Conspiracy Theories and the Era of the Amateur

Tobias Lars, Course of Awakening

The other night I was perusing Facebook when I came across the documentary Thrive: What on Earth will it Take? . The movie asserts that a global elite has been blocking the development of what they term free energy, as well alternative cures to diseases like cancer. Pretty big accusations, to say the least. I watched half of it and was so taken with anger that I re-posted it on Facebook for my friends. I’ve seen similar documentaries, but this was just a reminder of what I thought I already knew. I was angry that the world’s people were being completely manipulated by a tiny group of people.

The next day, my friend responded to my post with a “debunk” blog: Thrive Debunked. The second I saw it, I felt embarrassed that I had a)posted something that I hadn’t even finished watching and b)never considered whether the material presented was actually factual. The people interviewed in the film are reputable by mainstream standards, including authors like Deepak Chopra (whom I deeply respect). That was enough for me to believe that everything presented was factual.

I went through the debunk blog and grew increasingly confused. No matter how much I read, neither side seemed to be able to do anything more than throw accusations. People just seemed to be bashing each other for either being gullible or being closed-minded.

It reminded me of a conversation I had with the same friend that posted the dubunk blog: while the internet and smart phones make it so easy to tap into a wealth of information, it also poses the great risk of falling for something that is not researched or worse, just plain misinformation. We have access to so many new sources of news (both professional and amateur), so how do we know what is true and what isn’t?

While I’m once again leery of putting anything politically charged on my Facebook page, I will continue to do so. After thinking about it all day, I concluded in my own mind that it’s awesome to have many perspectives and arguments on such a huge issue. I will not be afraid of being wrong or initially believing something that is later proven to be false.

However, I will think more critically about whether or not I should believe what I see, read or hear. A little googling around to see if there are other perspectives on the topic will be a prerequisite to any recommendation I make to my friends and family. Most importantly, I will listen to my instinct which may lie quietly beneath my emotions of blame or distrust.

I am not yet convinced that what is claimed in this documentary is untrue. I will do my homework and find my own way on this topic, as long as I see it suits my own journey to freedom as a human and spiritual being. THAT is the most important thing to me, far superseding any purpose of argument or proving that I’m not gullible.

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