Social Code, Chapter 3 — The Five Levels

The restaurant was loud. Conversations from around the room bounced off the large windows behind us, silverware and plates made their own chatter, and the wait staff barked orders back into to the kitchen.

“Alright,” Provi said with a you-asked-for-it hesitation, implying she wasn’t quite sure she wanted to do this to a friend. “These two search terms will raise a lot of questions for you. When they do, find answers. Real answers, answers with evidence.”

She looked at me, her eyebrows raised.

“Ready?” she said.

I’m ready already!

“Okay, okay,” she said.

She spun toward me on her stool, leaned over, and spoke in a soft voice only slightly louder than the noise around us.

“Google this: ‘WTC7’ and ‘Larry Silverstein pull it’.”

I waited for more.

“That’s it?” I said.

“That’s it.”


“You’ll be pleasantly surprised.”

I couldn’t imagine finding much on the other side of the return key. What could these terms possibly lead to?

“In fact,” she said, “you’ll be overwhelmed. And for the next six months I’m going to laugh my ass off, given how fucking thorough you are with everything.” She turned back to the counter. “It’ll be like watching a cat chase a laser dot.”

“Oh really?”

“Yeah, every time you get your paws around an answer, you’ll see ten more questions pop up — over here, over there, over here. And I know you; you’ll be up at night chasing them down.”

“This is how you know so much about it? You Googled ‘WTC7’?”

“And ‘Larry Silverstein pull it.’ Trust me, I’m giving you an easy point of entry.”

“Can’t you save me the time and just tell me what you know?”

“It won’t mean anything to you unless you do the work yourself. This is why the truthers are having so much trouble: They research things, they find evidence, and they try to tell everyone what happened. They go up against this steel-curtain backdrop of the official story, and people think they’re nuts. If I try to tell you what I know — you or anybody — I’m just doing what the truthers are doing. I’m trying to convince you of something that sounds totally implausible. And in the end, it wouldn’t be enough to convince you of what’s really happening. You have to know it for yourself.”

I was already pretty damned convinced. My friend and his entire family were dead, and I was on the run. It would be more accurate, in my case, to say that anything would sound plausible.

“The truthers have been trying to convince the world for years, since immediately after the attack,” she continued. “With no luck. You’d think it all would have died down by now, that everyone would want to duck away from that dark chapter, truth or not, and just move on. But no. Your friend, for example, years later loses his shit and gets himself killed. And not before he spreads his disease of knowing too much to you. Which sucks for you, because the Addetti is good at stamping out disease.”

Provi and I sat there for a moment without saying anything, as we do when we’re working online together. She allowed me time to get my head around what she was telling me.

“Okay,” she said finally, turning toward me again. “Part Two. And this is the most important thing I can give you. It won’t mean much to you now — not until you’ve done your own homework. But once you have, you and I are going to have some interesting decisions to make.”

I stared into my soupy cappuccino.

“I’m going to tell you the Five Levels of Accepting the Truth. You’re almost at Level 2 now, which is why I agreed to meet you today. And yes, to answer your question, this is how I know so much about it. You and I know a lot about how the world really works because of the kind of work we do, things most people could never imagine. When you Google those two terms and follow where they lead, your knowledge about how the world works will increase by a factor I can’t even begin to calculate. At first, you’ll have a hard time believing what the Addetti is capable of, but I promise you, you’ll never see the world the same way again.”

I looked up. Provi was staring at me compassionately. I could now see that point where her intentional smile drew down to her perpetual one.

I sipped my coffee as she began describing the Five Levels of Understanding the Truth. With each one, the enormity of the Addetti’s plan unfolded. As she spoke, I sensed our solidarity growing. She knew enough already to get us started on this, and over time we would know enough between us to come up with a plan of our own.

