La veritat està corrent per aquí: Per això conspiracions propaguen més ràpid que mai

The truth is rushing out there: why conspiracies spread faster than ever

de 9/11 als atacs de París, d'Ébola a Isis, cada gran esdeveniment mundial atrau una contra-narrativa corresponent a partir de les 'veritats', alguns tan global que es fan càrrec de vida de les persones. Els nostres cervells estan cablejats per creure, com un nou llibre argumenta? I podria pensar tal realitat ser beneficiós?


Desenvolupat per Guardian.co.ukAquest article titulat “La veritat està corrent per aquí: Per això conspiracions propaguen més ràpid que mai” va ser escrit per David Shariatmadari, per a The Guardian el dissabte 26 de desembre de 2015 10.00 UTC

"Recordo haver llegit sobre Final Fantasy VII, una pel·lícula que tenia moltes ganes de. La meva reacció inicial va ser la decepció que es tractava de dos anys de distància -. Perquè per llavors estaríem sota el control militar "Va ser 2004, i Matthew Elliott estava en seriosos. Elliott, de Sant Antoni, Texas, primer havia estat portada a teories de conspiració quan estava 19, arran de 9/11. "Semblava incomprensible que podríem ser atacats,"Diu avui. En el seu intent de donar sentit al que havia succeït es va trobar el moviment notori "truther", un corrent d'opinió que estableix la culpa de les atrocitats a la porta del govern dels EUA.

"La forma en la majoria de les teories de la conspiració estan distribuïdes, una cosa sempre porta a una altra, pel que a partir d'aquí em vaig convèncer que un grup governant anomenat el Nou Ordre Mundial orquestrat tot. Tot això portaria a un estat de guerra i l'eliminació completa de les llibertats,", Diu. Una dècada més tard, Elliott, ara 34, és una "recuperació" teòric de la conspiració, després d'haver donat l'esquena a una visió del món que sempre planteja alguns encoberta, poderosa força que actua en contra dels interessos de la gent comuna. El canvi es va produir gradualment, però pensa molt diferent ara. "No es pot fins i tot arribar a molts dels 50 estats es posin d'acord sobre què. Bona sort convèncer els europeus i els asiàtics per pujar a bord ".

la reacció d'Elliott al trauma de 9/11 estava lluny de ser inusual. Els atacs van ser tan sense precedents, tan devastadora, que molts de nosaltres es van esforçar per donar sentit a elles. Els primers informes eren confusos o contradictoris: Com a resultat, alguns tractats de la versió oficial dels fets amb escepticisme. Una proporció dels que al seu torn es va decidir per una explicació que requeriria falsificació i la coordinació a escala massiva.

Això no ens ha de sorprendre: És un patró que es repeteix després de cada xoc global, i en les conseqüències dels atacs de París, s'ha aixecat el cap de nou. L'endemà dels atacs terroristes a la capital francesa, blogs havien estat discutint publicat que eren el treball del govern - l'anomenat "falsa bandera" operació. Les afirmacions es recolzen en la idea que Isis és la creació deliberada dels governs occidentals. Més recentment, l'advocat de la família de Syed Farook, un dels tiradors de Sant Bernardino, l'especulació de complicitat amb combustible quan va dir: "Hi ha molta motivació en aquest moment per ressaltar o crear incidents que farà que el control d'armes o prejudici o odi cap a la comunitat musulmana".

la cobertura de la volta al rellotge dels esdeveniments mundials vol dir que hi ha un subministrament constant de crisi i caos per a nosaltres interpretem. Històries de fils solts per les mans ocultes són un element bàsic del nostre entreteniment, des Blofeld de l'espectre a la conspiració barroca de Londres espia, un dels drames britànics més aclamats de l'any, desentranyat el que en un exemple espectacular de l'estil paranoide. No és que la creença en teories de la conspiració és cada vegada més generalitzada, diu virus Swami, professor de psicologia social a la Universitat Anglia Ruskin: mentre que la investigació no s'ha fet encara, em diu, hi ha un munt de proves anecdòtiques que suggereixen que la creença en conspiracions s'ha mantingut força estable durant l'últim mig segle més o menys. Què ha canviat, però, és la velocitat amb la qual es formen les noves teories. “It’s a symptom of a much more integrated world,", Diu. L'Internet accelera tot cap amunt, permetent que persones amb idees de conspiració per connectar-i formular les seves idees. en contrast, it took months for theories about Pearl Harbor to develop.

Karen Douglas, another social psychologist, echoes this point. “People’s communication patterns have changed quite a lot over the last few years. It’s just so much easier for people to get access to conspiracy information even if they have a little seed of doubt about an official story. It’s very easy to go online and find other people who feel the same way as you.”

Is everyone prone to this kind of thinking, or is it the preserve of an extreme fringe? Douglas reckons it’s more common than most of us realise. “Recent research has shown that about half of Americans believe at least one conspiracy theory,"Diu ella. “You’re looking at average people; people you might come across on the street.”

That’s also the view of Rob Brotherton, whose new book, Suspicious Minds, explores the traits that predispose us to belief in conspiracies. He cautions against sitting in judgment, since all of us have suspicious minds – and for good reason. Identifying patterns and being sensitive to possible threats is what has helped us survive in a world where nature often is out to get you. “Conspiracy theory books tend to come at it from the point of view of debunking them. I wanted to take a different approach, to sidestep the whole issue of whether the theories are true or false and come at it from the perspective of psychology,", Diu. “The intentionality bias, the proportionality bias, confirmation bias. We have these quirks built into our minds that can lead us to believe weird things without realising that’s why we believe them.”

