people. The state of Israel though, is another thing entirely. I hope you know BDS is actually illegal in a few states in your country. Anyone who does not like what the Zionists have done in Israel is now antisemitic. This is the state of Israel in action. Evil is not too strong a term for this.