Slender Man promotes new diet book

By Matt Perryman

In my spare time I do amateur research into conspiracy theory rabbit holes. The UFO stuff and cryptids and that kind of thing. The other day I got to reading about the “Slender Man”.


The Slender Man is an entirely “Internet native” cryptid. Turns out he was invented on a forum all the way back in 2009.


For reasons unknown, this new-born myth found its legs and spread through a series of online fictions.


I find this fascinating and creepy. Why is it that ideas can grab hold of the imagination, almost “possessing” certain individuals, spreading like a slime mold?


According to The Science, mythic beings shouldn’t be able to manifest themselves into existence. They’re but creations of the human brain, and so under our control.


I’m not so sure.


Slender Man hasn’t stopped at internet fictions. About a decade ago, two 12 year old girls nearly stabbed a classmate to death. They told the cops that they were working for Slender Man. Mental illness, almost certainly. But that doesn’t rule out an immaterial source.


Symbols, images, signs, and narratives take on their own independent life. Our culture is materialist, so we have to invent convenient excuses for why these things are “illusions” or “constructs”. Yet every single one of us lives in a world built out of words and ideas.


Something to think about.


Stories about conspiracies and cryptids are not far removed from stories you tell yourself about your own life… and the stories that marketers and advertisers brute-force into your mind throughout the day.


Slender Man may not be exactly like an ad campaign, but the dynamics are identical.


They’re all symbols and stories working through your imagination. You can either choose those that serve you, or some spook or marketing executive will pick them for you.


Writers online are told to “give value”, which really means give actionable step-by-step “how to” advice.


But the value of an idea is not only in what you can do with it.


A new idea opens up new and different possibilities for thinking and experiencing. Not every new possibility is to your benefit.


Ideas disclose new worlds. The “how” matters… but the “why” and “what for”, opening new ways of understanding, are powerful questions that you ignore at your own risk.



Matt Perryman 


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