General, Research, Technology

The most popular conspiracy theories in the world - what are they about?

Conspiracy theories are everywhere. They have existed for thousands of years and have accompanied humanity throughout its history. In an article for The New York Times, the international bestselling author of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humanity, historian Yuval Noah Harari writes that understanding the structure of global conspiracy theories can shed light on both their appeal and their inherent falsity. Our regular readers probably know that conspiracy theories come in all stripes, but the most popular theory on the planet is that beneath the myriad events that we see through the lens of news, there is one sinister group - the "secret world government". Moreover, the identity of this group can change: some believe that the world is secretly ruled by Masons, witches or Satanists; others think they are aliens, reptilians, or pharmaceutical companies. But who and why believes in the "conspiracy of the world government?" Let's figure it out.

Conspiracy theory became especially popular during the Covid-19 pandemic, which is perhaps not surprising.

Conspiracy theory Is the concept that individualsocially significant events (sometimes even the course of history) are the result of a conspiracy on the part of a certain group of people (secret world government, freemasons, reptilians, etc.) who control this process out of self-interest, ambition or other interests.

Conspiracy theories are as old as the world

Throughout the history of our kind of theoryconspiracies were closely associated with prejudice, witch hunts, revolutions and genocide. Today, listening to conspiracy theories, many people reject scientific consensus, abandon evidence-based medicine and seek help from charlatans. And, as they say, do not feed them with bread - only REN-TV, headed by Igor Prokopenko, is worth something.

But despite the fact that conspiracy theories are a phenomenonin world culture is not new, they have attracted the attention of scientists only in recent decades. So, according to the results of the survey, which Harari refers to in his article, out of 26,000 respondents in 25 countries of the world (Russia is not on the list) 45% of Italians, 55% of Spaniards, 78% of Nigerians and 37% of Americans believe that “there is a group of people which secretly controls the course of events and rules the world. " But as ridiculous as some conspiracy theories seem to us, they should not be underestimated.

“Some conspiracy theories have had tremendousinfluence on the course of history. Take Nazism, for example. We usually don't think of Nazism as a conspiracy theory, but it managed to take over an entire country and unleash World War II. Nazism was basically a global conspiracy theory based on the following anti-Semitic lie: “The world is secretly dominated by a conspiracy of Jewish financiers who want to destroy the Aryan race. They orchestrated the Bolshevik revolution, ruled Western democracies, controlled the media and banks. Only Hitler was able to figure out all their heinous tricks - and only he can stop them and save humanity. "

Yuval Noah Harari is professor of history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Global conspiracy theories can attract a large following, in part because they offer a single, simple explanation for countless complex processes. And this is not surprising, because our life is constantlyshaken by wars, revolutions, crises and pandemics. Those who believe in one of the global conspiracy theories love this soothing feeling that they know and understand everything.

In our country, as Vedomosti journalists have found out, the so-called “conspiracy of historians against Russia” is very popular.

For even more fascinating articles on why we are superstitious, believe in conspiracy and ghost theories, read our channel in Yandex.Zen. There are regularly published articles that are not on the site.

Global conspiracy theories suggest thatthe story is very simple, and the world is easy to manipulate - for example, a small group of people are able to understand, predict and control everything from wars to technological revolutions and pandemics. Especially noteworthy is the ability of this group to see 10 moves ahead as in a board game - when you start a war, you know how it will end. Harari also notes that global conspiracy theories lead us to believe that while it is very difficult to predict and control the actions of 1,000 or even 100 people, almost eight billion are surprisingly easy to control.

Are there real conspiracies?

Of course, there are many realconspiracies. Individuals, corporations, organizations, churches, factions and governments constantly harbor and persecute various conspiracies. But this is what makes it so difficult to predict and control the world as a whole.

Today you too are probably a targetmany conspiracies. Your coworkers may be plotting to turn their boss against you. A large pharmaceutical corporation can bribe your doctor to prescribe harmful pills for you. Some tech giant might be busy hacking your personal data. While all of these conspiracies may be real, they are not part of a single global conspiracy.

It will be interesting for you: Psychologists have identified a connection between schizotypy and belief in conspiracy theories

Conspiracy theorists often attribute to individualsand small groups supernatural ability to control and manage the most complex social and political processes, presenting any private conflict as part of the overall struggle between good and evil.

Sometimes a corporation, political party, orthe dictatorship manages to collect into its own hands a significant part of all world power. But when that happens, it's almost impossible to keep it a secret. With great power comes great publicity.

Indeed, in many cases, publicityis a prerequisite for gaining power. Lenin, for example, would never have come to power in Russia, avoiding public attention. And at first Stalin was much more fond of intrigues behind closed doors, but by the time power in the Soviet Union fell into his hands, his portrait adorned every house - from the Baltic to the Pacific Ocean. Stalin's power depended on the personality cult, just as power in North Korea today depends on Kim Jong-un.

But the idea that Lenin, Stalin, Mussolini and the Kim family are just a cover for the real behind-the-scenes rulers contradicts all historical evidence. The realization that no group or clan can secretly control the whole world, not only accurately, but also gives freedom from delusions. Do you agree?