1. AluminumTheory

    AluminumTheory Senior Member

    A while back I posted a thread about my personal journey in and out of the rabbit hole (link).

    In this thread, I am going to discuss the personal psychological factors that I believe led me down the rabbit hole.

    Rebelliousness and Rejection of Authority

    As anyone with experience with conspiracy theorists knows, this is probably by far the most common thread among them. It's also common among teenagers and young adults, but I think that me rebellious tendencies go a little further than the average persons and seem to persist to this day. I remember being in first grade (about age 6 or 7) and on a math test, I intentionally answered every question wrong just to see what would happen if I did. I remember that I would deliberately disobey rules and authority just for the sake of disobeying. Even if being disobedient served me no purpose.
    As an adult, I think that some of this still persists as I have noticed (others have as well) that I generally perform better under little to no supervision and I tend to perform horribly and have many conflicts with the people who like to micromanage or insist on having a hand in every detail. I am also very outspoken and at times to a fault. I don't hesitate to say something when I know something is wrong. I will admit that this has gotten me into trouble at times, but I'm sure that it has spared me from even more trouble in the long run.
    Rebelliousness is a common theme among many extremist moments, even if it's the rejection of the current authority only to replace it with another. For awhile, I dabbled into some Libertarian ideas, but I've become more skeptical about these ideas. Alexander Hamilton said "if men were angels, we wouldn't need government", and I agree. I personally have a hard time believing that in the absence of authority, everyone is just going to get together and "do the right thing". It actually sounds pretty naive.
    Unconventional Thinking (Thinking Outside the Box).

    This is another trait that others have commented on besides myself. I have a tendency to look at things in a different way than most people do. I understand that most of us have a narrow perspective in our views and opinions. It's a difficult thing to break away from because we have only lived one life and experience one conciseness and most of us will die in the same place we were born. On top of this most of us have been indoctrinated to learn one version of history and one side of the story that is presented to us by mainstream media. Originally, I felt that a narrow perspective is why so many reject conspiracy theories. I felt that people refuse to accept anything other than what they have been taught by school or mainstream news. People never having been given a chance to see things through another perspective means that the 'truth' can hide in plain sight because so many refuse to see it.
    But then as the seeds of doubt began to materialize, I began to see things differently. Going back to the 2012 election hoax discussion that Alex Jones had, I began to see how these people manipulate their audience by appealing to ignorance. Knowing that alot of people don't fully understand the election process and how exit polling works allows people like Alex Jones to spread bunk about so called stolen elections. These people know who their audience is and the majority of them are laymen who may not have a detailed understanding of subjects like history, science, politics, geopolitics, economics, etc.
    This was when I began to think that maybe having a narrow perspective is actually what leads people into believing in conspiracy theories in the first place. We are all laymen in some respect or another and so people end up believing in conspiracies because they lack perspective in these particular fields of study. Alot of people don't understand why the government has to spend it's way out of debt. It seems counter intuitive. But learn something about Keynesian economics, and you might have a different...... 'perspective' on the situation.
    Other things that I stem from a narrow perspective is the over analysis of photos videos and events to prove conspiracy. "They look like actors" "That's not what I would do in that situation" "Why is he holding that?" "Is that laser detonator?" "That's an amazing coincidence". It's all part of that monological belief system that we talk about and how people end up believing that everything is a conspiracy.

    Feeling of Hopelessness.

    This is something that was discussed in the psychological study of conspiracy theorists. Forum user: Stupid linked to the pdf (thanks). It might be somewhat flawed being that it is based on internet comments, but it still has some value. In a nutshell it describes how the hopelessness is a common thread among the conspracist community, and overall feeling is generated by the conspriacist pundits on a regular basis. Alex Jones has people believing that we really have space weapons, weather control, mind control, poisoned water among many other things. If you believed this stuff were real, how hopeless would you honestly feel? Jesse Ventura once said "If voting made a difference, it would be illegal" yet, voting made enough of a difference to elect him Governor. It seems that their whole objective is to make people believe that the whole world is against them and that the only way to fight the new world order to buy their stuff. What solution does Alex Jones offer that doesn't involve promoting his show or buying his advertisers products?
    As I said before, I began to feel a sense of hopelessness after voting for Obama. I voted for him to put an end to Bush's policies as he promised. Instead he's expanding them. I'm not sure if anyone truly knows what kind of an epoch 9/11 really was. In my view, the consequences have yet to be fully realized. It's undeniable that civil rights have been and are continuing to be curbed in the name of security, and it doesn't seem like there is much of an opposition to stop it. This was a factor that lead me into conpracist thinking. But now that I think about it. I in some ways fault the conspiracy community for allowing this to happen. Alex Jones and his lackeys have undoubtedly recruited many people who share these sentiments. As a result I think we have a significant chunk of the electorate chasing white rabbits and ready to gear up when we could actually be focused on creating solutions to these problems through the democratic process.

