1. Janet D

    Janet D New Member

    Bunk, debunking bunk, and what an interesting subject it is. If I'd known how interesting debunking is I might have abandoned bunk sooner. Well, probably not. That was a process for me, and it took some time. I try to describe it to current CT's as "waking up and waking up again" because so many CT's self-describe as having a profound and sudden "awakening" where they feel they're seeing the world as it really is, sometimes for the first time in their lives. This new reality contains a belief in one of more conspiracy theories, and this “awakening” is actively supported and encouraged by other CT’s on social networking sites and message boards. If there’s one thing I can say I admire about the CT community it’s this; they are very skilled in the art of networking.

    I joined MySpace in May, 2006. The first few months were great, and the 2006 MySpace format was really wonderful. I reacquainted with old friends, found music posted there I couldn’t find anywhere else, I had my own blog, and for those of you who never knew that site “back in the day”, I’m sorry, and it’s too late. Sure, MySpace still exists, but the format has been tinkered with and changed so much that it’s barely recognizable to those of us who knew it when. Ah well, things change, and for me and many others it did have a down side. The down side was that MySpace became a social networking site where conspiracy theorists joined up in very large numbers. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Not that there’s anything wrong with that unless you find yourself in a vulnerable life situation or two, have a tendency to want to understand what the people you find interesting and have respect for believe about life in general, or see your friends list explode to over 600 in less than two months, with at least 550 of those new “friends” being conspiracy theorists. Then there might be something wrong with that. There was something about all those factors combined that took me on an interesting journey.

    I think having my MySpace friends list exploding from under 100 to over 600 in less than two months must have had an effect on me. I don’t remember any ego-gratification coming from that (not consciously), but that factor had to be there. I certainly started to notice when other CT’s got too big-headed, and perhaps I wasn’t as big-headed as some, but I’ve accepted the reality that my sudden popularity on MySpace must have impacted my belief system. There was an urgency, we were going to save the world, and come on…if my friend number on MySpace had more or less stayed the same, under 100, would I really have gotten sucked into the CT world? I honestly don’t think it would have happened.

    I've never had a religious awakening, but I’ve read a great deal about the experience, and the awakening to conspiracy theory looks to be very similar. A sudden change of heart and mind, an awakening…it can be very heady stuff, especially when there’s a network of like-minded people and you spend a great deal of time supporting each others theories and awakening experiences. And then you’re a member of a movement, and you belong to the very small group of people who know something the entire rest of the world does not. That alone should be a warning. Radical shifts in long-held belief systems don't often happen suddenly, and feeling as if one has “suddenly awakened to the truth” is clearly a highly charged emotional response. And BTW, those dots you just connected were drawn by somebody else. You just think you’re a “free-thinker”, and you just think you know something most of the other people in the world don’t, and you believe that everyone who disagrees with your views is either ignorant, or working for “them”.

    So…now that some of us have had the “waking up” experience and have now “woken up again”, how are you going to explain what we think away? We believed exactly as you do, and now we don’t. Oh yeah…shill, disinfo agent…blah blah blah…right. Really? That is so lame. And BTW, you’d be surprised at just how alike you CT’s sound. You’ll never know though, not unless you suspend everything you believe in and consider the possibility you might, just might, be wrong. I have no idea why that’s such a difficult thing to do, but I had the same problem. Maybe that's something more people should think about. Why don’t you read more debunk sites if you’re so sure of your beliefs? If you know the truth, then nothing you could ever read will convince you you’re wrong, right? So what are you afraid of? I know the answer to my question, but if you still believe in the chemtrail CT, you don’t. Does that challenge you at all or make you want to defend your position? Good. Prove me wrong and explore some decent debunking sites (I recommend contrail science), spend at least 1/10th of 1% of the time you've spent reinforcing your belief in chemtrails, and let’s talk.

    I don't claim to predict the future, but I predict deafening silence from many of my Facebook friends.

    In Part II I’ll discuss some other contributing factors that caused me to believe in “chemtrails”.

    Janet D
    • Winner Winner x 2
  2. Jay Reynolds

    Jay Reynolds Senior Member

    Wow, great insights, Janet. I can probably name a hundred who have dropped out that I have argued with, but they disappeared without a trace, and never bothered to help anyone else understand.
  3. Janet D

    Janet D New Member

    @ Jay ~Thank you, Jay. It's very good to hear there are that many people you've helped come around, and I suspect there are even more you're not aware of. For instance, you should include me as someone who was strongly influenced by your posts. It just took some time for it all to sink in, but you really did help change my mind. Contrail Science was the final step in the process, but you and others (many on this board, in fact) really helped. It is too bad that more people who've believed in the chemtrail hoax don't step forward and say they were wrong, but oh well. With some people I have to wonder if they ever took it as seriously as I did. I took it very seriously. I'm not sure yet how far I want to go into WHY I took it so seriously, and writing Part II is difficult. Some of the contributing factors are personal, and I might leave them out. Heh...especially considering that I don't think ANY of my current chemtrail CT's on Facebook even read Part I of my post. Thanks Jay, and thank to everyone else who's taken this subject on and written about it online.
  4. Jay Reynolds

    Jay Reynolds Senior Member

  5. Jay Reynolds

    Jay Reynolds Senior Member

    I've been thinking about the "awakening" experience JanetD describes, and its relationship to how we tend to find patterns in otherwise random things. There seems to be some relationship between discovering these patterns which makes the discovery a powerful experience, an "Ah-Ha!" moment. Some writers are attributing this moment to a release of endorphins (or serotonin?) or something else in the brain which stimulates either a flight or fight response(fear), or a pleasure response.

    Perhaps the process can become addictive or at least habitual, resulting in te person seeking out other patterns which evoke the same experience, and leads towards confirmation bias as the person avoids contradictory information which would interrupt future experiences. I ran across this discussion of how the emotional experience of music relates to people in a church setting, and the author has an interesting discussion related to this theme. I think some of what he says relates to this subject. Here it is:
  6. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    One treads on dangerous grounds if you bring up anything along the lines of psychochemical processes with the average bunk consumer. It's a topic that many of them will reject out of hand ("Oh, so it's all in my head then!?"). But I would not be at all surprised to find that in many cases brain chemistry plays some role. In some cases this can be drug use (prescription or otherwise), but the idea of pattern matching giving someone a shot of endorphines is very interesting.

    There may be a connection here to gambling addiction - often gamblers have a sense of seeing patterns in the random data, or even identifying causes of there wins and losses. And research into gambling addiction shows a distinct connection with endorphins.

    From a debunking perspective, if they are addicted to the endorphin rush, then we've got provide them with a replacement, rather than just cutting them off cold turkey. That would seem to indicate we need to present the debunking information in an easily consumable and accessible format - and have the debunking science clearly structured, so that the wondrous patterns that exist within the natural world become apparent, and can replace the cheap thrills of conspiracy and pseudoscience.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. Jay Reynolds

    Jay Reynolds Senior Member

    I agree that this information won't directly help most bunk believers. It does offer some insight for us into how and why it becomes popular and addictive.

    Jant's first two sentences offer a replacement. I've seen it happen more than once, anyways.
  8. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Just moved this into OOTRH.

    Janet, if you are still around, did you ever write part 2?