"An important aspect of conspiracy theory is to come up with a seemingly coherent explanation that is consistent with one's worldviews." — Katrin Wegmann
"The fact that politicians sometimes lie or that corporations occasionally cheat does not mean that every event is the result of a tortuous conspiracy. Most of the time stuff just happens, and our brains connect the dots into meaningful patterns." — Michael Shermer
In one way or another, we all fall prey to the concept of conspiracy theories. These often stem from our culture-level selves, our desire to fit in and be accepted or even lead others for the purpose of status and winning. It is okay to think differently and challenge things and people around us if it is from a growth-minded intention and not our desire for status. This episode sets out to show us where, how, and why we find ourselves buying into them and how they can be an indicator of where we are in relation to being a Next Level Human.
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Jade: [01:18] Today we’re going to be talking about a topic that I think is actually one of the most interesting topics and one of the most telling topics about an individual and their level of human that they are operating at. Now, when we first get into this I want you to keep an open mind, because every single one of us falls prey to this kind of thinking in some way, shape, or form. It is incredibly human, and you’ll hopefully learn in this podcast why it’s so human to think this way. And I’m talking really on the concept of conspiracy theories and why we humans fall for conspiracy theories, and what it tells us about the level of human that we are operating at. Are we operating at a base level, sort of this fear based, protective, I’m going to win and beat you, I’m better than you type of place; or a culture level place of status, I know the right information, my team is right, your team is wrong, I want to be popular and be in the know, and prove that you’re not in the know, and that I’ve got all the right information and the people you hang out with don’t; or a next level human, who’s more about I want to grow, I want to learn from you if I can, I want to teach you if I can, I want to collaborate, I want to consult, I want to be in consideration of you, to me this is all about growth, we’re all in this together. Now, here’s the interesting thing when we think about these 3 types of human – in the end we’re all of these things, right?
[03:01] So, we’re not one or the other. It’s the reason I call this Next Level Human and not higher level human, because all of us can go base level at times. As a matter of fact, or base level selves serve a role to some degree, don’t they? This is our lizard brain self. It’s our protective self. It’s the part of us that gets most activated when we are uncertain and fearful. It’s the part that wants to win, and wants to dominate, and wants to survive. Obviously, if we are feeling fearful or uncertain, we’re going through hardships, or we are annoyed or inconvenienced, we’re far more likely to become more of our base level selves. Now, that’s what I want you to think about – I want you to think about the percentage – imagine this as a pie chart, with 3 different aspects of this pie chart. What percent are you base level? Are you half, are you 60% base level? What percent are you culture level, and what percent are you next level? I would argue that most individuals, the biggest chunk of their pie is coming from a very culture level place. We just take the things that culture level tells us hook, line, and sinker, and this is an interesting discussion to have first because I want to tell you that in some regards, base level humans and next level humans are a little bit more similar than base level humans are to culture level humans or culture level humans are to next level humans. And the reason base level humans and next level humans are somewhat similar is because they do tend to both be independent thinkers and, in a sense, they pride themselves on being independent thinkers. So, from a base level perspective, often times these are the contrarians among us; they will disagree just to disagree. They will disagree just to be combative, whereas our culture level selves often times will disagree to seem more approachable to a particular team. So, if we want to get in with a particular group we’ll disagree, or if we’ve heard a particular story be told by our culture and then other people sort of counter that story, we will disagree. Culture level people disagree for those types of reasons, status type reasons. Base level humans disagree because they want to win, they’re trying to beat you. It’s not about fitting in like culture level. They’re trying to win and beat you. Now, next level humans tend to often times also disagree and think independently, more independently than a culture level human. They’re more like base level humans in that regard; both of these types are very independent in their thought processes. But, a next level human comes at it from a place of growth, questioning culture level stories, whereas base level people just want to disagree to disagree to win. Base level (Next level?) humans disagree and think independently because they want to grow.
