Next Sunday BBC2 is showing a programme about conspiracy theories. This morning they interviewed a psychologist involved in making it. His observation was that people who tend to believe in conspiracy theories often have trust issues on an interpersonal level, and this easily gets extrapolated to mistrust of governments and big institutions. Another angle raised was that when an event happens that has a huge impact – such as 9/11, or the death of Princess Diana – people often want a reason for the event of comparable magnitude. It’s not enough, despite the evidence, that Diana’s death was an accident, or that 9/11 was caused by a small group of Arabs: there have to be bigger causes, so that, for example, the British government ordered the death of Princess Diana. There are, of course, such things as real conspiracies, as they were quick to point out, examples being Watergate and the Iran-Contra affair.
All good Saturn-Neptune stuff. These 2 planets make an exact opposition in 2 weeks, so the programme is timely. Conventional, grounded reality (Saturn) versus deception, illusion, trust/mistrust (Neptune). What we don’t always know is which end of the opposition is the real one! Are we being deceived (Neptune) by the Government (Saturn), or do we need a reality-check (Saturn) on our paranoid illusions (Neptune)? Maybe we can never be 100% sure.
What I have noticed with people who tend to believe in conspiracy theories is that they really want the conspiracy to be true, and there’s no arguing with them. They think you’re just naïve because you haven’t woken up to what’s ‘really’ going on. It often has the flavour of religious conversion.
I like to be open-minded about these things. I’d be really fascinated if some of them were true, but I don’t NEED them to be true. I find it’s a bit of a balancing act in remaining open to these possibilities without involving myself in the crazy, paranoid minds of the David Ickes of this world.