I’ve been talking with a friend off and on about the different types of people we notice in the conspiracy world, which I would argue has broken through to standard “reality”.
Conspiracies are mainstream, depending how you choose to look at it. Russia Gate and the “Insurrection” are accepted realities of the left and of course on the mainstream right we have Covid “deniers”, people claiming the 2020 election was stolen and the Hunter Biden laptop. I’d say these are the upper crusts. All of this stuff can still be debated on Reddit without any real threat of being banned, which wasn’t always the case, but as time goes on they have become common discourse. That is if you care about any of this at all and if you don’t then I can’t blame you. There are more fulfilling things in life than debating these sorts of things.
The laptop and stolen election claims overlap with Q-anon and Pissa Gate conspiracies. I don’t claim either are valid or invalid, because there is always evidence for anything. Where things get tricky is when we ascribe malice or begin to make assumption which aren’t explicitly provable, either because there is no direct evidence or such evidence is meant to be cryptic and meant to be hard to find. If it’s the case that something is not meant to be found you’re probably better off not finding it for your sanity and safety. Some would argue it is a duty to find such evidence, someone I would call a True Believer.
When labeling or defining people or ideas there is an element of dismissal, which is not my intent. I don’t look down on anyone for their beliefs I’m simply an amateur sociologist. None of these categories are ascribed to any specific political persuasion, that is “left” or “right”
He is fervent and uncompromising. Often dismisses others as true believers when in debate, unconscious of the fact that they are themselves a true believer. This sort is a favorite scapegoat of the media - think die hard Trump supporters and Antifa types.
True believers have good intentions, but lack a sense of individual identity. Joining a cause will give them a purpose in life. They are the enforcers of revolutions.
“Hatred is the most accessible and comprehensive of all the unifying agents. Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a god, but never without a belief in a devil.”
― Eric Hoffer, The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements
I’m using this term in my own way. A Teatotaler to me is someone who will follow the rules without ever considering if a rule makes sense. A Teatotaler will roll their eyes at anyone who points out that the Emperor is wearing a g-string and not a robe (or black face). They follow the rules for two reasons - 1. They are afraid of repercussions socially, mainly, and secondly by genuine threat of livelihood. Loss of livelihood is no joke and understandably something to avoid. But what does this have to do with conspiracies? Seeing as conspiracies are unavoidable and after a fermentation period become political discourse, as in the Iraq war, Watergate, the Vietnam war, possible Covid Lab leak etc… The Teatotaler is the silence majority, by whom the media and political factions manufacture consent. The Teatotaler practices shunning, silently or outright.
The Aware are simply aware. They are not shocked that the world is a corrupt place, but are not necessarily trying to change it. They hear of conspiracy and keep it in a little file in their mind, but do not obsess over it. This is like taking a multivitamin because you know you need to stay aware and not be misled. God bless The Aware.
The Jubilant Nihilist
I take this term from John Gardner, who used this as a description for certain postmodern prose stylists who pretended to be doing avant-garde things, but he was calling their bluffs.
The Jubilant Nihilist is certainly an aspect of my own personality; he is the troll in my mind who wants to enact revenge for no concrete reason besides emotional satisfaction. It is a bad state. It is a state of mind which cannot be reckoned with from the outside. No one can tell the Jubilant Nihilist he is being nihilistic. That will never work. Their only hope is a painful emotional humbling, a dark night of the soul which will bring them to the light.
This kind of person basks in chaos, whether they would admit it or not. When someone tells the Jubilant Nihilist that they don’t want to hear about obscene conspiracies revolving around death and psychological torture the Jubilant Nihilist will call them “weak minded” or delve into a convoluted debate about “what even is morality, bro?”. The Jubilant Nihilist, while being an undesirable person to be or be around is the most rational kind of person for the modern age. There is a constant stream of terrible data and contradictions coming at us at every moment, which can make one nihilistic. The jubilant aspect comes as the psyches natural revulsion to such terrible stimulation. It is “smiling into the void”, but this smile is fragile and quivering at the corners. Ready to break at any moment.