Have Our Minds Been Highjacked? Mental Health in an Era of Conspiracy Theories

A conspiracy is a secret plan or plot. A conspiracy theory, as mentioned during the discussion, is a term that really has come into vernacular in the last 50 years. One distinction of a conspiracy theory vs conspiracy would be the idea that many multiple entities are collaborating for a specific nefarious outcome. People, who for various reasons are susceptible to this (note Dr. Crichton’s words) hear an idea that can trigger certain cognitive reactions that tend to insulate a person into a web of false deceit. One becomes immune to facts that are outside of the assumptions of a conspiracy theory. Belief in a conspiracy theory ignores the ideas of coincidence, or the idea that different pieces of society are acting in small ways and that a phenomenon has turned into a bigger event just due to chance.

Conspiracies do happen every day. The difference is the scope. A conspiracy theory involves huge swaths of people and big pieces of social structure.

Belief in a conspiracy theory does provide meaning. You are right a person does not see it is false or the person would discard the belief. I could have worded that better. My point is that being swept in a conspiracy theory gives a person a sense of insider information and a sense of collegiality with others who are in on the “secret.” So, in some ways, this gives community and an idea of control. But, it is built on a falsehood.

What concerns me is the way conspiracy theories have been used by evil intelligentsia to rally masses of people to act on genocidal tendencies in the 20th century. These broad narratives target “other” people in society and cultivate the idea that “others” must be eliminated for the good of society.

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George,

If you can’t determine up front the motivation behind any conspiracy theory, then you probably shouldn’t either subscribe to it or propagate it. Plane and simple. Almost everything being floated out there these days has a hidden meaning. Most of the real intent is never directly disclosed, it is guised in some sort of simple single sentence slogan, but is generally deceitful.

Example: Conspiracy Theories about voting fraud have been widely touted. Numerous Secretary of States overseeing their state elections, as well as the Trump administration election security chief, all of who were Republicans and voted for Mr. Trump, said it was the the least fraudulent election in history. The real motivation behind this conspiracy is to restrict voting as much as they can get away with. We have seen a number of states enacting these restrictions. The truth behind this process is that when voting is made easier, Democrats almost always do better. When it is made more difficult, Republicans almost always come out better. The ruse in this whole conspiracy theory is that we are protecting the integrity of the election, when there hasn’t been an election where more than a miniscule fraction of the votes cast were fraudulent. And never where there would be enough to change an outcome. The irony is that more of the fraudulent voting usually has been cast for the Republican, but that isn’t the issue. We are changing policy in order to help one party maintain or regain power. And, it doesn’t matter which party you support, you should not want to make it harder for anyone to participate in our elections.
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This same thinking should apply to all racial, sexual orientation and religious issues. God blessed this country because it allowed freedom to choose in all of these cases. The country and the world will ultimately be ended when these freedoms are no longer available.

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Hi Carmen, thanks for your response, but you did not comment on my question to you concerning why “conspiracy theories do not promote love”. Regarding my first two questions you wrote:

I hope you realize that this premise is little more than a hypothesis or theory in itself, while potentially true, I seems to me it can’t be the sole reason or even a significant determinant for normal/logical populations accepting a false theory.

This is also a little farfetched - Being labeled a “Conspiracy Theorist” is hardly a badge of honor under which someone may feel “group belonging”, which leads me into another comment I would like make about your panel. While its seriousness and intellectual depth were very positive, it does not appear that anyone there took the time to discuss or understand the insidious effect this “term” has had on American psyche over the last half century.

A recent analysis gives credit for this term to liberal historian Richard Hofstadter during his 1950’s vociferous tirades against the “New Right.”, then kit was used by the CIA to control any dissenting opinions on the findings of the Warren Commission about JFK’s murder. For me the term became “officially’ used or known through George W Bush’s UN speech: “Let us never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories concerning the attacks of September the 11th; malicious lies that attempt to shift the blame away from the terrorists”.

But what has happened since then is completely unprecedented in the history of our Democracy (if we can call it that). One would have to be blind and deaf not to understand how this label has been weaponized by mainstream media to publicly deride, ridicule, and even discipline, anyone, including elected officials who bring into discussion topics deemed “off-limits” or those that may simply question “the official version” of anything.
Conspiracy Theorist is an expletive used to strike fear in the heart of politicians and even proven and respected intellectuals of almost any discipline. Just look at what happened to Anthony C Sutton, Research Fellow Historian at Stanford University after he published his book Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution.
I can add a lot more to the concept of how misused, even dangerous the use of this term has become, but will instead end by reminding us what happened a few months ago when a slew of articles were published drawing parallels between fringe groups like Qanon and Seventh Day Adventists- a lot of people in the forum agreed!

