What is Thrive?
Thrive is a movie, purporting to be a documentary, created by Clear Compass Media and Foster Gamble which maintains that so-called “free” energy, deriving evidently from extraterrestrial technology, exists and is being suppressed by conspiratorial forces. Thrive argues that by adopting this “free energy” there can and will be a momentous transformation in human society. The movie was released on the Internet via a website that seems to indicate there will be a “Thrive Movement,” presumably of activists who want to agitate for the release of this “free energy” technology and the end of the conspiracies that are suppressing it. The movie came out on November 11, 2011 and was originally available for a $5 payment for a limited time, but in the course of a few days the movie has already appeared on YouTube and various torrent sites.
Why don’t you like the Thrive movie?
Thrive is a deceptive film. It makes numerous assertions that are clearly intended to be taken by its audience as matters of fact, but these assertions do not stand up to scrutiny. I believe the makers of the film should have investigated their subjects more fully and more carefully before allowing particular assertions to be made in the finished film. Thrive is intended to foster belief in conspiracy theories, which I feel is harmful to society.
By focusing much of its argument on the supposed promise of so-called “free energy,” Thrive diverts attention away from urgent issues that can and should be solved with regard to energy production. I feel strongly that the human race must change over to renewable and more eco-friendly sources of energy production on a wide scale, and soon. The best prospect of these sources lie in the development of solar, wind, tidal power etc. But if movies like Thrive tell us—incorrectly—that there is “free” energy out there, this obscures the importance of clean energy that really can improve the lives of people around the world.
What do you mean by “conspiracy theories”? What, to you, is a “conspiracy theory”?
Conspiracy theories are explanations for events or conditions that stress unsupported and unsupportable allegations of collusion or design by groups of persons or organizations to achieve a particular result. It’s somewhat difficult to come up with a one-size-fits-all definition of conspiracy theory, but the key concepts, aside from collusion, include unsupported and unsupportable allegations–meaning that conspiracy theories are, at least by my definition, contrary to both objective fact and rules of logic. Conspiracy theories usually exist as “alternative explanations” for well-known events, particularly events of historical importance or significance.
A conspiracy theory has nothing whatsoever to do with the legal definition of “conspiracy,” which means an agreement between at least two people to do something illegal. This is a legal concept; my use of the term “conspiracy theory” is completely separate from that.
Here are examples of conspiracy theories:
- The theory that John F. Kennedy was assassinated by someone other than Lee Harvey Oswald, or by Oswald acting in collusion with others. (Factually unsupported; to at least some extent, logically unsupportable).
- The theory that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by someone other than Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda terrorists, or by Al Qaeda acting in collusion with governments or other interests. (Factually unsupported; logically unsupportable). This is a conspiracy theory promoted by Thrive.
- The theory that “free energy” exists and is being suppressed by business and governmental interests. (Factually unsupported; logically unsupportable). This is a conspiracy theory promoted by Thrive.
- The theory that the world is secretly ruled by a unified cabal of conspirators who control governments and all significant financial power, and who are deliberately driving the world to the brink of collapse. (Factually unsupported; logically unsupportable).
- A secret plan to bug Democratic political party headquarters in 1972, and then cover up crimes committed in the course of that plan–Watergate. (Factually supported; logically consistent)
- A secret plan to sell arms to Iran and divert proceeds to the Contras–Iran-Contra. (Factually supported; logically inconsistent)
- The Reichstag fire in Germany in 1933. (Not a conspiracy; a crime committed by one person which was used to political benefit by other unrelated persons; in any event, factually supported, logically consistent).
Are you paid to write this blog?
No. I am not receiving a single penny of remuneration from any person, entity, agency, group, cartel, or any combination thereof. I am not a “paid disinformation agent.” I do not work for the government. I do not work for oil companies or the energy lobby. I am not putting material on this blog at the request or command of anyone, anywhere, in any organization, for any reason.
So you think the world can just continue on as it is and everything will be fine?
No, I do not and never have made that assertion. The current paradigms of energy and resource consumption across much of the world is unsustainable in the long term; I don’t think very many people would dispute that. Global warming is also a serious threat to our planet. However, when the question is usually asked, “So, you think the world can just continue on as it is?” lurking behind it is the assumption that it’s a binary choice–either we continue on as we are, without change, or else we adopt some radical solution (such as those proposed in Thrive, to the extent they are intelligible). This assumption is erroneous.
