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The danger of mythologizing the Utøya murderer

In englishPosted by Øystein Tue, August 02, 2011 15:31:51
While reading the self-written parts of Anders Behring Breiviks manifesto, I discovered that he had bought 12 custom-made paintings by Coderock, a norwegian graffitti artist and a friend of mine. This was extra surprising, and made Breivik feel even closer to home. I was mainly happy that he hadn't gotten hold of my viking comic, Saga of Olav Sleggja, so I sent a mail to Coderock to say that he shouldn't feel bad, Wagner and Nietszche had some pretty stupid fans too.

However - and this is a scoop, since no-one has actually asked Coderock before ... Coderock has never made 12 such paintings.

I shouldn't really be surprised by this. I shouldn't really be. But when I read the manifesto, in my naiveté, in my blind faith in humans, it basically never occurred to me that what I was reading could be a bunch of lies. Goddammit! Well, it is. Lying about twelve paintings - paintings that I can garantee you, you will never see ... is amazingly crazy, because it's so easy to disprove. And it is a relief. Because for a little while, I was afraid that there would be a glimmer of sanity, of "intelligence" in all this manifesto wordspewery. Even my former blog posts are colored by this.

I, like many others, had a fear for an open trial. All ideas have power, of course, so one should still consider which mind-viruses one allows to spread. But this piece of fantasy should, hopefully be so easy to pick apart that even the dumbest "fans" realize it.

Or am I too full of faith in humans again? At least now you have a new piece of ammunition, if you ever meet anyone, anyone, who says that the manifesto is "intelligent" or "has some points": It is written and compiled by someone who couldn't discern between twelve real paintings and twelve paintings that only existed in his mind.

You may of course meet people who think this is a conspiracy. This sad story shows the danger of being in the conspiracy mindset: Nothing can disprove what they already feel, because that is a conspiracy. And still, the conspiracy theorist thinks that he/she has an open mind. Which allows the conspiracy theorist to be so closed-minded to all new info that after a while, no new opinions can be made.

And in this mindstate, where the conspiracy theorist decides that something is the ultimate evil, it is a logical next step to think: If this is the ultimate evil, ANY action to remove it is justifiable.

It makes sense. If you know true evil, you can torture, kill, go to war, just to stop it.

What does this mean? It means that the thought of evil is the source of evil. This is the danger of tv shows like "24", where the threat is so big that torture etc is acceptable. Or any tv show that presents human beings as purely evil. Even Breiviks subhuman mind needed to "justify" his acts so that his human heart wouldn't stop him. Remember this. The next time you encounter something that you are told is "pure evil". Remember this, the next time I write that something is "pure evil". Nothing is. We will have faith in that.


Fill in only if you are not real





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Posted by Øystein Sat, August 13, 2011 04:21:34

Traumaturgist:

It's very nice of you to want to understand the manifesto as if a rational person wrote it. But as I've done the same thing myself, I must tell you the same as I in the end had to tell myself: You're really, really, really giving him too much credit. Kate Pendry summed it up nicely: "You think you're staring into the abyss, but really, it's a puddle."

He brags about job successes, artworks, political positions, girls et cetera. All of it to create a perfect image of himself. He says that media will try to smear his name afterwards. Which makes sense in a way, until you realize this is the internet age. Information wants to be free. The world is not as controlled by a mafia government as he thinks.

He wants us to go into conspiracy mode, so we won't believe any corrections we get from the media after reading the manifesto. Conspiracy mode is handy like that. It says: Accept this idea, and you won't have to accept any other ideas ever again. But don't do it. Don't accept his suggestion that all the information that gets out about him is a conspiracy. Sooner or later, you can trust the people who say "no, he never had an important position in our company" or "no, he wasn't a "legend" in the hip hop community in Oslo, not by a long shot" or "no, he never bought 12 paintings from me at all"

... if you keep on thinking this is "misinformation" that is "deliberate", you are accepting his rules. It is fantasy. He's photoshopping himself in cool home-made uniforms. I'm sure people like that look sort-of cool from the other side of the planet, but we know the people who know the people who know etcetera. He's not cool. He's a LARPer with no friends. He wants you to read his thoughts first, and in his thoughts there is a bomb to keep you from thinking anything else afterwards. The beauty of a conspiracy mindset ...

Posted by traumaturgist Sun, August 07, 2011 16:50:15

Hmmm...interesting. I wonder if this disinformation is deliberate for reasons we might not be able to guess? Breivik also mentioned Canadians in his writings, and as far as I know no one's really been able to figure out why. Perhaps it's a way to lash out at people he doesn't happen to like for some reason?

Posted by Ola Thu, August 04, 2011 00:35:51

Thank you for an inspiring essay. You really should translate this to norwegian and send it to one of the norwegian newspapers. This is important insight that deserves an audience.

Posted by Kate Pendry Tue, August 02, 2011 22:36:23

Thank you for this article Øystein, really thoughtful and inspiring, and gave me much to think about. Appreciate all your writings on the matter in hand. Don't stop any time soon. We need this.