Contemplating Conspiracy: Part Two — Madman or Magician? Encounters with David Icke
‘We need a dream-world in order to discover the features of the real world we think we inhabit (and which may actually be just another dream-world).’
Farewell to Reason, Paul Feyerabend
I first encountered David Icke when I was eighteen years old and had just left school. I’d become interested in Eastern philosophy and was in that section of a bookshop. The title, The Biggest Secret leapt out at me. ’What is the biggest secret?’ I wondered. Faces of world leaders adorned the cover in a way that suggested a deeper reality was concealed behind them — and that the world we occupied was but a veil hanging over that pleroma. I plucked it off the shelf and flipped over to the back cover. Within one paragraph I’d been initiated into knowledge of the Babylonian Brotherhood, the secret force behind all the empires that have risen and fallen through the centuries and millennia. Mr. Icke was one of those conspiracy theorists I’d heard about!
I was intrigued. Was it even possible to construct an alternative account of history that would both hold up to scrutiny and have explanatory power, or would such an account fall flat at the first hurdle? I also instantly adopted a sense of paranoia — were agents of this Babylonian Brotherhood already aware that I knew of them?
Looking back, I think this intrigue spoke to my sense that the world as it had been presented to me didn’t really make sense. My trust in received wisdom had been breaking down for a while. I’d gone all the way through the schooling system only to find the emperor had no clothes. I departed disillusioned. Then, George W. Bush was elected leader of the free world. That was the final nail in the coffin.
I didn’t purchase the book that day, but my curiosity eventually got the better of me and I ordered a copy from Amazon (this was somewhat going against my better judgement, as now there was an electronic record and the brotherhood, if they existed, would definitely know about me). I have a few standout memories from reading it. There were claims that seemed outrageous to me, like the one about the CIA running global narcotics trafficking, or fluoride being added to drinking water in order to dumb us down. I also learnt that Princess Diana had been murdered by MI6 and the U.S. Government was behind that big bombing in Oklahoma.
Mr. Icke also offered a critique of the absurdities of religion — standard stuff — but what really caught my attention was the chapter on science. After the religious critique, I was expecting Mr. Icke to be a materialist and talk about the wonders of the scientific revolution liberating us from superstition. Everyone I’d ever met fell into one of those two camps. Instead, he described materialism as another trap, which like religion, suppressed our spiritual identity. Having been a true believer I was only just coming to see the emptiness of materialism, to hear somebody else express the doubts I was having was incredible to me.
Going beyond conspiracy; Mr. Icke concluded his book with two chapters on a kind of gnositc/non-dual spirituality. The way out of this global enslavement was not stockpiling weapons and forming militias, it was to recognise our essential nature as an infinite ocean of love dreaming the cosmos into existence. I cannot convey how radical this was to me as an eighteen year old who had never really been exposed to an alternative view — in fact I was only just becoming aware that alternative views even existed.
Then, two months later, 9/11 happened.
Had those towers come down only a few months earlier I would have been completely absorbed into the conventional narrative. Without question. Now however, I also had an alternative point of view from which to perceive the event. On the day of the attacks David Icke posted this statement, originally made in January that year, to his website. It became ever more prophetic as the months rolled by:
‘Don’t be surprised if the U.S. finds itself in another manipulated war during this administration. You will see monsters being created in the public mind to justify such action.’
For a period I was deeply absorbed. I even went to see Mr. Icke speak on a few occasions. Surely I could prove whether some or all of this alternative world-view was true or not. Surely truth was not that elusive! As time went by however, I had to admit I was floundering. I simply lacked the knowledge and research abilities to verify any of the conspiracy claims. The Iraq war was now in full swing and proof positive that some deeply nefarious forces were at work in this world, but trying to evolve a consistent narrative explaining it all was simply beyond me.
