The Guardian suggests ways people can be cured of the ability to think freely

TAP – The fact ‘they’ even bother with this kind of piece shows that they’re concerned by the ability of people to comprehend that there are forces at work beyond the narratives of the media.  They’re hoping to stop people from thinking independently, by making free thought seem some kind of problem, from which people can be cured.   The ability to perceive the parasites at work and their prostitutes, is something that needs to be addressed with ‘education’ and the teaching of ‘analytical thinking’, claims this article from The Guardian.

How can people analyse if they don’t first receive the facts?  One of the key roles of alternative media is to give people the information the main media does not.  Most blogs, alternative channels leave it up to the reader/viewer to use their instincts as to what is the truth, saying things like ‘form your own view’.  Only ‘education’ tells people they have to think in a certain way or be seen as of less intelligence and of lower ability.  That’s par for the course.  Our intuitive minds are far more powerful than any form of ‘analysis’ as beloved by the system.  That’s why The Guardian is so keen to have them curtailed and politically controlled.  Too many of their readers can see through the screen now, and they’re worried.  Here’s a long-winded piece of writing trying to put people back in the box from which they’re emerging.

Here’s a good starter for those newish to the concept of false media narratives.  How come Paul McCartney grew over three inches in 1966 when he was 27 years old?  Search Paul McCartney on this blog if you want to delve further.

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

From 9/11 to the Paris attacks, from Ebola to Isis, every major global event attracts a corresponding counter-narrative from the ‘truthers’, some so all-encompassing that they take over people’s lives. Are our brains wired to believe, as a new book argues? And could such thinking actually be beneficial?
Isis, 9/11, Diana, moon landings conspiracy theory.
‘Even if people have just a little seed of doubt about an official story, it’s very easy to go online and find other people who feel the same’ … the internet age has vastly accelerated the spread of ‘conspiracy theories’.
David Shariatmadari

Saturday 26 December 2015 10.00 GMT Last modified on Saturday 26 December 2015 12.32 GMT

“I remember reading about Final Fantasy VII, a movie I was really looking forward to. My initial reaction was disappointment that it was two years away – because by then we’d be under military control.” It was 2004, and Matthew Elliott was in deep. Elliott, from San Antonio, Texas, had first been drawn to conspiracy theories when he was 19, in the aftermath of 9/11. “It seemed unfathomable that we could be attacked,” he says today. In his quest to make sense of what had happened he came across the notorious “truther” movement, a current of opinion that lays blame for the atrocities at the door of the US government.
“The way most conspiracy theories are laid out, one thing always leads to another, so from there I became convinced that a ruling group called the New World Order orchestrated everything. This would all lead to martial law and a complete removal of our freedoms,” he says. A decade later, Elliott, now 34, is a “recovering” conspiracy theorist, having turned his back on a worldview that always posits some covert, powerful force acting against the interests of ordinary people. The change came gradually, but he thinks very differently now. “You can’t even get many of the 50 states to agree on things. Good luck convincing Europeans and Asians to get on board.”

Elliott’s reaction to the trauma of 9/11 was far from unusual. The attacks were so unprecedented, so devastating, that many of us struggled to make sense of them. Early reports were confused or contradictory: as a result some treated the official version of events with scepticism. A proportion of those in turn plumped for an explanation that would require fakery and coordination on a massive scale.

This shouldn’t surprise us: it’s a pattern that is repeated after every global shock, and in the aftermath of the Paris attacks, it has reared its head again. Within a day of the terrorist attacks on the French capital, blogs had been published arguing that they were the work of the government – a so-called “false flag” operation. The claims rest on the idea that Isis is the deliberate creation of western governments. More recently, the lawyer for the family of Syed Farook, one of the San Bernardino shooters, fuelled conspiratorial speculation when he said: “There’s a lot of motivation at this time to emphasise or create incidents that will cause gun control or prejudice or hatred towards the Muslim community.”

