by Ralph T. Niemeyer
Why else do completely intelligent, thoughtful and rational-thinking people resist the claim that sociopaths conspire to manipulate and deceive them? And why do they defend this unfounded position with such vehemence?
The history of mankind is full of the machinations of liars, thieves, tyrants and narcissists, and full of the devastating effects that result from that. Even today, there is much evidence of corruption and extraordinary deception. We know without a doubt that many politicians are lying and hiding their connections, and that many companies routinely show complete contempt for moral norms – we know that corruption surrounds us.
We know that the revolving doors between business and politics, the lobbying system, corrupt regulators, the hatred of the media and the judiciary very rarely lead to the atoning of misconduct. We know that the press sometimes makes noise about these things, but never follows them with vigorously. We know that misconduct is staggering in the intelligence services and law enforcement agencies, and that justice is never done here either. We know that governments are constantly ignoring or flouting the rights of the people, that they are actively abusing and mistreating their own people. None of this is really controversial.
So what exactly is it that the conspiracy deniers do not want to acknowledge with such righteousness and condescension? Why, against all the evidence, do they defend the crumbling illusion that “the great and good” are sitting up there somewhere and have everything under control, that they have only our best in mind, that they have scruples, and that they are wise and sincere?
Why are they defending the crumbling illusion that the press serves the people and the truth, not the crooks? That one injustice after another results from mistakes and mistakes, but never from conspiracy?
What reasonable person would voluntarily live in such a fantasy world?
The point of contention here is only the question of the extent. Someone who is really curious about the plans of power-equipped sociopaths will not limit the scope of his curiosity to a corporation or a nation. Why should they? Such a person reasonably assumes that the patterns that show up in one place are likely to be found in the entire food chain of power. But the conspiracy denier insists this is absurd.
Why does he think so?
It is painfully obvious that the pyramidal social and legal structures that humanity has created represent the very kind of hierarchies of dominance that favor sociopaths. A human being who operates with a normal and healthy cooperative mindset has little inclination to participate in the struggles necessary to climb an entrepreneurial or political ladder.
So what do the conspiracy deniers imagine what the world’s at least 70 million sociopaths do all day long? The sociopaths were born into a “game” in which all wealth and power lie at the top of the pyramid, while the most effective attributes for “winning” are ruthlessness and amorality? Have the conspiracy deniers never played Monopoly?
Sociopaths do not consciously choose their worldview and are simply unable to understand why ordinary people put themselves at an almost unbelievable disadvantage by limiting themselves with conscientiousness and empathy.
To win in this game, the sociopath only has to lie publicly while conspiring privately. What could be easier? Continuing to imagine that the world we live in is not largely driven by this dynamic, bordering on reckless naivety in 2021, yes, bordering on madness. Where does such an unintentionally destructive impulse come from?
The toddler places an innate trust in the people with whom he or she is with – a trust that is justified in most cases. Otherwise, the infant could not survive.
In a reasonable and healthy society, this deep instinct would evolve along with the psyche. While self-confidence, cognitive and logical abilities and skepticism develop in the individual, this innate impulse of trust would continue to be understood as a central need of the psyche. In such an ideal society, collective belief systems would exist that aim to consciously develop this childlike impulse in order to place this trust somewhere consciously – in values and beliefs of lasting importance and value for society, the individual, or ideally for both.
Reverence and respect for tradition, the forces of nature, the ancestors, reason, truth, beauty, freedom, the innate value of life, or the creative spirit of all things could be seen as valid resting points in which we consciously place our trust and faith – as well as those resting points derived from more formalized belief systems.
Irrespective of the individual path taken to develop one’s own trust, the matching of one’s own consciousness and perception with this innate impulse is of great importance. I believe that this is a deep responsibility – to develop and cultivate a mature trust – a responsibility that many people are understandably unaware of.
What happens when there is a childlike need in us that has never evolved beyond its original survival function, namely to trust those around us who are most powerful, most present, and most active? What happens if we never really explore our own psyche and never deeply question who we really trust and why? If our motivation to trust something or someone remains unquestioned? What happens when philosophy is left to the philosophers?
I would like to suggest here that the answer is relatively simple and that the proof of this phenomenon and the devastation it causes can be found all around us: the innate impulse to trust the mother never develops, never meets its counterweight of reason (or mature trust) to deal with it, but remains forever at its original “default setting” as a child.
