Are you unsuccessful in business? Is your company going through a long streak of bad luck? Do you feel isolated at work? Are people talking behind you back? Do prospects no longer answer the phone?
Chances are that you are the victim of a conspiracy.
There must be a machination designed by a small group group of very influential people, such as the Jews, the Italian Mob, the CIA, the Russians, the LGBT, the Opus Dei, the Monarchy, the Government, or closer to your home, the President of your community of neighbours, who want you to fail.
Maybe because you belong to an ethnical minority, are disabled, short, tall, ugly, handsome, gay, Catholic, outspoken or simply too successful?
If you believe the above, then you are one of the 8 people out of 10 who believe in conspiracy theories.
There is a plethora of conspiracy theories, from the CIA, who orchestrated the killing of JFK to the creation of the HIV virus by the governments to – chose the option that suits you best – irradicate homosexuality, control African populations, make money by selling an anti-virus. But the one that I like best it the story about Jesus’s daughter he would have had with Mary Magdalene. The legend was spread out by Dan Brown with his Da Vince Code. Even after the author had publicly confirmed that it was a tale, a survey indicated that 4% of the Americans still believed the story.
There are several reasons why people are inclined to believe balderdash. Bob Strauss enumerates 7 of them in his article that we could group into 3 categories:
- lack of intelligence (limited brain power)
- lack of education (limited access to information), and
- poor critical reasoning (the inability to use accurately one’s brain power in combination with the information available).
I would add: 4. the desire for some of us to go against the establishment, the mainstream and the conventional, no matter how ridiculous the riptide is.
Have you heard that the moon is a hollow artificial satellite placed in orbit around the earth around 900 years ago by extraterrestrial aliens to watch the development of humankind? Trust me, it is bogus!
As long as the number of people fooled by spurious conspiracy theories remains small, it does not go beyond the status of an anecdote.
The concern is when a brook becomes a river large enough to impact the mainstream.
We have already seen the impact of sham political statements and false theories on elections or referendums like the Brexit, the US elections (more fake news than real information and Russian interferences) or the Independence of Catalonia (the Russian interference, NOTE: again the Russians: they must be everywhere like the Judes and the Aliens).
The phenomenon is not new. In his book written in 1885, Germinal, Emile Zola depicts how a seed idea can grow from one single man’s mind and turn into mainstream thinking. In Germinal, the novelty was to give more rights to lower class workers. More than a century later, employees in most developed countries can now enjoy decent salaries, paid holidays, reasonable work hours, welfare, retirement, medical insurance etc…
What is new, is the speed of the dissemination. When the message is good, it is worth pursuing it. But when the message is fallacious, distorted, inaccurate or simply wrong, we must be wise enough to kill it in the nest instead of forwarding it.
No, you are not being the victim of a conspiracy. At worst, you are the victim of the Internet and its social networks carrying tons of fake news and garbage.
Open-up your mind, ask questions, challenge the news, gather information from multiple sources, listen to different sources of information, vet the sources and we will all be fine.
Otherwise, we will continue to be plagued with incongruous theories like this one about the Three Wise Men being gays, that I have just made up out based on the news that Madrid chose drag queens for traditional Three Kings parade.