Rule 34 & Conspiracy Theories

September 11, 2017



Rule 34: If it exists, there is porn of it. No exceptions.


Yes, the internet is for porn. When not used for such purpose it is very handy for fanning the flames of conspiracy theories. Residually, it is for sharing pictures of cats. The former two are what interests me the most, though, and they are (ready for a shock?) closely linked.


It all starts with Anselm, a monk who was an archbishop of Canterbury, and his ontological argument. According to Anselm, the existence of God can be derived from elsewhere than observation of the objective world, and it is based on the idea of a being which no greater can be conceived. Since by definition nothing can be greater than a being which no greater can be conceived, God exists.


Did you get it?


Me neither.


But that's besides the point. What is interesting is that any single thing or idea that the mind can come up with is, by definition, existing. And I don't mean that in an ethereal, trapped-in-the-mind kind of way. I mean it literally. Since humans don't know what they don't know, what they know is based on two things: on one side, their biological constraints, and on the other, the observable world through the prism of their culture. There is a reason languages have feminine and masculine, represent abstract ideas in terms of mother and father, and build up metaphors which are always verbalized anthropomorphically or physically. That is what humans are born seeing and, therefore, their language is constrained by what they have always seen. There are many examples: a gladiator trident is a huge fork, tears are rain from the eyes, everything that flies does it like a bird, one comes from a fatherland or a motherland, etc.


And that is how Rule 34 is unpacked from an abstract in the realm of possibility into its eventual materialization. Moreover, that is what grants credence to conspiracy theories. Let me explain a bit. A conspiracy theory is an explanation of an event cemented on a secret plotting among powerful people, and pretty much rest on the negation that the world is chaotic, that what we see is what there is, and that there's a ton of stuff which is random and unconnected. Although there is an overabundance of studies on conspiracy theories, from political to social and psychological points of view, I have seen none which sees them in their most elemental, simplest terms. Conspiracy theories exist because humans can imagine things within the confines of what they know, and their development can always be mapped based on the world around us.


Based on the above understanding, conspiracy theories are simply copy pastes of what is in the minds of everybody. Nobody will ever come up with a conspiracy theory which involves something which cannot be pictured or verbalized. take, for example, the looniest of all conspiracy theorists, David Icke. The evil dudes who, according to him, rule the world are some sort of lizard race. A fucking lizard race. Anthropomorphic and all. Standing on two legs. With the ability to talk, and move, and they do things that anyone can and has done before, though in their case at a global scale and with super cunning panache. But there's nothing there that cannot be thought of.


Porn is the same. Take the U.S., home of most conspiracy theories with a ratio of 8 to 1 compared to its distant follower, Germany. The U.S. is also the 5th largest market of paid pornography and its top producer. The dilemma then resides in what imagination is exactly. We know that it is a mental representation of something, and it is distinguished from perceiving, remembering or believing insofar as the imagining subject does not require the imagined thing to "be". It is also said that it does not require for the imagining subject to desire or anticipate what is being mentally represented. But, is it so? As usual, there's an army of philosophers and psychologists doing experiments on this very stuff, and no matter how much children try (with the pre-installed software they have within the hardware all humans share) their games always mirror the real world while the consequences of the imagined world may remain fenced within the constraints of that same real world. For example, kids playing to be fighting spitfires in the middle of an air battle will tend to extend their arms, like a bird or a plane, and when they are gunned down the game is understood not to include them exploding in a fiesta of shattered bones, splattered guts, and death --which is what would happen to a gunned down spitfire pilot. And the same goes for games involving birth, tea ceremonies, alien invasions, or a sea voyage.


In a world based on two rules --on one hand the arousal of sexual appetite and on the other hand the certainty that everything has an explanation-- the bounded imagination of humans, nested in their limitations, will flex its muscles and give birth to the satisfaction of its cravings. It is a sort of self fulfilling prophecy, i.e. to visualize within the confines of the familiar and to deliver the needed images. Right there is where the frontier with art is, as we discussed elsewhere: art negotiates while standing in the razor's edge of the known. Porn? Just like conspiracy theories, stands in the border, never attempts to cross it, and is content with having found the soothing balm of completeness.


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