Conspiracy Theories: Why we want to believe when the facts often aren’t there
“Consider conspiracies about vaccines containing microchips. Such conspiracies speak to concerns about the pace of technology. They gained a lot of traction at an especially uncertain and frightening time, during COVID-19 lockdowns. These theories can make believers feel like they have insider information about what’s really going on, even if that’s not backed up by facts.
The internet has made it much easier to find and spread these falsehoods. Many websites and personalities have embraced conspiracy theories to home in on that natural human need to attract audiences.”
Secret history: Even before the revolution, America was a nation of conspiracy theorists
To understand why so many were convinced, it’s important to remember the anxiety that followed the American Revolution, said Jonathan Den Hartog, a historian at Samford University. Many people were unsure whether the country would last.
“Living through this period, a lot of people were very nervous. And when there’s uncertainty and fear, people are going to cast about for explanations,” Den Hartog said.
Days of Darkness: How one woman escaped the conspiracy theory trap that has ensnared millions: Ramona
The conspiracy theories didn’t do much to help Ramona’s anxiety, but they did offer answers. They provided an outlet for her fears and gave her the idea that if she just did enough research, perhaps she could have power over them. She joined Facebook groups dedicated to QAnon. She started visiting online chat rooms and forums dedicated to conspiracy theories.
“The world is scary enough without conspiracy theories,” she said. “But when you believe them, at least they can give you answers. If you’re scared of the unknown,” conspiracy theories offer “an answer, no matter how farfetched it is.”
Antonio Perez wrote ta book on how to convert prople like him.(Not recommending.I think many need therapythat no ordinary person can provide) “I think I got a sense of self-importance” from conspiracy theories, Perez said. He believed that he alone “was figuring everything out. It all ties into wanting to be a hero.”
Checked by reality, some QAnon supporters seek a way out
Some had been shaken to reality by the incessant reach to the future that comes … for arrests and such promisesthat never seem to bear fruit.In turn, a few are trying to help others recover. AP has been interviewing dozens of them.
“Those who only dabbled in the conspiracy theory may shrug and move on, Cohen said. At the other extreme, more militant believers may migrate to radical anti-government groups and plot potentially violent crimes. Indeed, some QAnon believers have already done so.
“In the middle, he said, are those who looked to QAnon ‘to help them make sense of the world, to help them feel a sense of control.’ These people may revise QAnon’s elastic narrative to fit reality, rather than face up to being hoodwinked.”
Leaving is harder than staying…
“Former believers interviewed by The Associated Press liken the process of leaving QAnon to kicking a drug addiction. QAnon, they say, offers simple explanations for a complicated world and creates an online community that provides escape and even friendship.”
“Hi my name is Joe,” one man wrote on a Q recovery channel in Telegram. “And I’m a recovering QAnoner.”
Moving on from QAnon? Experts say these tips could help
The points are expounded upon on the site:
LISTEN, DON’T PREACH
CHANGE THE SUBJECT
EXPAND YOUR SOURCES
Have a friend or loved one taken in by QAnon? Look here for support, resources and a place to vent. Learn how to steer them back to reality and heal yourself.