28/05/2019 by Kerry Greenaway 0 Comments
On Parasearch recently
we've been looking in Conspiracy thearies so that got me thinking
about where they come from and how situations develop into this way
A conspiracy is a
secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful, the
conscious action of plotting or conspiring
There are three main
psychological factors at play here
Understanding our environment – relating to knowledge or to the
degree of validation
Existential – Being
safe and in control of our environment – affirming or implying the
existence of a thing
Social – Our place
within our environment & maintaining a positive self image with
Conspiracy Theories are usually born out of events where there is no definitive clear cut explanation which pulls those three factors (Epistemic, Existential & Social) into question. Any situation where there are inconsistency and contradictions triggers our insecurities and we are unable to achieve a state called cognitive closure. This means that humans desire to eliminate ambiguity and arrive at a definitive conclusion. Historical precedents of situations have created a level of distrust and people are no longer taking things on face value and are scrutinising sotuations in greater depth than ever before- but are they?
In a study of Joe Parent & Joe Usinski in 2014 they randomly selected 104,803 letters published in the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune between 1890 – 2010 for the conspiracy theory mindset. The results were interesting and showed no obvious trend rises. There were two notable spikes in the data. The first in 1900 around the time of the 2nd Industrial revolution and the second in the late 40's/early 50's which was around the beginning of the cold war.
Conspiracy theories are usually linked to political affiliation and belief systems and this often leads to ignoring scientific evidence in favour of these affiliations – basically people only believe what fits their theory. The other factor to consider is media influence, you only have to look at the drip feed media frenzy of a breaking story to witness wild misinformation, jumps of assumption and unvalidated witness statements. Its hardly surprising that conspiracy theories arise.
When I first started researching this topic I assumed it was a modern creation born out of readily available information and armchair experts but I was soon proved wrong. One of the earliest conspiracy theories was actually way back in AD64 and surrounded the Great Fire of Rome.
This particular situation started on the 18th July and lasted for about 1 week, it all but leveled Rome, Nero was the Emperor of the day and at the time was out of town at his country residence. He did return to Rome but the timing of this is questionable.
A conspiracy theory started to circulate that Nero had been compliant in starting the fire so that he could rebuild Rome to his own design and Nero hadn't cared when Rome was burning and had in fact been singing and playing his fiddle at the time. Nero retaliated with a counter conspiracy stating that the Christians ( at this time they were a sub-cult in Rome) had started the fire in order to undermine Rome's Governance and Beliefs.
Nero didn't really help himself as following the fire he went onto build Demus Aurea, a majestic series of villas with landscaped parks and man-made lakes. He built this on part of the site of the fire. Also the timing of this is relevant as it buys into the theory that Nero actually started the fire to remodel Rome in his own vision. Having said this Nero did not escape unscathed from the fire – the Forum and his palace Domus Transitoria was also burnt to the ground. The stories surrounding his return to Rome are also a little misleading, he did return to Rome not only to help with the post fire aid but to also help with the firefighting efforts. What lends credence to the anti-Nero conspiracy is the general living conditions of the populace of Rome , the majority of people lived in slums, wooden structures not the grand stone structures people imagine. It was a long desired objective of many people who felt subjugated or oppressed to effectively bring Rome down. Christians hadn't really helped the situation as pre fire they had circulated vengeful texts predicting that a raging inferno would reduce the city to ashes – the theme of Rome must burn was prevalent at this time.
Following the fire Nero's accusations against the Christian caused wide spread persecution and rumour has it ordered that Christians should be rounded up and killed – it is well know that many Christians were killed in the most horrific manner after this time.
Basically the facts of the matter are Rome burning was an accident waiting to happen and both sides tried to manipulate the situation to their own advantage unfortunately in this case Nero had the majority of power control.
Leaping ahead lets take a look at a more recent conspiracy theory – Climate gate
In Nov 2009 an external hacker, hacked into a server at the climatic research unit at the university of East Anglia, they went onto post these documents and e-mails to various locations across the internet. These were picked up but the climate change denialists, they argued that the e-mails showed that global warning was a scientific conspiracy and that scientists had manipulated climate data in order to suppress those who denied it was happening.
The timing of this was a key factor as in Dec 2009 the Climate Change Mitigation commenced – this is where 115 world leaders attended to discuss global warming and put into place structures and litigation to help combat it. It was stated that the release of these documents or timed hack of the documents was done to undermine the conference. After all if there was no climate change then there would be no need for the powers that be to do anything – backing up the climate change denialists perspective.
Basically the documents suggested that scientists had manipulated the data to support claims of a sudden increase in the earths temperature. They had suppressed evidence that contradicted the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis I.e where humans are causing the changes in the environment. They had disguised facts about the medieval period when the earth was warmer that it is today and also suppressed opposing scientific opinions in the peer review process.
As you can imagine this caused a huge political/scientific and media storm with many opposing views and cross propaganda which still has repercussions in today's society. The main consensus is still confused regarding global warning and the damage this caused was insurmountable.
One things for sure you only have to open your eyes to see how humans are destroying and polluting the plant and something needs to be done.
In the minds of the everyday person this has led to deeper distrust of the government, politics, economics and scientists so its hardly surprising conspiracy theories abound particularly when they pull into question our understanding of our environment, feeling safe and our place in the world.
There are many precedents of cross propaganda surrounding today's society – most commonly known these days as 'Fake News' – you just have to have a look at The Corpse factories from WW1 – this was a fabricated story by head of intelligence John Chateris – to see political manipulation in action. If you would like to hear more about this then I refer you to The Spirit Dimension – Remembrance Show.
In today' society with the widely available access to information fake news or conspiracy theories travel further and faster than ever before and you can find 'evidence' to support all kinds of situations leaving the general public in a quagmire of misinformation, misdirection and distrust of any so called expert in the field. Even if the truth was put out there totally unembellished it would be called into question.
So where does that leave us? Be discerning, do your own research, look at all sides of the argument and try to place your personal belief systems on hold whilst doing so. Most importantly maintain reason and logic and some basic common sense because at the end of the day ….. is it really important to your own personal life if man really did walk on the moon?