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Probing the Conspiracist's Nest

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posted on Jan, 27 2014 @ 08:05 PM
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In an asylum, you rarely find a patient who acknowledges their madness. You find placating excuses , insistence that it is not them who are the madmen, but the world as a whole that has lost its grasp on sanity. Today, though, reality is not what it used to be, and perhaps they are right. We are fed an increasing supply of conflicting information, divergent points of view on how violent events transpire, and why the state of affairs exists as it does.

There exists a world view of paranoia that permeates a certain group of loosely associated people. They hold unconventional world views as compared to the mainstream of society. They call themselves a wide variety of labels, but the public at large knows them as conspiracy theorists. The term brings to mind the image of a man in a tin foil hat, screeching about his delusion of choice, but is that true? Did the average conspiracy theorist conform to the stereotype? I would come to find out that they almost certainly did .

The loose association of conspiracy minded folks tend to communicate by computer these days. The internet has become their main method of interaction, in spite of luddite fears. In the world wide web, they have found their salon, their place of discussion, in fact, their forum. I went in with the assumptions and stereotypes I had gathered watching such media as the conspiracist oriented “X-Files” television show, the reptilian based delusions of John Carpenter’s “They Live”. And as I looked at first, all I could see was a mirror of pop culture .

There were other discussions, an occasional diatribe about political corruption, but they spoke of things like the Reptilian shapeshifters they believed run the government, the Chupacabre, Bigfoot, and a wide variety of farfetched yet somehow banal subject material. I had seen it or heard it before on the television. Here, they lived outside of objective reality.
They claimed to seek the truth, but the majority of them were set in their ways. They had it in their minds that there was a conspiracy, that there was no possibility of other explanation otherwise. If a new law was set to pass, it was in their mind a conspiracy. If there were to be a mass shooting, it was in their minds a conspiracy. If the news man on television said anything at all, you could guarantee that they would be doubting what the man said as a manner of habit.

There were people who made money on such a subject. There were men like David Icke, a prominent so called authority on the subject of the “reptilian shapeshifters” that he claims pervade society, wronging all rights, stealing our precious oxygen, and just generally act like poor house guests upon our planet Earth. Icke claims that the truth could be found, inside his books which he sells at a premium.

There were others like former governor Jessie Ventura, host of the show Conspiracy Theory, a man of formerly high governmental office who occupied his ex-gubernatorial life investigating the dubious claims of potential paranoid schizophrenics. Yet there was ad revenue to be made from such an endeavor. The Conspiracist community sought validation, sought out the truth, and to have an ex-governor take them seriously brought in the ratings. But such a concept of listening to an ex-governor, a politician, an actor, and therefore a figure of authority talk about conspiracy theories seemed bizaare.

It was a time consuming web of half-truths, scared interpretations of the shadows on the walls of the cave which we call reality. The liars mingled with the skeptics, and the lunatics. There was very rarely someone with a method to their madness, and an actual point to make about an underpublicized occurrence of bizarre or Orwellian activity. Events like the Waco Siege, the Tuskegee experiment, or the brutality that occurred at My Lai, Abu Ghraib, and etcetera rarely are discussed. Instead, they seem content to wallow in fanciful, far-off notions outside of reality. For some, there is no method to their madness.


edit on 27-1-2014 by Grifter42 because: Clarity




posted on Jan, 27 2014 @ 08:08 PM
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Methodology to Madness
As I studied the discourse community, I interacted with them as one of their own on an internet message board I previously mentioned. I had watched the cream of the crop in regards to humoring their beliefs. I posted a discussion thread with them, asking their reasons for being a part of such a community, one that spoke on the internet about conspiracies and such. I tried to reason with them, and I also attempted to provoke a discussion with them.

A strange thing happens when you attempt to study most conspiracy theorists. They lock up, and get rather paranoid. If you let them speak, they’ll go on, and on, but the moment you reveal to them that you are studying their behavior, they tend to become more combative. I received a bit of reproach, mockery, derision in my quest to study and interpret this phenomena and subculture.

