Feedback Loop - Deepstash

deepstash

Beta

Get an account to save ideas & make your own & organize them how you wish.

deepstash

Beta

What we can learn from conspiracy theories

Feedback Loop

Even when someone debunks a certain theory, they are essentially talking about it, and while they condemn it, they are still raising the profile of the idea, giving further mileage and traction to the conspiracy theory’s core belief, which many would still think could be true. The more a certain thing is discussed, the more legitimate it seems.

88 SAVES


This is a professional note extracted from an online article.

Read more efficiently

Save what inspires you

Remember anything

IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

What we can learn from conspiracy theories

What we can learn from conspiracy theories

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200522-what-we-can-learn-from-conspiracy-theories

bbc.com

9

Key Ideas

Conspiracy Theories

In the earlier times, conspiracy theories were a convenient way to cover up the inadequacies of the government, and putting a set of helpless people as a scapegoat, cloaking the misdeeds or mismanagement of those holding the ranks.

In 331 B.C., an epidemic was hidden in Rome, using a false story of mass poisoning by some women. Even now, in the current 2020 pandemic there are conspiracy theories doing the rounds, like a virus disease being spread by the telecommunications industry.

We Love A Good Story

The organic and unpredictable nature of conspiracy theories had led many researchers to investigate the cause of the phenomenon.

  • Successful conspiracy theories always tend to invent a great villain, have a backdrop or a backstory, and a morality lesson that can be easily understood by most.
  • Great stories are by nature more magnetic and appealing than the truth.
  • Human beings think and understand in stories. For thousands of years, fairy tales, legends, anecdotes and mysteries have helped our brains make sense of the world.

Collective Hysteria

Every society has its own, unique anxieties and obsessions, and the conspiracy theories that gain good mileage are the ones that tap into these primal fears.

Example: Many people fear vaccination of the children due to fears that the mass drive to vaccinate such a large population has some ulterior motive, like a mass medical experiment. The dodgy past record of the health care system, and the fact that the vaccination is free of charge, of course, adds fuel to the fire.

Social Identity

When a certain class or section of people are victimized, they can start to believe in conspiracy theories that seem to target their group. Identity play is easily exploited by politicians and also by religious leaders.

People split into groups create an automatic ‘us vs them’ behaviour, leading to strong social bonds inside the group, and an automatic conflict with those outside the group.

Conspiracies In Uncertain Times

Lack of knowledge and an uncertain, dangerous future creates the mental space for a conspiracy theory to flower. Such theories quickly come out of the blue whenever some crisis or major conflict happens.

Fanatism and Conspiracies

The fanaticism associated with certain conspiracy theories and the extent to which many would even put their lives on the line points towards blind belief, the same kind of beliefs perpetuated by many organized religions, right down to the content, storyline and purpose.

Lack Of Official Information

When there is no official information, or if the official statement is vague, a certain gap is formed, and that ambiguity and mystery, along with mistrust of ‘official information’ combines into a conspiracy theory.

The official explanations of certain unexplained events like a mysterious plane crash or a sudden celebrity death are often inadequate and full of holes, providing space for the conspiracy theories to grow.

Feedback Loop

Even when someone debunks a certain theory, they are essentially talking about it, and while they condemn it, they are still raising the profile of the idea, giving further mileage and traction to the conspiracy theory’s core belief, which many would still think could be true. The more a certain thing is discussed, the more legitimate it seems.

Finding The Core Problem Of Rising Conspiracies

Even as we see newer conspiracy theories that have no base, it is good to know what is the core problem that gives rise to such conspiracy ‘theories’ (which don’t even have a theory underneath).

The problem comes from a general lack of distrust with the government, the experts and the all-too-powerful institutions.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

The Scientific Mind
The Scientific Mind

The mind of a scientist cannot be that just a set of beliefs. It has to be an objective, open and experimental mind. A scientific way of thinking is always systematic, based on testing, bui...

Not Trusting Scientific Knowledge

Though science has helped humanity for centuries, it is not fully trusted. Part of the reason is that scientific knowledge is incomplete.

