A well-known writer and researcher in his field lays out his belief in a "global conspiracy" in which a network of interbreeding families going back to the ancient world are manipulating events to impose a centrally-controlled Orwellian global state. Original.
How-and why- were UFOs so prevalent in both conspiracy theories and the New Age milieu in the post-Cold War period? In this ground-breaking book, David G. Robertson argues that UFOs symbolized an uncertainty about the boundaries between scientific knowledge and other ways of validating knowledge, and thus became part of a shared vocabulary. Through historical and ethnographic case studies of three prominent figures-novelist and abductee Whitley Strieber; environmentalist and reptilian proponent David Icke; and David Wilcock, alleged reincarnation of Edgar Cayce-the investigation reveals that millennial conspiracism offers an explanation as to why the prophesied New Age failed to arrive-it was prevented from arriving by malevolent, hidden others. Yet millennial conspiracism constructs a counter-elite, a gnostic third party defined by their special knowledge. An overview of the development of UFO subcultures from the perspective of religious studies, UFOs, Conspiracy Theories and the New Age is an innovative application of discourse analysis to the study of present day alternative religion.
While conspiracy theory is often characterized in terms of the collapse of objectivity and Enlightenment reason, Modern Conspiracy traces the important role of conspiracy in the formation of the modern world: the scientific revolution, social contract theory, political sovereignty, religious paranoia and mass communication media. Rather than seeing the imminent death of Enlightenment reason and a regression to a new Dark Age in conspiratorial thinking, Modern Conspiracy suggests that many characteristic features of conspiracies tap very deeply into the history of the Enlightenment: its vociferous critique of established authorities and a conception of political sovereignty fuelled by fear of counter-plots, for example. Perhaps, ultimately, conspiracy theory affords us a renewed opportunity to reflect on our very relationship to the truth itself.
American society has changed dramatically since A Culture of Conspiracy was first published in 2001. In this revised and expanded edition, Michael Barkun delves deeper into America's conspiracy sub-culture, exploring the rise of 9/11 conspiracy theories, the "birther" controversy surrounding Barack Obama's American citizenship, and how the conspiracy landscape has changed with the rise of the Internet and other new media. What do UFO believers, Christian millennialists, and right-wing conspiracy theorists have in common? According to Michael Barkun in this fascinating yet disturbing book, quite a lot. It is well known that some Americans are obsessed with conspiracies. The Kennedy assassination, the Oklahoma City bombing, and the 2001 terrorist attacks have all generated elaborate stories of hidden plots. What is far less known is the extent to which conspiracist worldviews have recently become linked in strange and unpredictable ways with other "fringe" notions such as a belief in UFOs, Nostradamus, and the Illuminati. Unraveling the extraordinary genealogies and permutations of these increasingly widespread ideas, Barkun shows how this web of urban legends has spread among subcultures on the Internet and through mass media, how a new style of conspiracy thinking has recently arisen, and how this phenomenon relates to larger changes in American culture. This book, written by a leading expert on the subject, is the most comprehensive and authoritative examination of contemporary American conspiracism to date. Barkun discusses a range of material-involving inner-earth caves, government black helicopters, alien abductions, secret New World Order cabals, and much more-that few realize exists in our culture. Looking closely at the manifestations of these ideas in a wide range of literature and source material from religious and political literature, to New Age and UFO publications, to popular culture phenomena such as The X-Files, and to websites, radio programs, and more, Barkun finds that America is in the throes of an unrivaled period of millenarian activity. His book underscores the importance of understanding why this phenomenon is now spreading into more mainstream segments of American culture.
This volume presents students and scholars with a comprehensive overview of the fascinating world of the occult. It explores the history of Western occultism, from ancient and medieval sources via the Renaissance, right up to the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and contemporary occultism. Written by a distinguished team of contributors, the essays consider key figures, beliefs and practices as well as popular culture.
SeattleOil.com The Internet writings of John Michael Greer - beyond any doubt the greatest peak oil historian in the English language - have finally made their way into print. Greer fans will recognize many of the book's passages from previous essays, but will be delighted to see them fleshed out here with additional examples and analysis.The Long Descent is one of the most highly anticipated peak oil books of the year, and it lives up to every ounce of hype. Greer is a captivating, brilliantly inventive writer with a deep knowledge of history, an impressive amount of mechanical savvy, a flair for storytelling and a gift for drawing art analogies. His new book presents an astonishing view of our society's past, present and future trajectory--one that is unmatched in its breadth and depth. Reviewed by Frank Kaminski Wired.com The Long Descent is a welcome antidote to the armageddonism that often accompanies peak oil discussions. "The decline of a civilization is rarely anything like so sudden for those who live through it" writes Greer, encouragingly; it's "a much slower and more complex transformation than the sudden catastrophes imagined by many soical critics today." The changes that will follow the decline of world petroleum production are likely to be sweeping and global, Greer concludes, but from the perspective of those who live through them these changes are much more likely to take gradual and local forms. Reviewed by Bruce Sterling Americans are expressing deep concern about US dependence on petroleum, rising energy prices, and the threat of climate change. Unlike the energy crisis of the 1970s, however, there is a lurking fear that now the times are different and the crisis may not easily be resolved. The Long Descent examines the basis of such fear through three core themes: Industrial society is following the same well-worn path that has led other civilizations into decline, a path involving a much slower and more complex transformation than the sudden catastrophes imagined by so many social critics today. The roots of the crisis lie in the cultural stories that shape the way we understand the world. Since problems cannot be solved with the same thinking that created them, these ways of thinking need to be replaced with others better suited to the needs of our time. It is too late for massive programs for top-down change; the change must come from individuals. Hope exists in actions that range from taking up a handicraft or adopting an “obsolete” technology, through planting an organic vegetable garden, taking charge of your own health care or spirituality, and building community. Focusing eloquently on constructive adaptation to massive change, this book will have wide appeal.