The internet speeds everything up, allowing conspiracy-minded individuals to connect and formulate their ideas
Viren Swami
Round-the-clock coverage of global events means there is a constant supply of crisis and chaos for us to interpret. Stories of strings being pulled by hidden hands are a staple of our entertainment, from Spectre’s Blofeld to the baroque conspiracy of London Spy, one of the most acclaimed British dramas of the year, which unravelled in a spectacular example of the paranoid style. It’s not that belief in conspiracy theories is becoming more widespread, says Viren Swami, professor of social psychology at Anglia Ruskin university: while the research hasn’t been done yet, he tells me, there’s lots of anecdotal evidence to suggest that belief in conspiracies has remained fairly stable for the last half-century or so. What has changed, however, is the speed with which new theories are formed. “It’s a symptom of a much more integrated world,” he says. The internet speeds everything up, allowing conspiracy-minded individuals to connect and formulate their ideas. In contrast, it took months for theories about Pearl Harbor to develop.

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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,” she says. “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,” he says. “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
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Ben Whishaw in London Spy, one of the most acclaimed British dramas of the year, which unravelled in a spectacular example of the paranoid style. Photograph: 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.”

For example, 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.
9/11 truthers (naturally) wary of Osama bin Laden’s conspiracy theory obsession
Read more
External factors also play a part, of course. 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,” he says.

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”. On the other hand, 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. Similarly, 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. And anti-vaccine conspiracy narratives make people less likely to vaccinate their children, a clear public health risk.

If everybody just accepted what they were told by governments and pharmaceutical companies, we would be a bunch of sheep
Karen Douglas
Should we try to stamp conspiracy theories out, then? Part of Brotherton’s argument is that they’re a natural consequence of the way our brains have evolved. Not only that, 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,” he says.

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, too. “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, too. 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,” he says. “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, really. 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.”

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/26/the-truth-is-rushing-out-there-why-conspiracies-spread-faster-than-ever

 

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16 Responses to “The Guardian suggests ways people can be cured of the ability to think freely”

  1. ian says:

    The Paul McCartney picture is a lame duck. Think heels. Yes they are right about the more drink you get, the less likely you’ll be tolerant, it certainly applies to one or two friends I’ve had, though not all. That they were running exercises simulating what happened on most supposed terrorist attacks, including 9/11, and London, 7/7, beggars belief and I would go so far as to say that anyone who knows this fact and doesn’t find it damning is stupid. This leaves professional journalists. These are people who work for the corporate media for a lot of money. If they don’t follow official line in such matters as terrorist attacks, then they will be working in the alternative media for nothing. Go and have a think folks. The media is owned by the same people who own your fake democratic government, and create out of thin air the money that causes your national debt. in the international banks that they own.

    • Tapestry says:

      Re McCartney, heels can be a part of the story, agreed, but not the accumulated evidence over fifty years, visible to those who want to look, and think.

      • ian says:

        such as? and why? are you a government stooge? The beatles were a band. The chances of finding as doppleganger must be millions to one, and one that could sing more.
        For real?

      • TonyC says:

        ‘ visible to those who want to look, and think.’ Take a look at The Beatles Anthology and you will realize that the ‘Paul is Dead’ is nonsense.Its a psyop. Ask your self why the Beatles have been under attack from the very beginning with the attack on and death of Stu Suttcliffe, the ‘Jesus’ fabrication, the Coleman rubbish and it still goes on today.There may have been some animosity towards Paul from the others for some reason but that is personal. at the time of the ‘Jesus’ thing a US news reporter was interviewing teens, saying ‘now the Beatles are finished, who are you going to follow?’ one girl replied ‘ The Beatles brought joy and happiness, who else can do that?’ Remember the Beatles came after the Bay of Pigs psyop and the Kennedy assassination.People lived in fear!
        There are those that want to destroy the memory of the Beatles. The smears go on!

    • Nollidge says:

      There was a website named,IIRC,”Indianinthemachine”,which had a very long & detailed analysis of the McCartney theory.
      I would try to find it,but at the moment I simply cannot be arsed.

  2. salty says:

    The art of politics is fooling the people.

