Watching the American elections and the rise to power of certain candidates it’s easy to believe that there’s more going on than we see. Maybe a shadowy organization that’s pulling the strings? Evil lizard overlords? Big Pharma? Big Oil? Big Publishing? Landru?
There have been more conspiracy theories than I can name but most of them take Occam’s Razor and toss it out the window. (Insert unshaved conspiracy nut joke here)
I LOVE conspiracy theories, not because I think they’re real but because they are entertaining stories. If you truly think that one organization has guided the history and politics of humanity for the past three hundred years, you have way more faith in humanity than I do. The problem with most of these grand conspiracy theories is the belief that we as a species are capable of keeping secrets.
Take the Moon Landing Hoax; in most variations they faked the moon landing by using Hollywood tricks. We’re talking about an industry that has trouble keeping its movie trailers from leaking. The idea that the proof has so perfectly been destroyed is ludicrous.
Not that I could convince anyone who believes in it. They will misconstrue and misunderstand to the point of believing whatever they want. There are people who believe that the world is flat. Despite all the evidence.
Why are Conspiracy Theories so compelling?
I’m not going into the pathology of mental health and conspiracy theories. That’s a whole other discussion.
I think the answer is simply patterns. We, as humans, are obsessed with patterns. We find them in everything, even when they don’t exist. Seeing shapes in clouds or bathroom tiles seems far off from thinking we live on a planet that’s 5000 years old, flat, and ruled by a secret society of atheistic Lizard-Men but it’s not as far as you think.
Think of the restaurant you dislike the most (no not the one with poor social values) but the one you’ve been to 2-3 times and had bad food or bad service every time. We all have one and we all avoid that restaurant because we assume that they’re always that bad. (I mean terrible not just bad.) We assume that everyone else is wrong when they say the restaurant is ok. So who’s wrong? If the restaurant is still in business there’s a good chance we are.
At this point we have to either accept that our 2-3 experiences are only a miniscule number in a larger series. If the restaurant is open 7 days a week and sees an average of 50 customers a day that’s 18,200 customers per year. So our 3 experiences represent 0.0016% of visits that year.
Or we can assume that it was purposefully done to us. The owners of the restaurant don’t like us.
In the science-ish conclusion we aren’t special, we’re a miniscule example. In the Conspiracy, we’re not only special but persecuted. Naturally, we would prefer to believe we’re important.
What are your favourite Conspiracies?