There’s a hard truth out there that we have to face: the world is getting stupider, and unfortunately, the Internet isn’t helping, because when you have access to every piece of knowledge known to man, you also have access to all the stupid nonsense in the world. Once you realize that, you’ll figure out that the availability of information isn’t making us smarter.
How is this possible? Well, on the Internet, we look for information based on what we want. Meanwhile, our minds gravitate to anything that sounds more interesting. This is how conspiracy theories thrive in the public imagination, because unfortunately, most people’s minds respond positively to outrageous claims that aren’t backed by any sort of evidence.
The sad part is that wild theories are everywhere because there are people disseminating them across the world. Unfortunately, this is not just the domain of the penniless lunatic. Today, there’s a whole industry based around spreading crap. Have you ever wondered why people like Alex Jones and David Icke still have careers, even though their theories have been discredited years ago? It’s because they’re able to make money off the morons who are willing to buy their merchandise.
Even worse is the fact that there are tons of nut jobs out there who have written books (which adults actually buy), and they’ve gotten to the top of bestseller lists, and because they’re making so much money off pure, unadulterated crap, they don’t like when someone makes an argument that could threaten their business model. At one point, former professional wrestler and actor Jesse Ventura asked David Icke how much money he was making off his books, resulting in an argument between him and Ventura. It seems to me that Icke is rather dishonest about the whole thing, and is only out to make money.
Unfortunately, the wide availability of conspiracy theories, and the theories themselves, have a disturbing effect on the people who believe them. There have actually been studies that have shown that people who believe in conspiracy theories tend to be more depressed, and more cynical about life. When that happens, the only thing that conspiracy believers know to do is take their frustration out on the world, and that’s just one aspect of how dangerous conspiracy theories can be.
The other dangerous aspect is that, by paying so much attention to these conspiracy theories in any way, we’ve taken valuable time away from tackling the real issues, such as poverty, climate change, and education. For example, instead of wasting our time on the MMR vaccine conspiracy (which was proven false years ago), we could have used all the money spent on debunking the theory to find a cure for cancer. Could you imagine a world without conspiracy theories?
Let’s think about this for a moment. If there were no conspiracy theories based around vaccines (and how they’re supposedly out to brainwash you from birth), there’d be no needless deaths from diseases that could have been prevented by vaccination. If there were no conspiracy theories about how global warming is a hoax, then we’d be more likely to better look after the Earth, and it wouldn’t come at the cost of our freedoms either, and if mindless nonsense didn’t sell so much, then we’d be less likely to take it seriously, and may even be smarter as a species.
I just hope that one day, we all get bored of conspiracy crap, so we can look back and laugh at the stupidity of ages past.