[06:04] There’s a big difference there, but at first, you can kind of see that these can look similar; so, that’s how you know. A next level human is not about trying to beat you. A next level human is trying to grow. That’s why when you get into a discussion with a next level human it feels more like debate and mutual consideration and listening than it does feel like an argument. If you get into an argument with a culture level human or a base level human you’ll see it feels very much like an argument, and base level types will tend to get very emotional and angry, and really try to push their agenda down your throat. Culture level types will sort of appeal to the cultural sort of narratives. Now, this is important because we talk about conspiracy theories, there’s a very particular reason why we humans tend to fall for conspiracy theories, and so I want to go through this with you really quick. We humans have different needs in the human brain. One of my favorite models for this is by David Rock, who wrote a book – I think it’s called Your Brain at Work – and he has a model called the SCARF model, which I think is one of the best models to describe the key needs of the human brain. So, SCARF, S-C-A-R-F. We have a very strong need for Status, for Certainty, for Autonomy or freedom, for Relatedness, and for Fairness; so, Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness, and Fairness. Status is a very culture driven thing, right? It’s more culture level because we want status. Certainty and stability or safety is more a base level type of thing. Now, imagine us evolving our psychology; humans evolved for hundreds of thousands of years without being in the sort of modern-day situation we’re in. We were mostly in small bands of individuals and we did not have science to guide us, we didn’t understand the world, so we would make up stories about thunder, for example. Maybe we would explain thunder by Thor smacking his hammer up in the clouds somewhere. We would anthropomorphize gods and make up elaborate stories that made us feel more certain and stable. Stories, and especially these mythologies, and especially stories around religion and gods, came about thousands of years before science came about, and so the two things were different. Imagine in a world where you couldn’t explain things through science, you didn’t even have the technology of how to think. Socrates is hundreds of thousands of years before he’s born, and so you don’t understand how to think as humans, and so you make all of these weird rituals up.
[09:04] Now whenever we have an uncertain time where, let’s say, we hit a period of time in our evolution where in our lifetime where there’s a drought, we want to try to explain that. We don’t know when it’s going to rain again, we don’t know why it’s not raining, and so we will just search for things to pin it on in hopes of finding some level of certainty or allaying our fears. Maybe we see one of our tribe members who’s always alone and by themselves and doing strange things, and we say they’re the reason these strange things that they’re doing, or this person’s sort of out of normal behavior is what’s causing the drought. Then, maybe we see another member do a dance for a couple days in a row, and all of a sudden it rains. So, then we start saying well, this dance must be the thing that caused it to rain. So, whenever it doesn’t rain next time, we’ll do a rain dance. This is how these things have kind of come about, but the important thing to hear there is that when there is uncertainty, we will look around a try to – I’ll use the terminology just straight up – make things up. We will literally just create things out of thin air that may or may not be true, and we will make them make sense. This is what happens in conspiracy theories. You ever wonder how conspiracy theories always, always, always, always are around events and things that are not completely explained and/or are out of our control and/or cause a lot of fear and uncertainty? All of a sudden, this is ripe land for conspiracy theories, and we humans have been doing this for ever in our evolution. Now, the interesting thing about this is base level humans vs. culture level humans vs. next level humans – remember base level humans want to be in control, they want power, so they are often times the people to – and they also are really, of all the types, these 3 types, they are really the most steeped in certainty, and safety, and stability, and their primary emotional driver is fear. So, you can see that conspiracy theories, if someone has a tendency to need certainty, hate uncertain times, and has a major emotional driver of fear, what will they do to try to allay some of their fear and some of the uncertainty? They’re going to blame and complain and try to explain, aren’t they? Even if they have to make things up, making up stories is very much like a psychological security blanket. We make up a story because we say, well, I’m just going to believe this particular story. This is where religions come from, this is where gods come from, this is where all these sort of stories that we’ve made up in our lives come from, to give us certainty. Now, don’t lose me here; I’m not saying your belief systems – I’m not trying to bag on your belief systems.
