Discovering the Truth in Conspiracy Theories

Learning to Not Get Caught Up in Binary Thinking

So just hear me out for a second, ok? Try to keep an open mind.

It may shock you to know that I’ve figured it out! All my years of research have allowed me to finally... FINALLY uncover what’s really, totally and truthfully happening all over the world! Once you see it, it can’t be unseen. I’m happy to share that I’ve managed to piece all the breadcrumbs together after years of watching youtube videos, parsing through blogs of reputable knowledge seekers like myself and combing through message boards.

I don’t even know where to begin. It’s... it’s shocking at how connected these different events truly are. You probably wouldn’t believe me even if I told you. But, you know what they say; the truth is stranger than fiction.

However, before I reveal the shocking conspiracy that’s been running rampant for literally hundreds of years, I need to share a little background first.

Chances are, most everyone has at least heard of, or maybe even read about a specific conspiracy theory in passing. I’ll totally admit that there was a period of time when I was jumping down a few rabbit holes. But after a while, especially in the last few years, I’ve come to see conspiracy theories a little differently.

I agree with what Joe Rogan said in an episode of one of his podcasts. During this episode, Joe Rogan, a comedian who isn’t afraid to jump down some rabbit holes of his own (and is also a notable friend of Alex Jones), said these days conspiracy theories all just seems too tiring and he’s got no time for them anymore. I’ve also detailed my exhaustion with conspiracy theories in a poem I wrote (available in a poetry book on Amazon), “A Confession.”

I don’t know when the switch flipped, but after a certain point in time, I began to see conspiracy theories for what they really are. But in order to do so, I want to use an analogy.

If we imagine our brain as a boat floating along an ocean of information, naturally it could potentially start leaking for a variety of reasons. Hell, the boat that is our brain is never really fully built in the first place. But we try to fill it in as necessary. Conspiracy theories are sponges we are trying to patch the holes with. What I mean by that is while, using sponges to plug up leaks in a boat sounds like a good idea, eventually they aren’t going to be able to sustain and hold all the water, then soon it will start overflowing again.

Yet many of us, my self included, do it anyway. Why?

Well, turns out there are reasons we humans do this. Unfortunately, I think a lot of it is fear-based. Now I know we humans are also naturally curious creatures. Hell, everything invented didn't come about without a lot of wonderment as well as trial and error. But the way many of us consume information has a definite stank of fear.

Sure, our ego’s and monkey-brain convince us that we are "just curious" because certain things "don’t feel/seem/look right." But in reality, I think many of us are simply afraid of the unknown and have a fear of "looking/sounding stupid." We all know what that feels like. Chances are, the majority of us felt that in school at some point.

I can’t tell you how many times in middle and high school math classes I never raised my hand to ask a question even though I had no idea what the teacher was talking about. I didn’t want to look stupid!

Yet we are also a curious species, especially in this so-called "Age of Information." We as people want to know things! It makes us feel good to "know what’s going on." We think if we "have all the information" or "well rounded view(?)" it gives us an advantage. It’s an evolutionary thing. I’ve gone into detail about it elsewhere.

And our ego and monkey-brains will do weird-ass things in order to quell the thirst for knowledge, yet it also attempts to protect us from looking stupid.

But obviously, conspiracy theories go beyond the fear of looking stupid, otherwise I’m pretty sure less folks would be open to sharing these far-fetched ideas out loud with others. There is also a sense that these ideas are the “hidden truth,” that only those who can decipher the clues on this endless information scavenger hunt will “win” the “prize” of knowing “what’s really going on.” This is seductive to many because once the internet became available to the masses, many began heralding the “information age” because of that old adage, “ knowledge is power.”

