– What impresses you the most about this drama?
– This is the paradox or discrepancy between the concern for survival in any trial and the act of suicide. The basis of survival lies in the ontological idea that life has absolute value and must be saved at all costs. We can see similarities between this affair and that of the Order of the Sun Temple, with survival beliefs that eventually turned into apocalyptic visions and led this family to tragedy.
– According to the police, the family was “strongly drawn to those of conspiracy and survival.” Do survival and conspiracy always go hand in hand?
– Not necessarily. First it should be clarified that survivalism is a current, given that catastrophe is inevitable and that it is necessary to learn how to survive. The various forms of survival are distinguished by the nature of the impending catastrophe, which may be political, economic, climatic, or even divine in origin. Also, not all conspiracy worldviews believe that global collapse is inevitable.
However, some of these approaches believe that thwarting a conspiracy—like dismantling the “deep state” in the QAnon approach, for example—or the conspiracy itself will generate moments of profound crisis. What links conspiracy discourse and survival is a negative worldview and a sense that “elites” and governments will not save us, hence the withdrawal. Here we recall that distrust in institutions and authorities is not enough to qualify a person as a conspirator.
– The family’s interest in these theories was present “since the beginning of the pandemic”. Does that surprise you?
– The pandemic came as a surprise to much of the world’s population. Some interpret this crash as the result of a conspiracy. But it was also a surprise for the public authorities. The stuttering and controversies of public administration are interpreted by some as so many signs of various conspiracies (conspired by the deep state, the pharmaceutical industry or others).
>> Read also: “We don’t fall into a conspiracy, we become conspirators by choice”
In the case of the Montreux tragedy, family members who worked in a medical setting may have been particularly affected by the realities of the health crisis, with heightened awareness of its problems and consequences. In addition, the pandemic has an undeniable impact on forms of life and practices, especially religious and spiritual ones. It influenced the ways of organization, the attitude towards ritual, the body and health, it influenced the ways of sociality and relations with the state…
For example, a whole host of radical conspiracy theorists today profess the benefits of homeschooling. Such is the case of Remy Daillet, a zealous follower of conspiracy theories and suspected of having participated in the kidnapping of a minor in France (the Mia affair, discovered in Sainte-Croix (Verchydnia) a year ago. Prosecuted in this case, the Frenchman is also suspected of conspiracies for a coup by the French courts, editor’s note). He has also published a book of more than 300 pages, Schooling at Home: A Guide, against the backdrop of a social critique of formal education and school programs (accused of undermining human divinity, authoritarianism, etc.). Finally, the pandemic and the various supply problems it caused, but also the current war in Ukraine, have undoubtedly fueled certain survival projects. Our team has indeed recently noticed a shift between the subject of Covid-19 and current events in Ukraine in the conspiracy realm close to QAnon’s theses, specifically on the Telegram channel popular with conspiracy theorists.
>> Read also: QAnon: how Switzerland was infected by a conspiracy
– Which way?
– The war in Ukraine is viewed from the angle of yet another media manipulation, a pretext for establishing a new world order or blurring the “responsibility of governments for the harm caused by health measures”.
– Do you find the sentence “Jesus is the reason for the season” found on the front door of the victims convincing?
– This inscription on a wooden badge on the front door of the apartment is one of the items around the family, containing a religious or spiritual reference that leads to certain hypotheses about the beliefs and value system of this family. “Jesus is the reason for the season” shows a Christian reference, rather an evangelical one. It is the title of a 1996 song by American evangelical Christian gospel and hip-hop artist Kirk Franklin. It can also be an evangelical interpretation of a Bible verse.
However, all the elements that have appeared in the press seem to show that the family follows a logic that is based on different symbolic universes, rather than being anchored in a specific trend: systematic baths at the same time of the night (this could be washing, purification ritual), distinctive clothing (green capes), the use of incense, etc. It is even possible that the family has created a system of beliefs and rituals quite original and unique to it. We also note the possibility of a situation of “control” within the family itself: one member may have exerted psychological pressure or harmful influence on the rest of the family, forcing them to follow a practice or ritual and drawing them into diseased behavior.