It is often resisted by a section of people, who don’t believe in vaccines, climate change, or the man-made genetic advancement in crops. As an example, many families believe vaccination causes autism in children, and no matter what is done to counter it, the belief is stuck in people’s brains.

Science And Pseudoscience

Many people from all sections of society do not trust in science, as they don’t trust the authority of the scientific community. The Pseudo Scientists try to debunk science by:

  • Arguing that the entire scientific consensus is a conspiracy.
  • Getting fake experts to produce information that contradicts scientific findings.
  • Argue using selective data, and using a small example to discredit the entire field.
  • Deploying false analogies and other fallacies that appear logical.
  • Setting impossible expectations and counter-arguments towards the scientists.

2 more ideas

A network is more than just a group of individuals
A network is more than just a group of individuals

In addition, a network has ties between people.

The connections between individuals are what changes a group to a network.

Social networks have a strong effect on our ideas

You may think it was your idea to keep your desk neat or speak up in a meeting, but your behavior was likely influenced by those in your network.

Once we understand social networks, we can use its power to shape workplaces for the better. You can turn an unhappy team into an innovative, collaborative one.

We naturally copy others

Your experiences in the world is not only a product of your own desires, actions, and thoughts, but also a product of the desires, actions, and thoughts of people around you.

The things that are seemingly personal to you are actually very strongly influenced by similar traits in other people. You do have agency. You can choose what to do. But you're also affected by what others are doing. Both are true.

4 more ideas

Remote Employees
Remote Employees

It’s hard to figure out for managers what kind of people make the best, most productive remote employees.

Optimism is the quality to look for, while the trait to avoid is people-pleasin...

Optimists

Self-motivation is a great quality for remote workers, as they are at home, only accessible through email or through video conferencing to the manager.

High levels of enthusiasm, a positive approach and choice of words provide clues to the manager if someone has an optimistic frame of mind.

People Pleasers

If a manager is getting to hear only what is pleasant to hear, at all times, it can be a cause for concern. Remote employees must be willing to say things that aren’t going right, and most of the time, there are many such things. If they can disagree with you, it’s a good sign.

Also, if an employee is going out of the way to be liked by colleagues, and wastes a lot of time and mental energy on it, he/she is probably a people pleaser.

Living in the age o doubt
Living in the age o doubt

We live in a time when all scientific knowledge (the safety of fluoride, vaccines, climate change, moon landing, etc.) faces coordinated and vehement resistance.

The acces...

We now face risks we can’t easily analyze

Our existence is invaded by science and technology as never before. For many of us, this brings comfort and rewards, but this existence is also more complicated and sometimes agitated.

Our lives are full of real and imaginary risks, and distinguishing between them isn’t easy. We have to be able to decide what to believe and how to act on that.

Marcia McNutt  - Geophysicist
Marcia McNutt - Geophysicist

“Science is not a body of facts. Science is a method for deciding whether what we choose to believe has a basis in the laws of nature or not.”

6 more ideas

Boredom is not that simple to explain
Boredom is not that simple to explain

We may tend to think of boredom as a response to monotonous activities. But boredom isn't this clearcut.

Research reveals that there's a significant variation in how much bo...

Boredom and modern society

Boredom is sometimes described as the plague of modern society.

  • Back in 2016, a French worker sued his former employer for "bore-out." He won.
  • Many people, especially those born between mid -1990s and late 2010s, scrolls aimlessly through apps and find nothing of interest.
  • People are even diagnosing their pets with boredom.
The struggle to define boredom

Psychologists differ in their definition of boredom.

  • In the 1960s and 1970s, boredom was defined as the feeling generated by a repetitive task. Researchers found that boredom increased alertness to the things happening around you (distractions).
  • From 1986, the opposite was found. A study found that boredom caused less concentration.

3 more ideas

The thoughts in your mind
The thoughts in your mind

We are so intimate with our thoughts that we never really stop to pay close attention to our wandering minds. When we do look at our thoughts, they turn out to be more interesting than we imagined....

