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The Conspiracy of Fear

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posted on Oct, 15 2009 @ 03:55 PM
…or are Conspiracists Adrenalin Junkies?

I love ATS as much for its entertainment value as I do for the valid conspiracy topics that pop up from time to time mixed in with the bizarre unexplainable ones with no merit.

One thing I’ve noted is there is it seems many who get off on scaring themselves through surrendering themselves to paranoia and fear. It’s like a runners high I suppose and instead of the drug being endorphins it is pure adrenalin.

We know that many athletes are addicted to the pain and the chemicals it produces in their bodies. They drive themselves to the point of excruciating pain, even damaging their bodies just for the chemical rush their bodies give them as a reward.

What's behind a runner's high?

Why do people feel good after they exercise? Thirty years ago, scientists thought they'd come up with the answer: endorphins, hormones that the body produces during exercise that have opiate, or morphinelike, properties. This explanation for what's known as "runner's high"--the euphoric feeling some people get from exercise--soon became the stuff of sports legend. But just how these natural chemicals affect us--and what other body systems might be at play-is an ongoing debate. Here, we sort through the latest theories...

... Regardless of exactly which neurotransmitters are involved in runner's high, perhaps the more important question is whether the need for a buzz can cause dependency. Traditionally the measure of addiction to any substance has been whether withdrawal from it makes you physically sick, but some researchers now think that the true test is how it affects you mentally and emotionally.

"You might not actually be physically ill if you don't run," says George Koob, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Neuropharmacology at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif. "But if you feel miserable when you're not running even though you're damaging your body and wrecking your work and personal life [by doing so], you've crossed the line into addiction."

After reading through some recent posts where often people would come along who post irrational thought based on fear and paranoia, I started to wonder if this is something akin to a "runners high".

When I got to searching I found there is lot's of information on this topic. Mainly in regards to people who do things like sky diving for the adrenalin rush. I started wondering if often what is occurring here on ATS at times is not related? Does it matter if it comes from jumping out of a plane or from reading a thread about how a super volcano may be getting ready to blow in your backyard?

The Fear Factor

The university of Kentucky and Perdue University collaborated on a study to examine the brains of "high sensation seekers" and "low sensation seekers". Having filled out surveys and questionnaires, the subjects were then shown images and MRI scans were taken of their brains. Banal images such as pictures of farm animals were shown, as were more graphic images. The subjects who were considered high sensation seekers registered changes in the area of the brain called the insula while watching the more graphic visuals- this is the area of the brain also connected to addiction. Those who were low sensation seekers registered instead in the frontal cortex - the part of the brain that manages emotion.

Incidentally, the insula is also linked to anti-social behavior. I declare I'm fairly social! But I do crave that adrenaline. The fear factor for me is a fantastic rush.

This peaked my interest even more. Adrenalin it appears is indeed an addictive substance and is also linked to anti-social behavior. In a way much of what we discuss here and our beliefs could and are being viewed as a form of anti-social behavior. Even though it is not the same exactly is the attraction we see to the topics here in part a physiological response some are addicted too?

I'm not to easily rattled however now and then I open a topic here to find something that sets my adrenalin flowing. These are usually topics I really can't do anything about and worrying about some things is almost a form of self-flagellation but I keep coming back for more.

Are You Addicted to Fear?

If you don't make it your business to overcome fear, you better believe it'll try to overcome you...

...To short-circuit fear and turn off your flight-or-flight response, you'll need to train your brain to send chemicals to counteract them. Otherwise, fear and its hormones will make you crazed.

On the other side of the coin however is fear our friend? Should we want to turn off our fear? Do we risk being blind-sided if we don't let some paranoia into our lives to allow us to be prepared when things go very wrong?

Or, are we simply denying ourselves the ability to exist in this dangerous world with at least a modicum of happiness and freedom from the depression and anxiety fear generates? Do we truly do ourselves a disservice when we allow ourselves to overreact and often abandon critical thinking based on conjecture and theory based on little real evidence?

When I go to a thread about things like earthquakes and natural disasters I always see there are those who are there who scare themselves for no good reason. Those who through pure paranoia take a perfectly normal event like an earthquake in an area prone to them and exaggerate it into "Oh no the sky is falling".

The dark side of this reminds of a lesson when I was a child. Our Teacher had us all sit in a circle. He then whispered something into a person’s ear and had each person in turn do the same to the person next to him. Of course by the time it got to the other end what was being whispered had little relationship to what he actually said.

I think we see the same phenomenon here and all over the Internet quite often. There is a large quake in a place where it is historically common. Someone suggests it is a pattern where none exists. The adrenalin junkies join in and ignore the fact and data and instead only see the wrong minded suggestion that we are about to have the "Big One". Someone else who is an adrenalin junkie incorporates this incorrect assumption into their loosely related thread and before long we have an entire group all convinced it is a known fact that the "Big One" is due any second now. Sell your stuff; find a shelter in the mountains or the Bogey Man is going to crawl out from under the bed.

This is clearly not limited to just the natural disaster topics either. Sometimes it is like critical thinking has ceased to exist; people in full fear mode over things likely untrue or not even based in reality. Is this all for that adrenalin rush?

What is the dark side of all of this? How often do people go into a state of panic over some bizarre, irrational subject propagated by theories spun out of thin air?

I clearly remember a thread a couple of years ago I wish I could find. A person was posting who had packed up his family, quit his job and headed out because he was convinced the East Coast of the US was about to be hit by a Tsunami. I thought about that a few days ago and wondered if he was being honest and if he in fact destroyed his and his family’s lives over some prediction made by a phony based on nonsense?

They say for every action there is a reaction and I wonder how many lives are disrupted or ruined over some of what we see here on the board?

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