I watch a TV show called Ancient Aliens quite a bit and I drag out loads of information to use in stories. Facts and speculation gets my mind ticking and things as simple as a location can find their way into what I’m writing.

Now I’m not saying everything that goes on around us is all about aliens (although don’t tell Giorgio) but having had someone else think that such things aren’t beyond the realms of possibility does help when I put the narrative together. The thing that nudged me this week was the question of why we as a species seem to be so keen to take any given data and run off in the most bizarre direction possible? How is it that rational thought and investigation can be almost outdone simply on the assumption that strings we can’t see are being pulled in ways we can’t know to achieve goals we can’t possibly comprehend.

Why the conspiracy?

You type ‘conspiracy theories’ into any search engine and you’ll be bombarded by all manner of ideas covering anything you could possibly conceive. The faked moon landings. Elvis is actually alive and well. JFK. Creationism. There are people lined up to give their opinion on any and all of these and so many others as to make even the hardest of hard nosed sceptics take pause. What if, buried amongst all of the outlandish claims and ideas concerning everything and anything, someone is actually telling the truth or has worked out what’s really going on? We have to be sure that we don’t just believe everything we hear, instead questioning and researching but surely there comes a point when we can accept details of what we’re being told?

Is it just that we have a curious streak running through us? Are the conspiracy theories being driven by an inherent distrust of systems of power? Do we think we’re being lied to?

I have no doubt that governments around the world will have very dark secrets of all kinds that they keep from the population as a whole for the health of the public but that doesn’t mean that every single fragment of information which comes from ‘the system’ is automatically to be thought of as a lie.

Every time we hear anything we have to apply critical thinking and assess it on its merits. I meet someone and they say they work in banking I’m likely to believe them but if they say they’re a multi-billionaire playboy who fights crime at night then I’m likely to need some proof.

Watching Ancient Aliens I find it remarkable when the various talking heads on the show run through their logic and everything is going fine until the final step when whatever point they reach on the road of logic, the last one is always ‘Aliens’. No matter where the evidence is taking them, ‘Aliens’. In every step along the way there is a reasoned application of logic until ‘Aliens’.

Maybe the conspiracy theories are just so many people wanting the stories to be true and are doing everything they can to squeeze the merest hint of possibility out of the barest scrap of plausibility. Don’t we all want there to be a little magic and wonder left in the world?

Even if we have to blame Elvis or Aliens to do it?

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