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As I have confessed here in the past, there has been a dark turn in my personal philosophy. I am not happy about this change; it has compelled me to re-examine my whole approach to dealing with my fellow man.

Let’s just say that I am not as upbeat and forgiving as I was five years ago — about my neighbor, and by logical extension, about myself. Are humans really this stupid? Well. I may have found a way back from this metaphysical precipice.

One of the chief drivers of my internal shift has been the shocking propensity of my species — fully comprehended by me only recently — to buy into conspiracies as a way of explaining the world. I am troubled by this because it is obvious to me that conspiracies are a very poor way to explain anything. They do exist, but to believe that they could account for any large, complicated phenomenon in our world would defy common sense or clear, rational thought at any level. I won’t use the word stupid, but I am definitely thinking it.

Conspiracies are frightening, as well, because large numbers of my fellow humans are making important decisions (including voting) based on these misguided versions of reality. It’s beginning to seriously spook me.

But as I say, I think I have discovered a path to understanding that might preserve my mental health — and even restore my feelings for my fellow humans. The secret is not to focus on the illogic of these conspiracists, or even on their manifest foolishness. The problem here is not with reason at all, but rather with emotion.

I think I knew that all along, but until a few days ago, I didn’t fully appreciate what it meant. I tend to forget, I guess, that emotion doesn’t operate by the same rules as reason. Logic doesn’t apply, or even common sense. It’s all about what these conspiracists are feeling.

In these times of pandemics, global warming, overpopulation, worldwide human misery…okay, that’s enough. You get the picture. Things are scary these days. Changes are coming at us at an alarming clip. People are afraid. And that’s where conspiracies come in. When it starts to get too scary, people are ready for an explanation — any explanation — that makes the fear go away. It doesn’t matter that the explanation is stupid, because stupid is irrelevant.

I think that’s what was blocking me on this. I couldn’t see how an explanation that involved dark forces beyond our control could possibly make anyone feel better. Being at the mercy of something mysterious and all-powerful is terrifying to me. How could that help? It doesn’t make sense.

But I have been missing the point. It doesn’t have to make sense. It only has to make the fear go away. If it can supply an enemy, even an unseen one, then there is room for anger. Conspiracies, I think, allow us to get mad. Which is way more fun than fear. Whatever works, right?

So that’s my new theory… something like that, anyway. I’m still working on it. One thing I do know is that this theory is making me feel better. A little more forgiving, perhaps. Hey, whatever works.

(THE END IS NEAR: you can still click HERE
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Yes, voting matters. Polls do not.
~ H, Santa Cruz