The Providence Plot

Password (detail) by Cesar Santos

The Providence Plot

Do not hunt out conspiracies, my friends –
There’s no-one out to get us,
For we do not greatly matter.
There’s no-one’s jailed for heresies, my friends –
Though they sometimes read our letters,
They will find there only chatter.
Yes, corruption still exists,
We can be sure,
And lord, its presence in our midst
Is not a thing we should ignore –
But none of it is organised
By an elite beneath a gorgan
(Or a lizard), plotting dooms
In panelled dark and smoky rooms.

My friends, I know !  It feels so wrong
To only shrug and move along –
What answer is coincidence ?
It makes no sense
To pattern-seeking minds.
If there is any agency (of either kind)
Within the noise of daily life,
We’d barely know amidst the strife
Of multiple false-positives.
I urge, there’s nothing causative
In most of what we’d swear is true –
I know, because I’d swear it too.

But do not hunt conspiracies, my friends –
When cock-ups happen all the time,
And secrets are so rarely kept.
The thing about most tyrannies, my friends,
Is just how public is their crime –
To rule by fear, your subjects must be prepped.
Their heavy-handed propaganda
Never gets mistook for candour,
And their unofficial action is their very public policy.
See, evolution gifted us
An urge to talk and share, and thus
The covert are the daily news, and secrets know no modesty.
For ev’ry extra spy who lurks behind the scenes
Is just another pair of lips to spill the beans.

My friends – beware conspiracies.
Beware their never-sated thirst –
For surely it is better yet to hope the best than fear the worst.
And if sometimes we’re taken in,
At least we don’t let fear win !
And be prepared to be surprised
By happenstance in pattered guise –
The tin-foil cannot block it,
Nor computers plot its dance –
So keep your Occam in your pocket
For the vagaries of chance.

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