[12:05] For all I know, you might be right; but you have to admit, many individuals make up stories that are, you know, may not be right. We can’t all be right. Some people believe in one god, other people believe in another god; some people believe in multi gods, some people believe in the universe has your back, some people believe in, you know, we believe all kinds of things. We can’t all be right. But if you look at this from the perspective of evolution and this fear based uncertain response, you can see that we make up stories as security blankets. Now, science is very different than that. When science came along, science basically told us that hey, we can’t just make stuff up, there is, sort of, seems to be some laws and some predictability to what’s going on in the world, and if we think rationally about them, and reasonably about them, and test them, we can start to make sense of the world; but this process is far more involved, creates more uncertainty at times, is a much slower process. Science is an evolving process, it’s an uncertain process. One minute you think you have it figured out, the next minute you don’t You slowly gather information until you begin to figure out what’s going on. So, all of a sudden, thunder is no longer Thor smashing his hammer, but it’s pressure changes in the environment, and that takes a long, long time to understand that. However, during that long, long process to understand what causes thunder, it’s far more comforting to just say that’s Thor slamming his hammer. So, this is what we humans do. Hopefully you’re sort of understanding that, and also, hopefully, you’re understanding that base level humans, because their emotional driver tends to be fear, and because they are most sensitive to uncertainty, they tend to be the ones who will make things up. They also tend to be the ones who want to drive it down your throat because they want to win, they will fight for themselves being right. They always want to be right because if they’re wrong, guess what, that means more uncertainty; so, they have to be certain. We humans are uncomfortable with open loops. We want to be able to explain what is happening and be certain about what is going on in our lives. Whenever we have an open loop, that is a ripe time for base level thinking, fear and uncertainty type thinking, to come in and try to fill in the gaps. Hopefully now you’re starting to understand why these things come up. If we have a situation where we have young children around the age when they get vaccines, having illnesses like autism and things like that, you can see that base level types will try to make things up.
[15:00] Now, here’s the interesting thing about this – it’s not that base level humans are not intelligent; they’re every bit as intelligent as culture level humans or next level humans. And remember, we’re all of these things, so base level selves can think, they’re very intelligent; it’s just that they’re so biased and driven to be right that they often will not go look for any information that says vaccines are safe. They will constantly try to prove that vaccines are wrong. As a matter of fact, so that they’re not wrong and that they can stay right, they will even deny evidence to the contrary. Now, we all know people like this in every realm. You can see it in nutrition, you can see it in politics, you can see it in religion, you can see it in medicine, you can see it anytime you have anything going on, including a virus that is a new virus that we don’t yet know a lot about that we’re trying to catch up scientifically, and then people will say, hey, this was caused by humans. We did this. Some secret organization in China somewhere created this virus to kill us all, not even asking the question about why would they do that, what’s the benefit of them doing that, and why is that important for them to make up something like that. Now to be clear, some people might say, but Jade, what if that was the case? Well, guess what? If that is the case, eventually science will kind of prove that out. But it seems completely ridiculous in the face of when you look at the information that we’ve had. We’ve had novel viruses like this before. We’ve had SARS, we’ve had MERS, we’ve had the Spanish Flu, we know where these things come from. We have virus hunters that go around and their job is simply to go into villages, and go into places and anesthetize rats, and anesthetize bats, and draw blood from them and look for viruses. We know what these viruses are in certain animals, and we can see, when they show up in humans, the type of virus. We also can take a virus, by the way, and take a look at it and see if there’s genetic similarity to some other virus. In other words, there would be signatures on a virus that would make us be able to say hey, this looks like it was designed in a lab. Our science is advanced enough to kind of see this. So, the point that I’m making here is that what we will do in the face of uncertainty is we will make stuff up. Now, there has been a lot of research into conspiracy theories. I’m not going to go on and on here, but I do want to give you the research. I just did a big deep dive into this because it’s a fascinating subject, it comes up over and over again, and in my mind, what I see – and I think a lot of you will understand this when I say this – there’s always a constant battle whenever we humans are in large groups and whenever there’s mass uncertainty as there would be in a pandemic. There’s always a battle between base level humans and base level leaders who want to blame, and complain, and shirk responsibility, and make things up – that’s their natural tendency – vs. next level humans who try to look for the possibility, and the learning, and try to deal with the lesson at hand.
