The article linked above relates the tale of a man falling into a crude solipsism- the view that the self is the only thing that exists. The world, for the solipsist, is but a stage on which he alone acts, and the people that inhabit it are but play things- pawns to be manipulated by the chess master himself.
Assuming that the views of the non-solipsists are correct, i.e. that the material world does exist and is peopled by a great many others like ourselves who also have wants, needs and desires, the solipsists among us pose a great danger, as the above story makes clear.
There are other variations on this theme of existents vs. non-existents which fall outside the definition of solipsism but which are equally dangerous for those deemed to be non-existents, like tribalism.
Tribalism, in its more radical variations, extends the definition of existent to the other members of the tribe but no further. Within that meme, persons not of the tribe are but pawns to be used, manipulated and expended when not useful. You're either with us or against us.
In my view, one of the assumed altruistic aims of globalization is the elimination of tribalism- all men created equal. It seems to me a noble cause, ironically one of the means by which globalization is currently being implemented is through an appeal to tribalism. Those who resist globalization are not considered part of the real tribe, which may explain part of the difficulty in the progress thereof.
But, I digress.
The aim of this post is to warn naive idealists that false flag operations- actions whose true cause is obscured, have been a feature of our history since we had history.
- Some fire rangers will start fires to ensure their continued employment
- Some policemen will break into houses to ensure their continued employment
- Some financial leaders will "crash" markets, either directly or through feigned inattention to alter the public mind's sentiment towards desired legislation
- Some political leaders will, either directly or through feigned inattention, allow their own country to be attacked to engender a sensibility in the public mind favorable to aggressive military action, or minimally to engender support for those leaders
- Somewhat less egregiously, leaders might be unconnected to an act but choose, instead of finding the truth of the matter, to cast blame where it will do them the most good.
On a related side note, all humans exhibit this trait to greater or lesser degrees from time to time. The story of the Boy who cried Wolf and my 6 year old son blaming the neighbor for the spilled milk are examples. It is when this trait is exhibited by those with power that real trouble ensues.
Identifying these false flag operations, unless one happens to be privy to the conspiracy, is usually more difficult than the case above, particularly when there is no direct link, but simply blame mis-cast.
Moreover, once one opens one's mind to such actions, a Pandora's box of sorts may be opened- all actions become suspicious. It is not a pleasant state of mind.
In modern history, debate still rages as to the ultimate causes of: 1) the attack on Pearl Harbor- did FDR know the Japanese were going to attack?, 2) the Reichstag Fire- did Hitler's Nazis set it themselves? 3) the Gulf of Tonkin incident- did the Vietnamese really fire missiles at US ships, and numerous other incidents up to the present day.
Sadly, getting to the truth of the matter is quite difficult in these instances.
Fortunately, or so I believe, those who employ such tactics and their aims are often consumed in the process. Perpetuating the deception misdirects resources which would be better spent on other endeavors and the bigger the deception the more resources its perpetuation consumes.
This, however, is not much consolation for those adversely affected, but such is life on planet earth.
The moral of the tale is that sometimes things are not what they first appear to be. Awareness of this, it seems to me, is one of the primary aims of education. As Aristotle wrote, it is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain an idea without accepting it. Given that all of man's actions before our birth, and most of man's actions during our lives, fall outside our direct experience, entertaining working hypotheses rather than accepting this or that as true seems a safer bet to me.
Perhaps Descartes put it best when he wrote; If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.