I set conspiracy research aside for a number of years. During this time I delved further into spirituality, particularly non-dualism, and became interested in the philosophy of science. I was particularly attracted to Paul Feyerabend’s ideas on methodological pluralism, In essence, Feyerabend suggested that when studying a subject, rather than dogmatically holding one theory at the exclusion of all others, we should instead allow multiple theories to coexist and play off each other. Each one will present a unique perspective giving rise to novel data. This was a revolutionary concept to me, turning my assumptions about knowledge on their head. I adopted it as a foundation for any study I engaged in.
Towards the end of the decade a series of what seemed like synchronicities pulled me back into conspiracy-land. In the few short years I’d been away, the internet had become an altogether different place. More information was now available in a digestible form than could be consumed in a lifetime. I opted to begin this new phase of research by reading about events indisputable in the historical record. It’s hard for me to convey the shock I felt in learning that Iran had been a secularizing democracy in the 1950s, before the CIA initiated a coup to instal a dictator that ultimately paved the way for today’s Islamic State. The most shocking aspect was finding that this wasn’t even a disputed event, it was a matter of historical record. More shocking still — neither was it an anomaly, but rather standard practice. The CIA had succeeded in destroying democracy in favour of compliant dictatorships the world over. The real conspiracy — this drive for global hegemony — was right out in the open, the media just refused to acknowledge it by leaving the dots disconnected.
In time it became abundantly clear to me that events from the Kennedy assasination (either of them) to 9/11 clearly have deep and concealed aspects. In 2018 I had the opportunity to delve deeply into the latter of these, when I produced an interview series with 9/11 researcher Adam Fitzgerald. This was an immense education for me in examining the geopolitical context of the event, as well as the role of intelligence agencies in bringing it about.
So how do I now feel about David Icke?
I would conclude Mr. Icke, in making claims about a grand conspiracy, is broadly correct — as compared to news outlets that do not report from this perspective. Note; I am not saying Mr. Icke is correct, but that other more mainstream media outlets are equally incorrect in an opposite direction.
In contrast to both the mainstream and David Icke; the more I attempt to explain how the world is working on a geopolitical level, the greater sense of mystery I find. As I fill in my picture, the canvas itself expands. It seems to me Mr. Icke simplifies the world to create a kind of gnostic model of a grand conspiracy. Complex data is then made to fit this model. All the diverse motives of those who occupy positions of power are reduced to a reptilian plot to control the world.* This strikes me as a kind of reductionism, a movement away from acknowledging the complexity of the world we inhabit. I certainly see a movement towards global hegemonic dominance, but I don’t know who, if anyone, is driving that train.
David Icke’s work was a sledge hammer that cracked open the nut of my conditioned worldview. It was the red pill that took me down the rabbit hole into wonderland. A gnostic mythos for our age. That’s not to say it’s true, the red pill doesn’t necessarily give truth, rather it opens up another world. That world is perhaps just as wrong as the one the blue pill shows us, but in the opposite direction. After consuming both pills, we can maybe start to find a real world, one rooted more in a sense of mystery than certainty and dogma.
There is a lot that can obviously be legitimately criticised about conspiracy theory and David Icke. It’s very hard to see how all the people who have come into contact with the royal families of Europe over the centuries could have missed the fact they are shape-shifting reptiles, for example. I went on to read many books by very sensible critics of state power such as John Pilger, Peter Dale Scott and Stephen Kinzer. The question I have wrestled with is; would the likes of their work have broken me out of my conceptual prison? I don’t think it would. I think it took something as crazy and all encompassing as the meta-conspiracy of The Biggest Secret to achieve that.
David Icke is in this sense a kind of magician. He breaks one spell by casting another. Spells can be dangerous, sucking us into all sorts of delusions — but perhaps they can also create a space from where we can step into an awareness of and freedom from our conceptual prisons.
*It could be argued that I am simplifying David Icke here, doing the exact thing I am accusing him off. This is no doubt true, Mr. Icke’s worldview does allow for complexity and different motives, but it is also true that a meta-narrative of a reptilian conspiracy prevails.