I’m getting close to a stage where I can fully explain the reasons for my “Clearing The Premises” title, but not before I give a bit of background to my (possibly warped) philosophy. This week I’m dealing with a particular pet peeve of mine.
No doubt the net result of having what we consider to be “trust issues” is bad. At some stage we have to allow ourselves to have at least a little faith in those around us otherwise there would be no point in getting out of bed in the morning, assuming of course you had enough trust in the bed manufacturers to get into the thing in the first place.
But in this blog post I wish to do mankind and valuable service by reclaiming the proper definition of the term “conspiracy theory”.
As the great Dr House often said, (which of course means it must be true) “everybody lies”. It is a fact of life. Our inability as a race to actually read people’s thoughts has made it engrained in our DNA to try and deceive people, whether it be to swindle enormous amounts of cash or just to make people think their shoe is untied so they can look down.
And once the nature of a lie is both shared and agreed upon with another person, it becomes a conspiracy. The word doesn’t have to mean something of Watergate proportions.
Naturally, as with every topic you care to discuss, there are extremes. When it comes to trust, at one end you have people who are willing to put their full faith into everything they are told, while at the other, you have those who think their microwave is trying to convince them to worship the devil.
Somehow over the course of time, the term “conspiracy theory” has come to mean something that must indicate you are leaning towards the latter, “tin-foil hat” category. “Ah, don’t be silly, that’s just a conspiracy theory” and thus the argument is over, next topic please.
To those who use it that way I ask first – “are you suggesting there is no such thing as a conspiracy?” And if they are in any way reasonable, they will say no.
Fine – so we agree conspiracies do exist. Therefore…how else can we uncover the important ones without first having a theory about it?
I believe conspiracy theories are more important than an American Express card…we should NEVER leave home without them. Take advertising….every single marketing strategy is a glorified conspiracy when you think of it. Well, ok, every marketing strategy except for the ones which involve telling you “We want to profit handsomely from this particular item so we would like you to buy it”. I’ll gladly let those PR campaigns off the hook.
Does that make me a pessimist? Does that make me anti-business? Does that mean I have no faith in mankind? Of course not. And if you suggest I do, then you go straight on my conspiracy theory checklist.
If we accept there are conspiracies, we therefore must have theories. And they will remain theories until they are proven. What’s more, we have an entire profession which is meant to have at its very core the ability to both form and properly investigate conspiracy theories.
The way the media is meant to work is stated in its actual name. We have the establishment in various guises spinning their actions to the public…reporters are meant to act as a “medium” and use “journalism” to cut through that spin and present us with what is really going on. However the establishment, being what they are, have been known to influence the media to ignore the journalism part and instead simply re-hash the spin. Not ALL media fall into this category of course, but with news organisations like Fox & the Wall Street Journal in the US and NewsTalk here on Irish shores, we all know who they are. Yet they still pedal their re-hashed spin and attempt to pass it off as news, so therefore they must reckon that it works.
All I’m saying is that it is up to us to be ready for it, and that there’s no harm at all at keeping at the back of your mind a “if it looks too good to be true it probably is” mentality. You don’t have to assume everyone is the devil in disguise, but it doesn’t hurt to keep the eye out for the odd protruding triangular tail, because you will find them.
So to summarize, yes, I have a theory that there is a conspiracy (of sorts) to misuse the term “conspiracy theory”. And it is a theory i will hold until the men in the white coats, no doubt tipped off by several treasonous kitchen appliances, come to take me away. JLP