You see, we humans enjoy feeling like we know what’s going on. The phrase “…like to know what’s going on” was practically my mother’s mantra whenever she’d quiz my brother and I about every detail of our friends and how we live our lives. Knowing what’s happening/going on makes us feel “in control.” And it’s only natural many of us would want to feel “in control,” especially in times of great strife or chaos. Let’s be honest, it often feels like most of us are NOT in control of our daily lives for a whole host of different reasons. “Knowing what’s going on,” makes us feel like we’re making sense of the chaos.

Famed comic writer Alan Moore summarized conspiracy theories best when he said

It seems that quite often, many prefer ascribing major global events and celebrity deaths into an ongoing narrative of secret forces battling for control. To many people, this makes more sense than the world being full of random chaotic events, than the world being rudderless. That’s ok. People are going to interpret events however they’re going to interpret them. I mean, the 'official' story of Jesus in the New Testament is basically four people’s interpretation of a certain set of events. But my point is that it’s important to be honest about why we might interpret things interwoven with conspiracy theories; because we’re afraid of not knowing, because the unknown/chaos of the world is scary.

Please note, I’m not calling anyone out, nor am I calling anyone derogatory names for adhering to certain “theories.” Nowhere in this article have I even said they are negative things. Rather I’m pointing out that I think people gravitate to these “theories” partially out of fear. To some extent that’s natural. Our ego monkey brains tend to gravitate towards patterns and routines. And what is a story if not a type of interpretive pattern? And that strive/need/want to “know what’s going on” is also a certain type of mental pattern.

Personally, I think it’s ok to not always know what’s going on because we’re human beings and we just can’t. Despite those awkward moments in school, it’s ok to not know things. Not knowing is actually a natural part of being alive, and sometimes it’s important to embrace the unknown.

Part of why I enjoyed traveling to Egypt and also to different parts of the United States on a whim was because it was a deep dive into metaphorical waters of chaos. I didn’t always know where I would be sleeping or for how long. Despite this, it seems as though I enjoyed living in those environments a little more than the 20-ish years of my life that was spent in a structured environment of school and job.

However, over the years in my travels, what I did not enjoy were the people who felt the need to push their conspiracy theories on other people.

This segues into the other problem with many who have a predilection for conspiracy theories. In many conspiracy theory circles, there is a penchant toward an “all or nothing black and white” thought process, also known as binary thinking.

It is this binary thinking that, ironically enough creates a certain lack of critical thinking in people who claim to be critically thinking because they or someone else told them to believe that there is only one answer and everyone else not privy are either sheeple or working against the collective good.

As humans, I suppose it’s our prerogative to believe what we want. I don’t necessarily think that’s true as there are certain fundamental truths/facts/laws that govern our world (examples include: the sky is blue, the earth is round). But once someone, who adheres to whatever conspiracy theory, begins pushing that shit on others, it starts to get a little annoying in the same way a sales rep might try to up-sell you an enhanced vacation package or a special cream you can get for free if you pay $5 more. At least that’s not as frustrating (or scary) as others who are so convinced by these theories that they decide to act on the supposed evidence, like several well known incidents over the last few years.

Taking actions like those people definitely goes out of the realm of "just talk” / “exposing the truth” and into the realm of lunacy. When these thoughts transform from a “theory” to something akin to an adherent, solidified belief that “this is the only truth/possible explanation,” that’s when shit starts to get crazy and I’m out. I just can’t anymore. I say this because it’s been my experience on this planet and in this life so far that there’s almost never just one possible explanation for anything. There is always a multitude of factors that go into these things.

But look, I’m all for questioning what people in authority share with the rest of us. One of my poetic and comic idols George Carlin one said,

I wholeheartedly endorse this. I do my best to keep an open mind. But as I said, there is a limit to which we can keep our minds open. There are certain unalienable truths that the majority of us on this planet have accepted over time (i.e. the sky is blue, the Earth is round, gravity). I also know there are exceptions to many of these unalienable truths. Again, I’m keeping an open mind. But it’s also important to remember, as Australian comedian Tim Minchin once remarked,

“If you open your mind too much your brain will fall out.”

