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Conspiracies and delusional disorder Conspiracies and delusional disorder
by Joseph Gatt
2007-11-04 09:59:47
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The US government was behind 9/11. Man never landed on the moon. Those ideas might sound crazy, yet a lot of people believe in them. What are the psychological factors behind conspiracy theories?

Anything related to a conspiracy theory, whether fictional or real, attracts a huge number of readers and viewers. Conspiracies have happened worldwide. The largest known conspiracies were held by leaders such Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Kim Jung Il, King Leopold II among many others. Yet there are several conspiracy theories where people believe that large influential groups, such as the Catholic Church, Jewish people or the American government are behind conspiracies.

Many people do not take conspiracy theories due to their lack of evidence. Yet some people want to prove that events were the cause of conspiracy theories at all costs. A number of crazy historians, researchers or ordinary people have carefully studies documents like footage of the 9/11 attacks, The Diary of Anne Frank, or have been to Auschwitz to collect information that they manipulate in order to claim that they were invented or planned events.

Some psychologists believe that a person who believes in a conspiracy theory will believe in others, and that a person who doesn’t believe in one will not believe in others. Yet some conspiracy theorist are so convinced that their belief is true, that it comes close to being a case of delusional disorder in psychiatry.

A patient with delusional disorder has false beliefs that he believes are incorrigible certainties. Those beliefs are implausible or untrue. There are several different types of delusional disorders that can range from a patient believing that his wife cheated on him to believing that he is famous. Another type of delusional disorder is believing that the world is conspiring to harm him or his peers.

That case can be applied to the conspiracy theory that Jews try to rule the world. According to Kenneth Stern, “Historically, Jews have not fared well around conspiracy theories. Such ideas fuel anti-Semitism. The myths that Jews killed Christ, or poisoned wells, or killed Christian children to bake matzo, or "made up" the Holocaust, or plot to control the world, do not succeed each other; rather, the list of anti-Semitic canards gets longer. The militia movement today believes in the conspiracy theory of the Protocols, even if some call it something else and never mention Jews. From the perspective of history, we know that this is the type of climate in which anti-Semitism can grow”.

Yet this conspiracy theory is common worldwide. Patients with delusional disorder believe that Jewish people control everything, and their only aim is to harm other people and to bare them from sharing power. Yet that belief is absolutely false. A huge number of influential people are not Jewish, and actually very few Jewish people are listed in the Fortune 100 richest people in the world, debunking the myth that Jews dominate the world.

Though conspiracies do exist, as Bruce Cumings would say, “But if conspiracies exist, they rarely move history; they make a difference at the margins from time to time, but with the unforeseen consequences of a logic outside the control of their authors: and this is what is wrong with 'conspiracy theory.' History is moved by the broad forces and large structures of human collectivities”. Yet each time a significant event might happen, expect conspiracy theories to spread immediately after the event.

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Sand2007-11-04 11:54:54
The evidence seems sure that the Bush administration was not directly involved in the 9/11 tragedy but the USA through the CIA has a long history of committing violence in deposing leaders that it does not favor in Iran, Chile, Vietnam etc. so it is not extraordinary that people would succumb to a theory that the Bush people who strangely whisked their Saudi friends out of the country when all air traffic was suspended right after the event. In addition Bush entered office under a cloud of suspicion that Gore was illegally defeated and Bush himself was not considered in high regard as a leader. After the event Bush's reputation rose to extreme heights as a savior of the frightened country. He benefited immensely from the event and this added to the suspicions.

Rinso2007-11-04 14:43:36
I don't believe in conspiracy theories. But I do believe that smart (and powerful) persons can quickly adept to the situation and benefit from it (like the example Sand gave). Just giving fuel to the suspicions. Comparing conspiracy ideas with delusional disorder is going a little bit to far for my taste.

Jack2007-11-04 21:03:19
I have found that one powerful onspiracy theory is that Jews are going to take over the money purse of the world eventually. This is what fed the great hate of the KKK in the southern states of the U.S., with the prime target not only African-Americans. People who hold prejudices against a certain group quickly, without investigation or hesitation, jump on these theory's quite readily and accept them as fact, as well as spread them as fact. Take away the prejuidices [not possible with most]and you take away the bulk of conspiracy theories I believe. Prejudices and bigotry are the cultural breeding dish of most of these theories. Great article.

Sand, excellent point. The track record of the U.S. intelligence and secret operations (i.e. CIA) would indicate that the government must believe at least some of these.

Rufus2007-11-06 21:56:38
In 2001 76% of US citizens identified themselves as Christians. This isn't a conspiracy, the fact is however that a significant majority of Americans do belong to a Christian denomination. Therefore, government policy and action is going to reflect this. While arguing that the Church/es have some huge conspiracy is dubious, but nobody can deny that they do have a strong influence.

I also dislike the way that the media is presently dismissing conpiracy theorists as somehow psychologically challenged or extreme. A conspiracy theory, just like a religion or a particular political ideology requires a leap of faith. Of course individuals who are prone to belief without complete evidence are logically more likely to believe these theories, but we don't demonise Judaism and this religion requires penile alteration. It's called tolerance.

On the topic of Judaism, I think people get confused by anti-semitism. I think there can be no doubt that there is a Pro-Israel lobby in America. I'm not saying there's anything nefarious about it, simply that, Israel-American relations are good, a large proportion of Christians believe that Jerusalem should be in Christian-friendly hands, etc.

I don't know about Cuming's statement either. You just need to look at the Masons to get a good idea about how widespread and accepted a secret society can be.

Just my rambling two cents.

Rick Martinez2013-11-24 23:21:17
BBC news about March 24, 2016, possible independence of Scotland: perhaps an "evil date," because March 24, 1976 was the date neo-Nazis on the basis of ultra-nationalistic doctrines. Plus 2016 is the year of Argentina's bicentenary. What nationality is Pope Francis? I am a free-lance investigative journalist presently doing research about the Argentine military's connection to Hezbollah and Iran. I have myself been called delusional about it all; but look what happened to Pope Benedikt, the kind of existential anxiety and despair he presented, yet as soon as he resigned he was alright again, yet replaced by a Pope from Supreme Argentina. I was born in Argentina, so nothing personal against that nation; just that it smells really bad.

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