Inner experiences

There are five categories of inner experiences:

  • Inner speaking, which comes in many forms
  • Inner seeing, which comes from things you've seen in real life or imaginary visuals
  • Feeling, such as happiness or anger
  • Sensory awareness, like being aware of the feeling of a carpet
  • Unsymbolized thinking, which is a thought that doesn't manifest as words or images.
Different inner voices

Most of us are aware of the internal dialogue – rather than a monologue - where we talk to someone inside our head. Often, that other voice is another aspect of ourselves.


There are four kinds of inner voices: the faithful friend, the ambivalent parent, the proud rival, and the helpless child. We might adopt these different roles to help ourselves get through situations.

3 more ideas

Insight from literature

Over the history of Western literature about pandemics, much has been said in the way of catharsis, ways of dealing with intense emotion, and political commentary on how people respond to public he...

Stories help us to think

Homer's Iliad opens with a plague visited upon the Greek camp at Troy. The Decameron (1353) by Giovanni Boccaccio is set during the Black Death.

The stories offer the listeners ways to consider how similar crises have been managed previously, and how to reorganize their daily lives, which have been suspended due to the epidemic.

Authority's failure to respond
  • Mary Shelley's apocalypse novel The Last Man (1826), depicts the life of Lionel Verney, who becomes the last man after a devastating global plague. The book criticizes the institutional responses to the plague, showing the revolutionary utopianism and the in-fighting that breaks out among surviving groups before they also die.
  • The short story, The Masque of the Red Death (1842), also shows the failures o authority figures to respond to a disaster appropriately.

2 more ideas

About Consciousness
About Consciousness

Consciousness is everything you experience - taste, pain, love, feeling. Where these experiences come from is a mystery.

Many modern analytic philosophers of mind either d...

Searching For Physical Footprints

What is it about brain matter that gives rise to consciousness? In particular, the neuronal correlates of consciousness (NCC) - the minimal neuronal mechanisms jointly sufficient for any conscious experience.

Consider this question: What must happen in your brain for you to experience a toothache?

Neuronal Correlates of Consciousness (NCC)

The whole brain can be considered an NCC because it generates experience continually.

  • When parts of the cerebellum, the "little brain" underneath the back of the brain, are lost to a stroke or otherwise, patients may lose the ability to play the piano, for example.  But they never lose any aspect of their consciousness. This is because the cerebellum is almost wholly a feed-forward circuit. There are no complex feedback loops.
  • The spinal cord and the cerebellum are not enough to create consciousness. Available evidence suggests neocortical tissue in generating feelings.
  • The next stages of processing are the broad set of cortical regions, collectively known as the posterior hot zone, that gives rise to conscious perception. In clinical sources of causal evidence, stimulating the posterior hot zone can trigger a diversity of distinct sensations and feelings.
  • It appears that almost all conscious experiences have their origin in the posterior cortex. But it does not explain the crucial difference between the posterior regions and much of the prefrontal cortex, which does not directly contribute to subjective content.

3 more ideas

Inflammation

Inflammation, which normally fights infections and heals wounds, also has negative effects on the body.

Studying inflammation's behavior in our bodies has led to a series of breakthroughs, i...

Body and Mind

Studies show inflammation might be one of the reasons for depression, due to a substantial effect on brain activity.

This has led to new experiments using anti-inflammatory drugs like antidepressants, which proved successful.

This provides an important insight on how the body, brain, and mind are co-related and is vital at a time when there are rising cases of mental health disorders and dementia throughout the world.

When Studies Are Untrustworthy
When Studies Are Untrustworthy

Many layers of uncertainty along with thinking errors of scientists (blind spots) make the research or evidence untrustworthy about 42 percent of the time, according to a study.

“Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”

“Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”

Advice For Reading Scientific Studies

When we read scientific studies, it helps to keep in mind the following:

  1. Scientists are prone to error just like everyone else.
  2. Single source claims are dubious.
  3. There is a lot we don’t know.
  4. We should not be biased towards a particular outcome.
  5. Independent tests of the findings can be done if possible.
  6. Proof of something does not mean it is true, and a lack of proof does not mean it is false.

3 more ideas