I’m tired of conspiracy theories.
You know the ones. The rumours that the world is being run by Illuminati cabals intent on embedding bar-coded chips into our flesh and turning us into zombie slaves or Soylent Green or both. Or by alien shape-shifting lizards from another dimension, who are running vast occult child abuse networks with the help of the Vatican, the police, Swiss bankers, and probably, who knows, a reincarnated JFK. The theories that tell us the world is going to the very hot place in a hand basket, and we need to Wake Up And Do Something About It before they have us all listening to evil Druid rock n’ roll (ha, sorry…tiny bit late for that, guys) and marrying our dogs. Because Satan. Or bankers. Or something.
People believe this stuff. And when they believe it, it makes them feel secure in their fear, paradoxical as that is. And that makes them lose their curiosity, about the world and about people who are different from them. And that’s where empathy ends and very big trouble starts.
I, for one, welcome our avian overlords….
No, no, I don’t. I don’t want a frightened world, because frightened people are too easily swayed into doing stupid and tragic things.
What I want to see is a different kind of conspiracy.
I want to hear about a band of revolutionary rebels who sneak up to people’s doorsteps late at night and leave care packages and cookies and notes that say If you ever need help, here’s our number. Who maybe leave hearts festooned with fairy lights in prominent places as their calling card.
I want to see slogans like You are loved and It gets better and You’ve got this written in rainbow-coloured chalk on gloomy sidewalks, and planted out in daffodils on the sloping sides of motorways, and scribbled on origami cranes stuck into the wire fences of parking lots. I want people to see them and know that something is happening, and Mr Jones doesn’t have a clue what it is…but some of us do.
I want to hear another language, below the level of the harsh and cruel words that count as the everyday discourse of the powerful, and of those who pretend to power. I want to hear whispered sentences where peace and spirit and social justice aren’t faintly dirty words. I want to hear people’s conversations break into poetry and rap. I want to heat new words that not only challenge the old realities, but shape them into something new,
I want people to have codes by which they can recognise each other as part of the movement. A purple hat with a peacock feather. A gold star (one of those ones the teacher used to stick on your work at school would do) on the left cheekbone. A gesture of stirring your coffee with the end of your pen. A secret ear wiggle. Something that says: Yes. Me too. I am not OK with this, and I’m working to make it different and better.
I want to know that there’s an underground army of lovers and artists, misfits and weirdos. The ones who in some previous generation would have been called beatniks or hippies, but who don’t now have a name for themselves, or a specific musical score to dance to (because marching really isn’t their style). A growing band of people who know something is wrong and who are trying, in small ways and larger ones, by conventional methods and by those that don’t and couldn’t use the master’s tools, to make the world a different place.
I know that this exists already, in a myriad of ways. But so far, it’s gone virtually under the radar. People speak about random acts of kindness and guerillas art and so forth, but they speak as if it’s fringe activity, not part of the serious stuff of everyday life.
But…love, kindness, community, art, fun? These are the serious stuff.
The word conspiracy comes from a root meaning ‘to breathe together’. If we don’t learn to breathe together, to live together, we’ll suffocate alone, one way or another. So let’s spread a few rumours and make the Powers That Be a little nervous about their version of power.
Are you with me?