Lindy
I will agree with you on how the term is being misused, simply as a cliche, I even agree with you on the analysis of the results, but is is not a “conspiracy theory”, this is just a criminal attempt to deceive people, it is mis-information.

According to some “conspiracy theorists”, there is a much greater, leftist conspiracy in the offing than Qanon and Trump’s alleged conspiracy to overthrow the US democracy, called “The Great Reset”.

But, given that the left currently insists on smearing and even censoring anyone who subscribes to any conspiracy theory as being either insane, a liar, or both, this alleged attempt to highjack the world economies, and hush any dissent to it, has received absolutely no coverage other than by those typically labeled “far-right nut jobs”.

Is this conspiracy a hoax?

Are the minds of those who are concerned about it either feeble or evil?

Will this alleged cabal of the ultra wealthy succeed in its goal of achieving world peace through revoking property and civil rights by 2030?

Is this the One World Government/“Beast” threat against which fundamentalists like SDA’s and EGW have been railing and warning for years?

Maybe yes.

Maybe no.

But whether one rejects the possibility that it is “the real thing” on the grounds that this supposed reshuffling is “just another theory” out of fear, laziness, ignorance, because it proves to be false, or because a person agrees with its objectives and is actively trying to silence resistance to it, simple disbelief—like a disbelief in gravity—will not make it go away or prevent the alleged co-conspators from accomplishing their supposedly idyllic/nightmarish goals.

In other words, and as George Carlin used to say, “It ain’t paranoia if people really are out to get ya!”

(And I hope I’ve put enough equivocations and “allegedly’s” in there to show that I’m a not cowering in my basement due to The Great Reset’s alleged threat!):rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl:

That sentence succinctly expresses the point I was trying to make above. Thank-you. In the current situation, “any discipline” includes scientists and physicians.

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To repeat my paraphrase of Edward Snowden: the most dangerous conspiracies are the ones in plain sight. So whether one considers it a conspiracy, or a worldview, paradigm, political platform or agenda, the Great Reset is certainly not a secret. The World Economic Forum posts daily messages outlining various aspects of it, and the mantra of “Build Back Better” has been picked up by hundreds of leaders in government (including Biden), business (including the Fortune 500 corporation I retired from), and academia.

In one sense, “Build Back Better” is simply an expression that reflects what people have done for millennia after disasters: they have tried to build back better and stronger than ever. After the 1900 storm, Galveston added a seawall as they rebuilt and raised the buidings. After major earthquakes, places like California and Japan implemented stricter building codes. After a losing season, NFL teams promise to draft new talent and rebuild a team stronger than ever. There is nothing inherently nefarious about building back better.

But in the past couple years the slogan has been associated with a globalist campaign that leans “big government”/“modified capitalist”, and has been taken up as a mantra by organizations layering a variety of progressive agenda items onto the recovery from the COVID-19 related health and economic crisis. Therefore it is not surprising that some on the right would see it as a conspiracy, though it is certainly in the open and the agenda items are on display.

The term “The Great Reset” is also associated with that, though I’ve seen that term used by serious economists for at least a decade in the context of an expected economic crisis as national and global debt explodes beyond any hope of payback while entitlements and other cost obligations also skyrocket. As a recent conspiracy theory, however, the Great Reset takes the form of the belief that the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic was inflicted intentionally (or in some versions, faked) as a mechanism to drive a globalist agenda (https://www.bbc.com/news/55017002). For a reasonably balanced overview of the recent use of the Great Reset term, see Deseret News (https://www.deseret.com/indepth/2021/1/2/22203108/great-reset-world-economic-forum-politics-conservative-conspiracy-parler-america-first).

Okay, if we define conspiracy as being a “secret” plot, you are correct. The Great Reset is not a conspiracy.

However, there is a more neutral iteration—and I admit, a probably less common one—which holds that a conspiracy is simply “to join or act together”, without the connotation of clandestine activity. By which definition, any two people agreeing to do anything is a conspiracy, either good, bad or indifferent, and which is closer to my intended use of the term.

The larger question, though, is what is the essential difference between a “open-air” attempt to take over the world, for example, and a furtive one?

If multiple shepherds cry “Wolf” for years, if only one shepherd yells “Wolf!” once, or if no one warns anyone of a thousand wolves, neither repeated false alarms, one real one, or no alarm whatsoever, does anything to confirm or refute the wolf’s presence.