The larger point I’m trying to make in all this is that many conspiracy theories have a tendency toward binary thinking that is unappealing to me. Often, it reduces expert opinion to nothing more than political agenda despite, in some cases… years of experience in a certain field. It’s ridiculous.

Like, are you going to trust a brain surgeon to operate on your brain or are you going to trust a rando friend who’s read some stuff online and watched a few videos on YouTube about brain surgery?

Please note, I’m also not denying the existence of nefarious acts by groups of wealthy elite and/or governments. Hell, in the United States, the government spied on Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and also tried to sorta mind control cats into being spies. There is tons of evidence to suggest powerful people of the world coordinate certain events, or at the very least see it coming before the public does. But I just can’t get behind the overarching theory of a few super powerful people who might be shape-shifting lizards that drink blood are experimenting on populations like gods.

But by even typing the previous sentence, I am revealing that my brain still holds a morbid fascination with these “theories.” It may seem strange for some to hear after reading all this that my mind is still willing to, at the very least, entertain ideas from all sides. I do this partially because a large part of me is filled with what I call an “agreeable contrarian mindset.” One could also call it the F. Scott Fitzgerald test, as he once wrote that,

So instead of coming from a binary, black and white point of view (which I do believe many media outlets; including conspiracy sites, knowingly or ignorantly promote), I simply imagine all of it to be true simultaneously. For example, instead of choosing between the thought of people landing on the moon or it all being staged and filmed in a sound studio by Stanley Kubrick, sometimes I imagine that the moon landing was staged ON the moon AND still filmed by Stanley Kubrick. It’s silly, but ultimately more funny for me. What gets really interesting (and sometimes frustrating) is when conspiracy theories begin to intersect with politics, creating theorists who champion major political talking points from one side or the other.

One of the main talking points many conspiracy theorists on both sides of the political spectrum seem to agree on is that there are billionaire boogeymen pulling strings and influencing elections all over the world. They just disagree who those spooks are, partially based along ideological lines.

For a whole host of (often antisemitic) reasons, conservative leaning conspiracy enthusiasts believe the big bad billionaire is George Soros, but also involves the Rockefellers and other “liberal elite.” I mention antisemitism because there is a noted history of antisemitism that pervades many conspiracy theories, even to this day. Although, I also acknowledge that just a quick glance through some razor thin fringe sites shows a mighty inclination towards inciting hatred and fear of other religions that don’t accept Christ or, more often than not, conservative values.

While not as much history has been done on the subject, some with a more liberal POV also have a history of dabbling in conspiracy theories as well. But today, Liberal conspiracy freedom fighters often cite another foe, the Brothers Koch. Granted, these two seem to be much more open about many of their dealings, though that hasn’t stopped some research to see how far their money goes.

As I said, I’m just accepting that both of these things are true.

The part that bothers me in all this is that both sides are trying to convince others that this is only a binary, black and white choice. Followers of these conspiracy mindsets often demand that we all need to pick a side. I often wonder if both sides are true. But I think I know why that’s hard for people to fathom…

We the people without the money
are caught in a war of words
between billionaires
lobbing verbal bombs
through their talking puppets
on TV shows.

In conclusion, as I said in another article, it’s ok to speak your mind as long as you are willing to accept the consequences. Furhermore, it’s ok to believe what you want as long as it doesn’t harm anyone or cause violence. But I will leave you with a post I found on Facebook that perfectly summarizes the frustration many have with conspiracy theories.

Brycical is by no means a journalist or expert of conspiracy theories. But Brycical, like others, isn’t immune to noticing certain patterns about how certain people or ideologies perceive the world. So Brycical writes about it, hoping more will notice these patterns, get inspired and perhaps feel inclined to speak up as well. Feel free to read more of the patterns Brycical notices on here or check out his website to learn more about him.

is a writer that always seems to be working on at least five different projects while attempting to share musings and revelations on a regular-ish basis.

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