Conspiratorial Thinking and "Multiple Outs"

How to do magic tricks...

Magicians have this concept called "Multiple Outs." It's actually how you can do simple magic tricks. Suppose you have a person pick a card and say you will guess the suit of their card.

They pick a diamond card and announce it, and you tell them to check underneath their chair to reveal a slip of paper that says, "You will pick a diamond card."

That might sound like a nice trick, but if they had picked a spade, you have another piece of paper under the fruitbowl that says, "You will pick a spade." If they pick a club, you unbutton your shirt to reveal a giant club written on your undershirt, etc.

In essence, for any possible outcomes, you have a response planned that seems natural and predictive. This is one of the ways that magicians do what they do, often with more complicated mechanisms.


Multiple outs are actually real magic.

You've heard the expression "hope for the best and plan for the worst," but the concept of multiple outs is that one should be planning for all possible outcomes, including those that you yourself might not even anticipate now.

Every business plan should have multiple outs. Your major life decisions should be planned with multiple outs. You should even tacitly plan dates with multiple outs, so that unexpected events can be met with a confident, perhaps even better replacements.

Multiple outs in political power

Any longstanding group in political power is by the mere fact of their survival sure to have mastered the sleight of hand of "multiple outs."

This serves not only to continue in political power, but to cement their power further by the appearance of inevitability. A ruler or ruling class puts themselves in a position to benefit from any possible occurrence: be ready even to use disaster to your benefit, as Obama's chief of staff Rahm Emmanuel put it succinctly: "You never let a serious crisis go to waste."


People skeptical of the state sometimes devolve into thinking that every major political event is in one way or another is planned in advance. This is because they don't understand and apply the concept of multiple outs. They see that their rulers are good at benefiting from any chaos or unforeseen events, so assume these events must've been engineered.

Look at the corona virus: it's a great example of an event that has hugely benefited a small elite: it has bankrupted small businesses in favor of Amazon, destroyed churches and mom and pop stores in favor of passively consooming digital infotainment from curated social media sites and more. It is a rationalization of state location and contact monitoring and things far beyond what anyone dreamed of. It was a rationalization for sending out unsolicited ballots to unverified voter rolls which had very obvious beneficiaries. It has produced a cult of doomsday believers crying for the state to lock them in their houses and make them wear fetishistic masks.

Seeing all this and asking who benefits, "Cui bono?" might lead you to think that the whole thing was planned: perhaps the disease itself is fake, or maybe it was real, but spread on purpose, or perhaps it was engineered. You've probably seen stuff like this, and while I won't dismiss this kind of thinking out of hand, it's unnecessary.

In reality, the ruling classes of the West have openly prepared to benefit from a pandemic scenario. COVID19 was deemed "closed enough" to a pandemic, and the momentum of the system took over. It's not even that they wanted it to happen, but they were prepped to benefit from it as a contingency plan if it might occur.

The Conspiracy Rabbit Hole and the Omnipotent Cathedral

There are some people who see how the ruling class is in a position to benefit from every school-shooting, police encounter, foreign entanglement, dissident politician and everything else and thus assume that everything they see must be arranged in advance. There is a logic behind believing this: it does seem way to convenient for all of this to happen at what retroactively seems to the best time, but this leads people to the much more uneconomical idea that the System is so omnipotent that it controls every event and every reaction to every event.

In reality, our rulers just know how to use multiple outs. When you know how to do that, it seems like you are always in control, and by nature, people attribute a kind of magical power to you. All you have to do is stay cool and play it off like you predicted it all.

This is why "the System" always seem to win.

The system knows how to play with multiple outs.

There is a canned response, or at least a reasonably ad-libbed response, for every event and every possible event. They are in a position of antifragility and can gain from nearly any possible event. When they can't, the media can at least throw enough mud on public perception to inspire apathy or confusion.

There are certainly portions of the System which are "conspiratorial." Major news organizations usually coordinate on what editorial line to publish, but in general, their entrenched power comes from a detached ability to be flexible in new events.

The omnipotence and permanence of the Soystem is illusory. It comes from that flexibility.

Multiple outs in your life

Even aside from politics, it's important to behave yourself in a way that allow yourself to have multiple outs. Business, social life, major decisions and in everything else. Never tether yourself to one option; that's when you lose. Have a smart response to co-opt anything that can happen, no matter how good or bad.