Conspiracy theorists exhibit symptoms of contingency phobia, refusing to see coincidences as necessary and instead finding substitute causes. This mental illness is characteristic of those who dislike modernity and its elites.
At its heart, conspiracy theories are driven by an unconscious desire for revenge or “resentment”, as described by Max Scheler.
The Theory of a Secret Button in the Back
conspiracy theories are so appealing because they provide an explanation that is more satisfying than no explanation at all. Conspiracy theories provide us with a worldview where chaos, randomness and happenstance – qualities which science relies upon but which we find difficult to accept- simply do not exist; offering instead their own tree of pseudoscience that seeks to eliminate contingencies by conjuring up imaginary needs.
Conspiratorial minds rely on imaginary necessities as the only way of making sense of an ever-evolving world, so conspiracy theories offer some people relief from living in an ever-evolving progressive society they find unidentifiable; it provides freedom from an oppressive system which seems hostile to excellence; rather than join modernity’s club of modernity they create their own: in other words they develop contingency phobia and seek an excuse.
The Theory of a Hidden Camera
TikTok’s popularity of hidden cameras has given rise to theories regarding casinos being filled with them. One video uploaded by Shane Dawson in January suggested the camera could be disguised as tissue box or plastic water bottle; even further testing the theory by hiding a camera inside a can of Mountain Dew!
But casino conspiracy theorists don’t seem convinced there’s a hidden camera at work; rather they point out how tired and sleepy casino employees appear to be while working and reference videos like @karlapeoples101 on TikTok that show dealers appearing fatigued or sleeping during shifts.
Conspiracy videos may provide instant gratification to perceivers, similar to watching scary movies or gambling – providing instantaneous gratification. But their psychological advantages may be offset by negative impacts such as social stigmatization, job loss and anti-government violence against perceivers and society alike.
The Theory of a Secret Room
Hidden rooms fulfill both childhood fantasies of an undisclosed sanctum and adult yearnings for space of one’s own. A hidden door built seamlessly into bookcase wainscoting can provide access to extra square footage without detracting from its overall aesthetic.
Conspiracy theories offer an alternative universe in which chaos, randomness and chance do not exist – qualities which our minds find so frightening – while their communities provide a sense of belonging that can help individuals cope with feelings of isolation from family members, culture and even themselves.
Research has linked conspiracy beliefs with boredom susceptibility, need for feeling distinct or special (Imhoff & Lamberty 2019), and collective narcissism (Golec de Zavala & Federico 2016). We conducted research to examine whether sensation seeking, an umbrella term that encompasses boredom susceptibility, disinhibition and thrill-and adventure seeking as well as conspiracy belief, could predict it. Study 1 involved manipulating whether participants were exposed to either a conspiracy theory or non-conspiratorial narrative about an important event and measuring the participants’ entertainment appraisals and emotional intensity in response. Conspiracy theories were judged more entertaining than non-conspiratorial narratives, according to mediational analyses, and entertainment appraisals mediated the effects of conspiracy theory exposure on conspiracy beliefs more efficiently than emotional intensity did.
The Theory of a Secret System
Conspiracy theorists often believe in a secret system or universe with hidden agendas that responds to people’s wishes. Humans, they assert, can achieve whatever their hearts desire if they abide by its rules: wealth, power and health can all be attained through following its rules as well as cultivating personal relationships.
Ressentment, an indirect feeling of revenge against an unseen enemy, can often be the catalyst behind conspiratorial beliefs. Such emotions often stem from perceived injustice such as insult or injury to honor; once such feelings take root they lead to an obsessional sense of regularity and an inability or unwillingness to recognize coincidences as such.
As well as intense emotional experiences – both positive and negative in valence – increasing conspiracy beliefs is believed to be due to the fluency heuristic, which states that information that appears familiar or eye-catching is easier for us to digest than new material; additionally it has been associated with less analytic thinking, favoring instead intuitive emotion-based processing methods.