So today it’s been one week since I completed the first draft of my third book, CONSPIRACIES, CULTS, & SECRET SOCIETIES (not the final title). If all goes well, Vintage will publish it next fall. If it goes anything like the last book did, I’ll get a few opportunities to talk about it on the radio and maybe even on TV–to join the great national conversation, as it were, to hoist up my flag and see who salutes. Hopefully between now and then I’ll be able to think up a few all-purpose tidbits that I can quickly deploy to make a memorable impression, because it turns out that most of these interviews go by really quickly. If you’re not careful, you can still be figuratively clearing your throat when they’re already winding you down. You don’t want to waste your opportunities. Sadly, even the smallest media market is likely to yield more listeners than will ever read the book. Here’s a random thought on the subject for today. I remember somewhere in Don DeLillo’s Libra, a character asks David Ferrie what he believes in (or maybe it was if he believed in hypnotism…). Ferrie replies, “I believe in everything.” Somehow I’m going to have to get across the notion that “belief” itself is the issue, that the division between conspiracy theorists and the rest of us isn’t that they believe in one thing and we believe in another, but that they believe and we don’t. Period. Though faith and intellect come from different parts of the brain, they both have intellectual consequences. For a passionately believing religious person, for example (I’m simplifying radically, of course–I know that there are many intelligent, critical-minded believers), the opposite of belief in God is a belief in Satan. For a non-believer, the opposite of faith is secularism. Secularism and Satanism are too different things, but for some believers, they balance the same equations.