Scribbles, &c.

I never understood the QAnon stuff. For me, big conspiracies tend to assume a level of competence that's usually not in evidence, and when actual conspiracies do come to light, things tend to change pretty quickly - hearings are held, arrests made, and so on. The bigger the secret and the bigger the crowd involved, the less likely everyone's going to keep their mouths shut. I mean, let's set aside the actual substance of the Q theory, which is too much to go into here, and focus solely on its first principle.

Compartmentalization works. No one has a full picture, and those who do have it are few and far between, making it unlikely that they could leak and remain hidden for very long. People get caught relaying secrets all the time, and some of these ought to know best how to do it. Moreover, they're passed things along to one or maybe two people, not broadcast them to the world on the Internet. They're caught all the same. The idea that these disclosures proceed from some highly-placed government source - and continue to do so over time without identification or arrest and prosecution, well, it just doesn't fly, sorry.

For a long time it smelled an awful lot like Gnosticism to me. Certainly it has a lot in common: deliverance via secret knowledge, unavailable to all but the initiates. Or perhaps I'm making too much of one and selling short the other. In either case, QAnon occupied a peculiar spot in people's lives. What will take its place now?

I'm thinking especially for the people who, having gone all-in with it, are now finding themselves disillusioned. Some of them have sundered ties with families and friends, finding comfort with their fellow-travelers online and occasionally in-person. They sought to explain the world and everything in it, and now what? Prophecies failing to deliver, goalposts moved, just be a little more patient. When you have trusted in something completely, and it fails just as completely, it feels very much like the earth has dropped away from your feet: disorienting and terrifying. Things that made sense before are now turned inside-out. Everything has to be re-interrogated, and perhaps without much help from others. If you're lucky, you have support around you while you figure things out. If not, maybe you go grabbing for the next available thing that looks solid.

What I hope and pray for is that they find an easy return and an open door. I could never take it very seriously - I know too many people who work in government. But I recognize that many people did (and still do). And having walked down a long (and weird) road, the best thing we might be able to do is make sure that the return path is as clear as possible. I also think of the families that have been divided over this, by the very real losses they feel over someone who has taken this path, and pray for their healing and restoration.

May the ones who are leaving this - or have already left - and now find themselves struggling encounter patience and charity, instead of the laughter and derision they might fear.  We could do a lot worse than offer a way off the island to which some of our neighbors and loved ones have collectively paddled out.  

Strive to preserve your heart in peace and let no event of this world disturb it. Reflect that all must come to an end. Keep spiritually tranquil in a loving attentiveness to God and when it is necessary to speak, let it be with the same calm and peace.

— St. John of the Cross