Level 1: Curious Disbelief. Terrorists attacked your country. You know this in your heart. In your gut. Thousands of lives were ended by unthinkable acts of terror perpetrated by someone with unthinkable hatred for you. They hate your neighbors and your way of life. They hate your government and your country. And now, you hate them. You scoff when you hear someone say it was an inside job and not the terrorists. You laugh, even. And for more laughs, you go to YouTube to watch a documentary like Loose Change or silly video compilations explaining how outside actors couldn’t have pulled this off, that it had to have been some sinister deep state group within the U.S. And while you don’t trust what these videos tell you, you’re wise enough to make out that some pieces of physical evidence you do see don’t line up with the official story. Questions pop up. You dig more and discover an entire movement made up of millions of people, many of whom surprise you — college professors, celebrities, working professionals — all of whom provide answers with evidence for why the official story is bogus. You’re most unnerved by the families of those who died that day. Their stories, created out of the gut-wrenching pain death brings to the survivors, and their frantic longing to know exactly what happened to their loved ones, begin to tell you a different story.

Level 2: Private Belief. You’re shocked out of your seat when you first realize that you’ve crossed the line from disbelief to belief. You put everything down. You walk away from your computer and go outside to get some fresh air, to see happy kids playing in the street, to check your bike lock. And then you come back in to check your thinking. It hasn’t changed. Your heart’s racing and it tells you the Addetti did it. But you don’t dare speak to anyone about it, not even your closest friend. Because what the hell will they think has happened to you? You settle in at your computer and you click rapidly for answers that will take you back the other way. When you started all this — for laughs, remember? — you weren’t looking for answers. Someone had already given them to you. Now, you’ve found conflicting answers, more convincing ones, ones hidden by what you had been told before. You discover groups like Architects & Engineers for Truth, made up of thousands of professionals from around the world, who prove how the heat from burning jet fuel can’t bring down a steel building and who educate you on controlled demolitions — the smooth, uniform freefall and the artful plumes of dust and debris exploding upward and outward. You click your way along looking for answers to the many new questions you have, and as you find more and more answers, the biggest question of all begins to appear: Why?

Level 3: Eager Evangelism. Why did all of this happen? As you move the pieces around in your mind, the answer emerges slowly, like a sunrise. It peeks at you over the horizon and moves up slowly, illuminating you and warming your face. As it rises higher and higher, it keeps widening over the horizon, a red hypergiant 2,000 times the radius of the sun, and it sears your face as it burns the truth into you. The U.S.’s super-secret energy task force? A blip. Its crusade for the world’s remaining oil? A baby step. The land grab in the Middle East? A dwarf component of an unfathomable tableau. You have one holy-shit moment after the next. Faster and faster, it all starts to make sense. You remember from your research the website of a group with ties to the Addetti. It stated the need for a catastrophic and catalyzing event — a new Pearl Harbor — to justify a war against no country and with no end. You watch the war on terror unfold before you, as if it’s scripted theatre; you see the flood of war in the Middle East condensate drop by drop into the U.S. with mass shootings and other terrorist acts; and you feel the Addetti tighten a noose around civilian society by using these drops of terror to justify the disproportionate buildup of militarized police forces across the country. War has become ubiquitous and the Addetti’s power is complete. Whatever they have up their sleeve next will affect billions of people. And so you’ll risk ostracism, because you must warn everyone you can.

Level 4: Private Acceptance. But wait. Another holy-shit moment: It all makes sense. The why, that is, makes perfect sense. The Addetti’s solution is still mostly a mystery to you, and the what so far has been perfectly demonic. But the why is now clear to you. Your mind moves through it all rapidly: Oil extraction is in terminal decline, agricultural yields are flatlining, carbon footprints are widening, water is becoming scarce. You find a United Nations report on world population to the year 2300, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist (you’re certainly not one) to understand population growth places too big a burden on our remaining natural resources. Now you know how the Addetti sees the world: One place. One people. One problem. And holy shit, that’s how you see the world! But it’s a problem we solve together, and not in the selfish interests of an elite group. Never in a million years would you solve it through world domination, world discord, and world chaos. Not in a billion years. At no time ever. And then, your last holy shit moment. The Addetti is concerned about one thing: time. There’s very little left.

Provi stopped talking. I have no idea how long we sat there staring into our empty cups before she finally spoke again.

“You’ll figure out Level 5 on your own,” she said.

I nodded. Four levels were enough for one sitting. I spoke without turning to her.

“Here’s a question that needs an answer with evidence: What’s their grand plan?”