The conspiracy theorist looks for centralized conspiracies to explain societal level events.
But for Covid it was abundantly clear that vast swathes of the public at all levels aggressively pushed for the draconian interventions (such as wearing masks in their cars alone), making it difficult for a conspiracy theorist.
How could THAT many people be in on it? Are they ALL being paid?!
Meanwhile, those familiar with emergent phenomena like Matt Desmet and me provided the general kind of explanation for how the whole world seemingly had gone mad all at once: collective hysteria.
But, rather than taking it as an alternative hypothesis for explaining what happened, the conspiracy theorists jumped on this and said, “Aha! The conspiring puppeteers INITIATED the collective hysteria! It was just one step in their tortuously complicated, multi-decade plan to enslave us!”
There are at least two cognitive mistakes that I believe lead to the human tendency toward conspiracy theory (which are NOT merely theories about conspiracies, see the first video link below).
(I) The inability to appreciate both
— (a) the difficulty (impossibility!) of reliably initiating collective hysteria, and
— (b) how the viral spread of ideas through communities — and the subsequent righteous narrative that can emerge — can have all the appearances of there having been a designer that coordinated the events.
Here are five Moments on these issues:
~ The Covid Conspiracy Moment
~ Mass hysterias are avalanches across minds
~ Cooties drives their crazy beliefs
~ Take over governments? Maybe. Create a new religion? No.
~ Seeming coordination is the hallmark of collective hysteria
(II) A mistaken notion of culpability that says that those in a collective hysteria must therefore not be culpable.
And here are five Moments on this:
~ If they’re in a mass hysteria, does that mean they’re not culpable?
~ The greatest evils come from within the hysteria
~ Culpability doesn’t require they started the collective hysteria
~ Your parents taught you that mass hysteria doesn’t excuse you
~ Why the sheep are culpable