THE ZETETIC ASTRONOMY
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Some time ago while at secondary school, all of the well-behaved children from my class had the opportunity to go on an exchange trip to Germany while the “disruptive influences” as badly behaved kids were frequently referred to in school reports had to stay in the UK. I was one of the latter, having to take part in what the school named a “compensation course” instead of a trip to Germany. This compensation course included visits to fire stations where we had the opportunity to shoot water at one another, police stations where the teachers probably thought we would finally end up, and once we went to a mental hospital. The reasoning behind this particular trip may have been admirable – teaching young people compassion for their fellow man, but rather than sympathising with the plight of the patients in these hospitals, we found them wacky and made fun of them. Teenagers can be extremely cruel and I was no different.
In May last year, we played our first concert on Skwer Hoovera in Warsaw, not too far away from the President’s Palace where a familiar scene to that which I had seen all those years ago as a teenager revisited me. A woman sat mumbling to herself, a man rubbed wooden beads together and glazed-eyed hypnotised groups chanted slogans. It took me right back to my visit to the mental hospital I’d visited all those years ago. This time though, compassion and understanding was the order of the day, not rejection and ridicule as I decided to reach out to those people using the power of music.
Like a crack actor, I often like conducting some research into a subject matter before writing the song’s lyrics, so shortly after having seen these muttering, slurring demi-humans, I decided to read up on the “Flat Earth Society”, a society that in many ways is similar to religions in that it has no basis in reality and in many people’s eyes is a form of denialism, a rejection of all logic. The bible for true believers in the flat Earth is a 16-page pamphlet issued in 1849 called the Zetetic Astronomy. For true believers this pamphlet offers an explanation into how our world really is, for non-believers it is 16 wasted pieces of paper filled with pure mumbo-jumbo. I could see many parallels between the Zetetic Astronomy and the White Book of the Smolensk Tragedy. If you want to believe, you invariably will and if you don’t want to believe you won’t.
After extensive research into the subject of conspiracy theories, denialism and the Zetetic Astronomy, I finally wrote the song The Zetetic Astronomers (feat. The Lone Gunman) a song filled with paranoia, suspicion and conspiracy theories where people, like those outside the President’s Palace, will “Believe what they will believe in”. Last week 36% of Polish people opined that Smolensk was an assassination, basing their views on the supposed presence of explosives on board the plane – a supposition without any foundation whatsoever. They chose to simply believe what they would believe in – what they have been taught to believe in.
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