The basic point being that it is unwise to reject or accept the purported “truth” or value of any theory—conspiratorial or otherwise—due to the fact that some people are calling another group’s activities a "conspiracy” in the negative or even illegal sense, or, conversly, due to the lack of evidence of a conspiracy, given that obfuscation is the common thread in all illicit activities and since absolute proof of anything may never be forthcoming. (If lack of evidence can be considered proof, then the “co-conspirators” of atheism are correct and god as a “real”, corporeal being doesn’t exist.)

Thus, I find skepticism regarding the benefits of any such “coming together” to be the safe play and judge any conspiracy in neutral terms until such time as I know whether its efforts led to the betterment of everyone, or simply benefitted the original co-conspirators.

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Completely agree, the only reason I used “almost” any discipline is because intellectuals and scientists that support liberal disciplines (e.g. evolution, geology, cosmology, Etc.) are generally not included.

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This is where we are folks. This comes from Newsweek. It matters not whether you supported Biden or Trump, this shows how damaging conspiracy theories can be.

Newsweek

Pastor Robin Bullock Says It’s a Sin to Recognize Joe Biden as President

A Christian pastor named Robin Bullock has told his congregation that it’s a sin to refer to Joe Biden as “president.”

a man wearing a suit and tie: A pastor named Robin Bullock has told his congregation that it is a sin to refer to Joe Biden as “president.” In this photo illustration, a headless pastor points a finger towards the viewer while holding an open Bible.© Daniel Tadevosyan/Getty A pastor named Robin Bullock has told his congregation that it is a sin to refer to Joe Biden as “president.” In this photo illustration, a headless pastor points a finger towards the viewer while holding an open Bible.

A video of Bullock’s sermon, reposted by Right Wing Watch, shows the pastor telling his congregants that they should pray for Biden.

“You can pray for a man named Joe Biden. You should. No, no, don’t get off in hate. You should pray. Okay?” he began. “You can pray for the office of the president. But you cannot pray for President Joe Biden, because you might as well pray for the Easter Bunny, because he don’t exist.”

“And there’s no anointing,” he said of Biden’s office. “And if you celebrate it or congratulate him, you’ve entered into his sin.”

Self-proclaimed “prophet” Robin Bullock declares that it’s a sin to recognize Joe Biden as president and asserts that cannot pray for “President Joe Biden” because he doesn’t exist: “You might as well pray for the Easter Bunny.” pic.twitter.com/Av3qmv3xhv

Bullock is a self-described “prophet” who wrongly predicted that former President Donald Trump would win the 2020 presidential election. Bullock co-founded Youth Force Ministries Church International and hosts the weekly “prophetic” YouTube program The Eleventh Hour.

Bullock has refused to accept that Biden won.

“Joe Biden is not the legitimate president,” Bullock said in an April 20 YouTube livestream for The Eleventh Hour. “He is a jackal sitting in the White House seat.” Bullock has called Biden “dangerous to America.”

Bullock has referred to Trump as the “rightful president.” He said that prophets like himself can “call back” Trump into the presidency. He added that if Trump wanted to walk back into the Oval Office, “God will supernaturally move things out of the way.”

Bullock has also implored Biden to “stand up in front of the American people and admit what happened” by declaring “it was a fraud” and that Biden “didn’t win legitimately.”

The pastor said that Biden is trying to “stop the prophecy” of the Trump presidency. Biden will suffer under the “terrible burden” of “hiding the truth,” Bullock claimed, and will be driven mad by it.

Near the end of March, when Biden tripped several times while walking up the staircase to the Air Force One airplane, Bullock claimed it was a symbol that Biden’s presidency was “finished.” In that sermon, he compared Biden to assassinated Roman emperor Julius Caesar, who Bullock called a “tyrant.”

In an early April sermon, Bullock claimed that all gay people are actually evangelical believers who have been taken over by spirits. In November 2020, he blamed the coronavirus and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on people that supported Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.

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wow…all of this gives religion such a bad name…

This usually leads to “my absurd is better than yours” type of discussions in religious context one can find justifiable.

Adventist eschatology IS a conspiracy theory.

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You need to understand how categories work before you generalize.

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I think that this is in keeping with conspiracy theories. And unless I am missing something, that is the category. I’m not sure what your problem is.

I have never heard of Robin Bullock. Sounds like a person I need to steer a wide path around.

The point I was making is that there’s a difference between legitimate facts that one can point to, and political hackery in which rejecting political opponents becomes default. Trump got exactly same treatment with the whole “he is a Russian agent” thing.

I’ll give an example of apolitical concept that gets thrown into “conspiracy theory” realm gor largely political reasons.

Oxford was planning to open-source its development of vaccine, which eventually would be mass produced around the globe, making it accessible in poor nations.

