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The Psychology of Conspiracy Theory--and Some Philosophy on the Matter

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posted on Jan, 12 2018 @ 04:39 PM
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I figured this topic belonged here rather that in the Conspiracies section because it leans heavily toward the psychological and philosophical sides of the conspiracies discussion. I haven't seen a thread on this, so thought I'd pitch it for some discussion.

Having been on the earth for the better half of a century, I've had the pleasure of traveling the world many times. I've worked in some very cool and some very crappy places, met a lot of good and bad people, and learned truths that are unknown to those on the outside. Most of these truths are way more benign than a typical conspiracy theorist would prefer to believe.

I've been reading the discussions on this site for many years as a non-member; only recently did I jump aboard. I see the same conspiracy-related questions and discussions repeated in cycles over time, like waves on the beach. There are a lot of people hungry to learn the Next Big Secret. In reality though, it's the journey--not the destination. As Ken Kesey wrote, "The need for mystery is greater than the need for answer."

Part of that hunger is a true physiological process. When we solve a riddle, puzzle, or mystery, it causes an endorphin release in the human body. It makes us feel good. And just like adrenaline junkies, endorphin junkies are everywhere. Tilting at windmills and hunting unicorns feels like actual accomplishment once a person gets into the routine.

Here's a link to some analysis of the psychology at work. They even used that Kesey quote:

www.psychologies.co.uk...

The search for truth is perhaps the most important thing we humans can do in life. One of the critical skills in this endeavor is the ability to separate fact from fiction. That requires analytical work (brain power). Sadly, the vast majority of conspiracymongers would rather be parrots instead of analysts. This sort of ignorance can be entertaining, and there is a huge market for it. It explains the existence of things like the National Enquirer.

Kids: pay attention in school--especially science class. If you don't, you may end up thinking chemtrails are a government conspiracy, or wearing a foil hat, or trying to make contact with extraterrestrial beings through meditation.

Getting worked up about broad conspiracies is a whole lot easier than expending the energy necessary to improve one's own life and relationships with others. It a cop-out and it's escapism. It's neither constructive nor healthy.

It's also one of the reasons politicians jump aboard the global-warming bandwagon: even if they completely fail in their attempts to prove its veracity, hey--at least they're *trying*. 'They're taking CARE of us! Yay!" It's freebie brownie points for them, with no guarantee to their constituency that anything positive will come from their efforts. It's all hollow promises with no basis in science.

Here's how I deal with all this noise, and it has worked pretty well for me for a long time. If it helps anyone else, then have at it.

I try to place everything in my life into three bins: (1) that which I have absolutely no control over, (2) that which I can influence, and (3) that which I have pretty much 100% control over. I try hard to apply about 80% of my energies to the 3rd category and 20% to the 2nd category.

The 1st category--I work hard to expend no energy. That sounds goofy, but bear with me. Here are some examples.

Category 1: fear of a comet hitting the earth, what another person thinks of me, zombie invasion, media/Hollywood personality shenanigans, whether the Cowboys won the game or not, etc. It's all uselessly-wasted energy.

Category 2: my success in relationships, helping my family and friends succeed in whatever their endeavors are, my success on the job, etc.

Category 3: what I think, how I act, what I say, what I eat and drink, how I treat people, etc. I am fully responsible for this stuff 24x7.

There is so much truth in life to enjoy. Most of it is *free*. Why push all that aside to waste energy chasing rainbows?

Anyone else approach reality from this angle?

Thank you for your thoughts on this.
edit on 12-1-2018 by TheTruthRocks because: because I can't spell!




posted on Jan, 12 2018 @ 04:49 PM
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hunting unicorns?


Or demons.



posted on Jan, 12 2018 @ 04:53 PM
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Can't spell? My conspiresy sense is piqued. You misspelled chasing rainbows as hunting unicorns?



posted on Jan, 12 2018 @ 04:55 PM
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a reply to: TheTruthRocks

Ya pretty much nailed it pal but I do the same with out thinking it 🤔 just do the same every day and keep smiling


edit on 12018fAmerica/ChicagopmFri, 12 Jan 2018 16:55:49 -060039 by nofear39 because: (no reason given)

edit on 12018fAmerica/ChicagopmFri, 12 Jan 2018 16:56:06 -060039 by nofear39 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 12 2018 @ 04:59 PM
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a reply to: TheTruthRocks

There are real conspiracies though. For example, look at the history of intelligence agencies which is full of conspiracies.



posted on Jan, 12 2018 @ 05:01 PM
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There is a Philosophy forum here.


And here goes the Psychology of Conspiracy Denial (In Action):




edit on 12-1-2018 by IgnoranceIsntBlisss because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 12 2018 @ 05:11 PM
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a reply to: TerryMcGuire

Yep. I made two corrections and had "hunting uncorns" twice; I meant to use "chasing rainbows" at the end.

Do I still get an A on my paper?



posted on Jan, 12 2018 @ 05:14 PM
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a reply to: starwarsisreal

Sure there are. It takes some reasoned analysis to ferret them out. Hence the "fact from fiction" comment.



posted on Jan, 12 2018 @ 05:14 PM
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a reply to: TheTruthRocks

Dont sweat it. Typos are typical. I know do it all the time. The first 'submit' is typically the first draft.
edit on 12-1-2018 by IgnoranceIsntBlisss because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 12 2018 @ 05:48 PM
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a reply to: IgnoranceIsntBlisss

You flowchart pretty much covers every conversation I've ever had on the Internet.



posted on Jan, 12 2018 @ 05:49 PM
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a reply to: TheTruthRocks

I think you are missing the point why conspiracy theories are so much fun. You have to take a bunch of data points and half-truths and weave the most fantastical narrative that fits. This is kind of the point of it.


edit on 12-1-2018 by dfnj2015 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 12 2018 @ 06:16 PM
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One of the best quotes around:

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

Upton Sinclair



posted on Jan, 12 2018 @ 09:34 PM
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a reply to: SkeptiSchism

Yeah--that is a good one.



posted on Jan, 12 2018 @ 09:38 PM
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originally posted by: dfnj2015
a reply to: TheTruthRocks

I think you are missing the point why conspiracy theories are so much fun. You have to take a bunch of data points and half-truths and weave the most fantastical narrative that fits. This is kind of the point of it.


That's not how I do it.




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