In fact, the whole notion of studying conspiracy theory seemed initially problematic. It was a constantly shifting community. There was no core to the group, no identical sets of values. But eventually, I often resulted to questioning them and observing from afar .

The alternative was to converse with them up close and personal. The setting was not formal enough to be called an interview, nor was the man particularly credible as a source, but by God, this man had a conspiracy theory. I had ran into him, while looking at the river across from his house. A conversation was struck up, and gradually, the veneer of sanity slid away from the man. He raved of a second sun, hidden to us by some sort of persecutory forces, perhaps governmental, elsewise unclear. He spoke of how aliens were actually demons. He said he had pictures, inside his house. I left, fearing for the future of mankind.

Then, there was the interview with the woman down by the bus station at the library. She told a tale of paranoid psychosis, of the spirit world “they” didn’t want people to know about. She spoke of how she was a recovering crystal meth addict, and how it allowed her to see what she claimed was some sort of other dimension or plane of existence. Her casual admittance to such a thing explained a lot. As ridiculous as her claims were though, they were a theory about some sort of group conspiring against her.

The two of them were obviously deranged. But I had a friend who had doubts about the official explanation for the September 11th attacks. Here was a logical person, with a name, and a brain as good as any man’s. Here was a person who could beat me in chess any day of the week. I asked him what he thought the truth was .

He replied that the government had planted bombs in the building and that the planes wouldn’t have been sufficient for the buildings to collapse as they did. I felt safe to question his beliefs, but as I did, he became angry instead of debating the points on their rationality. It built into an argument, with him claiming that it was a physical impossibility for an projectile weighing about a hundred and twenty eight tons, filled with jet fuel, to collapse a skyscraper. I dropped the issue, as it had made him irritable.



posted on Jan, 27 2014 @ 08:09 PM
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Results inconclusive, most probably a weather balloon or downed aircraft:

Researching the subject initially began with curiosity, a vague association with the group via an interest in certain historical events such as the JFK assassination, but as things began to unfold, and I took a better look at the community as a whole, it became like pulling teeth. My frustration and disillusionment with the association of lunatics that called themselves the conspiracy theorist community burned at the back of my brain.

There are three sides to every story. There is side A’s version of how it went down, side B’s version of how it went down, and then there’s the objective truth. As I searched for information, I found very little objective truth. I would initially find agreement with two or three of a person’s points on certain anomalies and occurrences, but very often they would veer into far off territory, in the land of confusion and lunacy.

It was like punching at fog. There was occasional meaning, a rare diamond in the rough, things like Watergate, and so on, but it was close to gibberish. There was no true meaning to be found in discussion with fellow lunatics, nor was there to be found on television and film portraying the subject.

Researching the subject and community was like staring into the abyss. And when you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares back into you. And you can either deal with it rationally and skeptically like an adult, or you can behave like a crazy person. And as a relatively skeptical person, it began to grow tiring.

I had swam in an ocean of paranoia and came out shaken, but mostly unharmed. The subject material was scattershot in a thousand differing directions, my preconceived notions shattered by the reality of how crazy some of these people were. They could believe in a multitude of conflicting theories, as long as they made them feel like they knew some hidden truth the average man didn’t.

edit on 27-1-2014 by Grifter42 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 27 2014 @ 08:10 PM
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Disgust and Discussion:

I had taken a close look at the inner workings of the minds and customs of the conspiracy theorist. I analyzed them, studied them, and took a good look at them from all the angles. I watched mostly literate human beings waste hundreds of words and a great deal of time argue back and forth over whether or not this politician was secretly a Muslim , or a reptilian, or the loch ness monster.

