The following is a reply I wrote to someone on social media, after they entreated me to "snap out" of the "conspiracy theorist" mindset, which they described as a cult.
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I understand why you think and feel the way you do.
If I was working with the same amount of information you're working with, I would be thinking and feeling the same things.
But... I don't know how to tell you this...
but there's like... an entire WORLD you're unconscious of.
You're vaguely aware of it simply through the fact that you know that *other people* believe in it... and you think this vague awareness makes you qualified enough to say you understand it. Qualified enough to *dismiss* it.
But the problem is... there is a difference between being aware of the existence of a topic, versus understanding that topic.
And you can't understand something if you don't actually *learn* about it. Which of course takes time, and energy.
There is a personal character virtue called judiciousness. It means being willing to hear both sides of an argument before coming to a judgment on it. We all recognize this virtue in the fact that court trials involve both the prosecution AND a defense. There are two sides to every case. And a judge's job is to hear both sides. He doesn't listen to just one - the prosecution for instance - and then enter deliberation. He listens to both.
And not only does judiciousness involve hearing both sides, but it requires hearing *enough* of each to fully comprehend the arguments for each, and the evidence behind each of their arguments. You simply can't come to a conclusion on a very complex and multifaceted topic, unless you put in the time. Not a judicious conclusion, anyhow.
And I know you haven't done this, with regards to the topics which you've labelled "conspiracy theories."
You don't actually understand them. They are *cases.* Not in the sense of official filings with a court, but cases as in *arguments* with reasonings and rationales behind them. I'm confident in saying that you have never given "these conspiracy theories" a full hearing. You have never taken the time to hear the reasoning behind them presented *in full*. You've read headlines about them, and articles that tell you one or two of the claims involved (while making sure to pick the wildest sounding ones possible, and present them with as little context as possible). You essentially read only as much about the theory as MSNBC (or Vice, or Vox, or whatever) permits you to know. And somehow you think that this *qualifies* you to have an informed opinion on the validity of the entire theory. You are not displaying the virtue of judiciousness. You're not bothering to hear each side fully.
I'm aware of both narratives. I know the "mainstream" narrative. How could I not? I'm living in a society marinating in it. It's everywhere around me. Almost everyone I know believes in it. The TV's at the airport all play CNN. My family has it on, whenever I'm around them. I grew up immersed in it. Along with everyone else. I had to wriggle and claw my way out of it. And yet still it surrounds me. It's not possible to not know it.
And in addition to that narrative, I also know the other narrative. The opposite of that one.
By knowing both, I'm in a position to judge them in relation to each other, and discern which one has more validity, consistency, and rationality. Since I know BOTH.
But you only know one.
How can you judge between them if you only know one? It's not judicious.
And I'm sure that all this talk of "judges" and "courts" and "evidence" has not failed to remind you of our earlier conversation. It's not by chance. It is absolutely applicable to that topic.
Because the judges in the election lawsuits are *doing exactly what you're doing.* They're rejecting the cases without allowing the attorneys to fully lay them out. They're taking a preliminary *summary* of the arguments, and presuming themselves to have enough knowledge and understanding to reject the cases without affording the plaintiffs a full hearing. And they're doing it because of personal, political, and emotional biases. They don't *want* the cases to be true, so they're not even bothering to listen to why they might be true.
Just like you're doing.
And it doesn't work. It's not intellectual. It's not rational. You're failing a very basic test of logic. It's not about "this evidence" or "that evidence" or whether this or that evidence is "valid evidence" or "invalid evidence." It's way beyond that: It's a question of whether you even recognize the importance of LOOKING AT evidence, in the first place. Do you believe that you even NEED TO HEAR evidence before coming to a decision? Regardless of what the evidence contains, do you acknowledge that you have to examine its contents before dismissing it? That's what's at issue here.
If you don't recognize that simple, basic tenet of reality, then I have to call out your accusation about me "not following objective reality" as a complete projection of your own condition. My version of reality might not seem "objectively true" to you, but at least I recognize that there's an objective process for determining reality - and it involves full examination of content before dismissal of said content.
Like I said, it's a very deep, extensive world that's going on, right under your nose. It's happening right here, in your society, in parallel to everything you know about. You don't see it because you refuse to look at it. You could see it, if you looked. If you shut off that voice in your head that screams, "that's crazy!" every time something comes up that contradicts your existing beliefs.
Questioning one's beliefs is an indispensable part of the journey of evolving as a person. Mature people don't die with the same beliefs they were born with. And if you keep allowing that voice to shout "this is wild! unsubstantiated! fact free! vile! nuts! insane!" every time a new idea comes up that you don't currently agree with, you'll never comprehend the contents therein, and you'll never change your belief structure, and therefore you'll never grow up.
Get a grip on that voice. Tell it to stfu long enough for you to HEAR what's on the other side.
Investigating something does not commit you to believing in it. You have nothing to fear from fully investigating a "conspiracy theory." Once you hear a theory fully explained, you're not automatically in some kind of debt that can only be paid by adopting it as a belief.
I did that with flat-earth theory. I gave it a full, complete hearing. I watched their videos, I listened to their arguments. And then I found flaws in their reasoning. And I gave them a full chance to plug up those holes. And they couldn't. So now, I'm even *more* confident that the planet is round. I no longer just "believe it" just because NASA says so. I *know* it because I gave the other side a full chance. I was judicious. So now, ironically, I'm *more* qualified to say I *know* the planet is round. Unless you're some kind of astronaut, I'm even more qualified than you are!
You can hear something fully explained, and then still disagree with it. Hearing won't hurt you. New ideas won't hurt you.
So why don't you give it a try? Look into something. Do some research. Investigate. Watch some videos.
If it turns out you really are right about everything, then you'll emerge from the experience with *more ammo* to use against people like me. You'll be able to pick apart our arguments, just like I did with the flatties. You have nothing to lose from it, and everything to gain.