Is Conspiracy a Variety of Critical Thinking?
To give my answer right away, the two modes of thinking are essentially different. The critical thinker holds true what is the result of his own investigation into truth, events—whatever they are and on whatever social level they happen.
The conspiracy thinker however bypasses the process of critical investigation and assumes by default that the reigning social structures are an ambush for honest and law abiding citizens because ‘people in power’ have voluntarily and deliberately created a double-tongued society in which the official tenor of behavior, and the official rule of political strategy, is as matter of conspirational logic constantly betrayed by secret, and for the most part socially harmful maneuvers that are bringing long-term decay and disaster for society as a whole.
Of course, if you believe all true information will one day stream into your house via electronic media, you may be deluded because you may foster in illusory understanding of democracy. When you are a self-thinker, and you think critically, you do not need to indulge in conspiracy thinking to keep the right distance to the various entrapments that are in the way of finding truth.
There is much self-adoration in people, often from the younger generations, in their conspiracy discussions; these behaviors seem to have a compensation function for strong feelings of inadequacy and for a general lack of self-worth.
Needless to add that the masses of conspiracy thinkers are not the leaders in our society; they are leaders in no society as a matter of logic. They are and remain the more or less discontent followers, expressing their discontent through conspiracies they either make up or take over.
Interested in truth, if we are truth-seekers at all, we may want to inquire what the difference is between conspiracy thinking and critical thinking? Then, as a second step, we may wonder what the relationship is between critical thinking and leadership.
Let me say upfront that intuitively speaking, for me conspiracy thinking borders insanity, while critical thinking is an essential ingredient in the sanely adjusted human. This is why I believe there is really a ravine between today’s rampant conspiracy thinking, and true critical thinking! So this is actually an issue of public sanity, is it not?
It is not smart to be oblivious of the political dimension that owns our modern technologies. It is difficult to judge things, events or situations if the information you gain is one of rumors, hearsay evidence, or so entirely hidden from the public that people can only speculate. In such a case, it doesn’t seem smart to me to engage in publishing about these matters. In other words, the motivation to publish about those matters may not be genuine, it may be a desire to get acclaim for being outrageous. This, then, I would consider as a form of mild insanity … but insanity still.
But let us inquire further, for there is more to this subject than the fact that conspiracy thinking is not critical thinking. There is namely a recurring attack to be found in those publications against secret societies, free masonry, theosophy and other of the more esoteric wisdom traditions of ancient or modern origin.
It should be noted upfront that great minds such as Mozart, Goethe, Emerson or politicians such as George Washington were free masons, and they were people generally thought of as benefactors of humanity.
Likewise, it should be noted that ancient wisdom traditions were often secretive, and knowledge was passed down from master to disciple, and not published as we know this today. This was so both in the East and the West.
Hence, the fact to keep certain knowledge secret is a part of world’s greatest traditions cannot be considered per se as a ‘conspiracy.’ What conspiracy thinkers seem to overlook is that, while modern society professes to be transparent regarding scientific knowledge, there is nothing farther from the truth.
Huge areas of scientific theoretical and empirical knowledge are kept secret in classified documents that are not accessible to the public. Examples are PSI research, free energy technologies, non-harmful medical approaches for healing terminal disease such as cancer or immune deficiency, UFO sightings, and witness reports of craft being visited and aliens being encountered, and even the back engineering of captures UFOs, as well as antigravity propulsion and related technologies that allow craft being driven by magnetic forces and in an energy field unknown to the laws of gravity and relativity theory, allowing speed way beyond the speed of the light, and acceleration way beyond Mach 10, without for that matter harming astronauts.
—Secrets of Antigravity Propulsion: Tesla, UFOs, and Classified Aerospace Technology, New York: Bear & Company, 2008, The U.S. Antigravity Squadron, in: Thomas Valone, Ed., Electrogravitics Systems, Reports on a New Propulsion Methodology, Washington, D.C.: Integrity Research Institute, 1993, 78-96
It can be assumed that more knowledge is actually under top secret than the knowledge accessible to the common man, researcher or scientist. Pondering this information, the outrage with which secret societies are often judged today by the younger generation cannot convince a man of knowledge as valid and justified.
Besides, there is a danger in conspiracy thinking in that it may obfuscate the borderline of real knowledge and fantasy or projection. Experience in recent years has shown that people who are cunning enough to exploit the trend of ‘mainstream paranoia’ commercially can play a role in society that is not just entertaining. When these people unite in a political movement they can assume firepower for attacking the establishment. They may then contribute to throwing an open society in a state of civil war; the defensiveness of the establishment may then react with turndown and violence, resulting in a sort of marshal law for all. This is certainly not a strategy for changing society beneficially in the long run, as all revolutions of the past have shown.
One recurring tenor in the rhetoric of conspiracy thinkers is that ‘the world is dominated by five families’ and similar phraseology. In truth, it is really of no importance who dominates the world, if that should be true; it is only of importance, supposed it is true, that the overwhelming majority of humans develop some kind of critical sense, thus not allowing those who dominate to do their business unhampered. This can be done within the regulatory scheme of modern democracy, without resorting to pamphlet-style propagandism and the stirring up of underground movements.
Generally, putting blame on people, families, clans or institutions is misleading, because the power in the world is not really going out from people but from concepts and ideas that human beings create and that are taken by the masses as eternal truth. So the culprit of all evil is in fact language, that is, the misuse of language, the use of language for evil purposes. People can be replaced, but a system of concepts, created by language, has a self-perpetuating force in our dimension.