Duck! and Gather

9/11 Wrapup: Duck! and Gather

Posted on: September 25, 2006

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The first entry of this 9/11 Wrapup trilogy reasoned that 9/11 was and is ambiguous (ie. between the set of Conventional explanations, and set of Conspiracy explanations). The second concluded that 9/11 was and is universally interesting. As I mentioned in the last entry, the normal human brain seems more less incapable of resting peacefully at a place that is ambiguous yet quite interesting. Instead, normal human brains will keep searching for an answer. Since I believe social dynamics (ie. “groupthink”) parallel individual ones, I fully expect society to keep pressing for a firmer answer on 9/11.

But what does any of this have to do with Duck! and Gather? The answer to this question is found in the tagline of this site: “People vs. Corporations, The Second Reformation, and The Age of Wisdom.”

On People vs. Corporations, 9/11 is interesting because if any of the Conspiracy stories emerges as true, I believe Corporations will prove to have played a non-trivial, and perhaps lead role in the emergent story. But even if none of the Conspiracy stories emerges as true, and instead the Conventional stories remain dominant, I believe Corporations will yet emerge in the evolving 9/11 story with a central role in creating the conditions that set the stage for 9/11, and in the American responses to 9/11. All of these roles, I’d argue, are contrary to the interests of People.

The Second Reformation refers to the emergence of the Internet as kryptonite to the all-powerful truth priesthood of Government, Academia, and Media. Five hundred years ago, the religious priesthood of Europe held the truth monopoly and waved it as a sword over the heads of the People. But the invention of the printing-press led to the Reformation — a process that witnessed the demise of this priesthood and its replacement with humble science.

Today, Government, Academia, and Media represent the unholy trinity that purports to define truth for us People. But in 1994, the Internet emerged, allowing us People to communicate directly with each other, rather than through the distorted self-interested channels of the unholy trinity.

Where is all of the 9/11 Conspiracy dialogue happening? The Internet. Absent the Internet, all would be quiet on 9/11.

But even if there is nothing to the Conspiracy stories, all of this Internet dialogue will eventually compel the trinity to answer the questions of the People, rather than “answer” the “strawman” questions that they posed to themselves. More likely, the People will eventually come to realize that they no longer need this trinity to define truth for them. Via the Internet, we People can resolve truth for ourselves. This is the essence of the Second Reformation.

Finally, The Age of Wisdom is about the marriage of intuition and reason as complementary paths for arriving at truth. 9/11, as an ambiguous yet terribly important event, illustrates this poignantly.

Although the vast majority of debate on the Internet between the “conspiracy” crowd and the “debunkers” claims to be based soley on reason, a closer reading reveals intuition informing both camps. For example, many debunkers seem to intuit that air-tight conspiracies of the magnitude necessary for 9/11 to play out as an “inside job” just don’t seem to find precedence in known history. Similarly, many of the conspiracy folks seem to intuit that the complete and utter, neat and tidy collapses of steel buildings like WTC 1, 2, and 7 just don’t seem to find precedence in known history outside of controlled demolition.

Over time, I believe that these opposing intuitions will “come out of the closet” and declare themselves to be what they are: namely, intuitions. In my view, both intuitions seem sound. That both seem sound yet contradictory explains, in my view, the seemingly bottomless energy fueling the ongoing debate.

Studying 9/11 seems to me to be a wonderful test case for the interplay between intuition and reason. For example, say we look at 9/11 for the first time. Our intuition will suggest a likely explanation. Then we resort to the techniques of reason to check out that explanation. That process leads to preliminary “dead-ends” which require another exercise in intuition. This is followed, in turn, by the techniques of reason. And so on.

9/11 is a wonderful test case because this dance between intuition and reason seems to go in circles. At least it does so for me. The beauty of that is that, while dancing, we are better able to notice the dance steps we are taking. And rather than pretending to be doing only the “science” and “reason” two-step, eventually we can see that we’re throwing in the odd “intuitive” side-step from time to time.

In my view, there is nothing wrong with this complex dance. On the contrary, it is the dance of seeking truth. Intuition and reason are complementary partners joined in a dance that seeks truth.

Five hundred years after the first Reformation, America doesn’t seem to know it is engaged in this dance on all topics, be they about politics, health, sports, or most anything else. 9/11 stands out because it is so beautifully ambiguous and so desperately interesting. Maybe it will be the event that hearkens the Age of Wisdom.

And thus, for the forseeable future, I am finally done with 9/11. 9/11 has reminded me that while I’m breathing, all of reality is simultaneously interesting to one level or another, and ambiguous to one degree or another. And that reality is OK with me.

for the money has gone too far

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