– What strikes you most about this drama?
– It is a paradox or discrepancy between the fear of survival in the face of any trial and the act of suicide. The basis of survivalism lies in the ontological idea that life has absolute value and that it must be saved by all means. We can observe the similarities between this affair and that of the Order of the Sun Temple, with survivalist beliefs that eventually turned into apocalyptic visions and led this family to tragedy.
– According to the police, the family was “very interested in conspiracy and survivalist theses”. Does survivalism and conspiracy always go hand in hand?
– Not necessary. First of all, it must be specified that survivalism is a current, given that the catastrophe is imminent and that it is necessary to learn to survive. The various forms of survivism are characterized by the nature of the future catastrophe, which may be of political, economic, climatic or even divine origin. Moreover, not all conspiratorial worldviews believe that the collapse of the world is imminent.
However, some of these approaches believe that thwarting the conspiracy – such as removing the “deep state” in the QAnon approach – or the conspiracy itself will cause moments of deep crisis. What unites conspiracy discourse and survivalism is a negative worldview and the feeling that “elites” and governments will not save us, and therefore withdrawal. Here we recall that distrust of institutions and authorities is not enough to qualify as a conspirator.
– Family interest in these theories has been present “since the beginning of the pandemic”. Does that surprise you?
– The pandemic was a surprise to a large part of the world’s population. Some have interpreted the disaster as a result of the conspiracy. However, it was also a surprise for the public authorities. The bias and contradictions of public administration are some of which are interpreted as many features of various conspiracies (conspired by the profound state, the pharmaceutical industry, or others).
>> Also read: “We do not fall into a conspiracy, we become conspirators of our own free will”
In the case of the Montreux tragedy, family members who worked in the medical environment may have been particularly affected by the reality of the health crisis, with an increased awareness of its problems and consequences. In addition, the pandemic had undeniable effects on life forms and practices, especially religious and spiritual. It affected the ways of organization, the relationship to rituality, body and health, it affected the ways of society and relations with the state …
For example, many radical conspiracy theorists today profess the benefits of home education. This is the case of Rémy Daillet, an ardent supporter of conspiracy theories and suspected of involvement in the abduction of a minor in France (Mia affair, found in Sainte-Croix (VD)) a year ago. He also published the more than 300-page book Homeschooling: A Guide, based on social critiques of formal education and school curricula (accused of undermining the human deity, authoritarianism, etc.). Indeed, the war in Ukraine has undoubtedly sparked some survivalist projects, and our team has recently seen a slippage between COVID-19 and current events in Ukraine in a conspiratorial sphere close to QAnon, especially on the Telegram channel, popular with conspiracy theories.
>> Also read: QAnon: how Switzerland was infected by the conspiracy
– Which way?
– The war in Ukraine is perceived from the point of view of further media manipulation, the pretext for establishing a new world order or the weakening of “government liability for damage caused by health measures”.
– Does the phrase “Jesus is the reason for the season” on the victims’ door seem convincing to you?
– This inscription on the wooden badge on the front door of the apartment is one of the elements around the family, which contains a religious or spiritual reference, which leads to certain hypotheses about the faith and value systems of this family. “Jesus is the reason for the season,” suggests a Christian, rather evangelical message. It’s the name 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 suggest that the family adhered to a logic drawn from different symbolic universes and not anchored in a specific trend: systematic bathing at the same time of night (it may be a washing, a cleansing ritual), distinctive clothing (green capes), use of incense, etc. It is even possible that the family created a completely original and unique system of faith and ceremonies. We also note the possibility of a situation of “control” within the family itself: in particular, one of the members may have exerted psychological pressure or a detrimental effect on the rest of the family and forced them to follow practices or rituals and draw them. into morbid behavior.