The world cannot continue on as it and everything will be fine, but then again, no one expects it to. To ask the question “do you think the world can continue on as it is?” presumes that change will not occur for any reason and that current practices will always continue on exactly as they are today, leading to some sort of catastrophic collapse. Catastrophic economic or societal collapse–a common belief among conspiracy theorists–is rare in history and unlikely at the present time because factors continually change to prevent it. The economy changes daily. As fossil fuels become scarcer, gradually other forms of energy production will become cost-effective and feasible to an extent they are not today; that will happen slowly over a period of time.
People who argue in favor of conspiracy theories usually try to paint their opponents as people heedless of problems, heading blindly for the brink of collapse. Conspiracy theorists often like to cite opinions of people (usually other conspiracy theorists) who foretell dire consequences if X or Y factor continues. This is sometimes known as “collapse porn,” and the term, though pejorative, is somewhat apposite, because, shocking as it seems, many conspiracy theorists secretly (or not-so-secretly) desire to see catastrophic economic or societal collapse, because it would prove their favorite predictions right. “Collapse porn” is a constant theme lurking behind Thrive and one of the aspects I hope this blog will explore.
What’s your solution to the problems of the world?
My solution is to approach the problems of the world from a truthful and rational perspective. The problems of the world, whatever anyone believes them to be, will not be addressed by belief in conspiracy theories or by believing in utopian panaceas like “free energy,” as promised by the Thrive movie. I don’t have a ready-made solution for the problems of the world, but the makers of Thrive don’t either—and in fact their recommendations, to promote “free energy” and stand up against nonexistent conspirators whom they claim control the world, will make things worse, not better.
So you believe everything the government and corporate-run media tell you, then?
No, but this question proceeds from an incorrect premise: that what we know about the world and about particular events comes primarily from the government, “big” media or other (allegedly) officially-dominated sources of information. This assumption is incorrect. Take, for example, the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Virtually all conspiracy theorists assume that what they call the “official story” initially came from the U.S. government. In truth, what we know about 9/11 came from a vast variety of sources—starting first and foremost with the actual personal eyewitnesses who saw and experienced the events of 9/11 (instead of witnessing them on television). Government sources did not tell us what happened on 9/11. They did not need to because the evidence of what happened was abundant without resort to government sources. Therefore, believing that Osama bin Laden’s hijackers carried out the 9/11 attacks is not a question of “trusting the government.”
It is also a mistake to assume that media acts with unified motives and/or in a collective fashion. What about, for instance, the media outlets from China, Russia and the Arab world, who reported on the events of 9/11 from the moment it happened, and in much the same way as U.S. media did? Surely the conspiracy to “control” media can’t be so tight that Al Jazeera and Xinhua, over which the owners of most U.S. media outlets have no economic or political control, can be trusted to disseminate the same “false” stories as the U.S. media that conspiracy theorists distrust. If such tight control over media outlets did exist, how did Thrive get produced in the first place? How come Alex Jones has a weekly radio audience twice the size of Rush Limbaugh’s, daily, and how come he’s still broadcasting after more than 10 years?
When you think about it logically, claims of government or media information control simply don’t make sense. Yes, stories are spun by politicians, corporations and business interests all the time, but there’s a limit to the amount of “spin” that you can engage in before the attempt starts breaking down. (Do you, for instance, believe that O.J. Simpson is still out there “looking for the real killers”? That’s an example of spin that just doesn’t work). Therefore, asking someone who does not believe in conspiracy theories, “So, you just believe everything the government and media says?” is asking the wrong question.
What do you hope to accomplish with this blog?
I hope to place into the public eye–and into the place where most potential Thrive fans get most of their information, the Internet–a set of facts and analyses that counterbalance the deceptive and false statements made in the Thrive movie. This approach has been used successfully in dealing with previous Internet-based conspiracy theorist films; Google “Zeitgeist Movie,” for instance, and you will bring up numerous examples of debunkings and other factual analyses refuting the spurious claims of the movie, side-by-side with sites the makers of the film want you to see. Over the long term, informing the public about the content of conspiracy films reaps benefits. Very few people today take Loose Change, a movie positing various 9/11 conspiracy theories, seriously, but in 2005/06 Loose Change was extremely popular. Sites such as ScrewLooseChange have a lot to do with informing people about factual and logical errors and distortions in that film. It is too early to tell if Thrive will become as popular as these other notorious Internet conspiracy films, but if it does, we hope to offer a counter perspective and invite people to view the facts as they are–not as the makers of the Thrive film would like you to believe they are.
Do you work for the Rockefellers or the Rothschilds?