New Reading Group: Soliciting Interest in the Subject of “Consequential Reality”
I started thinking about the idea of a “consequential reality” in January 2020. The first event that got the wheels turning was the January 6 attempt to overthrow the U.S. election, and the assault on the Capitol. Every one of those involved was absolutely convinced of some kind of conspiracy against Trump, and in spite of the verified authenticity of the election, a false rhetoric and appeal to mass psychology created an unbelievable real world event. We see a similar championing of such fictions with anti-vaccination rhetoric and conspiracy theory groups like QAnon.
The second item of interest was an episode of a television show called Kindred Spirits, featuring Amy Bruni and Adam Berry of Ghost Hunters fame. The episode was entitled “Zombie Boy”; in a nutshell, a weird recent haunting at a Massachusetts museum caused Amy and Adam to make up a fake story about this alleged entity, and told the story out loud in the house as though it were true. When they investigated a few hours later, their recorders and other equipment picked up voices and actions that matched the fake story they created—even Chip Coffey, the medium, picked up on it from a thousand miles away. Their conclusion was that the entity was an “egregore” or thoughtform, a collection of intensified thoughts and feelings that act like a real intelligence, rather than any sort of disembodied spirit. So, the question is posited—can reality be created out of falsehoods? Can fiction become fact, or at least “true” in some sense?
To start exploring the question, I came up with a short list of books related to this idea that is likely to be expanded:
- Faith in Fakes by Umberto Eco
- Egregores: the Occult Entities that Watch Over Human Destiny by Mark Stavish
- Hiding in the Mirror: the Quest for Alternate Realities by Laurence Krauss
- The Case Against Reality by Donald Hoffman
- The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories by Jan-Willem van Prooijen
If anyone is interested in a reading group addressing this subject, please send Brigid a message via Infinite Conversations or use the contact form to send us an email. You can also join the Readers Underground to start a conversation on related topics, and you will be invited to participate when the group begins.