While the immature psyche no longer depends on the parents for their well-being, the powerful and motivating basic idea I have described remains intact, unchallenged, unquestioned and undeveloped. And in a world where stability and security are only a distant memory, these survival instincts, rather than being well-expressed, reflective, relevant, demanding, and up-to-date, remain, in the truest sense of the word, the instincts of a baby. One trusts in the greatest, loudest, most present and most undeniable force, because the instinct says that one’s own survival depends on trust. And in this great “world kindergarten” the most ubiquitous force is precisely the network of those institutions that unceasingly radiate an undeserved image of power, calm, competence, concern and stability.
In my view, this is why conspiracy deniers cling to – and may be able to aggressively defend – the utterly illogical fantasy that above a certain, undefined level of the social hierarchy, corruption, fraud, malice, and narcissism simply mysteriously evaporate. Contrary to a universally accepted maxim, they cling to the fantasy that the more power a person has, the more integrity there will be. These poor, blinded souls essentially believe that where personal experience and prior knowledge cannot fill the gaps in their worldview – where there is, in a sense, a locked door – Mum and Dad are behind it and think about how best to ensure that their little treasure is good forever, that he is happy and safe.
This also explains why the conspiracy denier will attack any suggestion that the caring archetype no longer exists – indeed, that behind the locked door, perhaps, there may be sociopaths who treat us all with extreme contempt or disrespect us completely. The conspiracy denier will attack any such suggestion as vehemently as if his survival depended on it – as it does in the constitution of his unconscious and precarious psyche in some ways. Their sense of well-being, security, comfort, even a future in general, such people have invested completely – and completely unconsciously – in this fantasy. The infant in them has never matured, and because they are unaware of it – they are really only aware of the concern for their personal safety – they will attack every threat to this unconscious yet central aspect of their world view in the strongest terms.
The tiringly frequent refrain of conspiracy deniers is: “There can be no such great conspiracy.” The simple response to such self-proclaimed conspiracies experts is obviously: “How big?”
For decades, the world’s largest “medical” corporations can treat court settlement as mere business costs, for crimes ranging from suppressing unwanted test scores to multiple murders as a result of undeclared tests to gigantic environmental crimes. Governments carry out the most heinous and unthinkable criminal “experiments” on their own people without any consequences. Politicians habitually lie in our faces – with no consequences. And so on and so forth. At what point exactly does a conspiracy become so big that “they” just can’t get away with it, and why? I suspect this is the point at which the cognitive abilities of conspiracy deniers diminish and their unconscious survival instincts begin. The point at which the intellect is overwhelmed by the significance of events and the instinct retreats into the familiar, comforting faith that one has known and cultivated since the first moment, when one’s lips found the nipple. It is the belief that someone else cares about it—that where the world becomes unknown to us, there is a powerful and benevolent human authority in which we only have to place our trust unconditionally in order to gain eternal emotional security. This dangerous delusion could be the central factor that puts physical security and the future of humanity in the hands of sociopaths.
To all those who have a habit of dismissing people who are questioning, researching and skeptical, as aluminium-hat-wearing, paranoid, science-denying Trump supporters, I would like to ask the following questions: What do you believe in? What did you put your faith in and why? How is it that while no one trusts governments, you seem to trust the emerging global governance organizations without question? How rational is that?
If you trust such organizations, remember that in the modern global age, as extraordinarily good as they present themselves, these organizations are simply larger manifestations of local versions that we know we cannot trust. They are not our parents and they show no loyalty to human values. There is no reason to believe any of them.
If you have not developed a conscious faith or have never profoundly questioned why you believe as you do, such a position may seem hostile to human beings, but in reality it is the opposite. These organizations have earned your trust with nothing but PR money and glossy lies. The true power, as always, lies with the people.
There is a reason why Buddhists strongly advise to place their trust in the Dharma or the natural law of life, not in persons, and that similar sayings are common in other belief systems: power corrupts. Indeed, in today’s world, inappropriate and unfounded trust could be one of the greatest sources of power.
Massive criminal conspiracies exist. The evidence is overwhelming. The extent of the conspiracies that are currently underway is not known, but there is no reason to imagine that, in the new global age, the sociopathic pursuit of power or the possession of the resources needed to achieve power is diminishing. Certainly not until dissenting opinions are derided and censored by gatekeepers [“gatekeepers” in the sense of “information regulator,” “opinion watchdogs”], “useful idiots” and conspiracy deniers – that is, by people who, through their relentless attacks on those who want to shed light on grievances, actually work directly with the sociopathic agenda.
It is the urgent responsibility of every human being to uncover sociopathic agendas wherever they exist – and never attack those who try to do so.
Today, more than ever, it is time to put aside childish things and childish impulses and stand up as adults to protect the future of actual children who have no choice but to entrust their lives to us.