Holistic Survival Show Speaks with Filmmaker Phil Leirness about Society’s Fascination with Conspiracy Theories

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Holistic Survival welcomes the director of “The Truth is Out There” to discuss the how and why of conspiracy theories.

Holistic Survival

Phil Lierness, director and co-executive producer of “The Truth is Out There,” joined The Holistic Survival Show for its 61st episode to discuss the filmmaker’s latest work—a meditation on how society has become fascinated with the nature of conspiracy theories.

Lierness shares the one thing that really resonates with him—on the one hand, there is no such thing as a conspiracy, that it’s just business as usual—while on the other hand, everything in the world is a conspiracy.

“Around the summer of 2009, the public health care debate angered me,” said Lierness. “There was no meaningful discussion. The conversation just devolved into meaningless conspiracy talk. We never talked about what we should expect from government health care, what do we mean by health care, what role does nutrition play in this? What are we going to do about pharmaceutical companies?”

Lierness was especially frustrated when right wing conspiracy theorists called into question President Obama’s citizenship. Lierness felt the issue was brought up as a smoke screen, a distraction from the real issues surrounding health care. That frustration inspired him to make a film.

“It’s really easy to make a movie about things that make you angry and just vent your anger,” Lierness continued. “But it’s more valuable to find out how that anger serves us in some way. I decided to make a movie about this question: what does it mean to seek the truth in a world where conspiracies and conspiracy theories are everywhere?”

He met Dean Haglund, who played Langly, one of the computer geeks known as The Lone Gunmen from the hit FOX TV series The X Files, and invited him to become a part of the film. “Boy, this is a different movie than what we set out to make,” said Lierness.

“Originally we thought, ‘You know what would be funny? We’ll countdown Dean Haglund’s top ten favorite conspiracy theories. Then we’ll examine them and hopefully find out how conspiracy theories operate.’ We started doing the research and quickly scrapped the idea. People constantly come up to Dean Haglund with their own conspiracy theories.”

As filming evolved, Lierness realized that conspiracy theories are a vast issue, likely a natural expression of our very humanity. “About nine months into the film, it ended up being an epic not only of conspiracy, but equal parts comedy and consciousness,” said Lierness. “No two people will have the same experience at all watching it.”

On the nature of conspiracy, Lierness feels an individual’s belief about them runs from the cynical to the paranoid. “One of the things that resonated was this concept that there’s really no such thing as conspiracy: there’s only business as usual,” shared Lierness. “Once you understand the bottom line, it really isn’t conspiracy, it’s just business. It may be ugly, it may be dark, it may be inhuman—but it’s also the way the business operates. This is also matched with a counterpoint belief that everything is a conspiracy. They’re two sides of the same coin.”

About Holistic Survival

Holistic Survival is about being prepared for modern survival with simple, realistic steps everyone can take to make the world a better place. It’s about turning problems into possibilities. The tagline is “Protecting the people, places, and profits you care about” and we think that sums it up rather well. The Holistic Survival Show takes on Big Brother, conspiracies, financial collapse, food stocks and just about every other topic under the sun that involves keeping society alive in the event it unravels. For more information, visit Holistic Survival online.

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Nicole Thome
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