06 - Two Simultaneous States and Subtext
Finally! My time studying scriptwriting in university has amounted to something. Subtext is simply explained as the meaning behind words or actions. The explanation for this will be quite brief as it's a simple concept.
During an argument between a husband and wife, if the wife grabs her purse and storms out screaming, "I'm going out", the literal text is, "I'm going out". The subtext would be something like, "You're pissing me off, I need to get out of here because I don't want to stay here arguing with you any longer." The subtext is the unsaid implications behind text, speech, or actions.
Literary Terms has a good page on this.
I don't want to sound condescending or like a no-it-all, especially as I know that alternative-thinkers are extremely closed off to authority, which includes anyone telling them what they think, or how they should think. Unfortunately, there's no way to analyse this without doing that.
These two states I have observed are the two completely opposing states that they exist in simultaneously. One internal and one external. I will present these two states for each aspect of the conspiracy mentality. The internal is the inner working of how they operate, the external is how they choose to present themselves to the outside world.
External - This is the claim that they're critical thinkers. They don't trust what they're told. They do research and look things up. They think for themselves and aren't sheep. They're wide awake.
Internal - They actually don't apply critical thinking, they take conspiracies at face value. They accept information others give them and don't check counter-evidence. If it comes from an alternative-thinker source, they believe exactly what they're told, and don't think for themselves. They're part of the community of alternative-thinkers, and follow conspiracy bandwagons because they're enticing and alternative compared to the mainstream view. When presented with counter-evidence, they either don't look at it, or they don't properly read it and shut their eyes to alternatives.
External - There is so much information out there. There is so much evidence. All you have to do is look it up. Be open-minded.
Internal - In reality, there is a lot of more reputable information out there that proves them wrong. There is so much counter-evidence, and ironically, all you have to do is look it up. The additional irony is that the alternative-thinker is only open-minded if it's in line with what they already believe. If the information opposes their belief system, they are incredibly closed-minded to it. This is in part due to them having an emotional investment in the conspiracies being true, even though they may claim to be rational. Additionally, the saddest part is that evidence is used to justify the conclusion, and the conclusion came first after someone else told them it was true. They'd rather argue over semantics and nip-pick the minute details such as definitions of phrases or words than actually hear your argument.
External - They know the truth and are open to it. They know the truth and need to wake more people up.
Internal - Sadly, the truth is only the truth, if it's what they say the truth is. In defence of truth, they're willing to ignore any and all counter information, dismiss everything that doesn't fit as corrupted or invalid and engage in dishonest practices like the list of logical fallacies to ensure they win. The fact of the matter is, that if they were really truth seekers, they'd be open to all information and evidence, and go where the stronger evidence points. They wouldn't be trying to win arguments and bailing out when proven wrong, rather they would be open to changing their views when counter-evidence is provided.
I'd like to just outline the thought process I believe I've observed in alternative-thinkers over the years. This applies to the confirmation bias above. Let's take a hot topic. I want you to honestly analyse your own thought processes when you read this next bit:
A new vaccine has been funded by Bill Gates.
I know how I used to think, and how other people I've observed think. I believe the thought process goes something like this:
-Bill Gates is an elite, and elites only want control and more power
-He's funding this to get something out of it
-He's planning something, what is he trying to gain
-He's said he wants everyone microchipped, the vaccine will house the microchip
-That will have to be mandatory to work, he's going to use his power to make it mandatory
Does that look somewhat familiar? Either in yourself or others you've seen? It's started with a neutral statement, and right away purely by distrust masked as sceptisism, intent, motive, means, character, method and outcome have all been assumed. What is that based on? What is any of that based on other than him funding vaccines as a billionaire?
Now here's the contrast I want to make. Alex Jones has a radio show and news site which revolves around conspiracy theories. He makes documentaries and appears on tv shows like Conspiracy Theories with Jessie Venture, and interviews on TV. He sells "survival shields" which are advertised on his site with the caption "the globalists want you to be run down and unhealthy so they can dominate your life. Fight back with one of nature's greatest essentials." He has a net worth of around 10 million dollars which he makes by selling conspiracy theories on his radio show, then selling the protection in the form of a "survival shield." Does he look like he has nothing to gain by voicing conspiracy theories?
Why prescribe maliciousness or conflict of interest to Bill Gates, but not Alex Jones? Is it because one of them agrees with you and the other doesn't? We should be scrutinising all information equally, especially if it supports what we already think. This also especially applies to professional "conspiracy researchers" like David Icke and Alex Jones. It's their living, they have a huge conflict of interest.
What I've done on another page is taken a transcript I made from a David Icke video on transgender-ism, and flipped it around to highlight how his own argument can be used against him if you apply the context to him and his business.
This is the end of the psychology section. I am going to focus on science next. Educating myself on science and philosophy was one of the best decisions I ever made, and I would like to share this with you. Take it on board if you like, or don't, just be open to the information.
In summary, the conspiracy mentality makes people exist in two simultaneous, and polar opposite states. This is what makes the alternative-thinker incredibly difficult to reason with because you will be addressing their argument by being the very thing they claim to be: critical thinking, rational, evidence driven and open-minded, while they're conducting themselves in a very closed-minded, emotional and conclusion driven way.
You can't defeat the mentality, because if you challenge their external claims of critical thinking, they will revert to their internal dismissiveness and fallacy-driven arguments. If you challenge their internal operation, they defend it with the external truth-seeking, critical thinking persona. In my honest opinion, you have to sew the seeds of change by providing reasonable doubt.
You have to present the superior argument, in the simplest and most logical way. However, it is ultimately up to the alternative-thinker to change their own mind. No matter how hard you try, no matter how good your evidence, argument or persuasion, you will never change their mind. It has to be done internally on their own after they recognise their double standard.
It makes it harder when considering the community element of conspiracy theories. They exist in echo chambers. In echo chambers, someone makes a claim, and without challenging the validity, accuracy or intention of the claim, everyone agrees with you and enforces that belief in you. Echo chambers are extremely easy to create on social media, where silencing different opinions are a block or delete button away. Especially on Facebook where private groups can exist unchallenged. They're called echo chambers because it's like your own voice bouncing back over and over at you.
Echo chambers and confirmation bias are some of the heavy hitters in keeping conspiracy theories alive. Confirmation bias is simply: "I already agree with that, it must be true." You can read more in this Science Daily article.
This quote from the above article sums up the major flaw in the conspiracy mentality and echo chambers perfectly:
"Confirmation bias is a phenomenon wherein decision makers have been shown to actively seek out and assign more weight to evidence that confirms their hypothesis, and ignore or underweigh evidence that could disconfirm their hypothesis."
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