The etymological root of the term “Archon”

How strangely will the Tools of a Tyrant pervert the plain Meaning of Words!
— Samuel Adams

Archon (Greek: ἄρχων, romanized: árchōn) is the Greek term for “ruler”. Cognate derivatives are, e.g., terms such as:

  • monarchy
  • dyarchy
  • hierarchy
  • patriarchy/matriarchy
  • gynarchy
  • autarchy
  • anarchy (etymology discussed subsequently in more detail)

According to Aristotle’s Constitution of the Athenians (78-c. 100), the power and influence of the king first devolved to the archons, and these offices were filled from the aristocracy by elections on a decennial basis.

Archon Eponymos was the primary magistrate, the Polemarch referred to the head of the armed forces, and the Archon Basileus was in charge of the religious aspects of society.
Various fraternities and sororities use the title of archon or variations on it. Some Gnostic sects used this term for demons associated with the planetspheres.

3-D computer rendering of an “archon”

The term anarchy is the negation of the term archon (i.e., the negatory prefix *a). It thus means “without a ruler/master”, i.e., human beings that do not accept a master and who do not allow others to rule over them (they are not slaves to anyone). Importantly, this derivation should not be confused with “chaos or without rules”. Anarchy simply is the negation of slavery.

Niemand ist mehr Sklave, als der sich für frei hält, ohne es zu sein. ‘
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
(Transl.: None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.)

Human beings who are anarchists are thus literally beings that do not accept to be ruled by archons, i.e., they are free and cannot be ruled and suppressed by external forces (they only subordinate themselves to natural law, viz., the timeless universal metaphysical foundation of morality and ethics; cf. the Kantian categorical imperative).

Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.
— Immanuel Kant, Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals (1785)

Fulltext: archive.org/details/groundingformet000kant

In this context a quotation by the freedom fighter Malcolm X is of great pertinence.
He asked the following quintessential question concerning the highest of all virtues:

What is the price of freedom?

Answer
Death.

P.S. This does not imply that one has to die to be free, but it means that one has to be willing to risk once own life for the greatest of all goods, viz., the ultimate expression of human potential: Absolute Freedom.
If one is not willing to go “all in” one has lost the quest for freedom a priori because one is not willing to risk what it takes to achieve it. Fear is the inhibitor of freedom. Death is the mother of all fears. Ergo, overcoming the irrational fear of death is a condicio sine qua non for the obtainment of superordinate transcendental values.

Non-cooperation with evil is a sacred duty.
~ Mahatma Gandhi

Freedom comes with wisdom, intrinsically. They are inseparable, and no society wants people to be free. The communist society, the fascist society, the capitalist society, the Hindu, the Mohammedan, the Christian – no society likes people to use their own intelligence because the moment they start using their intelligence they become dangerous – dangerous to the establishment, dangerous to the people who are in power, dangerous to the “haves”; dangerous to all kinds of oppression, exploitation, suppression; dangerous to the churches, dangerous to the states, dangerous to the nations.

In fact, a wise man is afire, alive, aflame. He would like rather to die than to be enslaved. Death will not matter much to him, but he cannot sell his life to all kinds of stupidities, to all kinds of stupid people. He cannot serve them. Hence, the societies down the ages have been supplying you with false knowing. That’s the very function of your schools, colleges, universities.

They don’t serve you, remember, they serve the past, they serve the vested interests. Of course, they go on puffing your ego up bigger and bigger, they go on giving you more and more degrees. Your name becomes longer and longer, but only the name – you go on becoming shorter and shorter. A point comes where there are only certificates and the man has disappeared. First the man carries the certificates, then the certificates carry the man. The man is long dead.
~Osho

Google’s Whitepaper on the “fight” of disinformation

George Lakoff could write a book on the “conceptual metaphor” employed in the title of the whitepaper. George Orwell is turning in his grave (the “digital algorithmic ministry of truth”).

Here are the “three foundational pillars” of the whitepaper (expressis verbis):

  • Improve our products so they continue to make quality count;
  • Counteract malicious actors seeking to spread disinformation;
  • Give people context about the information they see.

PDF: storage.googleapis.com/gweb-uniblog-publish-prod/documents/How_Google_Fights_Disinformation.pdf
URLs: blog.google/around-the-globe/google-europe/fighting-disinformation-across-our-products/
www.securityconference.de


Further References

Lakoff, G.. (2014). Metaphor and War: The Metaphor System Used to Justify War in the Gulf. Cognitive Semiotics

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1515/cogsem.2009.4.2.5
DOI URL
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Steuter, E., & Wills, D.. (2008). At war with metaphor. Nueva York: Rowman and …

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1186/1471-2148-10-4
DOI URL
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Thibodeau, P. H., Hendricks, R. K., & Boroditsky, L.. (2017). How Linguistic Metaphor Scaffolds Reasoning. Trends in Cognitive Sciences

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2017.07.001
DOI URL
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Hülsse, R., & Spencer, A.. (2008). The metaphor of terror: Terrorism studies and the constructivist turn. Security Dialogue

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1177/0967010608098210
DOI URL
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Ferrari, F.. (2007). Metaphor at work in the analysis of political discourse: Investigating a “preventive war” persuasion strategy. Discourse and Society

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1177/0957926507079737
DOI URL
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Thibodeau, P., Mcclelland, J. L., & Boroditsky, L.. (2009). When a bad metaphor may not be a victimless crime : The role of metaphor in social policy. Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1287/mnsc.1070.0713
DOI URL
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Spencer, A.. (2012). The social construction of terrorism: Media, metaphors and policy implications. Journal of International Relations and Development

