I used to be fascinated by the world of conspiracies, almost obsessed with their potential. The Illuminati, 9/11 and 7/7, Freemasonry, Roswell, assassinations, etc. are just the tip of a massive iceberg. It certainly gained huge momentum and growth with the power of the internet that was introduced to homes around the country only around ten to twenty years ago. With the ease that power gave me I would constantly look for videos or images that were supposed evidence of aliens, ghosts, or cryptids, and whether I believed them or not, it was still a rush to scour through with the possibility of seeing something potentially incredible. It was almost a drug to see things that you think you probably shouldn’t be able to see or rather that you’re not allowed to see it.
The big one for me, (and was probably the most popular conspiracy theory at its peak), was 9/11. There were a lot of videos that showed puffs of smoke emanating from the towers, suggesting planted explosives brought them down. There was also apparent information that stated outright that a plane on its own would not have done as much damage as it apparently did. The finger of the theorists pointed firmly to the American Government, (why they were immediately accused, I can only speculate, though governments always seem to be the go to guys). Normally when I was presented with aliens, ghosts or cryptids, I thought to myself all the different reasons of how they could be explained. But when I saw this footage and other miscellaneous information that implied the American Government had framed nearly the whole of the Middle East, caused a war that lasted 8 years, (namely the Iraq war; I know the wars in Afghanistan and others were also tied to suspected terrorism and WMD’s), and relations between the east and west are still fragmented with the war on terrorism never seeming to end; I took it all in blindly and never questioned a single thing. I sat there thinking it was real, but now when I look back I think it’s all down to experience. Have I ever seen an alien, ghost or cryptid in the flesh before? No. I have however seen Governments lie to protect their best interests. It’s so much more likely that it’s hard not to believe it. The thought of America’s leaders going through with this though, for whatever reason, was incredibly compelling. The reasons behind 9/11 weren’t even the motivation for my amateur digging. Just the idea of a cover-up of this magnitude and unlocking it was addictive enough.
Sociologists and psychologists would say that it’s a feeling of powerlessness and/or the need for power over somebody or something that comes from finding out secrets that is the driving force behind this obsession and although I agree with it in some situations, I don’t agree with it when it comes to my personal experiences. I was always an observer in the world of conspiracies, I never participated in spreading the “facts” or “myths” and while that might sound like I’m even more of a hoarder of power by cutting off potential secrets from a wider public eye, I think it was more because it was never a serious endeavour for me. Also I think that if I really did crave power I would ultimately have used my new found knowledge to create a cult or something and make them worship me.
This is where my problem with conspiracies originated from and ultimately killed the joy of the secret searching. I thought about a lot of different questions that, when answered, became full-blown doubts; ‘If it came out tomorrow that the government was indeed responsible for destroying the twin towers and starting a whole lot of death and destruction that would take decades to recover from, what would happen next? Would it really have made any difference to me or to others I may have told whether I or we knew beforehand or not? If I was in government, would I have leaked the information or confessed to it all? Whether it was terrorists or the government that caused it, does it make a difference which one did? If I had relatives or friends killed in those towers, would I want to know if it was the government who did it? Would it make dealing with it any easier? Would I be able to trust authority ever again?’ and really, it all came down to one question, ‘Does knowing or speculating the truth change my life for the better in any way?’. Hmmm… honestly, I believe that the answer to that question is no. If I had conclusive proof that 9/11 was caused by the American Government, how would I be able to distribute the truth to the masses and how many would believe the information if I did? Would the government just do nothing about it, or would I face prison or death? Do I really have any power at all? It’s a strange vicious cycle that the digging for answers starts from feeling powerless and wanting to feel empowered, to getting the information and realising you don’t have power over anything. You’re back at square one and although the power thing was never what I wanted, that realisation showed just how pointless being a civilian sceptic really is.
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I can let myself go and have fun looking at creepy pictures of ghouls and monsters that are supposedly real, (people have put a lot of hard work into faking all sorts of things), but the magic that was causing my compulsion is long gone. In a way though, my fascination has evolved from learning everything about the conspiracies to analysing the theorists who create them and the people who believe them and while some conspiracy theories might turn out to be 100% fact, I don’t think that I could ever be drawn back into that world, as grateful as I am that I found it in the first place.
As for the people who are drawn to conspiracies, I don’t think of them as being wrong or deluded. I just think that personally it’s a waste of time and effort, (though usually the people who are into it the most are people who have a lot of time on their hands anyway). What I do think is wrong and needs to be fixed though is when somebody is biased. There is a lot of validity in some theorist’s arguments and information but when it is shared it becomes something else. It’s like Chinese whispers; when it’s been through countless people that might add or take away information it ends up distorted, fragmented or completely fabricated. People who are biased will use any evidence, (including evidence that they themselves suspect to be dubiously sourced or possibly intangible on both sides of the argument), to support their own beliefs, but to have a more solid argument it should be the other way around. Instead of initially believing in something and then going out looking for things to prove you are right, you should find out what you believe by looking through the evidence first. This way ensures that you don’t come up with conclusions that simply aren’t true like Jesus must exist because his face is in my toast.