[18:22] A next level human is far more likely to want to put out the fire first and then start studying what they can learn from it. A base level human often times, instead of putting out the fire, will sit there and scream, and complain, and point the finger at who they think started the fire, even if they have to make it up, and it’s simply because they’re trying to allay their fears. Now, there’s a very specific psychology associated with conspiracy theories, and I like to teach in acronyms, as you know, so I came up with an acronym. I may change this eventually, but after I did this, you know, week-long dive into the conspiracy theory research, what you find is there’s a very particular type of human that falls prey to this, very particular psychology involved, and it goes by the acronym I AM FUN, I-A-M-F-U-N. The I stands for ignorance, the A for arrogance, the M for magical thinking, the F for fear, the U for uncertainty, and the N for narcissism. Now, let’s take the first two – ignorance and arrogance – in my mind, ignorance and arrogance are the hallmark of a base level human. Ignorance is basically not knowing. It’s being uneducated, which is not a problem because we are all uneducated in – most of us, myself included by the way – we are not virologists. We do not study this stuff day in and day out. We should leave this to the experts. We shouldn’t be guessing. We’re not experts in vaccines, we’re not experts in autism, we’re not experts in disease. I might be a little bit more of an expert than you, but even my expertise is very limited. There are people who have PhDs and study this all day every day, so we have to admit that we are ignorant. Now, why would a base level human do that when they’re trying to win? Also, why would a culture level human do that when they’re trying to maintain their status? If you’re a next level human, you want to learn - the first step to learning is realizing that you don’t know. If you think you already know, you’re not going want to go learn. So, a next level human is the opposite of ignorant. Now, think about this – you don’t know, but then you stubbornly know what you don’t know. There’s a great quote by Osho that goes, the less a person knows, the more stubbornly they know it. And this describes base level behavior, and really sums up, in my mind, the ignorance-arrogance conundrum. When you don’t know what you’re talking about, yet you stubbornly insist that you do, you are an ignorant and arrogant human, and that is a very dangerous combination, especially when you have a leader that does that.
[21:11] We’ve seen that throughout history that ignorance and arrogance in powerful people causes messes and typically kills lots and lots of people. By the way, this is not a commentary on politics, because I’m not on either side of the spectrum, I’m sort of right in the middle. I like good ideas and good people no matter where they come from, so I don’t want people thinking this is a commentary on our current leadership. There’s good things about our current leadership and bad things about our current leadership, but ignorance and arrogance all the hallmark of base level leaders. And one other thing that I’ll say here about base level leaders is that, just like I talked about sort of the similarity between next level humans and base level humans sort of being these independent people, they also tend to be the people of in power, because they’re the ones – think about it, base level human who is arrogant as hell and is convinced that they know is settling to some people. They go, oh, well, I crave certainty, this person seems to have it figured out, so these ignorant, arrogant types can often times, through other personality traits, can often times be relatively charismatic as well at times, and can become leaders. So, you typically end up with base level leaders and more next level leaders, and base level leaders have this ignorance and arrogance sort of thing going on. Now, when you take ignorance and arrogance and you combine it with magical thinking – now, why would I call this magical thinking? Well, ‘cause this is actually what it’s called in the research. Paranoia, schizotypy – paranoia means I think that people are out to get me; schizotypy basically means that I think there are people talking to me and I see certain things, or I have this belief that people are out to get me, and people are plotting. So, this idea of paranoia and schizotypy, kind of schizophrenic type of personality traits, along with some of these beliefs in age old stories like astrology and magic, and old religious stories, and mythology, and ghosts, and aliens, and all of these things – now, again, I’m not saying anything about this other than we don’t have evidence that any of these things exist, yet people will continue to propagate that they actually do. And now, it’s even more funny to me because we’re all walking around with devices and video cameras – where are all the pictures of ghosts, and where all the pictures of angels, and where are all the videos of these things showing up on our IG feeds everyday? They’re not there. Where are all the UFOs that were supposed to be around? How come we’re not getting pictures, how come we’re not seeing aliens walking around on the street on our IG stories, or hundreds of thousands of pictures of UFOs flying around everywhere?
