Conspiracy theories have always fascinated me.
I know that science and statistics (or whatever) tells us that they aren’t real, but part of me is enthralled with the 0.01% chance that they’re based in truth.
It’s also always been interesting to me to observe the way society responds to conspiracy theories. Some people are quick to dismiss them, pushing that ever so slight fear that they might be true into the back, darkest corners of the brain, and others, like myself, are entertained with them.
The first conspiracy I remember is the theory that the Apollo moon landings in the 1960s and 1970s were fake. I think it’s safe to say that this conspiracy theory is one of the most widely circulated theories, especially in popular culture — I have a distinct memory of a joke in a 2001 Futurama episode regarding the moon landing.
Until somewhat recently, “conspiracy” has been more of just a buzzword to strike doubt in people’s minds, but with the rise of social media, conspiracy theories have gained popularity in recent years. Whether those theories are in-depth and researched like those of YouTuber Shane Dawson, or Twitter theories that all Vans land face-up when tossed in the air, these theories are making their way into our everyday lives.
One of my personal favorites is that the moon is a hologram, or at least is covered with a hologram. I think I’m drawn to this theory because the moon is something we see all the time and learn about from such a young age. Don’t you remember learning about the phases of the moon and having to draw each phase? Just think about it — that all might be based on a lie. Intriguing!
With that said, I don’t spend time trying to prove these theories, nor do I really, truly believe them. However, one thing that messes me up every time is the Mandela Effect, which is the idea that accidental travel between alternate universes causes some people to remember certain things differently.
While I don’t necessarily believe or even understand the cause of this, my life was RUINED when I realized one of my favorite childhood books, The Berenstein Bears, was actually called The BerenSTAIN Bears. Again, don’t understand the explanation, but I will go to my grave insisting that it was Berenstein.
I figure I can’t be alone in my fascination with conspiracy theories, especially given that there’s a Wiki page that primarily dabbles in conspiracy theory-type pages. However, I wanted to dive a little deeper and figure out exactly why my brain clings on to conspiracy theories, even though the rational part of me knows they aren’t real.
Turns out, our brains are wired to be interested in conspiracy theories!
According to the BBC, our brains use conspiracy theories to provide a comprehensible answer to a complex situation and to protect us from constantly fearing the unknown. Those who believe in conspiracy theories can find a community with others who follow the same theories, satisfying our caveman-like need to always be a part of a pack.
Isn’t that cool?! There’s actual science explaining why many of us are interested in conspiracy theories. So really, those who don’t like conspiracy theories are the odd ones out, right? I think yes.
Realistically though, everyone talks about how the people who dive into these theories are the misguided ones, but what happens if we do find out that the moon really is a hologram?