No, 5G doesn’t cause Coronavirus.
Ever since time began, mankind has been enamored with finding alternate solutions to major historical events:
Was there an armed man on the grassy knoll in Dealey Plaza during the Kennedy assassination?
Is Area 51 really a secret arena of alien life?
Was Pearl Habour actually a false flag operation conducted by the U.S. government to justify war with Japan?
Did Smithers actually shoot Mr. Burns, rather than Maggie Simpson?
Ok, maybe that one is not so important.
Our quest for getting to the bottom of things has lead us down some interesting rabbit holes over the years. Some intriguing, some plausible, some batshit insane. You’ve been there, I’ve been there – we’ve all been there. I remember spending countless hours on YouTube watching every Tom, Dick, and Harry proclaim that the Moon landing was faked because they zoomed in on a grainy photo and saw a boom mic’s reflection in Buzz Aldrin’s helmet. I knew it was nonsense, but, still, I gladly invested my time into watching it.
The problem with conspiracy theories is that they often need an additional conspiracy on top of them to make them even remotely plausible. Let’s say the Moon landing was faked, for example – and it was indeed an elaborate Hollywood hoax. Well, that would mean every single employee at NASA, in conjunction with every single employee at a Hollywood studio, would have to be on the act. Not to mention all the broadcasters who shared the event with millions of people worldwide – and all the technology companies who made the phony rockets. That’s a lot of people involved – oh, and not one of those people has ever come out and revealed the hoax and sold the story for billions of dollars.
It’s just ludicrous. Yet we can’t help but be sucked in by them.
The world is a fucked up, confusing, random place. Bad things happen to good people, and good things happen to bad people. Countries are torn apart by war, famine, disease, or political and economic meltdown. Random nobodies like Mark Chapman can take down beloved cultural figures like John Lennon. There’s no reason or rhyme to the world sometimes. Things just happen.
I don’t think human beings are content with that, however. We’re a deeply empathetic and inquisitive species. We like order, we like resolution, we like meaning. The fact that paradigm-shifting events can come out of nowhere and Presidents can be assassinated by lone nobodies (although that one is dubious) are notions that just don’t sit well with us. In the book Suspicious Minds: Why We Believe Conspiracy Theories, author Rob Brotherton explains this further, much better than I could, by stating that ”conspiracy theories resonate with some of our brain’s built-in biases and shortcuts”. He goes on to explain that our childlike ‘intentionality bias’ sticks with us into adulthood. When we’re young, every event has to have a meaning behind it. This is why small children will ask ‘why?’ after every attempt an adult makes at explaining something. Young minds need order and structure in order for them to make sense of a world that is brand new to them.
I don’t think we ever grow out of this – the world is too huge of a place, events are sometimes too complex for us to even comprehend, and the need for explanation is too large for us to simply go without. Chances are, you believe in a conspiracy theory right now, perhaps several, or have done in the past. Now, some of them might hold water, that’s ok – but it’s the very fact you have these beliefs in the first place that make conspiracy theories continue to flourish and thrive in minds off all ages. No matter how crazy or grounded they are, the need for alternate endings is a quintessentially human quality. We all feel the need to have some kind of power and control over our lives, and conspiracy theories provide exactly that. The unknown is a dark and scary place, and human minds do not like being there. Furthermore, our governments are hardly known for their transparency and unbiased agendas.
Ultimately, conspiracy theories appeal to our most human emotions. Perhaps we’ll sleep better at night if we reassure ourselves that there is a deeper meaning to the most tragic and callous acts that humans do to each other. If every X has a corresponding Y behind it, our pattern-seeking brains can achieve catharsis and closure. This is why logic is not paramount when creating conspiracy theories, as the emotional need we all have for them is greater. Even as adults, we still hope that the World is indeed a pragmatic and calculated place rather than an area for random and sometimes unjustifiable events.
Conspiracy theories definitely have the potential to make us crazy – however, perhaps we’d be even crazier without them.