"It would be some consolation for the feebleness of our selves and our works if all things should perish as slowly as they come into being; but as it is, increases are of sluggish growth, but the way to ruin is rapid." Lucius Anneaus Seneca, Letters to Lucilius, n. 91

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The abrupt collapse of the twin towers in New York: a case of "controlled demolition"?


The concept of "Seneca Collapse" is supposed to be applied mainly to socio-economic systems. Here, however, I would like to discuss it in the framework of the 9/11 attacks in New York and of the related legend of the "controlled demolition". Image above from xkcd (licensed under creative commons). 


In 2004, I attended the 4th ASPO conference on peak oil, in Berlin, and there I met Michael Ruppert (yes, that Ruppert!). Among other things, Ruppert told me that some CIA agents he personally knew were attending the conference. Later on, the same day, someone whom I had never met before introduced himself and chatted with me for a while. He told me of something that I had never heard before. It was about the 9/11 attacks in New York. It has been proven, he told me, that the towers didn't collapse because they were hit by the planes. No, it was a  controlled demolition: explosives were detonated inside the towers in order to make them collapse. It was an inside job! After that conference, I never heard from him again.

More than one decade after that conference, I still wonder about all this. Was it true, as Ruppert had told me, that there were CIA agents attending? And the person who had told me the story of the controlled demolition, who was he? Was he one of those agents engaged in "planting" an absurd story with a group of people known for their somewhat conspiratorial theories? I can't say, of course, but let me tell you that I am paranoid enough that I can't discount the idea that Ruppert was perfectly right.

One thing that I can say from these recollections of mine is that the legend of the "controlled demolition" of the Twin Towers was being diffused in 2004. This is an interesting point in itself; because it is not clear where the legend originated from. Some data seem to point out that it was proposed for the first time just the day of the attack, but it didn't go viral until 2005-2006. Today, it remains one of the weirdest and - in a certain sense - most fascinating legends among those that pullulate in the Web, where it nicely competes with equivalent ones, such as the "chemtrails" idea (and note how Randall Munroe masterfully mixed the two things together in the image, above).

The controlled demolition legend shows how difficult it is for us to understand collapse. In engineering, smart people have been making the same mistakes over and over, assuming that a structure was safe when it was not; unable to understand how easily things break. Even today, when we should know enough about the theory of fracture, things keep crashing and breaking all the time; taking us by surprise. It was, probably, this surprise that led some people who were watching the collapse of the towers on Sept 11, 2001 to think that it wasn't possible that the fall was "natural". Someone, they thought, must have been masterminding the whole event, pushing the buttons that detonated the explosives with the incredible precision necessary to cause the buildings to fall at exactly the speed that things reach when they fall freely.

But engineering is a good playground for learning about things that collapse all of a sudden, and the collapse of the twin towers was nothing exceptional. You may see it as one more case of a "Seneca Collapse" - a term that we can apply to engineering just as to the collapse of civilizations. We can understand it as part of the general rule that things are built slowly, but tend to collapse rapidly.

Despite being so patently absurd, the theory of the "controlled demolition" maintains an incredible traction as a meme residing in the Web. It is because it is not just about engineering; it is part of a general trend and it involves much more than a poor understanding of the engineering of fracture. There is one more collapse behind that of the twin towers: the collapse of trust in governments. I have discussed in a previous post of mine how this collapse of trust may have been generated by the brazen lies we were told about the "weapons of mass destruction" in Iraq in 2003, but it seems to be a necessary result of the trajectory of a collapsing civilization. Lies generate more lies until truth disappears, buried underneath. The "lie curve" can't be exactly measured and so I can't say if it has the typical shape of the "Seneca Curve". But we can say that, from the early years of the 21st century, it was a landslide: conspiracies started being seen everywhere and everything that had an even vaguely defined as an "official" truth generated a counter-interpretation based on the idea that the government was lying to us: chemtrails, peak oil, fake lunar landings, and all the rest.

The problem is that the fact that a theory is wrong doesn't make another theory right: after all, there is only one truth, but lies are many. And we cannot even say that all "conspiracy theories" are wrong by definition (conspiracies do exist!). So, where is the truth? It is somewhere, buried under a gigantic mass of lies as thick as the debris of the collapse of the Twin Towers. And we may never be able to dig it out.







8 comments:

  1. Seneca Cliff of Trust? I will ponder that for some time Ugo. Thank you for your work.
    Michael

    ReplyDelete
  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think I will need some time to think about this... Meanwhile it is a disturbing idea. The more so for its plausability.

    ReplyDelete
  4. The Controlled Demo Theory goes back to the Oklahoma City bombing and I do believe it came up very quickly after 9/11. When your third tower untouched by a plane also pancakes, and when the Pentagon hole is smaller than a jet engine ( and, there is no sign of that plane in front of the hole ), you can guess The Truth Is Out There and it ain't what the government is telling you. Planted charges might not be true, but it makers more sense than the official version.

    ReplyDelete
  5. How does one make thermite?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermite

    What do you get when you pulverize steel beams, studs, etc. with a great big chunk of aluminum in an environment rich in oxygen, water, and heat? Is 2500C hot enough to melt steel, which melts at 1371C?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Watch the news reports from Oklahoma City from the day of the Murrah Building bombing... in all the reports the newscasters say that three more devices were found by the FBI. After that day there was never another word about the other devices they found. If McVey acted almost alone who planted the rest of the devices? Why is Lee Harvey Oswald the ONLY person who defected to the Soviet Union and back in the History of the Soviet Union, AND the only person to successfully kill and American President in that century, AND the only suspect to ever be killed by an outsider while in custody of Dallas Police? Because it is all scripted, that's why.

    ReplyDelete
  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Ugo, do you realise that by hosting a "Cassandra Legacy" blog, some people would expect you to be more forgiving and less obtuse about other people beliefs? That person you spoke with at that conference was either a fraud, mistaking or... Cassandra.

    ReplyDelete

Who