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Apr 20 2013

The von Neumann Conspiracy

Go look at this Conspiracy Theory Flowchart. Look at it.

Crispian's Conspiracy Flowchart

No, really look at it.

They got to you, didn’t they? The bastards have shaped your whole world, stuffed your head full of phony paradigms and bogus models and unsupportable conventions, and you can’t even see outside the goddamned box anymore. You’re in a straitjacket of their devising, your mind twisted and warped to fit a pre-pattern of which you are completely unaware.

WAKE UP.

Look again. Stare at it until you break through the walls of your own preconceptions. Break out of the box. Shred the box. DON’T LET THEM CONTROL YOU.

You need help? You’re like a pupa stuck in its chrysalis? You struggle but you can’t quite break free? Let me help you.

Look at the diagram. Follow the lines. Look at the decision points. Notice what they’re doing?

THEY’RE FORCING YOU TO FOLLOW THE LINES. Stop following the lines.

THEY’RE GIVING YOU YES/NO CHOICES. Maybe the truth is “none of the above.” Or “all of the above.” Or maybe it’s on a random page of the Bible, or the Federalist Papers, or Dianetics. They’re tying you down.

Look at it, man. It’s a fucking flow chart. It’s a tool of the establishment. It’s an expression of an archaic model of computer programming. (Yeah, programming. Like what they’re doing to your head.) It’s all linear and shit, all boolean and that dogma.

You think you’re afraid of the Illuminati, the Bilderbergers, the Reptoids, the Davos architects of your oppression? You should fear the Hungarian mastermind, the descendants of EDVAC, the universal binary and the tick, tick, tick of the clock, everything all sequential and latched and the single line of flow. They’ve split your world into data and code. They’ve marshaled your code into channeled pathways, they tell you which way to go, they LIMIT YOUR FREEDOM.

Look, man, here’s the secret. We’re not living in von Neumann’s world. It’s MASSIVELY PARALLEL, the switches are all fuzzy, your answers aren’t limited to the truth, any choice can be made and all will be made, and there’s NOTHING TO STOP YOU FROM COLORING OUTSIDE THE LINES. It’s all true. While you’re meandering down one path, putting one foot in front of the other, never deviating, History is hopping and skipping and dancing, dancing like a cokehead with his clothes on fire and a great big dildo shorting out in his ass, SLASHING across all those lines like they aren’t there, making great prigogenic leaps from premise to conclusion without regard for the blinkered “logic” of the diagram.

IT’S ALL TRUE.

IT’S ALL FALSE.

IT’S ALL TRUE.

IT’S ALL FALSE.

IT’S ALL TRUE.

Break the chains The Man has wrapped around your brain and skitter to the REALITY, dude. It’s over there, not over here, and you aren’t going to get there as long as Johnny is calling the tune. Capisce?

56 comments

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  1. 1
    earlycuyler

    Please do not leave the *whole* bag of mushrooms at PZ’s house. Ever again.

  2. 2
    PZ Myers

    That’s exactly what Johnny would say.

  3. 3
    kieran

    Not sure, but have they left out creationists?

  4. 4
    Nerdette

    I run a Reading Skeptically group, and we read THEM: Adventures with Extremists by Jon Ronson several months ago. There was the general “getting into their heads” discussion (along with a member who is an unbalanced gun nut trying to make the claim that the government was taking all of the guns away, but that’s a different tale) and then a new member arrived late, who happened to be a conspiracy theorist. She was adamant about jet trails and the government’s ability to control the weather, direct tornadoes, and a base in Alaska that is currently working to expand the atmosphere. As an environmental science grad student, I was sorely tempted to offer an education in the basic concepts of atmospheric sciences, but I felt it would have been wasted. I just smiled, swallowed my laughter, and kept trying to keep conversation flowing on the topic at hand.

  5. 5
    JohnnieCanuck

    No, I wouldn’t.

    Something more like, “You know what catnip does to him, why would you ever think it was a good idea?”

