Some alternative views are accepted as valid. Atheists can accept religion. Manifestation and the law of attraction is a valid view on life even when some don’t believe it. To the non-believer, there is no proof of these things being real and while people might look down on them, they don’t often question or patronise those practising it. However, when it comes to alternative views on some topics, the people trying to share their ideas or perspective, such as popular conspiracy theories, will be patronised, ridiculed and dismissed.
Before I go into any conspiracies on this blog, which I am thinking about sharing at some point, I really wanted to discuss why people are so willing to judge and separate themselves from anything that sounds remotely ‘off’.
I think the concern for me regarding conspiracy theories is that while we might not believe everything others say, a whole character is not based on one view that a person has. I like to encourage people to share their perspectives no matter what they are because it’s absolutely how we learn. When they do, I don’t think anything differently of them or their nature. I am definitely a believer in unconditional love for people. We are all finding our own way and all have our own journeys to go on in life. If somebody has a different path to mine, or a view that is completely opposite to mine, I will always try to understand it.
Sometimes, to our detriment, some of us will try and understand the human behind the words. I believe there is good intention in most people, but it can get lost either in their way of life or in caring more about how they seem to others than what they actually are.
Even the hardest people have feelings…
You like to think your family and friends know your nature. However, even those closest can sometimes forget who they are thinking or talking about. It’s easy to forget when you’re debating or arguing with someone about emotional or contentious issues that there is another human being on the other side. As tough or pragmatic as some may be, they probably still have some feelings!
When it comes to conspiracy theories, it can be easy to dismiss them. Why should you believe some tin foiled hat wearer spreading nonsense on the internet? You shouldn’t. But should you have some facts to dismiss their theories with? Absolutely. You dismissing a theory or thought with no reason or alternative information doesn’t change anyone’s mind and can even be seen as hypocritical.
I have been thinking about why some people instantly dismiss ideas rather than engage with them and came up with a few that I thought I’d share. I’d love to hear what makes you either believe or not believe them though.
Some beliefs around conspiracy theories.
They sound like bullshit.
Ever read a conspiracy theory and wonder why on Earth people would believe something so ridiculous? Something that couldn’t possibly make sense?
This is how some conspiracy theorists – or alternative thinkers – feel when they see some of the things in the news or on social media.
We all have our own perspective and sometimes we make things fit into our own reality because it’s the only way to make sense of worrying or bizarre happenings in the world.
It is scary how some think.
Sometimes, going down the rabbit hole of a conspiracy theory can get really dark. Especially when you have one that connects so many together that it feels too heavy to process. Who wants that?
It might be scary that people don’t believe events as they are told, but to some it’s even scarier that people do believe them without question.
Only weirdos follow conspiracies.
We’re all bloody weirdos. So what if someone else’s weird thing is different to your weird thing?
Dr. John Grohol, a psychologist and the founder of Psych Central, says that conspiracy theorists come up with ideas out of thin air to match whatever ‘fact’ they think is true, and often use paranoia-based beliefs to convince others.
He says that these people tend to be uncooperative, distrustful, and socially isolated — which is why believing in a conspiracy theory with strangers on the internet can give them a sense of belonging.businessinsider.com
In response to this, not everybody with an alternative view on an event fits into a box like this. Just like those who don’t believe the theory are not all the same.
Some people with these beliefs are very social people and have no trouble living a very normal life. They can be the exact opposite of the description – cooperative, trusting and social butterflies.
Conspiracy theorists never believe they have plucked something out of thin air either. People only argue what they truly believe to be true. Think of a time when you’ve been in an argument, and even if you realised you were wrong, you truly believed you were right to begin with.
People feel unique or superior by believing conspiracies.
I’m sure some people absolutely fit the idea that people with alternative views are seeking uniqueness and want to feel special. The internet has allowed people who may have historically found it difficult to socialise or engage to find their people. This is a good thing, but can create that sheep mentality that people often refer too. If the community you fit into all have a particular belief it can be difficult to go against it.
In this way even supposed anti-social conspiracy theorists are not unique. It is worth acknowledging that some people, on either side of this, feel intellectually superior and unique in that they are not part of the ‘sheeple’ or following mass ideas.
However, there are absolutely people that will always question things even if it makes them stand apart. It’s not necessarily that they want to be unique, but amongst their peers, they might be. These are the people I’m grateful for. They’re the ones that change things.
It’s a bit like the age-old example that ‘it’s always been this way so why should we change it?’. Alternative thinking can help find solutions or explore, and sometimes even at least dismiss, new ideas.
Conspiracy theories are driven by people, not facts.
You can’t really argue with people who believe in conspiracy theories, because their beliefs aren’t rational. Instead, they are often fear- or paranoia-based beliefs that, when confronted with contrarian factual evidence, will dismiss both the evidence and the messenger who brings it. That’s because conspiracy theories are driven by the people who believe and spread them and their own psychological makeup — not on the factual support or logical reasoning of the theory itself.Dr. John Grohol, Psychcentral.com
Some people jump on the conspiracy train because they don’t trust the source, but some will in fact seek the truth. Personally, I research any theories for hours/days/weeks/years. It would be hypocritical to go against the mass media or another person’s thinking without information to refute it. Some people even want to be proved wrong and have an open mind towards all views.
This is not always to cause or join the debate, but just out of curiosity. However, if there is debate, it’s important to have facts. The quote above could be said for anyone on any side. If you think a conspiracy theory is stupid, do you always go and fact check everything to ensure you are right? Or is it easy to dismiss because others do and the general consensus is that it’s stupid?
They cause major issues.
There are always extremes with any viewpoint. If we judged everyone on the behaviour of a few, we’d be in a very bad situation. Just like we don’t associate everyone with a particular culture or religion from the actions of a few, neither should we judge people’s perspectives on the few bad people with them.
Most people looking into the alternative views are doing so with good intent, curiosity, and sometimes fear.
Not everybody can think well independently, and this is the case for all perspectives, views and beliefs.
If you open your mind to hear an alternative point of view, how does it affect you?
If accepting another perspective personally gets to you, it could be that you are applying too much emotion to the situation. It’s difficult during times of high emotions or worrying events to separate facts from feelings. Nobody is immune to that.
It can make you angry when you start seeing things differently. You can feel lied to, a bit silly for believing the opposite, and frustrated that others don’t see what you see.
This recent pandemic has people questioning things like never before. It is known in some communities as The Great Awakening due to opening the minds of those that previously dismissed anything like a conspiracy theory. Whichever side you find yourself on, it’s worth remembering the human behind the view.
We are better together and as one. Division is the greatest way to ruin our society and I think now more than ever, we can certainly appreciate how special it is.
If you fully disagree with someone why does it matter?
Is it a conspiracy theory or alternative view?
The term conspiracy theory alone puts people off a perspective as it’s quite derogatory. But what separates a conspiracy theory from simply another point of view? Who decides what is an accepted perspective?
There is often a reason why some people will question things, even if they’re completely wrong. It’s worth having an open mind on everything, you just have to maintain a balanced perspective.
What are your thoughts on conspiracy theories? Do you follow them, ignore them, or outright hate them? What makes you believe or dismiss them?
As always, the comments are a safe place to discuss. I will delete any abusive comments so please be respectful of others and open to their views.
Just taking my tin foil hat off for a break and a Netflix binge.