It passed superficially for discussion, but in the grand scheme of things, they were just soap boxing. They wanted to be heard, and to be validated. To challenge the government about points of contention. They wanted the truth. But for the most part, they were grasping at straws. They went about their goals in a manner that was counter productive, and incredibly frustrating. After every mass shooting or tragedy, they would flood the discussion with constant claims that the government was responsible. They were merely using the Government as a boogeyman, like the people before them had used the Devil.

The manner in which they held their beliefs seemed almost religious in nature. They were seeking the truth in the same manner that Christians sought the truth in Christ, or people of the Islamic faith sought truth in Mohammed, and so on. While they claimed to be in pursuit of truth, they were motivated more by faith in their theories of choice. They held no proof, and offered weak placation when errors in their theories were pointed out.

There was an atmosphere of contagious madness among them. By the end of looking into their minds, speaking with them, and learning their ways, I had become like them in a way. I believe that JFK was shot by someone other than Lee Harvey Oswald. I came to think that there might be something to some of their claims, and this effect scared me. It was time to leave the asylum, and get some fresh air.



posted on Jan, 27 2014 @ 08:11 PM
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Appendix A: Initial Study
The Discourse Communities of Fringe Groups:

There are many different ways to see the world. There’s Person A’s view of it, Person B’s view of it, and the truth. I submerged myself in the belly of the beast in regards to unconventional world views when I chose a particular discourse community. I was familiar with conspiracy, a broad mish mash of folks looking to get their story heard. To be told that they’re not alone. To quote the X-Files, “That the Truth was out there.”

I sought out a locus of activity for these sorts of folks, stopping at a site called, “Above Top Secret”. Before I go into the details of the site, let us consider the old adage, “What is in a name?” Contrary to naming scheme, there is no classified information upon the aforementioned site. However, there are a wide variety of frenzied attempts at figuring out what goes on behind the scenes with those in the Government. They claim that the “Powers That Be”, or the “Illuminati” pull the strings. Some of them go as far as to claim the entire site is a honey pot, that it has been infiltrated by folks they call “Dis-Info Agents”. Now, a dis-info agent by their definition is someone who comes on the site and misleads folks intentionally. However, most of the time, this cry of imposter is merely a response to skepticism.

I found myriads of individual lunacy, people indulging their paranoid fantasies. Yet, even within these groups with such discordant ideas, I found a certain brotherhood. They were united in their distrust of authority. Most of them trusted neither side of the political community, a welcome refresher in this day and age of partisan politics.



posted on Jan, 27 2014 @ 08:12 PM
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Appendix B:

Conspiracy Theorist Conversation/Observation
The Alienated Leading The Alienated
Community is an essential part of the human experience. Communication, and a desire to belong. However, along the way, some folks become alienated from mainstream. Perhaps they have a chemical imbalance. Perhaps they’re paranoid from an unconventional upbringing, or negative experiences with authority figures. Whatever the case may be, they’re still part of the greater whole of humanity, and humanity is a social animal. Speculation and an insight into the mind of such personalities led me to believe it was a sort of craving to belong. A need for other folks, no different than fringe communities that tend to claim themselves legitimized by picking a religion, or political alignment.



posted on Jan, 27 2014 @ 08:14 PM
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Alien Nation
I went to the standard hive of conspiracy lore that generally serves as a sort of barometer in regards to what the community is discussing. So, off to Above Top Secret I went, on the world wide web. I presented to them a series of questions in the form of a discussion thread. I posited to them the question of why they were drawn to such lore and sites. What the quintessential essence of the community was at heart. The replies started off hectic, folks accusing your humble narrator of using overly large words such as quintessential. However, after the initial period of cynical mockery, people began to answer in earnest.


They spoke of the give and take of discussion, and how the underlying foundation of the
community tends to prevent one side of the spectrum from overwhelming the other. Some folks used it as a source of news, a notion that initialed frightened me, but upon consideration, began to think that it may be no less accurate than sources from the mainstream media. Others discussed the notion that mundane discussion tended to grow stagnant. That the wild and sometimes radical nature of conspiracy discussion tends to mutate into new and unexpected avenues of conversation.