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1057/jird.2012.4
DOI URL
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At war with metaphor: media, propaganda, and racism in the war on terror. (2013). Choice Reviews Online

Plain numerical DOI: 10.5860/choice.46-3669
DOI URL
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Kövecses, Z.. (2016). Conceptual metaphor theory. In The Routledge Handbook of Metaphor and Language

Plain numerical DOI: 10.4324/9781315672953
DOI URL
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Navaro-Yashin, Y.. (2009). Affective spaces, melancholic objects: Ruination and the production of anthropological knowledge. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9655.2008.01527.x
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Koller, V., Hardie, A., Rayson, P., & Semino, E.. (2008). Using a semantic annotation tool for the analysis of metaphor in discourse. Metaphorik.De
Yanık, L. K.. (2009). The Metamorphosis of Metaphors of Vision: “Bridging” Turkey’s Location, Role and Identity After the End of the Cold War. Geopolitics

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1080/14650040802693515
DOI URL
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The term “conspiracy theory” as a psycholinguistic tool for memetic hegemony

The conspiracy theory meme as a tool of cultural hegemony: A critical discourse analysis

by Rankin, James Edwin, Jr., Ph.D.

Abstract (Summary)

Those rejecting the official accounts of significant suspicious and impactful events are often labeled conspiracy theorists and the alternative explanations they propose are often referred to as conspiracy theories. These labels are often used to dismiss the beliefs of those individuals who question potentially hegemonic control of what people believe. The conspiracy theory concept functions as an impediment to legitimate discursive examination of conspiracy suspicions. The effect of the label appears to constrain even the most respected thinkers. This impediment is particularly problematic in academia, where thorough, objective analysis of information is critical to uncovering truth, and where members of the academy are typically considered among the most important of epistemic authorities. This dissertation tracked the development and use of such terms as pejoratives used to shut down critical thinking, analysis, and challenges to authority. This was accomplished using critical discourse analysis as a research methodology. Evidence suggesting government agents were instrumental in creating the pejorative meme conspiracy theorist was found in contemporary media. Tracing the evolution of the conspiracy theory meme and its use as a pejorative silencer may heighten awareness of its use in this manner and diminish its impact.

The term “conspiracy theory” was invented and put into public discourse by the CIA in 1964 in order to discredit the many skeptics who challenged the Warren Commission’s conclusion that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated by a lone gunman named Lee Harvey Oswald, who himself was assassinated while in police custody before he could be questioned. The CIA used its friends in the media to launch a campaign to make suspicion of the Warren Commission report a target of ridicule and hostility. This campaign was “one of the most successful propaganda initiatives of all time.”

This writes political science professor Lance deHaven-Smith, in his peer-reviewed book which was published by the University of Texas Press. He reports the story of how the CIA succeeded in creating in the public mind uncritical, reflexive, automatic, (System 1) stigmatization of those who challenge official government explanations (cf. ostracism).

Profile photo for
news.fsu.edu/experts/lance-dehaven-smith/
www.amazon.co.uk/Conspiracy-Theory-America-Discovering/dp/0292757697/ref=sr_1_1/259-3254951-4641448?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1542712554&sr=1-1&keywords=lance+dehaven-smith


According to Prof. DeHaven (see lecture above) the term “conspiracy theory” was first used in a scholarly book around 1913 by Charles Beard who used the phrase “the conspiracy theory of the 14th amendment”. DeHaven argues that if a wealthy women died because she fell in the shower and her husband inherits all her money we are automatically suspicious because of the low probability (base rate) of the incidence. If a similar situation happens again and the same husband is involved we are obviously even more suspicious. However, the term “conspiracy theory” prevents rational discourse (and rational thinking). DeHaven suggests the term “state crimes against democracy”. He makes the point that if we do not have a word for a crime it is very difficult to discuss it, especially if argumentators are discredited and ostracized as “conspiracy theorists” and categorized next to flat-earth believers (viz. invalid associations are created to facilitate superficial social categorisation).

Peer reviewed references on conspiracy theories – State crimes against democracy (multiple conspiracies are “organized crime”)

Related References

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Miller, J. M., Saunders, K. L., & Farhart, C. E.. (2016). Conspiracy Endorsement as Motivated Reasoning: The Moderating Roles of Political Knowledge and Trust. American Journal of Political Science

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Swami, V., Coles, R., Stieger, S., Pietschnig, J., Furnham, A., Rehim, S., & Voracek, M.. (2011). Conspiracist ideation in Britain and Austria: Evidence of a monological belief system and associations between individual psychological differences and real-world and fictitious conspiracy theories. British Journal of Psychology

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1111/j.2044-8295.2010.02004.x
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Darwin, H., Neave, N., & Holmes, J.. (2011). Belief in conspiracy theories. The role of paranormal belief, paranoid ideation and schizotypy. Personality and Individual Differences

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Swami, V.. (2012). Social psychological origins of conspiracy theories: The case of the Jewish conspiracy theory in Malaysia. Frontiers in Psychology

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Wood, M. J., & Douglas, K. M.. (2013). What about building 7?” A social psychological study of online discussion of 9/11 conspiracy theories. Frontiers in Psychology

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Newheiser, A. K., Farias, M., & Tausch, N.. (2011). The functional nature of conspiracy beliefs: Examining the underpinnings of belief in the Da Vinci Code conspiracy. Personality and Individual Differences

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