Ben Whishaw London Spy
Ben Whishaw in London Spy, un dels drames britànics més aclamats de l'any, desentranyat el que en un exemple espectacular de l'estil paranoide. Fotografia: BBC/WTTV

“Whenever anything ambiguous happens, we have this bias towards assuming that it was intended – that somebody planned it, that there was some kind of purpose or agency behind it, rather than thinking it was just an accident, or chaos, or an unintended consequence of something.” This intentionality bias, Brotherton says, can be detected from early childhood. “If you ask a young kid why somebody sneezed, the kid thinks that they did it on purpose, that the person must really enjoy sneezing. It’s only after about the age of four or five that we begin to learn that not everything that everybody does is intended. We’re able to override that automatic judgment. But research shows that it still stays with us even into adulthood.”

Per exemple, studies have shown that when people drink alcohol, they are more likely to interpret ambiguous actions as having been deliberate. “So if you’re at the pub and somebody jostles you and spills your drink, if it’s your first drink, you might write it off as an innocent mistake. But if you’re a few drinks in, then you’re more likely to think they did it on purpose, that it was an aggressive act.”

Like most personality traits, proneness to intentionality bias varies across the population. “Some people are more susceptible to it than others.” And, Brotherton explains, there is a small but reliable correlation between that susceptibility and belief in conspiracy theories.

External factors also play a part, per descomptat. For Ryan, who asked that I omit his last name, the influence of a single charismatic individual was crucial. It was Johnny, a friend and bandmate, who showed him books and CDs about world government and “served as a guru of sorts”. At the same time as inducting him into the truther movement, “he was introducing me to music I’d never heard and really loved”. At the height of his involvement, Ryan says he believed a broad range of conspiracy theories, including “chemtrails” – the idea that the trails left by planes contain noxious chemicals intended to subdue or poison people; that Aids and Ebola were introduced by governments to control population; that the moon landings were faked; that a substance extracted from apricots called laetrile was an effective cure for cancer, but had been banned by the FDA and dismissed as quackery to protect the interests of Big Pharma. “I strained my relationships with my family badly. It’s always the ones you love the most that you want to ‘wake up’. I ended up in hugely embarrassing debates and arguments,", Diu.

But beyond the anguish it caused for those close to him, were Ryan’s unorthodox beliefs harmful? Karen Douglas is wary of rubbishing all conspiracy theorising as dangerous. “Thinking in that way, it must have some positive consequences. If everybody went around just accepting what they were told by governments, officials, pharmaceutical companies, whoever, then we would be a bunch of sheep, really”. D'altra banda, the effects of certain theories on behaviour can be damaging. Douglas’s own research [pdf download] has shown that exposure to the idea that the British government was involved in the death of Princess Diana reduced people’s intention to engage in politics. de la mateixa manera, subjects who read a text stating that climate change was a hoax by scientists seeking funding were less likely to want to take action to reduce their carbon footprint. I anti-vaccine conspiracy narratives make people less likely to vaccinate their children, a clear public health risk.

Should we try to stamp conspiracy theories out, llavors? Part of Brotherton’s argument is that they’re a natural consequence of the way our brains have evolved. No només això, but trying to disprove them can backfire. “Any time you start trying to debunk conspiracy theories, for the people who really believe, that’s exactly what they would expect if the conspiracy were real,", Diu.

Swami sees things differently. “Experimental work that we’ve done shows that it’s possible to reduce conspiracist ideation.” How? Swami found that people who had been encouraged to think analytically during a verbal task were less likely to accept conspiracy theories afterwards. For him, this hints at an important potential role for education. “The best way is, at a societal level, to promote analytical thinking, to teach critical thinking skills.” But that’s not all. When people have faith in their representatives, understand what they are doing and trust that they are not corrupt, they are less likely to believe in coverups. That’s why political transparency ought to be bolstered wherever possible – and corporate transparency, massa. “A lot of people have trouble accepting a big organisation’s or government’s narratives of an event, because they’re seen as untrustworthy, they’re seen as liars,” argues Swami.

Improved teaching and changes in political and business culture would undoubtedly help. But conspiracy theories can be rejected for personal reasons, massa. Ryan’s view changed with loss of his “guru”.

“I kinda dropped out of contact with Johnny after he got married and had a baby,", Diu. “He was getting further and further into it, and I just couldn’t keep up with the mental gymnastics involved.” He started to look for alternative explanations – less exciting, but more plausible ones. “I looked at the people debating on the national level, for the presidency and such. No way these guys speaking in platitudes and generalisations could really be behind a global conspiracy to enslave or kill me. They weren’t doing a particularly good job of it either, considering how happy I was living my life.

“That was the epiphany, realment. I was free. I was happy. None of the doom and gloom predicted and promised ever came.” For Ryan, by then 27, the bizarre ride was over. A world that pitted him against the forces of evil had all the appeal of a spy drama. But real life was less like a story – and in some ways more depressing. What does he think are the forces that really shape things? “Most of what is wrong in the world nowadays – well, I would put it down to incompetence and greed. A lack of compassion.”

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Mitjana Ltd 2010

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