Man used to have many gods, then he worshipped a mother goddess, then a male god with Constantine the Great’s face; that lasted for an age and then philosophy supposedly killed him. But the whole time man has been struggling to find some one answer to umbrella over the head of every single questioning mind and satisfy their thirst for knowledge. It is the ultimate form of reductionism and it is a very human activity.
If you place yourself in a causal universe then you’re going to reach a point where everything logically must have followed from one cause. What is that one cause? Well, God used to sit on that throne quite nicely until philosophy backed up by science came along and usurped him. Science’s place there was always going to be tenuous though, given that it is so complicated for the layman to understand. Conspiracy theories despite their complexity appeal to the tabloid reader in us.
The birthplace of the modern conspiracy seems to have been in the sixties where several important figures were united by the way they were killed and the fact that they shared similar ideas. Assassination, it could be said, utilised these martyrs to forge the consciousness of the modern man. If these people (JFK, his brother Bobby, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X) were all connected by the same ideas and killed in similar ways, could it not be possible that they were killed by the same people?
These theories sprang up as ideas and, like water, rushed in to fill the vacuum left by patchy information and dots inevitably ended up being joined in the wrong way. The principal of Occam’s razor went out the window and it’s opposite was brought screaming into the world to breed and proliferate with every other half-baked crackpot theory that had been doing the rounds. A good conspiracy theory has as one of its constituent parts the ability to keep running where logic would have hamstringed a lesser notion. You start at your pet subject and you build and build and build until every single thing in the world fits inside the other like an infinity of Russian dolls.
Why does George Bush do the things he does? Because there are shady figures stood behind, such as the military industrial complex, pulling the strings. Why does Tony Blair do what he does? Because George has him under control — David Kelley was killed to keep him quiet. All these things add up into a vast shifting informational matrix that often buckles under its own weight.
Yes, some of these things may be true, but all of them? And all of them connected? This is why once it reaches a certain point you have to become a believer to accept what they are saying. You are looking for that universal umbrella and your conspiracy theory has become your God. this is true of so many people now. TV shows like The X Files, graphic novels such as The Invisibles, The Illuminati Trilogy, and the Da Vinci Code have all worked to get these ideas into the universal mind. And the growth of the internet with the pooling of fact and received opinion into one great amorphous mass has facilitated it further. We need a single big security blanket that smothers all those little questions and kills our doubts, just like God used to and still does for a lot of people. This is the secular world’s answer to the questions we all have.