[24:06] You simply don’t see them. Now again, that’s not saying they don’t exist, but it does point to the fact that we make up a lot of stuff, and right now the evidence is against potentially their existence. But we humans love making stuff up, we love this. Now, I believe, by the way, some of this stuff too. I’ll tell you some of my magical thinking so you don’t feel I’m preaching at you. I have some magical thinking. One of my magical ways of thinking is that I believe that when we go through life we attract certain things – if we show up kind, kindness tends to find us; that if we’re generous, generosity tends to find us. This is sort of that law of attraction thing you hear about. Well, I also know while I believe this and like this belief, I also know it’s completely made up. There’s no evidence for it whatsoever, and it’s kind of a ridiculous thought process, but I just choose to believe it because it seems to serve me, but it is still magical thinking in a way. Now, it could be right, it could be wrong, but how do we prove that? When you take ignorance and arrogance along with magical thinking, paranoia, thinking that people are going to, you know, are scheming against you, the belief in ghosts and all these things, which are passed down from cultural beliefs, our families telling ghost stories, that time you were driving late at night, and there was fog, and you saw a ghost crossing the street, not realizing that science tells us our brain is meant to pick out shapes. It’s the reason that when you look at a wall that has patterns to it, you’ll pick out faces. We also, if we see swirling fog, we’ll tend to basically make shapes out of that. So, I’m not saying that any of this, by the way, is not true. I’m simply saying it’s magical thinking if it’s not proven. And when you combine that with ignorance and arrogance, you start to have the ripe sort of mindset for conspiracy theories. Now add fear and uncertainty on to a tendency toward ignorance and arrogance and magical thinking, and all of a sudden, you have the conspiracy theory sort of creative process going on in this person’s brain. Then, add narcissism to that, where it’s all about the individual, and all the attention needs to be on them, and you have someone raving, and raging, and ranting on your social media feeds about how this was some secret virus caused in blah blah blah lab somewhere and all this stuff passing around. Then, you have, even some of the people who you might think are not prone to this, who are reposting these things, being like I wonder, hmm, this kind of stuff, because they also – you know, we have levels of this – you might be a level 10 conspiracy theorist, I might be a level 2 conspiracy theorist, someone else might be a level 5. Two meaning I’m not that prone to conspiracy theories, but I am human, and we all have this thought process going on – vs a level 10, where it’s like this person believes in every conspiracy theory.
[27:06] Now, the more higher up you go, the more base level you are as a human. The lower down you go, I think the less base level you are as a human. You can basically test this with your friends and family who you feel like tend to operate at their base level selves more often; you can essentially go and then look and see their level of are they people who like to learn, are they open-minded, what’s their level of arrogance, are they growth, do they live by the 3 parameters of learn, teach, and love, are they kind, are they generous, are they honest, are they all these next level human behaviors, and you can see whether or not you think they are more base level or not. And let’s be clear, whenever you have fear and uncertainty, remember what we talked about before, our base level psychology is protective. It’s the thing that helped us fight and flee and get away. It’s the thing that when we went down to the water hole, and we went down there with Bob one day, and a lion came and grabbed Bob and hauled him off, it’s the thing, the base level part of us goes the next time I go down to that water hole, I better look out, I better be – I better have some fear, I better have some uncertainty, I better bring a couple other friends with me and maybe a spear. So, base level behavior can be beneficial, but when you’re operating in base level behavior all the time, what you’re going to do is you’re going to want to fight people, you’re going to want to deny, you’re going to want to be right all the time, and you’re going to want to make stuff up, and you’re going to be pretty ignorant and arrogant about it, along with this magical thinking and narcissism that comes along with it. So, I like to kind of just rank myself on this – where am I on this conspiracy theory continuum? Well, I’m down at the bottom, and the reason why is I tend to be pretty rational and reasoned; but I’m also open-minded enough to say hey, some of these things might be true. It’s really interesting, one of the studies I read, and you all know this – everyone has played the game of phone, where you basically whisper in one person’s ear something, and then they whisper in the next person’s ear, and it goes down this long chain, and then we tell the last person in the chain to say what did you hear, and that person is saying something completely different than what the original person said. We all sort of know that game. Well, this is something that can happen with sort of this base level behavior, and whenever there’s fear and uncertainty, this game of phone sort of can come up, and ignorance and arrogance can kind of make itself sort of known in this regard. Especially when there’s uncertainty, we tend to fill in gaps. We tend to put in our spin on the story. We tend to hear things a particular way. Information gets filtered through a particular perspective. One of the things that I like to do is just assume I don’t know what I don’t know, and really try to pay very close attention and ask questions and be ok with not knowing.
