What is currently taking place in America and, indeed, the world strikes at the basic tenets of the education of our children. Unproven conspiracy theories have cast a disfiguring blight upon what was, hitherto, accepted as “the tried and proven,” that which came out of the crucible of time, which was fired by arduous work, and which was forged from painstaking trial and error.

Education, which was once revered as our children’s future, has now become anathema and something to be feared, to be eschewed, to be vilified and to be stoutly resisted. Scholarship no longer holds the perch on innovation, nor is it qualified any longer to lay the foundations for progress. There is a new sheriff in town, one who walks among us with bluster, and he is unqualified, “Fear,” with his bungling sidekick, “Ignorance.” In this dystopian dearth of enlightenment A, B, Cs are not simple anymore.

What is now in vogue, ostensibly, is a cognitive dissonance, a sort of schizoid approach to the virtues of reason and of science, which brought us out from the dark, moss-infested caves of the Stone Age into the sunlit, airy superstructures of modernity. It is an attitude akin to one who enjoys flight but who has grave misgivings about the laws of aerodynamics. It is a madness of inversion — when the proposed solution for problems excite more feelings of horror and of rage than any of the same towards the ravages of terminal malignancies which beset society. Though, in the real world, doubts exist and questions are encouraged, debate means nothing if it, genuinely, does not lead towards the unearthing of honest answers with practical outcomes. And in this topsy-turvy world conspiracies tend to be quite problem heavy and resolution light. Oh, why were we taught the A, B, Cs?

Knowledge is like a living, breathing entity which, though possessing solid, definable features, has a fluidity about it which bends from time to time to evolutionary forces as it breaches the veil of hitherto unknown frontiers. And, yet, though new discoveries might see the redrawing of maps and the recharting of courses to different destinations of enlightenment, the bulkheads of the ship are, essentially, the same. No matter the phenomenon, the principles governing the logic of its apprehension, analysis, and appropriation remain vital. It is a vessel buoyed by a status quo which, though providing a rational, existential plain of existence, is ever open to new and compelling paradigmatic shifts on the order of that of moving away from the idea that the world is flat to a full faceted reality of it being round. Logic in such instances invoked what was, patently, a much higher logic.

When this writer was a wee lad he had difficulty reading. For a brief period of time books constituted a challenge to him and engendered within him a tremendous sense of fear. Words were not only enigmas, but his mortal enemies. When he was interrogated by his mother as to their identities and meanings his halting responses, out of a sense of impending punishment, were fraught with tearful sobs.

Outside of books replete with eye-popping graphics and those dedicated to the pleasantries of colouring he was alone on an island looking out at a world that seemed brighter and infinitely smarter than he was or could ever hope to be. That time still haunts him to this day. But weeping endured for a night with a joy that came in the morning after his father, realizing that he did not know the alphabet, saw to it that he learned his A, B, Cs and the rest, as they say, is history.

Those A, B, Cs saw this writer through his years in kindergarten, through his primary school tenure, through his sojourn in high school, through his term in university and through his decades of employment opportunities. He was able to order and to enjoy his domestic life because of them, along with another species of enlightenment, which he suspects are also on the brink of extinction, those being the 1, 2, 3s of life. What he thought was an awesome, or even an invaluable experience of learning, has been disturbed by the boisterous, the belligerent, the bellicose, and the baseless contentions of conspiracy theories — whether they be of a political, of a religious, or of a medical nature. He has been thrust into a crossroads, blinded by glaring intimations and by burning innuendos which allege that his whole life was based upon unadulterated lies.

Conspiracy theorists are the annoying knocks on privacy that will not take a hint. They are the unwelcome banalities with all of the answers. They are long on pretext and short on context. Their idea of relief is to stir up controversies. They peddle world peace with high returns on misery. They are subjectively objective, they are assertively humble, they are intelligently obtuse, and they are urgently careless.

They are sentimental about law and passionate about order, yet betray and abuse them at whim. They are able to scale tall tales with a leap, but stumble over their A, B, Cs. They attempt to finish strong though nobody is ever sure when they entered the race. So who is more crazy — a cousin of this writer who wanted to return to his mother’s womb, in light of the mess in the world, or these misguided Don Quixotes chasing after windmills?

If there is no north star, then what of life’s journeys? What are the boundaries of conspiracies? Are the things which centuries taught the only ones beset by the marauding tendencies of such predatory schema? Do conspiracies ever prey upon their own species? If they do, how do they determine the cases against them and the coordinates for launching offensives?

Why is their counsel often filled with misinformation, with chaos, with confusion, with anxiety, with pain and with concomitant loss of viable alternatives? Why is tragedy their hallmark and regret their RSVP to every invitation from the ebullience of hope? If there is no north star, then whence the bedrock of truth and the integrity souls? What did their purveyors do before the first gush of their fountainheads? How did mankind survive without them? Why are they always on the fringes? A, B, Cs are not simple anymore.

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