Bill Gates stepped in, and essentially strongarmed them into privatizing it, and killing the open source dev.

Why? If he is such a great philanthropist, open sourcing these would be his primary concern. He doesn’t, because he invested into myriad of medical ventures, including Pfizer way back in early 2000s and became the champion of global vaccination programs as he mediated between governments and corporate entities into contracts that essentially rescuing the diminishing pharma market right now.

Yet, every news outlet right now is pushing him as a savior of mankind, while he silently gobbles up massive scope of deregulated vaccine market, while pushing for it to be global mandate.

Yet, people are massively brainwashed into thinking that we absolutely can’t wait the long-term vaccine trials for something that’s a first ever and first of a kind RNA therapy essentially, going into a massive trial with zero long-term data from the trials, inching on a global mandate of perpetual vaccination of the entire world as managed by few companies that shouldn’t have been allowed to privatize any of this.

So, as I’ve said… there are categories.

A little side note. I’m not against vaccines. I am against medical profeteering from something that should be in public domain.

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I am so thankful that I have not gone down the same blackhole as you. I don’t read the rags on the checkout stand at my grocery store for good reason. I, also, avoid many sources on the internet which propagate the very conspiracy theories this thread is talking about. .

Like I said earlier in this thread, if the information you are ingesting is principally to denigrate and call into question someone’s motives or their character, as you have done with Mr. Gates, then I want no part of it. He HAS done a great deal of good with his money. Unlike his early partner, Paul Allen, who is now dead. I won’t disparage him but I have had a personnel run-in with his preditory practices, so I can first-handedly speak about his behavior. I dislike the kind dirt (conspiracy theory) that you are spreading. Please stop this kind of character assignation on this site. This site is suppose to be spiritually uplifting, not some internet version of the National Enquirer. :

No there are not categories, there is simply the truth and lies.

You can continue to believe whatever you want. But you won’t drag me down with you.

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Black hole? This isn’t some secret hiding in Area51 bunker. It’s a well-known fact:

As you can see, the premise doesn’t even argue against efficacy of vaccines. The argument is against monopoly of that market by corporate match-makers to the likes of Gates Foundation, and CGI, which are nothing more than political tools for restructuring global corporate landscape through agendas they see fit for the future.

I’m not even saying they are making wrong decisions, but I am saying that monopolies are terrible for our collective future, because they scope too much global decisions-making to people who have very little contextual understanding of wide range of local realities. Which is why, along with plentiful good that Gates has done, he also has done plentiful terrible things. And we simply can’t afford to privatize something that shouldn’t be profit driven, especially in the neo-liberal umbrella that all of this presented under? It makes zero sense in this context. You may be fine with Gates creating a virtual agglomerate monopoly which he pimps out to governments around the globe by scoping exclusive multi-year contracts… and erasing any liability laws surrounding administration and distribution of these vaccines, and you may find it as a viable vehicle for philanthropy. I don’t :slight_smile: It’s the same game of global monopoly he’s been playing in software market, as he now applies that model to healthcare market. I’m not saying there’s absolutely nothing good that comes out of it, but long term we are looking people taking their yearly doses of 10-15 vaccine shots… just in case, and I don’t think that’s the world we want to live in.

Your response actually demonstrates native reality that assumes that Gates is beyond criticism in whatever charitable enterprise he ventures out as he seeks to reshape the world as he sees fit.

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Newsweek is a rag you can buy at the grocery store.

The sensationalist “man bites dog” story you cited from it is intended to denigrate a person who is simply following Nancy Pelosi’s lead from back in 2016 when she claimed that election was a fraud (without any evidence) as well as the example of those on the left who insisted that the duly elected Trumpeteer was not their president.

Further, by running this story and allowing it to be reprinted here, Newsweek, you and Spectrum have not only conspired against this self-anointed “prophet” but have also ironically given a man most people would never have heard of otherwise, and a preacher many evangelicals probably consider insane if no blasphemous, a nationwide pulpit from which to spew his rhetoric.

Can’t see how anyone could argue that it’s you who’s in a dark hole and I suggest you not only stop digging but also stop reading Newsweek uncritically.

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Dude,

After all the atrocities committed in the name of “just doing what god told me,” you now think some probably psychopathic preacher, puking verbally from his backwoods pulpit, has single-handedly given Religion a bad reputation?!?!

I don’t know if you’re waiting for a memo from The Almighty, or need me to find a memory verse I could quore, but religion’s reputation was destroyed the first time someone said “God told me to tell you…” and some credulous, potential sycophant/religious person said “ Really!!! :rofl:

(Oh wait!

I know.

How about “Not everyone who says unto me…”)

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