Thursday, 2 February 2012

The Psychology of Conspiracy

I’ve spent some of my time recently immersed in the 'whacky' world of conspiracy theorists, because I have more free time than I should, and I’ve noticed a few common threads running through all conspiracies be it the belief that man never landed on the moon, Kennedy was shot by aliens or that organised religion was set up as a method to control the masses… Sorry that last one is actually true.

It doesn't count as a conspiracy when the leader is so obviously evil.

These common themes are fascinating to study because they reveal far more about the psychology of the people who believe in this crap than they do about actual conspiracies. Some come with me on a whacky adventure into the heart of the mind of a conspiracy theorist. First off while some of the conspiracy theories out there are fascinating and plausible, I can easily see why you’d think JFK was shot by someone other than Oswald… I mean you’re wrong but I’ll get to that some other day, for the most part the people who believe these things are what’s known as morons. Now let’s move into the deeper psychology of these fuckwits shall we.

"Is Obama a Socialist?" No Glen... no he's not.

As I briefly touched on here the average conspiracy whack-job has a fundamental misunderstanding of human nature. They operate on the basic belief that the average human being would happily fire their morals out of a big cannon and into the heart of the sun in exchange for a nice suit, a cushy job and a bit of power. Now I’m not foolish enough to pretend that there is no-one in the world for whom this is true, after all we have police, but for the most part it is demonstrably not the case. All over the world people are in prison for fighting regimes they disagree with.

Pictured: Libyan Rebels... I think... I wasn't really paying attention if I'm honest.

If you want to believe that the Burmese Junta never offered Aung San Suu Kyi freedom in exchange for her assistance in quashing the pro-democracy movement then you are an idiot. This all boils down the basic fact that I’m a Doctor Who fan and as such I believe that by and large the human race is inherently good… but not necessarily trustworthy, lying is one of the most important skills we have as a species. Yes there are bad-guys out there but the sheer numbers required for most conspiracies means that someone would’ve realised it was wrong and gone public. It’s almost as if spending your life in your mother’s basement cultivating back-ne is not a reasonable way to formulate a view of the human race.

I've been waiting for months to use this picture

The second major point that the average conspiracy theorist believes is that the Human Race is not special. They don’t say it like this but it manifests in their attempts to rob mankind of its great achievements. Let’s just run through a list of epic things the human race has built/achieved during our brief run at the top of the food chain. The Pyramids, The Easter Island Heads, Stonehenge (to my mind certainly the worlds best henge), Nuclear Power, The Moon Landing and of course The Internet. Now if you were to share that list with the nut-jobs they’d respond thusly; aliens, aliens, aliens, reverse engineered alien technology, fake and reverse engineered alien technology.

Because rock is a huge part of futuristic space-age technology.

The reason behind this is because the average conspiracy theorist suffers from both a superiority and an inferiority complex. The inferiority complex leads to the belief that you are not a good, special or unique, everyone has this to some extent mainly because we all know what we get up to when no-one else is around. However the superiority complex then asserts, that the rest of the human race must be equally feeble “Hey, you may enjoy furry, transgender midget porn but there’s a ton of it on the internet so you’re not alone”.

You don't even want to know the horror's I've just seen

Now if the rest of the human race is as feeble as you are then it means that the very idea of anything great being accomplished by these ape-shaped deviants is ridiculous. This leads to a search for other explanations. So where the average person looks at Stonehenge and says “That, my friend, is some quality hengemanship.” The conspiracy theorist says “That is impossible for me and my fellow apetards to have built… Aliens!.” Then the superiority complex gives them a slap on the back for being smarter than everyone else and they shout upstairs for their mother to fetch them some diabetes laden snack

It's impossible to find pictures of unhealthy food that don't look awesome.

The final key component of the average conspira-tard is that they underestimate small groups. They see something like 9-11 or the JFK assassination as impossible without the support of vast network of conspirators. This is just not true. Watch any Hollywood movie and you’ll see a story of an individual or a small group overcoming overwhelming odds to drop Alan Rickman off of a skyscraper, this motif repeats throughout the entire history of human narrative. This isn’t to say that under most circumstances you’ll succeed against the odds just that it’s possible. That’s the thing about probability sometimes the unlikely thing happens. 9-11 wasn’t a conspiracy it’s just proof that the American security forces can only stop so many threats a year. 9-11 wasn’t actually that difficult to orchestrate we just like to think it was. Look I’m not saying that I could successfully orchestrate a mass terrorist attack… but only because I don’t need that kind of heat on me.

Pictured: The contents of my shed

Look if it ever hits the fan and the british government crosses the line from slightly fascistic to actually, really fascistic then I reckon I could without overstraining myself organise a few attacks, assassinations and other hi-jinks with relative ease. I’d be able to do it because under those circumstances I know exactly who I’d call in to assist me. I know there is a group of people I can rely on in a situation like that. Conspiracy theorists, due to there beliefs feeding a level of paranoia well beyond human-basic cannot except that a small focussed group can rely on each other utterly. It’s a basic fact encoded into the human genome that ‘tribes’ of humans have an incredible capacity to work together. However if you choose to live the life of a cave dwelling troll beast you’d be unaware of that fact.

"Let me tell you about the Illuminati..."

Conspiracy theorists like to see themselves as an cut off from society, somehow isolated from the rest of us by the simple fact that they know the chilling truth, because that is infinitely preferable to the truth. Which is that they’re just lonely… and stupid.

eddie <nothing to see here>

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