Trimming the Verge (of the Rabbit Hole)

SquillagusNiggle

New Member
Hi, I'm a bit new here.

I'd like to share a few personal insights into the temptation, that inexplicable force that draws people deeper and deeper into the well of pseudoscientific/conspiracy theory belief and cultism.

I'll start by saying that I am a physics graduate, I work in cybersecurity and I am an amateur astrophotographer; I tend to think of myself as deeply grounded in reason, but I also write creatively and thoroughly enjoy fantastical (and profoundly illogical) concepts and ideas.

I'd like to talk about why apparently 'normal', rationally-equipped humans suddenly go off-course and end up so thoroughly twisted-up that they can barely discuss any topic without reference to their badly skewed internal factsheet.


The deep

When I was very young, 10 or 12 years of age, I 'believed' in UFOs. Not aliens; UFOs.

I had books on the subject, I would lie awake watching the night sky with my binoculars, I would avidly absorb any source that cast light on these mysterious objects. It was exciting, it was a 'science' of a sort that I couldn't learn from any teacher or school text, and had no tests or anxieties accompanying it.

Of course, I never told anyone but a few close friends; I was socially aware enough to know that proclaiming an interest in moving lights in the sky was a bad idea.

I look back at that interest and the emotional landscape associated with it whenever I encounter avid (and particularly, emotionally-dependent) proponents of pseudoscience and deep conspiracy. It is easy to filter out the hyper-religious and the mentally damaged, they each have highly characteristic signatures and are driven by different impulses.

What I remember most, was that wondrous feeling of 'frontiersmanship'; the feeling that I was at the forefront, the verge of unique and profound knowledge. Not just knowledge, but information, data, stuff that could be brought to others and shown and expanded upon, investigated.

In essence, I had become scientifically enamoured with a pseudoscientific concept; the prospect of these things in the sky excited me, because anything I can see, I can photograph, chart, plot, verify. When I saw videos that were clearly faked, that were just flying hubcaps or bad hoaxes.... it actually made me feel bad. It ate into the satisfaction, diminished the experience, it actually genuinely saddened me as I found more and more photos, more and more videos, which were so obviously unreal.


The heartbreak

I finally had a sit down with myself and acknowledged that there were a lot more people wanting to believe in UFOs and aliens than there were people who had any real evidence, or who had even seen any real evidence, that they were real. The few sightings that were multiply confirmed still interested me, and still do in fact, but the overwhelming bulk of fakery was too much for my rational mind to accommodate.

I was an enthusiast more than a believer... but the contradictions and the lies destroyed my enthusiasm. I could no longer reconcile the beliefs of the 'ufologists' with what I was seeing, and learning.

I had a similar experience when I was 15 and read about 'Scalar Electromagnetics' on a text-only BBS-a-like web page (yep, seriously). I consumed anything and everything, I browsed sites bursting with complex electromagnetic coil configurations and 'totally non-linear' oscilloscope plots and I felt that same rush of discovery and excitement. This was an amazing idea, that 'beams' of EM potential could be tuned to intersect at some great distance and effect change... the possibilities!

As time went on, I read more and more, and again felt those pangs of sadness as the evidence just failed to line up, even to my teenage self. Another bunch of 'adults', apparently completely sure of themselves, loudly proclaiming a conclusion that simply didn't add up. Sad again.


The thrill of the chase

I have since learned to recognise that thrill; it drives me to investigate any new CT/pseudoscience topic that isn't immediately insane (Reptiloids/Galactic Plane/Andromedans...) and I have to admit I still really, really enjoy that process.... I love reading conspiracy theories, that initial honeymoon period before it inevitably defeats itself and becomes another notch on my staff of sincere inquiry.

Recently, even tonight, I felt it once more when looking into (and you'll hate this) WeatherWar/dutchsinse and his 'weather control' videos... but what I have learned to do in adulthood is to skirt the edge of the rabbit hole much more deftly and swiftly, shaving a few parsecs off the Kessel Run... it took me about two hours to come to the conclusion his evidence was completely insane.

But the journey.... I still loved the journey. I was excitedly explaining to my girlfriend what I was watching, what he was claiming, and she (a geneticist) joined me in exploring the possibilities and ramifications...

Ultimately, the signs were there; a clear persecution complex, clear self-obsession and self-delusion, and ultimately... interpretations of the weather data that simply didn't make any sense.

Another let-down, but an expected one and with much less time and effort expended.


The hole-dwellers

This is how I approach every new theory I come across, and I might gently encourage some of you to try it too. Do not approach them with grim, iron-jawed skepticism. Allow yourself to be drawn in, to be enticed but not convinced... the result is typically the same when ultimately it doesn't hold up, but it is so much more compelling and informative to do this from a position of engagement rather than distant criticism.

By following this emotional curve, by personally exploring that interface between emotion and reason, it may help to advance understanding of how a few humans out of every thousand seem to slip through that gap. When I meet one of these emotionally-charged and clearly thoroughly institutionalised individuals I feel genuine sympathy and sorrow for them, something I tend not to feel for the ultrareligious and the incapable.

