With trust in governments low, and media fractured into an infinite number of contested opinions, conspiracy theories are an appealing way to understand the world. They project human intentions onto complex events to explain why things happen and assign blame. Just as the ancient Greeks saw lightning bolts as manifestations of Zeus’s anger, we peer into the vast complexity of our society and we see ourselves: human intentions, human motives, and human vices. But the better we come to understand the forces of nature, the closer we come to confronting perhaps the greatest fear of the conspiracy-minded: that no one is in control; that we are guided and constrained by the systems we have made but don’t understand. These systems are not greedy, they have no ambition, they have no ideology, they are not good and they are not evil. They are simply not like us.
Kirby Ferguson is a New York-based writer, director and producer. He is the creator of the web series Everything Is A Remix and the forthcoming This Is Not A Conspiracy Theory.