    Now dance while you still can.

  6. 6
    Shplane, Spess Alium

    For a second there I thought I was reading a Shadowrun rulebook.

  7. 7
    Glen Davidson

    I see the conspiracy to treat creation as being of no account, as well as Scientology.

    Looks like I’ll have to be a creationist Scientologist.

    Glen Davidson

  8. 8
    chigau (違う)

    PZ, nice use of caps, bold and italics but the font is all the came size and colour.
    And the background is all one colour, too.
    How can we take you seriously?

  9. 9
    imthegenieicandoanything

    Who is this “Johnny”? Carson? Quest? And if he’s metaphorically “calling the tune” why haven’t I, presumably the “piper,” being paid to play it – or if I am, for how much, and can I still jazz it up, or simply finish a professional rendition and then play what I’d like?

    ‘Tis confusing.

  10. 10
    spandrel

    No mention of the United Nations? Clearly this diagram was produced by the incipient One World Government.

    Unmarked helicopters…

  11. 11
    yubal

    ” You MUST read THIS book, I tell you!!”

  12. 12
    kevinalexander

    So far, I’m happy to report, we have converted six billion, nine hundred and ninety nine million, nine hundred and ninety nine thousand and ninety nine hundred and ninety nine to THE CAUSE.

    The one fool who, for all I know, is reading this and denying reality will be picked up any time now.

    So change your underwear. You might as well look good in the interrogation video.

  13. 13
    Atticus Dogsbody

    For 40 years they’ve been screaming at me “Pay attention!”, “Try harder!”, “Focus!” and I couldn’t. About six months I was talking to a counselor from the local campus, he seemed to think I possibly have adhd (inattentive) and an anxiety disorder, so he organized for me to see a neuro-psychologist. My appointment is this week.

    Thank Koresh I saw this before those parasites got their claws into me. All I gotta do pay attention and apply myself.

  14. 14
    HappyHead

    What I want to know is how you tell if someone bears an uncanny resemblance to a large shape-shifting reptilian from the Alpha Draconis star system. I mean, if they’re shape-shifting, wouldn’t they not have an appearance to resemble?

  15. 15
    ibyea

    Well, looks like the long winter has finally got to PZ.

  16. 16
    Stacy

    Please do not leave the *whole* bag of mushrooms at PZ’s house. Ever again.

    Ha! You jest, but today is 420.

  17. 17
    dianne

    Clearly, the conspiracy theories are all put out by THEM to keep the REAL conspiracy secret. What, you may ask, is the REAL conspiracy? I’ll just say “Rebecca Watson” and walk away.

  18. 18
    Samantha Vimes

    PZ, you need an assistant to grade for you, if the students are breaking your brain.

  19. 19
    Mattir, Another One With Boltcutters

    Why nothing about taking away all my guns? THEY are definitely showing up to do that amy second now.

  20. 20
    bad Jim

    You do know those diamond shaped decision blocks represent Fortran arithmetic IF statements, don’t you? Three outcomes, depending on whether the result is less than zero, zero, or greater than zero.

  21. 21
    DLC

    Time Cube! Six Sides!
    The Secrets THEY don’t want You to KNow
    /mrgumby

  22. 22
    Mobius

    PZ…

    Take two aspirin. Lie down. Close your eyes. Take several deep breaths.

    The semester is almost over. Almost. Soon.

  23. 23
    Mobius

    @DLC

    Time Cube! Six Sides!
    The Secrets THEY don’t want You to KNow

    If you really want to break your brain, study topology. That will really warp it, permanently. I know.

    When you can picture a 4 dimensional torus in your head, you have reached the point where you no longer need drugs. Math will send you on a deep trip all by itself.

  24. 24
    picklefactory

    Nothing is true. Everything is permitted.

    Language is a virus from outer space.