    Being Gullible

    As much as I hate to admit this, I have to come to terms with it. I've reached a conclusion that it is human nature to be gullible, and that we are all inclined to believe what we are told by people we trust. And sometimes you don't have a choice. We are all laymen in some form or another and we are often dependent on experts or professionals to tell us what is going on. Skepticism on the other hand is something that we have to learn. He have to learn to apply logic and think rationally, and unfortunately, not everybody is going to learn this.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2013
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  2. Soulfly

    Soulfly Banned Banned

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  3. Clock

    Clock Active Member

    Interesting, aluminum. I do personally think that conspiracy activism are based on fear, or to scare you, and most of the time it works.
  4. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    I think once people start believing that stuff, they reach a certain level of acceptance. It's like crossing over into another world. It does not always manifest as hopelessness though. Sometimes people just angrier the more they "know", and sometimes it makes surprising little difference.

    It constantly amazes me that people can believe that 9/11 was controlled demolition, and yet still act like normal people. But then I suppose people just adapt. If aliens were to invade and enslave us, then that would swiftly become the "new normal".

    But I think this acceptance really skews the thinking of some people. Things that should be recognized as incredible and earth shattering are just par for the course. This manifests as not making a lot of effort to prove your case. I'm think here particularly of the chemtrail folk. They do lots of tests, but thy only take them so far and then feel satisfied - because to them it's obvious, as it's "normal". Really what they claim the tests are showing is so mind blowing that it really would be worth vastly more of their time to actually make sure they are right, and to publicise them.
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  5. AluminumTheory

    AluminumTheory Senior Member

    I've been thinking more and more about 9/11 recently and how much it has changed the world we live in.
    As it stands right now, 9/11 is the cornerstone of conspiracy culture is is probably inadvertently responsible for the widespread conspiracy culture that we're seeing today. Before 9/11, JFK was the king of all conspiracies but it's not something that could be harped on forever as it descends further into history, and thus becoming less relevant. And like JFK, 9/11 is a vastly complex subject that has and will continue to have tomes written about it from every imaginable perspective. There are numerous theories as to why and how it occurred. And if you can suspend your disbelief, I suppose it's very easy to see why so many still think that 9/11 was an inside job. 9/11 resulted in two major wars, loss of civil rights, torture, paranoia, and massive debt which in turn lead to rising inflation which was a major factor causing the great recession. And I'm sure there are many more repercussions from this chain reaction that have yet to be fully realized. I was in my teens when 9/11 occurred so I didn't have much of a grasp in regards to politics, so I really wonder how many people (if anyone at all) had fathomed the importance of that event. Certainly 9/11 seems to have created a dystopia when compared to the prosperous period that preceded it. And I suppose that if you can believe that a government would orchestrate an attack to kill 3,000 people to manifest this horrible world, then there probably isn't much else that you wouldn't put past the powers that be. This in turn shifts the burden of proof in alot of people's minds to the point that conspiracies now must be proven false, for otherwise they will remain true.
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  6. Cairenn

    Cairenn Senior Member

    I think that when one is younger, it is easier to believe conspiracy theories. I was in grade school for the Cuban Missile crisis and when JFK was shot. I remember the the duck and cover drills and all the conspiracy around JFK's death. It was local and personal to folks here. I was in high school when MLK was shot---I remember the fear that many folks had about rioting. Then was Nam and the student protests---I was in college, but I was busy with a kennel of show Irish setters, so I heard and observed.

    I remember the oil embargo and gas lines and rationing

    I was active in local Republican politics at the time when the Reganites took over the party---I was not impressed and I started looking around. The Libertarians looked good, at first glace, and then I decided that the ones that were not loons, spent most of their time in a fantasy world.

    I had friends called to serve in the Gulf war, I remember the dire predictions about the oil well fires (from 'a year without a summer' to it would take a decade to put them out--less than 9 months).

    I had knee surgery the day of 9/11--how about having that on in the recovery room.

    Over and over and over, I have heard the predictions of doom, of conspiracies and intrigue and while some like Watergate and Iran -Contra were true, the doom never came. Nixon left, George W didn't postpone the election (a popular forecast in many left wing circles). He came back to Texas.

    After a while you start to realize that folks make predictions that further their views, their beliefs, their agendas. For the most part not evil, sometimes they are misinformed and refuse to accept the truth.
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  7. Efftup

    Efftup Senior Member

    Definitely a lot of conspiracy peddlers are promoting their own belief systems on others, but there is also that search for answers that I think people find one theory that seems to make sense the way it is explained to them (with Lawyers' arguments and confirmation bias, "Surely if this then THAT must be true")and that starts them off on the whole thing. Then it just gets easier to accept anything else that comes along.
    Chemtrailers like to point out that NASA cloud charts are wrong cos we already KNOW NASA lies because we never went to the moon etc. so we pick on NASA charts rather than meteorological society charts.
    But I also find it interesting the hoplessness angle cos they like to try and convert new believers, but don't really seem to DO anything about it.
    I know someone who believes in Chemtrails thinking we are being poisoned, but she and her kids are not walking round in breathing masks,or trying to actively stop this happening. so it makes you wonder if they REALLY believe, or just like feeling clever about themselves cos THEY have "woken up" to the truth.