Alienation
I asked another question, seeking to find out whether the community took itself seriously or not. There is a term of lexis, “dis-info” agent. It’s used to accuse someone of being a shill of some sort, someone who is intentionally disrupting the flow of conversation. I asked them of the existence of such agents. I even asked any present to step forward, and introduce themselves.
Naturally, no such “dis-info” agents took me up on my offer. I received a steady stream of ridicule this time, a cacophonous din of laughter directed towards my good natured if perhaps naïve question. I was told by many a soul that if they were existent, then they’d not answer such a question. Still, I received other answers that gave insight into the mindset of the community. Some folks answered that it was likely that such types of people were probably just regular old indoctrinated people. That the average conspiracy theorist is so convinced and tunnel visioned that they’ll defend to the death their central beliefs, and badger anyone who disagrees with them.


Alienated
It felt like a microcosm of actual society. People talking about this foolish notion and that one, jabbering on and on about frankly nothing. There was a lesson to be learned here. It seemed to be that the paranoid need friends too. That no matter how bizaare the central delusion they held, they just wanted to talk to others. They wanted to compare theories and notes, like little kids might compare baseball players. It was like watching children, in a way. Very paranoid, borderline personality disorder children. I left with a slightly greater understanding than I went in with, but confusion shrouded the community still. I was frustrated with how deluded some of these people were. Some people will never be understood. Some people do not wish to be understood, and will actively resist attempts at insight.



posted on Jan, 27 2014 @ 09:09 PM
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First I just want to point out that your writing skills are superb, you have a way of putting words together in a way that flows nicely. I enjoyed the read simply due to your elegant writing style.

Now... looking through your thread history it seems like you've made your fair share of threads containing wild speculation. You even made a thread titled Reptilian Shapeshifters in the Media where you theorized that popular media figures were in fact reptilians. You have also made threads about JFK and how people are being programmed by television and how kids are being indoctrinated by schools, along with many other threads which are just as much out of the box.

So what exactly makes you so much better than the rest of us here, what gives you the right to act like you're up on a pedestal and everyone else who participates in these conspiracy forums are just delusional morons. You act all high and mighty, like you're so much more rational than everyone else here, but when you get right down to it you believe just as many conspiracy theories as the rest of us. You just see your theories as being more sane because you're the one who believes in them.


I came to think that there might be something to some of their claims, and this effect scared me.

What would make you more delusional is if you believed there was no such thing as a real conspiracy and that we lived in a lollipop filled world of sunshine and rainbows. Your problem is that you see things in black and white and you overgeneralize far too much. You cannot perfectly fit all conspiracy theorists into a neat little box and say that we are all the same. You yourself are indeed a conspiracy theorist whether you admit to it or not, so you are a prime example of why you cannot fit all conspiracy theorists into a generalized box. We are all very different and we are all researching these theories for more than one reason, it goes far beyond just seeking validation or looking for a community in which we fit.
edit on 27/1/2014 by ChaoticOrder because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 27 2014 @ 09:23 PM
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I also enjoyed reading about what you have been watching here at ATS. Not surprisingly... I do not agree with everything, but I did agree with a lot. None of us enter any situation without some of our own judgments and those who claim that they do... lie. It seems some of your preconceived notions stuck with you, just like some of ours always do. IN THAT we are all equal.


But the writing was nice. So... go you.



posted on Jan, 27 2014 @ 09:35 PM
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ChaoticOrder
First I just want to point out that your writing skills are superb, you have a way of putting words together in a way that flows nicely. I enjoyed the read simply due to your elegant writing style.


I really appreciate that. Writing can be hard, good writing even harder. It's one thing to put words down on a piece of paper. It's another thing entirely to have what comes out resemble anything close to art. It really means something to me to hear that. But there is always room for improvement.