  25. 25
    azpaul3

    Dr. Myers,

    My employers would like a word with you. A black SUV will be in your driveway at precisely 10:15 PM, Central time, this evening, 20 APR 2013. The interview process will take some time but don’t pack a toothbrush. You won’t be needing it.

  26. 26
    ChasCPeterson

    pass that shit over here, man.

    p.s. this flowchart is exactly what They want you to believe.
    p.p.s. We Are Everywhere.

  27. 27
    What a Maroon, el papa ateo

    What I want to know is how you tell if someone bears an uncanny resemblance to a large shape-shifting reptilian from the Alpha Draconis star system.

    We all bear an uncanny resemblance to a large shape-shifting reptilian from the Alpha Draconis star system.

    Nothing is true. Everything is permitted.

    Ooh, JC, man….

  28. 28
    PatrickG

    I must protest. I’m fairly sure that camera is actually looking at me.

  29. 29
    John Horstman

    I got stuck in an infinite loop right off the bat… :-(

  30. 30
    John Horstman

    Also, someone should take PZ’s copy of The Illuminatus! Trilogy away until finals are over. Sometimes reading really isn’t that good for one.

  31. 31
    Amateur

    I note a suspicious lack of any mention of Hegelians, Lacanian psychoanalysis, or International Communism. In fact, you seem to be defining the borders very carefully with all of these calculated non-mentions. Is there something you’d like to get off your chest?

  32. 32
    cicely

    I failed to spot the Horses. Or the peas.
    -

  33. 33
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Ok. I cant read the chart on my phone, but reading the responses has been highly entertaining, so PZs chart must be deeeeep.
    Or he enjoyed 4/20 A LOT.

  34. 34
    erikthebassist

    I just read this, and now someone is knocking at my door.

    It’s late, there’s no reason I should have visitors. I’m going dark…..

    I was never here.

  35. 35
    clastum3

    Just because I’m paranoic, it doesn’t prove they’re not all out to get me.

  36. 36
    erikthebassist

    clastum3….

    too many double negatives, I lost count. So are they out to get you or not? Because if they are out to get you, that means they aren’t out to get me.

  37. 37
    Tuválkin

    So, they include Global Warming as a conspiracy theory? What am I missing?

  38. 38
    pacomius

    DAMMIT PZ, We were just considering inviting you to join us

    But we do thank you for the line

    “History is hopping and skipping and dancing, dancing like a cokehead with his clothes on fire and a great big dildo shorting out in his ass”

  39. 39
    Nick Gotts

    I mean, if they’re shape-shifting, wouldn’t they not have an appearance to resemble? – HappyHead

    Sure they do: they look kind of… shifty.

  40. 40
    slowdjinn

    Tuvalkin #37

    So, they include Global Warming as a conspiracy theory? What am I missing?

    No, they’re including the theory that Global Warming is a conspiracy as a conspiracy theory:

    They’re making stuff up [about the weather] and telling it to us to frighten us

  41. 41
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ cicely

    I failed to spot the Horses. Or the peas.

    The flowchart itself is a part of the conspiracy. They lull you into complacency with a whole list of fake conspiracies … and then … *wham* … tomorrow we are surrounded by horses (or peas).

  42. 42
    Snoof

    Malaclypse the Younger: Everything is true.
    Greater Poop: Even false things?
    M2: Even false things are true.
    GP: How can that be?
    M2: I don’t know man, I didn’t do it.

  43. 43
    macallan

    If you really want to break your brain, study topology.

    And become one of those people who can’t tell the difference between a donut and a coffee cup?
    Squaring circles is easy though, they’re the same thing after all.

  44. 44
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    Dude. One word: Elvis. Where is Elvis?

  45. 45
    Artor

    Who can it be, knocking at my door? Stay away! Don’t come ’round here no more. Can’t you see that it’s late at night? I’m very tired, and I’m not feeling right.

  46. 46
    Snoof

    Dude. One word: Elvis. Where is Elvis?

    He’s right there, where he’s always been.

