Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Why Do We Like Conspiracies?

Tom Schreck, author of OUT COLD.

The Lincoln assassination.

The Kennedy assassination.

Martin Luther King

Pearl Harbor


The financial bail out of the richest companies in the world.

The Bush/Gore election.

All have been speculated to be conspiracies. All the conspiracies have been debunked by experts.

To believe in a conspiracy is to voice your lack of trust in the world and the power structure that runs it.

Are conspiracy theories merely collective psychological defense mechanisms to help us conceive of monumental events? Are they just a way for us to deny that catastrophic things can happen randomly?

In OUT COLD, a schizophrenic, PTSD suffering patient winds up on Duffy's caseload. He's nuts and believes in every conspiracy ever. He also predicts future conspiracy-type events.

Then, they start coming true.

In the end it's left for you to figure who's nuts.

What is the healthy stand to take? Trust no one and believe the powers that be are out to screw us or blindly follow what the governments, the media and the "experts" tell us?


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I think you're right about the appeal of conspiracies...it gives us the feeling that we're not sure who we can trust. And that paranoid feeling isn't something we ordinarily experience (at least, most of us don't!)

Mystery Writing is Murder

Michele Emrath said...

They certainly make for good reading and good writing. But I prefer to be a little trusting in my own life, so as not to go too crazy.


L.J. Sellers said...

I think you're right about conspiracies being a way for people to accept and process events they don't understand. The chaos concept is hard for some people. It may be why we have religion too.

Cricket McRae said...

I agree that some find comfort in conspiracies because they give a kind of twisted order to chaos. Paranoia can also be a way to embrace victimhood, since there are all those powerful evil entities running the world and we're helpless against them.

Gotta go work on my foil hat now.

Keith Raffel said...

Tom, I worked in DC for four years. If the choice for an explanation is between conspiracy and stupidity, put your money on the latter.

G.M. Malliet said...

You have to leave room for coincidence, too. But as Keith says, stupidity often plays a role.

Sheila Deeth said...

Maybe conspiracy theories are a way to try on distrust like a set of disposable clothes. They teach us something about our need to trust while letting us pretend not to.

Anonymous said...

Did you all know that lee Harvey Oswald's tax returns are still classified.

Whatyagottosay about that Raffel?