It’s an effort to feel in control when you know you have none; to feel that you’re in the know, when no one acknowledges your own plight. For some, it’s self agrandizement. And for others, it’s comfort in feeling that they among a few others know the real truth.
This is all conjecture gleaned from reading online threads and talking to those who guide themselves by conspiracy theories. Whether or not my statements are true is questionable. So, I decided to, as the popular phrase goes, do some research.
Actual researchers have found similar conclusions as well as re-enforced other assumptions made about those who engage in conspiracies. Such as…
“Conspiracy belief is correlated with lower levels of analytic thinking (Swami, Voracek, Stieger, Tran, & Furnham, 2014) and lower levels of education (Douglas, Sutton, Callan, Dawtry, & Harvey, 2016).”
This is from one peer reviewed article I read. Unfortunately, according to this article, the belief of conspiracy theories sadly, does not satisfy the reason people are drawn to the belief in the first place. In fact, it seems that the conspiracy theories increase uncertainty. Cue the Cartesian circle.
I’ve written about the idea of easy answers before, but conspiracy theorists don’t look for easy answers. Their answers are coaxed with innuendo and then cajoled with superfluous twists and turns. It’s almost as though the believer goes on an adventure to reach an understanding, and once that understanding is achieved, it is defended as a prize.
We all need something to hold on to, and when more traditional metaphors fail, it’s only natural that we keep reaching for something else. Failures in life, be they from our own deeds or the deeds of others, no doubt, influence our own search for truth and understanding.
Failure feels different when it comes from the things that are supposed to provide support, sustain, and give strength. When we are failed by family, society, or institutions, it feels more personal, and we seek out substitutions.
With that in mind, I can understand the lure of a world that makes a person feel special via inclusion. This is my best understanding of why people buy into conspiracies. What I haven’t sussed out is why people perpetuate the theories in the first place. I believe more research will be involved, but I assure you, it won’t be from YouTube.