Sunday, November 14, 2010
Our Cultural Immune System
I’ve kept pretty quiet about the 7/7/05 bomb attacks in London, largely because 9/11 is my main thing, and also, I suppose, because I recognize that people’s ability to swallow evidence that undermines their world view is necessarily rather limited, if not non-existent, so why upset them?
But I’m making an exception now. A very hard-hitting and well-researched video has just come out which I really hope you’ll take the trouble to view (linked at the bottom of this blog entry), and for me it highlights the central issue that has preoccupied me these last four or five years – why do we all perceive the world so differently, if (as science tells us) what we’re looking at is the same world for everyone?
Twice in the last couple of weeks, at lunch with friends, the subject of the 9/11 attacks has come up, and, faced with my assertion that it was an inside job, they have challenged me with the question “What could possibly be the motive for such an attack, if it wasn’t Muslim fanatics?”
This question is not the neutral request for illumination that it may seem. Rather, it protects, I think, a natural unwillingness to open up to the painful questions raised by the 9/11 Truth Movement. It basically says (albeit politely) “With this shocking – even vulgar - suggestion you are challenging my faith in the loyalty of America’s political leadership to her own people. That is presumptuous! The power and importance of American patriotism is out of all proportion to the envious and mean-spirited attempts of non-authoritative people like you to undermine it.” They can then proceed to shoot down any and all motives heretics such as I put forward, because – and this is important – motive can always be brushed aside as ‘insufficient’, ‘absurd’, ‘unsubstantiated’, etc. The demand for motives effectively shields their feeling of incredulity from further assault.
Against our cultural immune system, the argument of sufficient motive carries little weight. It's like fighting fire with fire. It appeals to our values, and our world view is the highest value we have. Contrary values can be easily dismissed as manifestly of lower quality than our present beliefs. This is how arguments about politics lead to name-calling, and then to blows. (This is also how conflicting scientific theories lead to name-calling, but that’s for another blog.)
Any sincere quest for 9/11 truth, it seems to me, should rather begin with an examination of the evidence. Underlying our belief in the power of science is our supposed belief, above all else, in physical evidence. The welter of popular TV series about forensic investigators nailing their man with the aid of a microscope all hammer on this point. You can't deny physical evidence. The physical world is our bedrock belief, on which everything else rests.
Those who perpetrated 9/11 – and 7/7 – of course know the importance of physical evidence. They have therefore attempted to cover their tracks by every means available to them (and they are in the best position to do so). You cannot examine evidence which either is no longer there, or which is declared off-limits, or which you don’t know exists.
The hiding of evidence takes many forms...
It can be denied - like the date-stamped plane parts that would identify the 9/11 planes (supposedly evaporated),
or spirited away - like the 9/11 debris (cordoned off from investigators, and hastily removed and sold to China),
or our attention can be directed elsewhere - like the NIST report on the destruction of the Twin Towers (which ends where the collapses begin),
or witness testimony can be ignored - like the 9/11 Commission Report (which omitted voluminous evidence counter to the official government theory),
or whistle-blowers can be fired - like Kevin Ryan of the Underwriters Laboratory (who questioned the supposed lack of integrity of the steel used in the buildings),
and investigators intimidated - like Christopher Bollyn (beaten up outside his house by the police), -
or murdered - like John O’Neill (sent to his death in Tower One - his first day on the job as Chief Security Officer, having questioned why the government was ignoring evidence of an impending attack), and the four patsies and one unwilling participant in the London bombings.
And, since it's impossible to be open to everything, we also perform our own censorship, often unconsciously, to block out evidence that doesn't agree with our world view. We see only what we believe. We flatly discount evidence that disagrees with our own preconceptions. We also discount what comes from untrusted sources - that is, sources that do not share our world view - unless it happens to agree with us. We declare evidence irrelevant. And so on.
I personally am very much swayed by the arguments in the linked video. You could say I don’t have an open mind. I’m biased in its favor. I accept the sources as trustworthy, where others may only accept mainstream sources. I believe the evidence presented. Is there such a thing as an open mind? Perhaps, if the question is trivial. The questions posed by this video, however, are very far from trivial, so I don’t expect you to have an open mind, any more than me, or the judges at the 7/7 trial in London, to whom this video was sent, and who promptly had its maker arrested - in Ireland.
Here's the link -