I don’t really like conspiracy theories, but I like the unknown. I like reading about UFOs and cryptids and mysteries like that. Was there a continent in the Pacific Ocean? I sure think there’s some compelling evidence. Is time travel possible? Well, we’ve got smelted metal that predates human civilization, so…maybe? And UFOs? Oh please. It’s honestly kind of passe to pretend there ISN’T something up there.
But mysteries and conspiracy theories are not the same. I’m down with Lemuria as a sunken landmass in the Pacific Ocean, but that they were super-advanced? Yeah, no. That the government is hiding that technology? Also no.
See, most conspiracy theories just don’t hold up to any real scrutiny. The area I’m most familiar with this sort of thing is in the medical industry (specifically cancer). There’s this myth that there’s a cure for cancer and that the pharmaceutical companies are sitting on it. The idea is that it is more lucrative to treat the disease than cure it.
And I definitely get the rationale. Pharmaceutical companies are greedy buggers, no doubt. But the thing is, they’re so greedy, they don’t play that kind of long game. If a company could cure – a for-real CURE – a deadly disease, you think they wouldn’t jump at the chance to trumpet that to the rafters? Not only would they be heralded as one of the principle saviors of humanity, they’d be able to LITERALLY charge whatever they wanted for it. They would be able to make billions immediately. The idea that they would turn down billions now for tens of billions years later? Very few companies have that kind of foresight.
And even if they did, you think somebody at said company wouldn’t take that formula to a rival company? That person would be able to just name their pay if they were able to deliver the formula for a genuine cure. Hell, they could probably get a check with ten zeroes on it if they delivered even part of the cure.
But maybe all the pharmaceutical companies in the country are in cahoots together. First, forgive me while I snort derisively at a patently absurd idea, but let’s run with it. There are other countries, with other companies. Or hell, just other countries. There are countries who would pay a literal king’s ransom, literally a portion of their national income, to get a cure for something like that because they know they would transform global politics overnight, with them at the top of the pecking order.
And sure, this is predicated on somebody leaving the company. But maybe they’ve just got really good security, right? Except…can you name a pharmaceutical company that HASN’T had a major data leak in the last five years? This crap happens. It’s usually not a BIG deal, but it happens on the regular. And it happens with the secure stuff like data storage and infomatics access. You think somebody couldn’t sneak a pill or a formula scribbled on a notepad?
And this is why I don’t really care for conspiracy theories. With even a little bit of scrutiny and knowledge of power structures, the interrelation of organizations, and heck, just understanding basic humanity, they just rarely stand up. But the adherence to them, the sticking to them, is always what really concerns me. If a compelling mystery is around for long enough – as most conspiracy theories are – once they’re solved or debunked, the mystery remains long after the solution. And its that willful commitment to ignorance that I find problematic. Case in point: Nessie at Loch Ness has been disproven AGES ago. The purveyors of the hoax admitted it years ago. And yet…it endures. And, sadly, probably will endure.
This isn’t to say that all conspiracy theories are baseless. And that’s not to say that conspiracy theories aren’t worth examining. But any time you come across a conspiracy theory, ask what the possible answers are. Nine times out of ten, there is a solution and it’s been found and it’s usually quite obvious.
Granted, that one time out of ten…that can get unsettling.