Far too many people appear to think they are weak, powerless, and highly vulnerable, when they are no worse off than their peers. History seeks to tell us that there is a lust not to get even, but to get ahead, to dominate one’s surroundings.
With ignorance of the real world processes, people will make up stories which comfort them by gnosis not available to others. Or they seek to bully others, to be in control (of what is essentially incontrollable), to be “looked up to” by all around them.
Hence the appeal of conspiracy theories in America today.
But it is not by any means a recent phenomenon.
Before “Q”, there were fascists and communists, who had infallible knowledge not granted to ordinary mortals, which made them invincible (until they weren’t). Even ordinary organized religion claims to have something people outside the religion cannot comprehend. Before that, 2000 years ago, the Gnostics had secret ceremonies to disseminate Truth according to the “worthiness” of the recipient. And who can forget the cult of Mithra?
Who of us is not subject to this impulse?
Who wants to be at the mercy of fate, blown about by forces beyond our control, adrift is a limitless ocean where we can drift to God knows where? Even if we know our knowledge and control is an illusion, we cling fast to them, clutching tightly lest we slip off and drown.
And we need, mentally, the assurance of solid ground on which to take a stand, or even to wander aimlessly. We want to think that things are permanent, even if horrible, since change means chaos, and total disruption of our world.
Hence, the inability of many committed Nazis to see that Germany was losing the war. In the movie Downfall, there is a scene where Hitler consults a frontline doctor (the frontline being only a half-mile away) on the best to suicide. The doctor takes along a combat nurse, who – – after she hears her Fuehrer inquire the best way to kill himself – – falls to her knees and asks him to restore her faith in Final Victory. Seig Heil.
Granted, the “modern world” is vastly more complicated that it was even 70 years ago. The greater complication leads any given individual to a feeling of bewilderment, or anger, or fear, or hate, perhaps all at the same time. Most of us want simple solutions to complex problems, and will gladly buy from any confident salesman who peddles “assurance”. The simplest solution is to surrender to some – – to any – – idea, program, movement, or person which seems to have the ability, and the Power, to resolve hard problems.
The difficulty arises when, if we really think about it, we see no Power is sufficiently powerful to cut the Gordon knot of life. It is a sad thing to have to relate, but nevertheless true, the best we can do is to “muddle through”, with no guarantees, no Power of this Earth to save us.