Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Fact, Fiction, and Conspiracy Theories

Summertime-- and the living is easy. I spent a whole afternoon watching a series on YouTube, from Israeli television, about various conspiracies. I was familiar with some of the theories. Once I started, it was addictive. I, too, love a good story that ties all seemingly disparate ends together.

The problem with most conspiracy theories is that the facts are super shaky. That’s what makes them  theories, and really, not much more. Real conspiracies have always existed. But without clear verifiable facts it is not healthy to accept these theories.

A conspiracy theory usually follows the same Arab world logic regarding the Jews being behind 9/11: it looks at the results, who benefited, and concludes this was the culprit.
This I know: some people who are smart are also smart enough to know that when you unleash something, you cannot predict the results. Smart people are always very cautious for this reason.

The need to make sense of everything is behind these theories. That is what we humans always do. But the variables are too many, and it is humbling to accept that what should make sense doesn't always.
 It is pleasurable to spend hours making connections using what seems like logic, but no real facts to back it. When facts are missing or contradictory, one can always hide behind the conspiracy of the major news sources to hide things. 
Some people seek comfort by not thinking about things, others by making everything fit a neat package. They delude themselves that they are the chosen ones, willing to live without the lulling comforts the rest of humanity is slumbering and snoring to. 
But the conspiracy addicts are not different in the seeking of comfort. The impulse to have everything fit is their comfort zone.
I live with my ignorance and uncertainty, sometime better than other times. But I am certain, nay, very certain, that there is no Jewish Cabal, mafia, or conspiracy. Two Jews=three opinions is a whole lot closer to the truth. We don’t agree about much, and we are an argumentative people. Also “stiff necked,” as the Torah says.

 The communists killed more of each other than anybody else. The KGB was less efficient than we feared, not more. The Israeli Mossad has had more failures than successes. Do I have facts? Every firsthand-knowledge I happened to bump into in my short life (sometimes second hand) confirmed this.

 I know conspiracy addicts are not convince-able.  Gray is not very sexy; black & white is much more interesting. I know this as a storyteller too. Gray is a hard sell.
P. D. James explained the success of her detective stories as the need to have life's puzzles fit; all the pieces in place. It’s fiction, but the need to apply this to real life makes some cross the line.

I work on this in fiction.


  1. Well, I learned something new today- I had no idea that some people think that Jews were involved in 911! Crazy...

  2. Conspiracy theories are just that—theories. Keep in mind anyone can have them and post them online. That's why you can't always believe what you read on the internet. You're probably better off if you don't. ;)

  3. I saw a great 3D puzzle today in a museum in Jerusalem. Following the instructions in English the blocks created a model of the Holy Sepulchre Church. Following the Arabic instructions the blocks created the Dome of the Rock and following the Hebrew instructions these same blocks created the Western Wall and plaza. It was quite ingenious, no extra parts were left each time. Now why can't we get our parts together and get along!

    1. "why can't we get our parts together and get along"

      AMEN to that^.

    2. What a fascinating kind of puzzle. And such a marvelous parable.

  4. "...The impulse to have everything fit is their comfort zone." Often the zone is too narrow and shallow for anything else to fit but words of hate. It's strange to think that hate can be comforting, but when the beast has been fed a steady diet of ill will and malice, it craves the same.

  5. The sad thing is that is some people will believe anything if it is repeated enough. I point people to snopes frequently and they are so surprised to find out that theories they thought were true were not.

  6. This is an interesting topic--you made me think early on a Saturday morning! = ) Some of the conspiracy theories I have heard are downright scary, and leave me really glad that they are just "theories." People can get really creative with their thinking, can't they? Fiction is definitely a perfect place to find them!