Sunday, February 13, 2005

conspiracy theories - some go too far, some not far enough

just a few words on paranoia -

a paranoid's worldview sees the hand of an enemy in events, which he perceives as intentional acts designed to harm him

obviously, it is possible to be too paranoid, and to overinterpret the coherence of historical events and see connections that aren't really there - and to blame many events on a vast conspiracy - the jews, the illuminati, the communists, the jesuits , the "greys"

on the other hand, it is also possible to miss the coherence that is really there - to be oblivious or to have "false consciousness"

it's not easy to know what's really going on, and everyone applies a bayesian approach - we evaluate the probability of new information being accurate based on what we already believe

i try to stick to the middle way - to be appropriately suspicious - the goldilocks principle - neither too much nor too little

as i'm sure most of us here recognize, there really ARE conspiracies - a relatively large number, some working together, some at cross-purposes

at "all spin zone"recently there's been a discussion of the "paranoid shift" - a change of weltanschauung when a person begins to believe that some of the events of recent history really are connected in ways that have been concealed (recall that bush's first choice to chair the 9/11 commission - a commission he hadn't wanted in the first place - was henry kissinger)

woody allen said we stand at a crossroads - one way leads to despair, the other to total destruction - let us hope we make the right choice