There is much talk in chat rooms as well as in mainstream media of conspiracy theories. I was once referred to a website called the Conspiracy Café as a home to supposedly paranoid discussions and whispers about the dastardly and underhand methods by which the empowered excluded the disempowered such that they had to gather and mutter dejectedly in such establishments, be they real or virtual.
Although I have always seen the utility of this label, I have never really subscribed to its general application as I have not been able to understand how those running the conspiracies were always able to run such a tight organisation, with never any leaks.
Of course organisations, commercial or public, have undisclosed information and penalties to any of the group who might release these secrets to the general public – or sell them to a competitor. But a conspiracy is different. This involves groups gathering together to strategically warp public understanding of an issue, painting a picture which is contrary to facts known only to themselves and consistently denied if they are uttered by someone outside of the group of cognoscenti.
A classic example of this is the concept of alien life forms exploring our planet, arriving in flying saucers. There has been and continues endless discussion of this topic. Many conspiracy theorists will demonstrate to you clearly how our governments have made contact with these extra terrestrials but are withholding the information from us as we would not be able to handle it.
Books, films, pubs and chat rooms have this as a recurring theme but perhaps the only thing we really take away as fact from this is the concept of conspiracies.
In my exploration and discussion of public health issues, notably the vaccination saga, a very cogent thread of explanation can be pinned on conspiracy. It works both ways as the corporate response to criticism can be “Oh, so you say it’s all a great big conspiracy, do you”, and they refer derisorily to “conspiracy theorists” in dismissing criticisms put to them. Rational, well argued critiques supported with masses of information.
So I have searched for a descriptor of this behaviour and come up with the concept of “Protecting their Paradigm”.
Earthmovers speak of “The Paradigm Shift” as the momentous change in understanding that is leading to the new reality. It can even be a goal – “We need a paradigm shift to bring about our capability to deal with this situation”. Of course, I reckon, this is frequently opposed by sloth, inertia or just contentment with the status quo. As in “We don’t want one of your paradigm shifts”.
That being so these reactionaries will move to protect their personal, organisational or corporate paradigms. Protecting their status quo. In fact their paradigm is their rallying point, their focus and their contextualiser. Their castle, even.
You attack their paradigm then there’s no reasoning required as instinct propels them to defend it. “Get your filthy hands off my paradigm or else you’ll feel the full force of my wrath”. Then they’ll gather together in the keep to discuss the best tactics they can use to force away, even destroy, this attack on their stronghold. It’s a mindset thing and to attack this is to trigger survival mechanisms and so bend all rationality to the cause.
Protecting their paradigm.