[30:00] That is one of the things that’s interesting about this. With fear and uncertainty, most people are so certainty driven that they WANT to know, and they’ll even make things up so that they can pretend that they know. And then, they’re also so status driven, they will be adamant about the fact that whatever they made up is actually correct and defend it to the death. And I mean that. In history, some people have just made stuff up, have been so fear and uncertainty driven, and literally wars have happened like this. So, you can kind of see where you are on this conspiracy theory continuum. Now, the final thing I’ll say here is, kind of the discussion that we’ve been having here is how do we guard against this? Well, we go through that same acronym, I AM FUN, and we essentially start to say, well, ignorance – well, if I don’t know something about virology or immunity, let me go learn about it. Not from my favorite media source, or my favorite politician, or the first Google that I type in – and by the way, Google, based on what you type is going to feed back your biases. So, one trick I use with Google is I try to think about let me not put my bias in it; actually, let me type in something else. For example, let’s say I’m trying to prove that bromelain, a natural compound in pineapple, helps with cancer; let’s say I’m trying to prove that. I can type in ‘bromelain helpful for cancer’, or I can type in ‘bromelain not helpful for cancer’. I tend to go ‘bromelain not helpful for cancer’, and search that instead of my bias that bromelain is helpful for cancer. I also tend to want to use scientific places like PubMed, and not just random blogs on Medium somewhere with someone who has an opinion. We have to ask where is this information coming from. We also have to ask who are the people giving the information. Are they actually experts in this realm? Do they actually have the requisite knowledge? Again, using that game of phone, if you’re not someone who has a background in science and someone gives you a scientific sentence, whispers it in your ear, and you try to translate it to the person next to you, it’s going to come out pretty much like gobbledy-gook. It’s not going to make much sense, and you’re not going to understand it, and so you’re going to have to translate it. So, can you see how ignorance is a big piece here? To deal with ignorance, go and try to get the education, fill in the gaps. At the same time, arrogance is pretty easy. Just realize that you are not, you don’t know what you don’t know, that you cannot possibly learn anything if you are adamant that your way is correct. With arrogance, assume you’re the dumbest person in the room. Assume that you are actually wrong. Take the sort of tact and position that I don’t know this, this is not my area of expertise, I’m going to keep an open mind and let people correct me, and sort of look at it like what’s wrong with being wrong.
[33:12] Arrogant people and culture level people do not want to see their status degraded. Next level people want to see their knowledge upgraded, so they will take a status hit in order to grow their knowledge base, whereas culture level humans and base level humans won’t do that. A base level human who says they don’t know looks weak, and therefore, they can’t win. A culture level person who says they don’t know loses status, and therefore, they won’t do that. A next level human has as their primary value system to learn and grow, so they have no problem saying they’re wrong as long as there’s growth on the other side of that. So, you can see that coming at it from this point of view helps you in this. Magical thinking is simply just to say where did my stories come from. Is that really true, is it possible that that ghost that I thought I saw on that foggy morning was just the fog swirling around? You know, is it possible that the ghost that my parents said haunted their house was just faulty electrical wiring and an old house that creaks when it got hot and cold in the middle of the night? These are the questions that you want to be asking yourself with the magical thinking piece. And ask yourself, am I paranoid, am I really one of these people that has some of these schizophrenic things, am I making assumptions, do I always feel like people are out to get me? What would be the motivation of the media, what would be the motivation of government, what would be the motivation of China or whatever to do this, and how many people would it take? Going back to the game of phone again, when you look at the science on conspiracy theories, they actually look at lying, and they basically say, like if I wanted to get two of my friends and go kill someone and try to keep it a secret, I might be able to do that. Now, if it’s just me who killed someone and wants to keep it a secret, it’s pretty probably a good bet that I’m going to be able to keep that secret. Once I have someone else in the mix, my ability to keep that a secret goes way down. If I have 3 people in the mix, it goes down further. What research shows, that once you go over about 5-6 people who are involved in a conspiracy or in a secret, you almost always cannot keep that a secret; it almost always will blow up. It becomes untenable, especially if you need to do things that take thousands. Imagine how many thousands of people would have to be involved on something like rigging the Twin Towers with bombs over how many months, and no one’s going to see that, and no one’s going to say that they were involved in that. So, you can see that it is a problem to – or you can see that it’s not rational to think that these huge kind of conspiracy theories could even propagate with that many people lying. Yeah, maybe a CEO and a Vice President can get together and say we’re going to create vaccines and make them dangerous so we can make extra money for ourselves.
