It has all the elements of a corking conspiracy thriller.
- It’s all about power – who has it, how they keep it.
- It’s been going on for years.
- It’s massively damaging.
- It’s been happening right under our noses, hidden in plain view.
- You won’t find the documents that blow the lid off it. They’ve not been destroyed or redacted. They never existed; It’s a far more subtle, nefarious and insidious plot than that.
Diana? JFK? 911? The Moon Landings? Chemtrails? No, no, no and no again.
It’s far more plausible, and far closer to home…
It’s the conspiracy between … event organisers/speakers and the “audience”.
The event organisers get you along. You provide affirmation to them that they are doing their job. “Good turn out” they say to themselves.
The speaker turns up and trots out his (or sometimes her) stump speech about the evils of the world. They get exposure, which counts towards important “relevance” brownie points for academics, and may translate into some book sales too. At very least, it’s ego-food…
The audience sits there and some who want to get the chance ask questions and/or proclaim their own faith/perspective
So far so good.
What if you try to change the rules, take away from the passivity of the audience (i.e. turn them into participants)?
Well, that would cut down on ego-foddering for the speakers.
The compact between organisers and speakers would be damaged.
Worse, there’d be push-back from portions of the audience; “We came here to hear from the speaker, not to be turned into activists. It is presumptuous of you to think that we want to become involved when we haven’t even decided if there is a problem yet.”
The audience members are, understandably nervous, of becoming activists. That would be sticking their heads above the parapet at work, among their social circle.
They know there is a good chance they will labelled as zealots, and have to choose between denying their beliefs three times before the cock crows and alienating friends, committing career suicide etc
So, the safest option is therefore to keep collecting information. That is not seen as threatening to the status quo, just as a weird hobby.
Movement organisers, not really aware of this, (since they are, almost by definition, fully socialised into “the movement”) in desperation keep staging informational events which meet speakers’ needs and the desires for audience members to “keep finding out more before committing to doing anything.”
And these meetings doesn’t really “work” to create new activists, since they don’t create the “here’s a dozen things you could do…” lists.
And, like the proverbial man with only a hammer, all the organiser’s/recruiter’s problems look like nails. So, after a decent interval he or she stages… another informational meeting. And the wheel keeps on turning…
PS Lately some so-called “organisers” have started labelling their information events as skill-shares or trainings. But that’s just marketing – these are just more sage on the stage nonsense with a side order of small group work (and not even genuine groups, just mini-plenaries…) This is destroying the meaning of “skills-share,” in the same way words like green, sustainability and so on have been emptied of meaning. And the wheel keeps on turning…