    This is another aspect that seems to appeal to CT'ers. It's that mystical secret knowledge that only THEY have found out.

    If Crowley had just announced he had some new ideas, no-one would have listened. But cos he said an Angel came to him in a dream and told him all the mystical knowledge of the ancients, people went for it.
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  8. George B

    George B Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member

    I come from a long line of conspiracy believers . . . so I get it naturally . . . my grand parents who were born in the late 1800s lived through the Spanish American war, the coal union riots of Kentucky, the Russian Revolution, WWI, the Great Depression, WWII, Cold War and the beginning of the Korean War . . my grandfather was a State Representative and Teacher who was well educated for his era . . . and in the 1940s and early 50s . . . he warned my mother and her siblings of his belief of the dangers of the Federal Reserve and the existence in his opinion of a powerful group which was behind the creation of the League of Nations and then later the United Nations . . .

    So a belief in a world wide conspiracy comes easy to me . . . it is my heritage . . . I never feared it . . . it was the state of the world . . . with this belief most of my relatives served in WWII including both of my parents as my Grandfather served in the Spanish American War and I served in the military for 30 years myself . . . my life experiences have not limited or reduced my belief of a powerful secretive group of manipulators . . . it has reinforced it . . .
  9. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    This is along the lines of what I was thinking. I think (I'm not a Jungian, but if I remember correctly he went on about this in Man and his Symbols) man has an inherent need for mystery. People balk against a "god" concept because 'it cant be definitively proven', 'there's no real proof'. CTs perhaps replace this need for "the unsolvable riddle" with things like 9/11 etc. You can't debunk God to a believer, you can't debunk Ghosts to a believer and you can't debunk CTheories to a CT. Because life would be way to dull and pointless without the Unsolvable Mysteries.

    I wonder if CTs believe in God or are they just replacing the 'all powerful' God with Government because God is so out of fashion these days.
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  10. George B

    George B Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member

    I don't think God is out of fashion . . . I think the concept of God has evolved to include a more diverse concept including simply the intelligence or consciousness that creates order and maintains life to more people . . . traditional religions may have taken some hits for their abuses and intolerance . . . I do agree that mankind has a need for a belief . . . the almost universal existence of religious or spiritual beliefs in all known cultures around the world tells us that . . . P.S. the belief in conspiracies has always been a major characteristic of human nature . . . the internet just makes it more efficient and sustainable . . .
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2013
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  11. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    yea, like Government
  12. George B

    George B Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member

    Lol!!!! I guess you could say so . . . but not what I had in mind. . . ;)
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  13. George B

    George B Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member

    The Rabbit Hole for many people is simply their education, rearing and life experiences . . . who doesn't believe in some significant conspiracy at some level for example: organized crime, the Military Industrial Complex, the Federal Reserve, Free Masonry, the Communist Conspiracy, etc ?? The question to me is how far from conventional wisdom is the belief and is there objective, verifiable evidence to support the beliefs ??
  14. Cello

    Cello New Member

    I'm curious, has anyone looked into this as an addiction? I see a lot of similarities in former believers testimonies to addiction testimonies. The factors that led them to the addiction such as depression, becoming reclusive and letting their personal lives crumble while they constantly search for that next hit. Addicts know deep down what they are doing isn't right, but they act in denial because they can't stop seeking that high. In my relationships with addicts, when they are sober and lucid everything is fine but then there's a trigger and their personalities change. They will become toxic to anyone around them who isn't involved in their activities. All addicts once they have taken steps to their sobriety are deeply ashamed of their actions. For the "Believers" a simple answer to their suspicions is always disregarded because that answer would end their high so they have to keep searching for something that backs up their thoughts and the high keeps going.

    I ask these questions for a deeper understanding of the situation and to have a more sensitive approach when dealing with someone I care about.
  15. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    I think if you are seeking answers to help a specific individual you need to take care not to fall into the "generalization" trap. Lots of factors can affect people's belief systems, age, health, etc.

    If you want to have a more sensitive approach, then just be more sensitive. It's not like being sensitive and nice can hurt the situation.
  16. Cello

    Cello New Member

    Perhaps I worded that incorrectly. I was never insensitive or cruel in dealing with this person. I was just stunned when what seemed like a normal conversation suddenly went into this New World order run by Jews who worship Lucifer - coming from a Jew. My first response, not in anger but just in genuine shock was "Do you really believe that?" I've heard of many of these theories in passing but never really paid attention and until now had never engaged in full conversations with a "believer". Our last conversation ended badly when I brought up a thought that didn't fit their agenda. This person who's company I've always enjoyed suddenly became toxic. I kindly cut ties later but am still trying to make sense of what happened.
  17. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    What happened was they had a firmly held false belief. There are a variety of reasons why this might happen and it's a mistake to generalize.