A Predator of Information

Our songs will all be silenced, but what of it? Go on singing.

Conspiracy Theory

22 January 2018 11:48 PM (musing)

The faking of the lunar landing remains one of the great historical mysteries. All records, videos footage, and personal interviews agree. All reputable sources accept it. This leaves an important question: Why did the Soviet Union, the then-rival of the United States, go along with the deception? As the other space-capable power, they could have embarrassed their adversary by pointing out its lie. Why did the United States embark on the deception knowing that it could be made a fool of? The records, when it comes to these questions, are either lost or spiral into confusion.

There must have been some third party driving the hoax, and we now know who that party was: The Fair Folk. A middle class of people focused primarily on their material needs and an industrialized society nearly successful in meeting those needs them was quickly eroding their influence over humanity. Few humans were inspired by grand narratives of future social orders, and something new was needed. Something great. Something that could inspire the world but fit into the mechanistic narrative.

The Sidhe decreed it and it was done: mankind would walk upon the moon. The closest planet would be brought into the reach of mortals and so transmuted from silvery fire teeming with witches and shadow-spirits to mere geology. At least, that's what the humans would think. It was not in the Fae's interest to actually give mankind such abilities when they could instead engage them in shadow-play.

For a few glorious years, the space-race flourished. Astronauts and Cosmonauts were the new semi-divine heroes hurtling bravely into the unknown, reaching further and further into the heavens, until they finally grasped a world beyond their own. Every probe was a show. Every launch unmanned. No human has ever left the Earth, they merely carried out exercises and mission rehearsals one after the other, drunk on glamour until they couldn't tell where training ended and truth began.

If the lunar landing really had been a human endeavor, the project would have continued. Humans would have gone on to capture an asteroid then travel to Mars. They would now be seriously investigating the solar system. Of course, that isn't what happened; activity abruptly stopped. Space went, almost overnight, from the final frontier to a convenient place to put communications satellites. Two space shuttles were destroyed, the rest were grounded. The hoax was revealed, and a few streams of grainy, photoshopped desert pretending to be Mars are sent out even now to continue feeding false hope to a dwindling pool of true believers.

Why? Why go to all the trouble of the show then abandon it at its height? It's obvious, now, that they got burned. People were fired with wonder, but also with a hunger for truth and the idea that the world was a thing out there waiting to be understood, and the more mankind knew, the more they could do. Dreams of equations filled the world, threatening to cage the Sidhe in unchanging law. Wonder built on understanding rather than ignorance threatened to cut their magic forever away from the world.

And so it came. The Ivory Tower had always been a world ruled, and rightly so, by the twin powers of reason and fantasy. The Fair Folk intervened to upset the balance. That human scholars should say that truth is merely a construct of the powerful shows it. This is, after all, the ultimate philosophy of the Sidhe. They mean it differently. For them it is an aspiration, to cut out the underpinnings and notion of ‘truth’ as a rigid and unyielding aspect of the world and make it entirely a creation of their power, a plaything to manipulate those creatures they've captured. At the same time, playful, master-dreamers of psychedelia spun out all manner of universes to live alongside this one, then forgot which was which and claimed there was no difference. These two currents together worked the Fae's agenda into popular consciousness, until any inconvenient fact could, ironically, be dismissed with a breezy claim that it's constructed to serve some ominous, hidden interest.

They adopted Clarke's law, again, as an aspiration rather than a description. When people are discouraged from thinking about how things work, when even experts in a field know only the tiniest fraction about any real-world device and take the rest on faith, and when mathematical and computational power are pushed to the limit to fake the appearance of intelligent, feeling agents that answer ones questions or fulfill ones whims as soon as they are spoken, it is not long before actual magic can be slipped in, since nobody expects to understand it.

And so we come to the Internet: a network of simple machines, using simple protocols. A shining toy no human could resist able to share new discoveries, carry ideas and arguments, transmit knowledge, stories, love letters, and jokes all through the world: bridging cultural divides, empowering democracies. It would be an unstoppable force for freedom and progress. If it were a human project that's exactly what it would have been.

The Sidhe are the crafty spiders in the World Wide Web, and they've woven it to suit themselves. It wraps around the globe, enveloping more of civilization every day. It has become a hall of mirrors where processes no one can name or explain fill the mind with wild claims and calls to action with no concern for fact. As the Fae tighten their hold, even the notion that evidence or truth should be a consideration is taken to mark one out as disloyal or a potential enemy who forgets which side they're on. People drape themselves in propositions as the the semantic colors of opposing armies.

Each day, it comes closer. The time when the Sidhe will have us as they did when the world was young and we ran through the night, prey to living dreams and fears embodied as savage shadow.

It's only fair, given where it all started, that in the night to come— the new glorious forest of chrome displays and glass needles, where dread beauty and impossible dream will rule and grim dragons of fire and explosion will prowl the decaying highways for prey— that the new primeval will always shine with the silver fire of moonlight.

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