Sunday, September 2, 2018

I blogged about this a while back, I think

While I try to avoid political discussion in my now-intermittent blogging—having argued that politics and the paranormal do not mix—and knowing that nothing is more boring to the casual surfer than politics—I ran across this:

A Neuroscientist Explains How [***] and His Media Allies Are Targeting the Mentally Ill

I stopped listening to “Coast To Coast AM” several years ago due to the show’s pronounced lurch toward unhinged conspiratorial mongering, best typified by Alex Jones and his ilk. At the time, Jones was not quite the political figure that he is now, but I saw his rants as dangerous. As best as I can recall writing, I indicted the entire paranormal field with trafficking in risky conspiratorial thought and predicted that it was liable to push more than a few unstable people over the edge. So I’m happy (relatively speaking) to find that at least one other person on this planet agrees with me:

Schizotypy refers to a thinking style that puts one at risk for developing schizophrenia-spectrum disorders and involves cognitive and socio-emotional deficits along with severe behavioral problems. For these people, the terrifying conspiracies fuel their delusions, and it is likely that such ideas have pushed many individuals with sub-threshold levels of mental illness over the edge into full-blown clinical territory.

Disregard for a moment that my linked article appears on a lefty site—in fact, forget “left” and forget “right,” and leave what’s-his-name out of it—and just consider the exposure that “Coast To Coast” has given Alex Jones and others through the years. Is there a connection between the mainstreaming of paranoid conspiratorial thought, and the increase in mass killings by the mentally unstable—who often cite the same paranoid conspiracies as motives? And what does Alex Jones have to do with UFOs, Bigfoot, and other paranormal musings anyway (aside from a shared disregard for basic common-sense fact-finding and logic)?

Before resting my case prematurely, I would like to argue that those of us who truly enjoy pondering mysteries and “exploring the unknown” are ill-serve by allowing our interest to be hijacked by conspiracy-mongers, whose motives are imprudent at best and evil at worst. But now, as then, I’m not sure how to disentangle them—aside from trashing the paranormal entirely, and starting anew.