ChaoticOrder
Now... looking through your thread history it seems like you've made your fair share of threads containing wild speculation. You even made a thread titled Reptilian Shapeshifters in the Media where you theorized that popular media figures were in fact reptilians. You have also made threads about JFK and how people are being programmed by television and how kids are being indoctrinated by schools, along with many other threads which are just as much out of the box.


I've posted a good number of fringe theories, that is true. I'd say more than my fair share, actually. Stop it, me. Leave some weird theories for the rest of the folks. Still, I feel I must explain myself. That thread about reptilian shapeshifters was written in a state of incomprehensible madness. I don't even remember writing it to be honest. Reading it again, I think I meant it as a joke. I hope. I muse, ramble, think out loud, that sort of thing. But I maintain that people ARE being indoctrinated by schools, that television does program people, and JFK was killed by someone other than Oswald. I stand by some of those theories. They're not too far out there.


ChaoticOrder
So what exactly makes you so much better than the rest of us here, what gives you the right to act like you're up on a pedestal and everyone else who participates in these conspiracy forums are just delusional morons. You act all high and mighty, like you're so much more rational than everyone else here, but when you get right down to it you believe just as many conspiracy theories as the rest of us. You just see your theories as being more sane because you're the one who believes in them.


I'm not any better than you folks. I'm crazy myself. But just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you.
You're right. It's a cognitive bias. My object of paranoia is the government. That is my focal conspiracy point.

I suppose that it wasn't introspective enough. But we're basically all cut from the same cloth here. What I said in the paper applies to me.


ChaoticOrder
What would make you more delusional is if you believed there was no such thing as a real conspiracy and that we lived in a lollipop filled world of sunshine and rainbows. Your problem is that you see things in black and white and you overgeneralize far too much. You cannot perfectly fit all conspiracy theorists into a neat little box and say that we are all the same. You yourself are indeed a conspiracy theorist whether you admit to it or not, so you are a prime example of why you cannot fit all conspiracy theorists into a generalized box. We are all very different and we are all researching these theories for more than one reason, it goes far beyond just seeking validation or looking for a community in which we fit.
edit on 27/1/2014 by ChaoticOrder because: (no reason given)


Delusional? What is delusional? Just an unconventional viewpoint on reality. There are real conspiracies. They just tend to be planned by rich old monsters in smoky back rooms. But you're wrong if you think I only see things in black and white. It's more of a grey scale. And while you say I overgeneralized the community, I addressed that in the paper itself.


Grifter42

Methodology to Madness

In fact, the whole notion of studying conspiracy theory seemed initially problematic. It was a constantly shifting community. There was no core to the group, no identical sets of values. But eventually, I often resulted to questioning them and observing from afar .




posted on Jan, 27 2014 @ 10:23 PM
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that is a long drawn out way to say that conspiracy theorists are nuts maybe the meth lady is the sane one as her dilusions are brought on by chemicals intentionally but nuts banging on a keyboard will not change much but it keeps the masses from kicking up the dirt on the streets .


kaled
i can see scaros on a good night
edit on 27-1-2014 by 999zxcv because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 27 2014 @ 10:24 PM
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Grifter42 So, I wrote an analys of the community Had to do it for a college course, but I've done my best to write a decent study on the subject on conspiracy and the people who believe some. We're not all crazy.

So here it is:
What is a conspiracy theorist? A study in the subject


How long ya been working on this
Did ya have spin it the other way too pass the course ?

It looks like ya may have changed your viewpoint & spinned it the other way so your Professor didnt think your a crazy "conspiracy theorist" & give ya a better grade

This only serves to validate a that the term "conspiracy theorist" is used to discredit people


edit on 27-1-2014 by Misinformation because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 28 2014 @ 08:33 AM
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Conspiracy Theorist Study

Here's another interesting study of "Conspiracy Theorists"



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