Do people really believe the more extreme conspiracy theories?

Of course, we never really believe any story. Somewhere in us is more sanity. We know we cannot know anything for certain. We know what’s happening when we hold a story as true. We latch onto the story and pretend – to ourselves and others – it’s true in order to find a sense of safety.

That aside, and in a more conventional sense, do people really believe conspiracy theories? And especially the more extreme ones?

I am sure there are individual differences. And I suspect many don’t actually really, honestly, believe them.

They hold onto them more as a form of reactivity. It may be more an expression of pain and a kind of tantrum.

To test this, I have offered some who hold more extreme conspiracy theory views a bet. For instance, you say that the vaccine is intended to kill off people. Within how many years? And how many? Would you be willing to take a bet, where you set the conditions for whether it goes one way or the other? If this does happen, I give you $10,000 (and put it in my testament in case I die before). If it doesn’t, you give me $10,000.

So far, nobody has taken me up on it. And that tells me they may not really believe it.

Somewhere, they know they cannot know. Somewhere, they know it’s likely nonsense.

Somewhere, they know it’s more an expression of reactivity.

Somewhere, they may even know it’s a bit immature.

And all of this mirrors me, of course. I do all of this too. Not with conspiracy theories, but anytime I hold a story as the final, or full, or absolute truth. Or any time a part of me holds a story as true, which happens more often and sometimes without me consciously noticing.

DRAFT

Of course, we never really believe any story. What we are know they are not true the way our superficial mind takes them to be. Many parts of us know they are not true the way we take them to be. Many parts of us know we cannot know anything for certain. Somewhere in us, we know what’s happening. We latch onto a story and pretend – to ourselves and others – it’s true in order to find a sense of safety.

That aside, in a more conventional sense, do people really believe conspiracy theories, and especially the more extreme ones?

I am sure there are individual differences. And I suspect many don’t actually really, honestly, believe them.

They hold onto them more as a form of reactivity. It may be more an expression of pain and a kind of tantrum.

To test this, I have offered some who hold more extreme conspiracy theory views a bet. For instance, you say that the vaccine is intended to kill off people. Within how many years? And how many? Would you be willing to take a bet, where you set the conditions for whether it goes one way or the other? If this does happen, I give you $10,000 (and put it in my testament in case I die before). If it doesn’t, you give me $10,000.

So far, nobody has taken me up on it. And that tells me they may not really believe it.

Somewhere, they know they cannot know. Somewhere, they know it’s likely nonsense.

Somewhere, they know it’s more an expression of reactivity.

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