270. Conspiracy theories and their relation to intellectual endeavours

Conspiracy theories grow like well fertilised weeds in the fields of the coronavirus pandemic and the vaccines we’ve developed to fight it. They’ve always been amongst us, a malaise probably as old as intelligence itself, but a diet of unmediated, virus-like, social media and extensive social and economic difficulty is fuelling what may be their unprecedented spread. When analysing them carefully, I conclude that they result from the combination of a hankering to understand a complex reality and the intellectual laziness which prevents their proponents from completing the analysis of such complexity. They are unnecessary to explain reality, but they provide safe harbour from the storms that rage between blissful intellectual indifference and uncompromising, relentless enquiry. They provide a veneer of intellectual sophistication without the effort to build the underlying substance of extensive understanding. They are the laziest path to being able to say: ‘I know what you know not’ 

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