These people are trapped inside themselves with a sense of reason that almost works, but they have accepted that North on their compass is actually East, and everything they now encounter they must somehow reconcile with that translation. Flat Earthers will denounce anything, anything at all, that threatens their assertions. All of physics, cartography, everything... a lie. Anti-vaxxers will get searingly, furiously angry as the lunacy of their position is exposed and generally depart the floor rather than endure the contradictions and what they might mean.

They have become dependent on their beliefs. They have had to remember 'North is actually East' so very many times, with so very many people in their lives telling them they are not just wrong but a bit strange for saying this... their self-identity becomes intertwined with the necessity that they were, and remain, right about this one thing.

It is not that they love being in the rabbit hole... they've gone through the rush of falling in. It is that they have expended so much energy in staying in it, that every glimpse of the surface brings them not enlightenment and relief but abject, internalised horror.

What am I, without my surety? What am I, without my uniqueness?

What have I been all this time.... if all this time I have been wrong, like everyone said.

This is the emotional reality they cannot face. I have 'turned' a decent number of embryonic (usually juvenile) Flat Earth posters back to reason by exposing the lies they have been fed... but it seems every time someone slaps away the truth, the harder it becomes to accept it the next time.

Eventually, they get lost down the hole, in the dark with a compass that will never point North.

I suspect a decent number of them do struggle back out... but would never, ever tell anyone how long they spent down there.

I've never really revealed all of what I have written above, and I'm not particularly ashamed of any of it... I suspect a lot of former hole-dwellers are, and there might be many more of them out there than we might think, quietly never mentioning it ever again.



~Sq
 

Whitebeard

Senior Member.
I understand where your coming from, I've never been a hardcore CT believer, although I have always found them fascinating in the way they develop and spin their own narrative. But like you as a kid I was well into UFO's, read the books, did the sky watching and even on one occasion saw something I still can't explain fully. I was also into cryptozoology, Nessie, Big Foot, UK big cats etc to the extent that aged 18 I went youth hosteling in Scotland and visited the lochs that were claimed to have monsters, Loch Ness, Loch Lomand, Loch Morar etc... However as I grew up I slowly came to realise that most UFOs could be explained as weather phenomena, miss-identified aircraft etc, and most cryptids are in fact mythology, species miss-identification and other natural phenomena.

Yeah, that was disappointing, but the more I looked into what was really going on, the more I became interested in finding out what people were really seeing. Then when a close friend became enraptured with David Icke and started banging on and on about reptilians etc, I started looking at his 'proof that Icke is right' and analysing his 'evidence' in the same way that I was now looking at UFO claims, using a skeptical and rationalist stand point. Which is what lead me here a couple of years back.

And to be honest I get a bigger kick researching stuff like why the recent industrial disaster in China does NOT show all the hall marks of a nuclear terrorist incident, or why chemtrails do not exist, than I ever did hunting lake monsters, the beast of Bodmin or flying saucers, because I am looking for something that is real and can be proved real, not some wishful fantasy.

Of course somewhere deep inside I would be thrilled if a space ship landed in Hyde Park and the ambassador from planet Zog climbed out saying, 'I come in peace, take me to your dealer', or some zoologist walked out of the Highlands playing fetch with a tame baby nessie; but now days I know that the chances of that happening are billions to one, so why waste time taking anything more than a passing interest in the subjects out of curiosity?

Of course when dealing with more hardcore bunk like Agenda 21, NWO, everything is false flag etc, you have to follow the bunk and see whats being said in order to debunk it, and if I've learned one thing in my time here, it's that those souls at the bottom of the rabbit hole cannot be reasoned with directly. All you can do for them is maybe sow the odd seed of doubt and hope it grows into something they can use to challenge the bunk they live off and help them find their own way out.

A far more important role is to counter then CT bunk with provable fact, hard logic and reason, so that those on the edge of the rabbit hole who may not understand the facts behind a CT may be informed and avoid the hole in the first place.
 

Trailblazer

Moderator
Staff member
the more I looked into what was really going on, the more I became interested in finding out what people were really seeing.
This mirrors my experience. As a kid I loved reading books about the paranormal - UFOs, ghosts, the Bermuda Triangle, you name it, if my small-town library had it, I'd read it. I was also given a pile of The Unexplained magazine, which I believe Mick West mentioned as getting him involved in conspiracy theories. But Like @Whitebeard, I found the explanations far more interesting than the mysteries. I remember one picture from a UFO book vividly: it was purported to show a fleet of UFOs in the night sky above a city, but below it was an annotated version showing that each of the lights was just an in-camera reflection of the street lights and car headlamps below.

