Posted by: Harold Knight | 12/09/2009

Mania, Me, and Conspiracy Theories: Hypergraphia (or ego), depression (or grandstanding), sharing ideas (or risk taking)?


(Disclaimer: I am NOT obsessed with conspiracy theories.)


My writing, like everyone’s, comes from my brain in some mysterious way only neurologists can begin to explain. My writing comes from some place in my brain I can’t control; it’s an obsession I simply accede to and let it go at that. I give in and write. And most of what I write is pointless, ridiculous, and incomprehensible. 

Something changed. I’m not sure what. Suddenly one day about three months ago, I was writing for a purpose. Exactly what the purpose was (is) I’m not quite sure. Looking back over three months of postings here, I’m pretty certain that much of my writing is still pointless, ridiculous, and incomprehensible. Horror of horrors! It may be simply a manifestation of a three-month bout of mania. Hypomania, to be sure. Limited and unspectacular. 

In my heart of hearts and my brain of brains I don’t give a fig about proving David Griffin or Sarah Palin or anyone else “wrong.” Those folks got in the way in the last week. Because of Nostradamus. Did he predict that a few short months before the end of the world, some poor schlemiel would be sitting at his computer trying to tell people how ridiculous the writings of the great prognosticator are? 

(Today, I have the hypergraphic head. My mind is about to explode. My chest is tight, and nothing I can think or write will get into this ridiculous Word document fast enough to relieve the pressure of the compulsion to type these words in a torrent I can barely sort through before they come out.)

Nostradamus and I have a great deal in common. I think he was hypergraphic (perhaps Temporal Lobe Epileptic). After all, he wrote and wrote and wrote. I’ve never read a word of his writing. I rely on the Discovery Channel for my information (which I assume most people who believe in him do). Other symptoms he presents are that much of his writing is of a religious nature, and it is very, very serious stuff. 

Why do I put this out on the internet for the world to access? First, the world doesn’t care any more about me than I do about proving David, Sarah, and Nostradamus wrong. On “high-hit” days, about fifty people read this. I assume most are people I know. Second. I’m writing anyway, so I might as well entertain and confuse other people. No one will be informed about anything. 

(The pressure is building in my chest, by the way. What I’ve written so far doesn’t seem to be clearing my brain.)  

No one informed, that is, except the Directorate for Science and Technology of the Department of Homeland Security. We live in a total lack of privacy. The government can know every detail of the lives of everyone who has ever logged onto the internet. So what? Our own greed and materialistic desire for more electronic gadgets made this possible. If you have an I-phone, I don’t want to hear complaints about government prying into your private life. My writing on the internet is the tip of the iceberg of what the government knows about me.

If David and Sarah were really interested in changing the social order, that’s what they’d go after. Sarah would stop wasting time talking about “death panels,” and David would lead the charge against the “Patriot Act” and the Department of Homeland Security’s “Office of Intelligence and Analysis” Something useful. 

Writing a silly blog that only a few people will stumble onto is not any more dangerous for me than buying an airplane ticket, is it? The DHS knows where you’re going for Christmas, most likely. 

Yesterday, I was all into writing about fear. Here I go again. 

A passage (with grammar and spelling corrected) from an e-mail I received on August 22, 2006:

You appear to be just like the media, making comments without knowing all the facts or until the case has been resolved. . . .why is vigilance always construed as  prejudice. . . .No one ever mentioned what nationality they were when the call came in. A traffic stop was made and they had 1,000 or more phones in the car. . . .Maybe they are trying to make a buck but I would construe a keystone cop as one who is too busy eating doughnuts to bother checking. If they are not guilty I am all for getting them cleared but why is everyone always telling law enforcement how to do their jobs. 

The message was from a Sheriff in Michigan involved in the arrest of three young Arab-American men who were buying and selling pre-paid cell phones, driving between Dallas and Michigan to, as the Sheriff said, “make a buck.” Mackinac Bridge is in Michigan, and these kids were suspicious-looking (black hair and eyes, and beards, with funny names on their out-of-state driver’s licenses), so the cops had to search their van and found all of these cellphones that were obviously intended to blow up the Mackinac Bridge. 

