I recently saw the remake of the movie The Manchurian Candidate. In general, I don’t believe in conspiracy theories. Most rely on a series of events and actions that fall outside of my experience with human nature.
Conspiracy theories have the effect (often unintended) of making us feel powerless to change the world. They seek to convince us that there are forces “out there” inherently stronger than us.
Noam Chomsky is one of the premier purveyors of conspiracy theories (see Manufacturing Consent ). I believe he correctly identifies some of the difficulties in the world (e.g. political and corporate Influences wield too much power over our lives). He asserts that this control is covert and coordinated; classic conspiracy. However, I believe his conclusions as to the causes of this are too simplistic, and overlook human nature.
We tend to look for and protect that which is like us. We tend to view our actions as “good” and the actions of others as “bad.” While the “effects” of certain conspiracies are valid, I believe the causes to them are more organic than the coordinated efforts that various conspiracy theories posit.
Why is this important? Because it causes us to be distracted from the real sources of problems facing humanity. It causes us to look outward rather than inward, and it causes us to despair relative to our ability to change the world.
There was another movie released this Summer that more accurately addresses the nature of conspiracies: The Village. It starts with a traditional conspiracy of monsters and creatures; evil beings who are “out there” and who want to harm us. The movie progresses, however, to show us that the source of the evil was internal to the community, not external.
Be not distracted. We have the power to shape our lives, to change our communities, and to improve our world. Don’t cede that power to those who would convince you otherwise, including yourself.