The idea that mysteries could be solved neatly by a bit of logic and rational thinking was far more appealing to me than the vague "Hey look at all this cool unexplained stuff" approach that most of these books had.
 

derwoodii

Senior Member.
nicely penned summary of inner thoughts and impressive you can watch 2 hours of WeatherWar/dutchsinse 2 minutes would be my upper limit :)
 

tadaaa

Senior Member
In the same way that often the most vociferous anti smokers were once smoker themselves

Maybe People who are fascinated in why people believe in "bunk" where exposed to it when younger

I remember reading Erik Von Daniken's work - it fascinated me, as did "The Holy Blood the Holy Grail (when the Da Vinci Code cane out years later I remember thinking, I am sure I have read about all this stuff befor.......)

And I do remember that feeling of having "hidden knowledge", it was exciting and appealing

And amazingly I have smoked in the past too!!!!!
 

NoParty

Senior Member.
..."The Holy Blood the Holy Grail (when the Da Vinci Code cane out years later I remember thinking, I am sure I have read about all this stuff befor.......)

And I do remember that feeling of having "hidden knowledge", it was exciting and appealing
I remember waiting for Baigent's book (The Holy Blood, The Holy Grail) to come out when I was in college!
I was writing a paper about the famous crucifixion...and well, yada, yada, yada, I remember calling local
Christian bookstores looking for a copy, and getting some very animated responses!

At any rate, 1982 was the last time I'd given a thought to the Merovingians, until The Matrix Reloaded in '03!!

Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 5.54.52 AM.png
 

JRBids

Senior Member.
Same thing here. Believed UFOs were real. Wanted to see one. Kinda believed in magic but not much. I guess we grow up.
 

Qualiall

Member
I don't think there is anything inherently wrong in thinking about the vastness of the Universe and how maybe, just maybe if you are looking at the stars, you'll see little grey men fly by. It is fine to have a sense of wonder about life out there.

To insist they are real or that government knows the truth is when the slippage starts.
 
Very good description of CT psychology and the arc many people go through. Magic by the way is an easy safe belief to hang on to just realize that's it's all in your head and you can still get some power from it.
 

tinkertailor

Senior Member.
I don't think there is anything inherently wrong in thinking about the vastness of the Universe and how maybe, just maybe if you are looking at the stars, you'll see little grey men fly by. It is fine to have a sense of wonder about life out there.

To insist they are real or that government knows the truth is when the slippage starts.
Yes!
I have a family member who is marginally into any conspiratorial thing he is exposed to. When I am my usual wet skeptical blanket self he'll go "oh, so you don't think that in ALL the galaxies in ALL of space there couldn't be life? You're so conceited, how do you know this? You're just ignoring all the evidence!"
At this point explaining that: 'a) I don't know that aliens don't exist for certain but b) the distances an alien would have to travel are astronomical and even if they were highly advanced I don't think they could have traveled millions of lightyears in a vessel to this island earth and c) even if they did arrive here, what benefit would the government have in covering it all up and/or conspiring with the aliens?' is a waste of time and breath, but he still insists...
I like the mythology of the paranormal. I eat up Stephen King novels and episodes of The X-Files. Logically, however, claims like these just don't hold water.
 

Hama Neggs

Senior Member.
To insist they are real or that government knows the truth is when the slippage starts.
It's amazing that they consider themselves to be very "spiritual-minded", but also think the highest powers on Earth are various country's (secret) governments.
 

Trailblazer

Moderator
Staff member
I have a family member who is marginally into any conspiratorial thing he is exposed to. When I am my usual wet skeptical blanket self he'll go "oh, so you don't think that in ALL the galaxies in ALL of space there couldn't be life?
I don't understand that sort of logic at all. I would put money on the fact that we are not alone in the universe. But the distances are so vast that it's very unlikely, barring some short-cut around light speed that we don't know about, that any aliens will visit us, or even visit each other. If our species is anything to go by, there's a pretty good chance that aliens will destroy themselves before attaining interstellar travel capabilities.
 

NoParty

Senior Member.
Yes!
a) I don't know that aliens don't exist for certain but b) the distances an alien would have to travel are astronomical and even if they were highly advanced I don't think they could have traveled millions of lightyears in a vessel to this island earth
...I would put money on the fact that we are not alone in the universe. But the distances are so vast that it's very unlikely, barring some short-cut around light speed that we don't know about, that any aliens will visit us...
Agreed 100% that the odds are definitely that sentient life is out there, given all the billions of possibilities.

And yes, distances are great, which dampens the likelihood of visitation, though I'm pretty open
to the idea of a civilization being ages older than ours...and so have become very good at travel.

But, like Stephen Hawking, I fear that any beings that advanced, would be able to easily wipe out humanity,
and--given the track record we've seen in human history, of how less technological peoples get treated--
we should probably hope that they never show up on our doorstep (unless we find ourselves desperate for help)
 

Whitebeard

Senior Member.
Even if aliens did have the ability to transcend light speed and cross the vast interstellar distances, what makes earth and us barely evolved apes who teem on its surface so special. If extra terrestrial intelligence is as common as the UFOlogists and alien conspiracy types believe, then there must be more interesting places to visit in the galaxy.

Unless they are surveying for pan-galactic by-pass....
 
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