The Magna What?

I emailed the Sheriff and asked him if they were playing Keystone Cops up there. One does not do that in America. We have “sign[ed] on to being scared. ‘[We] pledge allegiance to living in fear.’” We don’t question authority. 

It’s possible that people running around calling the events of 9/11 an “inside job,” because they have substituted some teen-agers’ “evaluation” of events for “evidence” that anyone can believe, are also involved in worthwhile causes to combat the idiocy of the Patriot Act and the evil phobia against Muslims in this country. 

But I guess a BiPolar, Temporal Lobe Epileptic hypergraphic has to call into question the designation of today, this very day, as an “orange” alert day for flying—a designation made with absolutely no explanation or information given to the American people. Who on earth is protesting this police state? 

We have a real conspiracy: the conspiracy to keep us all terrorized, not by terrorists, but by our own government. And “conspiracy theorists” feed into that terrorizing by repeating over and ove again that the government cannot be trusted—without confronting the government about what it is doing right now, not eight years ago, that is making us a terrified nation. 

I’d like to see some standing up to fear-mongering from whatever its source, the Department of Homeland Security or the Theorists of Conspiracies. 

Part of what distinguishes prophets and rabbis in the Mosaic tradition from today’s public intellectuals is that they do not fight shy of metaphysics. Their ethics answers to their cosmology. Socrates is said to have brought philosophy down out of the heavens and into the streets of Athens—and the palaestras and gymnasia. But the prophets anchor their norms not in the currency of common discourse but in their vision of human nature and history. (1) 

THE conspiracy theory

Our vision of human nature and history seems to allow us the luxury of tilting at windmills. Our “common discourse” allows our government to keep track of me because of what I’ve written here (even though it comes from a poor fevered brain that can’t help itself and has broken no law nor even considered breaking any law). Our “common discourse” fosters a government that continually finds troubled young Arab-American men—for whatever reason—and sets them up with an “informant” and then, when they catch them saying and doing really dumb things, arrests them on charges of “terrorism.” Exactly what is our “vision of human nature and history?” 

Anyone, it seems to me, who wants to change our “common discourse” has only to start asking questions about what the government is up to today. Now. 

I’ve taken the space below to reproduce a bit of a Congressional hearing (2). It’s exactly what I’m talking about. 
(1) Goodman, Lenn “The Perils of Public Intellectualism.” Society 46.1 (2009): 29-37.
(2)  Quoted in: Husarska, Anna. “Exile off Main Street.” Current 506 (2008): 27-30. 

When then Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration Ellen Sauerbrey testified that the delay with admissions of the Iraqi refugees was being created by DHS, Rep. Ackerman inquired about the case of an Iraqi family who paid a $7,000 ransom for their kidnapped nephew, who was then killed. Rep. Ackerman asked if this ransom would be considered “material support for terrorists.”
      Secretary Sauerbrey seemed unsure: “It remains to be seen how it will be interpreted by DHS…. [W]as the kidnapping a terrorist activity or a crime.” Rep. Ackerman interrupted: “Kidnapping is a crime, it is a crime in this country . . . having acted under duress.” Sauerbrey tried to explain: “A lot of activity has been going on over recent months trying to address this issue of ‘material support’ . . .”
      Now Rep. Ackerman exploded: “I don’t think that there is one out of any 535 of us who voted on [the Patriot Act]—whether for it or against it—who would have ever contemplated that  somebody who paid ransom to get back a loved one who was kidnapped would be ‘materially supporting a terrorist or terrorism.’ That clearly could not be the intent of anybody, let alone the entire Congress, in this legislation. And if somebody at Homeland Security . . . is saying that that’s the intent of the Congress . . . then I don’t know that there is any justice here.”
      Secretary Sauerbrey nodded in agreement. She didn’t have much to say. It was left to Rep. Ackerman to summarize the Patriot Act’s effect on the refugee admission program: “We’ve met the enemy. And they are us.”


  1. all true, knew this since day #1…It is Capitalism and power is in the hands of greed selfishness and I pity those whom don’t see the truth.



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