I've been thinking a lot about Alex's hilarious comment that "everything is a conspiracy, even where to buy the fucking buns!" and my agreement with it and how that sounds to I expect most folks. So I wanted to try to make a small case for this truth, if possible. Hopefully there are those reading who might be interested. What's the difference between conspiracy and collaboration? Here are 2 simple examples with which I want to try to unpack that question. I chose these 2 expressly b/c very few folks will have any emotional investment in them. 1. The Iran-Contra scandal was a huge media story with public trials all over television in the U.S. in the 80s when I was in high school. That was a long time ago. Clinton was deeply involved when he was governor of Arkansas. Notice wiki never uses the term conspiracy, though this is most certainly the greatest example of an "outed conspiracy" to precede 9/11. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran–Contra_affair "The Iran–Contra affair (Persian: ماجرای ایران-کنترا, Spanish: caso Irán-Contra), also referred to as Irangate, Contragate or the Iran–Contra scandal, was a political scandal in the United States that occurred during the second term of the Reagan Administration. Senior administration officials secretly facilitated the sale of arms to Iran, which was the subject of an arms embargo. They hoped, thereby, to fund the Contras in Nicaragua while at the same time negotiating the release of several U.S. hostages. Under the Boland Amendment, further funding of the Contras by the government had been prohibited by Congress." The drugs/weapons were exchanged through small regional airports, most well-known being the one in Mena, Arkansas. I won't go into the details, it's a huge story that demonstrates the involvement and complicity of police, media, government and locals on every level. There were those who benefited, like the crews that had to be hired to service the facilities, from cleaning, to maintenance, to guards, to training, etc. Then there are the professional-level folks--the reporters, lawyers, local politicians, etc. Then there were those who did not benefit, like those who lost their young boys, murdered for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and then covered up. Or those who died from drug overdose and 'accidents' as drugs took over these small towns. When they made this 'scandal' into a flashy Hollywood box office hit staring Tom Cruise, another layer of folks benefited 3 decades later. Now that's a conspiracy that keeps on giving. How many of those who cleaned the floors at the airport and saw something very strange was clearly happening ever believed themselves to have been involved in a conspiracy? 2. And now for a little light conspiracy story. The ladies of our local Stitching club (that is older ladies who sew, quilt, crochet, etc.) have met every Tuesday at the Senior Center for 7 years. Last month the main organizer announced they would have to move to the church. All the ladies were curious as to why. They were told that the Board did not like them using the space b/c they did not support the local politicians enough and did not donate enough and it cost money to maintain the room and the Senior Center was not benefiting enough from the ladies' presence. (Probably the masonic lodge in town is too small and they need more meeting space, but that's just speculation on my part.) They'd wanted the ladies out for a long time and finally managed to stress out the head of the Stitching Club to the point she felt she had no other choice but to find another location. So she did. Do the ladies understand that this collaborated effort to expel them from the Senior Center was, by definition, a conspiracy? What makes folks so afraid of this word? Could it be that far more folks understand they are regularly involved in them yet want to be able to continue to benefit without remorse? That a few can so easily herd the many should raise huge alarm bells, yet instead what most often happens is those who yell "Conspiracy!" are shuffled into the fringes, which is also an act of conspiracy! So, back to my question, what is the difference between conspiracy and collaboration? Before you say simply that conspiracy involves malicious intent, consider the employees at the Mena hangar, and the Board members at the Senior Center. I look forward to any comments and reflections.