    Why? Can’t you see him?

  47. 47
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Back in the early days of html internet, there was a web site that, through poor writing and poorer graphics, showed that the reason the federal government spent $7.5 billion (which is three times the current budget for the entire National Park Service (by the way, this is National Park Week (and all entrance fees are waived at National Parks Monday through Friday))) to develop Steamtown NHS was that the turntable can be lowered and moved to the side so that the Black Helicopters that are used to control Philadelphia and New York City can use the massive underground hanger built in the tunnels of abandoned coal mines.

    So where is Steamtown on this chart?

  48. 48
    unclefrogy

    there was a time when paranoia got the best of me but I got over it. I realized that it was not personal I was in fact utterly unimportant to any of the plans, schemes or plots I could imagine. as far as my life was concerned shit happened.

    The only thing that does concern me is the idea that some where there is a planet like Skaro where some scientist-engineer like Davros is going to have made Daleks.
    uncle frogy

  49. 49
    Billysugger

    Just a thought… Credit to Crispian Jago for the flowchart. He also has plenty of other awesome skeptical stuff too. See his blog The Reason Stick:
    The Conspiracy Theory Flowchart THEY Don’t Want You To See
    The Reason Stick

  50. 50
    Shaun McGonigal

    Huh, perhaps I’m not the only person who read Turing’s Cathedral?

  51. 51
    Dr Marcus Hill Ph.D. (arguing from his own authority)

    Damn it, PZ, you could have put the chart after a fold and warned us about it. Now THEY know we’ve all seen it and know too much. I’m going to have to destroy my computer now.

  52. 52
    birgerjohansson

    Do not diss Davros. He is my role model.

    Elvis is in the third graphic novel in Templesmith’s “Wormwood” series, where everything is revealed. Lots of tentacles (what else?).

  53. 53
    David Marjanović

    If you really want to break your brain, study topology. That will really warp it, permanently. I know.

    When you can picture a 4 dimensional torus in your head, you have reached the point where you no longer need drugs. Math will send you on a deep trip all by itself.

    …Hey, you with the appropriate name, are you trying to say you can picture a 4-dimensional object in your head?!?

    Because that is intriguing.

    p.s. this flowchart is exactly what They want you to believe.
    p.p.s. We Are Everywhere.

    WE DO NOT FORGIVE.
    WE DO NOT FORGET.
    EXPECT US.
    FOR GREAT JUSTICE.

    (Sorry, I got carried away.)

    Dude. One word: Elvis. Where is Elvis?

    Hiding out in Parthia, whence he shall return.

    …Crap, that’s Nero, not Elvis.

    I’m going to have to destroy my computer now.

    Too late. All you can do anymore is to MOVE ‘ZIG’.

  54. 54
    Argle Bargle

    David Marjanović

    Too late. All you can do anymore is to MOVE ‘ZIG’.

    Too late for that. Someone set us up the bomb.

  55. 55
    WharGarbl

    @Snoof
    #42
    “Nothing is true; everything is permitted”

    @macallan
    #43

    And become one of those people who can’t tell the difference between a donut and a coffee cup?
    Squaring circles is easy though, they’re the same thing after all.

    Or one that argues whether a rabbit is a donut or a sphere.
    (Note, assuming a rabbit with a tightly clenched sphincter such that not even a theoretically infinitely thin string to pass through, a rabbit is a sphere. Otherwise it’s a donut.)
    Both man and woman are donuts, except those with piercings, who are 2+ holes donuts (okay, maybe not donuts, but I don’t know the term for a shape with 2+ holes through it).
    Hm… equality through topology!
    Men and women are equal! Unless you have piercing, then you’re not equal!

  56. 56
    David Marjanović

    Too late for that. Someone set us up the bomb.

    That’s what they want us to think, hah! In reality, MOVE ‘ZIG’ comes after SOMEBODY SET UP US THE BOMB !!. Note: UP US, not “us up”. It’s like “on us”.

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