Photo: Uwa Idouzee

Conspiracy Theories

Disgust

I’m sick and tired of the newspapers. Nothing but death and fear mongering. My heart is in my mouth and it’s hard to breathe. Every day, hundreds of new positive tests and thousands of people dead. But I’m alive. The sun is shining, and I’m alive. I take a deep breath. I’m not part of the masses. I refuse to be afraid. I am me, I am unique. I want a normal love-filled life for me and the people I love. 

‘I’m not part of the masses. I refuse to be afraid.’

Emotions guide our thoughts

People are more prone to believe in conspiracy theories when they are distressed or feel powerless. Believing in a conspiracy theory provides a sense of control. A strong will to believe, a desire to be heard, to be unique, and a deviating moral compass, are all common characteristics of people who believe in conspiracy theories. Typically, a person who believes in conspiracy theories tends to emphasize their position as a defendant and that the information that they produce is unique – this requires disagreeing with the mainstream.

Niko Pyrhönen, a researcher specialising in conspiracy theories, talks about conspiracy theories and the feelings behind them. 

The emotions of a conspiracy theorist must be understood to find some common ground

In many cases, people do not hold on to their conspiracy theories as much as the public might imagine. They may be used as a way of structuring information, taking a view of the field of media, and at the same time, they contain features characteristic of religions. Sometimes, when a person close to you strongly believes in a conspiracy theory, it may cause a falling out. It is important to understand the feelings behind the beliefs. It may be important to discuss the matter, particularly if the person immersed in conspiracy theories is close to you. However, researcher Niko Pyrhönen points out that it may be quite unrewarding: nobody will thank you for what you have done, ant mostly, nothing is achieved, at least not immediately.  

Use these tips to talk with a conspiracy theorist constructively: 

  • Stay calm 
  • Do not be condescending 
  • Encourage critical thinking 
  • Ask questions 
  • Do not expect to see immediate results 

How did you feel?

When a loved one told me that they did not believe the pandemic was real, I felt…

Järjestelmässä tapahtui virhe. Yritä hetken kuluttua uudestaan.

Thank you.

You were not alone with your feelings.

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Photo: Silla Simone

A visit to the border

Surprise