I Want to Disbelieve
"Have you heard the news?" he said, with a grin. "The Vice-President's gone mad."
"Where?" "Downtown." "When?" "Last night." "Hmm, say, that's too bad."
"Well, there's nothin' we can do about it," said the neighbor.
"It's just somethin' we're gonna have to forget."
"Yes, I guess so," said Ma. Then she asked me if the clothes was still wet. - Bob Dylan
Really, I do.
I've never understood that poster of Mulder's. He already believed, and after just a few episodes of monster chasing he shouldn't have needed to believe anymore. Hell, before the series even began Mulder had seen his sister abducted by greys. What remained for belief? To get Biblical on his ass, Paul wrote in Hebrews that "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." He had the evidence of things seen. But more to the point, why would he want to hope for it?
I'd heard the histories told by high killers and their accomplices all my life, but I've known since I began to read on the subject that John Kennedy's murder, and that of his brother and Dr King, were acts of state. I've known, as well as I've known anything, ever, without having been there, done that myself.
But here's the thing: it didn't mean enough. The relevance wasn't sufficiently immediate for me to do anything about it, or even to think that I could. It was all too bad; such a shame, but life went on down here, even if I knew that up there things were terribly wrong. It had to, if I meant to finish my schooling, find work, fall in love - these things tend to crowd out the abstract. The voices in Dylan's song expressed interest in the news that the Vice President had gone insane, but there were still clothes on the line that needed to be taken in.
And then there was 9/11, and the immediacy became absolute and the abstract concrete. As George Bush asked the world that it "never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories," I could see the cost of too many people letting a privileged few get away with too much for too long. We'd gotten on with our lives, without knowing that this, too is our lives, and always has been. Well, now we know. And what we do about it, and about them, may determine whether we, as individuals or nations or an elevated species, live or die. We still have the choice, but only just.
I've never known the consolation of conspiracy theories, which psychological reductionists say all our research and timelines and contrary accounts amount to. "If you think it's a rogue person or an unsophisticated group you start worrying about your daily life," said Dr Cary Cooper two weeks after the towers fell. (And if it's the hand of a high cabal with no regard for the lives of useless eaters, then I suppose we should all breathe a collective sigh of relief.) Dr Patrick Leman concluded "that there is some underlying process in human psychology that assumes that the bigger the effect is, the bigger the cause must have been." Unconsidered in his study is the reluctance of power to leave its fortune to chance and its fate to commoners' justice.
Oh yeah: "Enron Witness Found Dead in Park." Help me, Doc, I keep seeing things.