[36:07] Certainly, that seems, you know, logical perhaps, and maybe that happens in a board room. But then, you have the whole scientific community, right? Many different people all over the world, hundreds of scientists all studying vaccines and autism, all coming to the same conclusion that these things don’t cause autism. Now, maybe there’s something else about vaccines we don’t know yet, but it’s one thing to say that there’s these two people in a back room in the pharmaceutical industry doing this; it’s another thing to say ok, now we’ve got hundreds of scientists all over the world, who speak all different languages, doing the same research, coming to the same conclusion. That becomes untenable based on this research about lying, so this is where we battle against this magical thinking and this paranoia. Now, fear and uncertainty, this is just understanding I have fear right now, I am uncertain right now; of course, my base level behaviors are going to dominate as a result of that. It’s going to make me more prone to conspiracy theories. I’m going to take to myself and essentially say, you know, my job – and this where purpose, and meaning, and showing up as a next level human matter, because, of course, we’re going to have fear; of course we’re going to have uncertainty; but if I say I want to be the antidote to asshole, I want to be the truth to lying, I want to be the Grinch to greed, I want to be the antidote to these negative things, I want to be the person, the rationality, and not the person who propagates fear, and is the conspiracy theorist, and hoards items and things like that. I want to be next level and not base level. When you go in with that intention, fear an uncertainty are buffered to some degree by purpose and meaning. And the final piece here is narcissism. Now, all of us are narcissistic to some degree. We are self-centered and self-orienting individuals. But, what we have to say with narcissism is essentially say, it’s not about me being right or me fitting in, or me allaying my fear or my uncertainty, but maybe it’s about I can feel better, more certain, have less fear, if I am more about team human than I am about myself. Again, base level humans are very narcissistic. Everything is about them, their needs, their winning. If someone goes out and hoards all the toilet paper, that is a base level human without a doubt. That is you, if you’ve done that, that is you operating from your base level self, and not much at your next level self. However, if you’re operating at your next level self, you are looking to see how you can help yourself and help others. You’re not thinking just about you. This helps to explain why we humans get involved with conspiracy theories, how they are sort of normal part of our evolution, what are the psychological… habits and tendencies and ways of being for people who tend to suffer from conspiracy theories, and also, how we can begin to think differently about them.
[39:15] I’m going to stop there. I just feel like I just word vomited all over the place for 30 minutes basically, but I hope that is helpful for you and answers some of the information about conspiracy theories. If you have questions about this or want to see some of the research that I got into to look at all of this, definitely hit me up. Follow me on instagram @jadeteta, DM me, let me know what you thought about this particular episode, and if you want to see some of that research, it all came from PubMed and I did a deep dive on that. There’s a lot more, actually, on conspiracy theories, but I hope this gives you a nice introduction into the idea of conspiracy theories, why base level humans are so susceptible to them, and how we can understand them, and perhaps be a little bit better. Alright everybody, thanks for being here this week, and please do me a favor – go on over to iTunes or wherever you can rate the podcast and let me know what you think. I would really, really appreciate that. It makes a big difference, and I really enjoy seeing all your comments there. Please write me a review, and I will see you at the next show. Thank you so much.