Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

Conspiracy Theorist Is Not A Dirty Word

Hearing conspiracy theorists go on about a shadowy room filled with men pulling on the levers of the world is hilarious. Until it turns out to be true. Which does occasionally happen.

Sure, these lever-pullers aren’t leaking alien DNA into our tapwater, or dropping biological agents out of the sky. But these mysterious figures do set events in motion that affect us all.

In 1964, the States faked an attack on a US destroyer in the Gulf of Tonkin to incite a war against Vietnam. Edward Snowden revealed that a number of Western countries were secretly building a massive surveillance system to spy on people across the globe. And Wall Street is still doing insider deals behind closed doors.

Sometimes a shadowy figure actually is pulling the strings and manipulating the world against its will. 

So being skeptical about what the government and its institutions tell you isn’t automatically crazy. A healthy dose of skepticism actually benefits the greater good.

Which raises the question, what is healthy?

Let’s find out by looking at the most popular conspiracies of the moment: Covid-19 was made in a Chinese lab, it’s no worse than the flu, Bill Gates and his rich buddies are using the virus to make trillions from vaccines.

Although different, all these conspiracies revolve around Coronavirus. Why do so many people believe powerful groups conspired in the dark to create a worldwide pandemic?

Because the virus was shrouded in mystery.

We didn’t know where it came from. How fast it’d spread. And what it would do. As if the mystery of the lethal virus wasn’t enough, people around the world were told to stay at home, or to wear a surgical mask outside while keeping their distance.

Can you blame people for making up stories? A killer virus is on the loose and people want to know what’s happening. People want the truth.

And since governments don’t always act openly—we’re all familiar with WikiLeaks—we get theories of large scale cover ups.

And that’s where we run into trouble.

Although a theory is simply an explanation that hasn’t been proven, many people fall in love with a theory. After all, a conspiracy theory carries suspense: you know something others don’t want to see. And now you resist all opposing evidence.

So what once was a quest for truth transforms into a bullheaded refusal to give up certainty. To give up belief.

And that’s when conspiracy theories become unhealthy. Although it’s good to be critical and doubt authority, it’s equally important to be critical of your own sources and opinions. Otherwise you’re just as naïve as the people who blindly accept the opinions of the mainstream.

Just because the idea of a dark room filled with cloaked figures huddled around a control panel sounds fun, doesn’t make it any more true.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach