In my case, to avoid new pitfalls in critical thinking, it was okay to say "I don't know." and admit it. I believe when a population is gaslighted to hell, told to believe in the joke known as the American dream and also taught to avoid the reality in front of their face it has a major effect. Add in all the toxic positivity as everything is stripped away and people's economic and other plans crumble to dust. It takes a psychological toll. America could be labeled a cult itself.
Yesterday I got emails from a friend I care a lot about, I've been friends with her for around 20 years. I feel like she is slipping away being dragged by the ankles by Fox news and Republican websites into scary stances. She writes me stuff all the time about how the protesters are going to burn down her city, and sends me pro-Trump stuff. Sometimes she seems frustrated with both parties and I have shared my frustration with the DNC. However she defaults to the "socialism is bad" and "they are going to take over" racist defaults, illustrating the endless hatefulness of the Republican party. Sometimes I feel like I am getting through telling her, telling her "don't give in to these hateful ideas", and she knows I have struggled, and I have asked things why be against all ideas of societal progress? I just don't know what to say anymore.
I am trying to rescue someone from a cult and failing to do so and already have lost others to the cult. One thing I have noticed is how afraid she is, I am too, but her fear is taking her into the arms of the sociopaths who don't give a damn. Our view of reality itself has cracked in half. I am on one side and she is on the other. At least she believes Covid is real.
Reality testing in American society is breaking. Qanon and conspiracy thinking is spreading like wildfire. While I still examine some things and believe some conspiracies are true, when I was a conspiracy theorist. we were rare. I found this QANON board for people whose relatives and loved ones had their brains taken over by that brain worm. People were writing stories of how their spouses, parents and more had adapted extreme views and conspiracy. Most was related to them all becoming Trumpsters. There are endless stories of ruined relationships and growing cruelty among the conspiracy people. One thing to remember is if Trump leaves the scene, the conspiracy will continue.
I decided to share with these folks my history as an ex-conspiracy theorist, and there were a few other people on there like me describing how hard it was to dig one's self out of conspiracy thinking. I have found it interesting to read the story of others who broke out of extreme conspiracy. Others like me had deconverted from fundamentalist and evangelical Christianity as well. Interestingly enough, a couple fellow Aspies said they had fallen down the same hole.
"I was majorly in the conspiracy world as a Christian fundamentalist. I even had a blog, [not under this name] that explored conspiracies and bible prophecy. I am an ex conspiracy theorist. Google my user name, and then conspiracy.
People don't seem to get the religion part of Qanon, when the evangelical and Christian fundamentalist world teach people that the world is run by Luciferians or Satanists. This messes up people's minds, did mine and created fantasies about the world and magical thinking. In extreme fundamentalism, [I was in the IFB Independent Fundamentalist Baptist and Calvary Chapel church],this is where people go.
Watching so many of the populace march into extreme conspiracy has been scary. I was against Dominionism and Christian Nationalism even during my conspiracy time, and one reason I deconverted was endless layers of major cognitive dissonance. I war protested and did not like authoritarianism but I was in this messed up religion. I am so happy to be free.
What is ironic, is the worldview I had during the 2000s, conspiracy theory people were extreme weirdos, I never met anyone who believed in the "new world order" like I did, and now I am freaked out everything took over and conspiracy people became these people I wanted no association with, racist, loving Christian nationalism and more.
When I was recovering from conspiracy, Covid has been a major set back. Like 9-11 which was kind of the feeder event for me to become a conspiracy theorist in the first place, Covid has not helped. I wanted to believe the world was a more sane, and together place.
I lost almost all the Christian friends. Even recently I got in fights with people about Covid where they did not believe in wearing masks. one of my friends of 11 years was basically Qanon from what I could tell. I've lost many friends from the deconversion. The friendship ended when I told her Covid was real and was directly honest about my deconversion. Evangelicalism and fundamentalism, its like being in a whole other world. I mean I got out. For you people who want to get people out, since I was a conspiracy theorist, maybe I will post about how to do that, and what worked on me.
I still have vestiges of some conspiracy beliefs, don't trust Bill Gates, and wonder if Covid is about a global economic re-set. I still think some stuff goes down, but Qanon is lies. I will not promote conspiracy here, or tell you to believe in conspiracy. In fact I wish I could find a scientist or other to help me examine some beliefs I want to re-examine and can't make sense of. I talked to a few online that broke me out of other conspiracies.
I am an Unitarian Universalist and a progressive now and very embarrassed about my conspiracy and ultra fundie past. If anyone knows of recovery places or ideas for EX-Conspiracy Theorists, please tell me too."
I was a very different sort of conspiracy person, what gets me now, with the Qanons is how ALIKE they are in beliefs. Some seekers and true independent thinkers can find themselves in the conspiracy world wanting to know more about how the world works, but sadly most people are not personalities who are exploring things but who are adopting a world view handed to them by others. Of course religion makes people more vulnerable.
I have had serious deep thoughts, about how the way my family worked to limit critical and independent thinking, I was taught to trust in "authorities", and to shut down any independent thought. I went to a uber Catholic school educated by nuns who all believed an Invisible Man up in the sky directed all our lives and taught me fairy tales like the apparitions of Fatima were real. One teacher was so obsessed, she talked about nothing but Fatima and we would hear more about the Visions of the Virgin Mary, than we would about math.
One day I was lamenting to my husband, "What would my life have been, if I had been allowed to explore things intellectually, or been introduced to the basics of critical thinking, I had some interest in science, that was stamped out!"
I lived in that fundie rural town, my family was mostly uneducated "new money" sorts, where even my father kept his true beliefs a secret to do my mother's bidding, I went to high school in the land of pitbulls and evangelical Christianity, and I was surrounded by religious nut cases.
Another layer of the onion I am peeling, is that in 2000 after I escaped Chicago and my endless traumas there, I got a therapist in my rural small town, who told me, God would fix my life and my problems. I hadn't thought about this in years. I was questioning what the hell happened to me, that I left the UU church [we moved to a rural place hundreds of miles away from any] and went into religion and all this other crazy stuff. It occurred to me that one reason I went for religion was a therapist I had.
This therapist was both good and bad. She introduced me to Aspergers, which I had never heard about and believed I had it, and other therapists and a psychologist would back this up later on, but she guided me into religion too and that was a major problem. I wonder what she would say if I told her, "You telling me that God and Jesus would fix my life, led me on a 14 year long rabbit trail to nowhere and more misery". What is sad is I was very close to this therapist and liked her a lot. She honestly told me as a UU, "I had turned my back on God" and this is one reason my life had gone astray with the health problems and poverty. I remember her giving me a book on Christianity and returning to the Lord. I do not remember the exact title of the book as it has been years. I read and discussed this book with her. What is scary is that this was a SECULAR office.
"See this link: https://fivehundredpoundpeeps.blogspot.com/2016/08/mrs-curses-spiritual-abuser.html
I noticed too she is now a full blown Trumpster, she downplayed that stuff to me because I hated the Republican party and now has links up against Biden and how Trump should be president. The effect of this person on my life was very bad, thank goodness she lived 1000s of miles away in another state. I always wondered what craziness she has gotten into. Some of her other victims did contact me, one who actually lived with her, and ended up homeless. One of the other victims who contacted me went deeper in conspiracy and believes she is a "targeted person".
I didn't say or write anything because I had unfriended him but was looking at his blog in shock and that none of the church people around him questioned him or what he was doing to his children. It is legal for some nut to deny his kids schooling and to make them live on a boat that had about 200 square feet of living space? Anyhow they hit the water and then Covid hits about a month into their new way of life. Guess the Lord screwed up on his planning, he decided to return to the USA.
Update: Qanon stuff was the shill factory at full production, but some conspiracies are true.