  3. beLIEve says:

    Apologies.
    I could not bring myself to read the Guardian DROSS.
    I hope THEIR……COINCIDENCE THEORIST AGENDA…..keeps them warm at night.

  4. salty says:

    You might find these 9/11 links helpful:

    CONTROLLED DEMOLITION AND THE DEMISE OF WTC ON 9/11
    https://hybridrogue1.wordpress.com/2014/05/08/controlled-demolition-and-the-demise-of-wtc-on-911/

    Trump: Bush Had “Advanced Notice” of 9/11
    http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2015/10/trump-bush-had-advanced-notice-of-911.html

    9/11: Controlled Demolition
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yli-if4F0DY

    Truth about 9/11 would take down the US as a global empire: Scholar
    http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2015/10/20/434273/US-empire-911-truth

    Truth About 9/11 Would Take Down the US as a Global Empire: Dr. Kevin Barrett
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/truth-about-911-would-take-down-the-us-as-a-global-empire-dr-kevin-barrett/5483241

  5. ian says:

    Is Tapestry using shock jock tactics to up the comments. Something is going on. Something is different. Does the Tapestry name belong to more than one person. Has someone had a word in his ear and asked him to keep the comments focused on trivia. I don’t know, and as always may well be wrong.

    • TonyC says:

      Somethings have definitely changed since this site was’ redesigned’ was it a year ago?
      Comments are virtually nil compared to before that. I very rarely look here these days.

  6. Tapestry says:

    Conspiracy? It’s very hard to control comments except by asking people to go away, who don;t follow the topic. WE asked a prolific commenter to start his own blog rather than mess up our comments section. He said he will do so. Once he’s done that we’ll pass on his new address to readers, who might want to get in touch with him. As for Tapestries, well there are a few of us now, as is pretty obvious.

  7. Lynn says:

    Well spotted..I have to say I thought it was quiet on here, compared to how it used to be…

    • Nollidge says:

      I believe that the decline in the number of comments started when Tap introduced a password system.Previously you had to decipher some letter/number symbols – although that was at times a nuisance as some were very difficult tor read – but then Tap changed to a password system.
      It’s a pain in the rear end & I held off from commenting for a few months,but I’ve finally been lured back in.
      (“Just when I thought I’d got out,they dragged me back in.” – Michael Corleone.)
      It’s simply that many people prefer what they think of as a simple system & avoid commenting on password-type sites.
      So I’m back – as long as Tap doesn’t go to the “Disqus” system.

  8. Nollidge says:

    If you want to know just what happened to change the Grauianad,go here & scroll down to this long explanatory comment;

    reinertorheit August 9, 2015
    I understand the anger and frustration many people have voiced here – and I think that it would be worth
    posting an explanation of what has actually happened at The Guardian.

    http://off-guardian.org/about-2/

  9. Aldous says:

    Ian @ 26 Dec 2015 9:08 pm

    “such as? and why? are you a government stooge? The beatles were a band. The chances of finding as doppleganger must be millions to one, and one that could sing more.
    For real?”

    Aren’t the chances of fooling millions/billions with the Holohoax, Moon Landings and 9/11 equally millions/billions to one?

    I think the notion of a ‘Doppelganger’ gains more legs if you step outside of the box and think that these ‘doubles’ could have been in place for each member of the Beatles from the get-go along with other important groups/entities.

    Virtually NOTHING (it seems) is left to chance in this surreal engineered world of utter evil. I lived through it and something’s not right. The teenage crowds/audiences were always screaming their stupid hop-heads off so the music could rarely if ever be heard properly. Was there a reason for that?

    Cubby, I found your comment rather offensive but as it’s Christmas and approaching New Year, I think it only fair to give a two second warning before honking your nose and pulling your underwear over your head.

    The Mask – The balloon animals scene 2:08
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kofOJDzckbM

    A sense of humor is absolutely essential in this vale of tears and sorrow called Earth that we have been dealt so please don’t take offense Ian. Should you be offended then please accept…
    …the fact that I really couldn’t GAF. Happy New Year buddy.

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