THE BLOG

The Bilderberg Group and the Psychological Seduction of Meta Conspiracy Theories

02/06/2014 13:26 BST | Updated 29/07/2014 10:59 BST

This week is the annual event of the Bilderberg Group meeting. It will be the Group's 60th meeting. Despite its longevity and long list of illustrious and diversified guests the annual meeting still fails to garner as much attention as it should do. Perhaps this is largely due to the fact that it is an informal and non-binding meeting of the world's most influential people where forms of media blackout are even adhered to by leading journalists and their publications that attend. Unfortunately the later point does nothing more than ignite the conspiratorial thinking that engulfs the Bilderberg Group Conspiracy Theory.

Why is it that the Bilderberg Group meets annually behind closed doors? An initially simple and unspectacular answer would be that in the absence of a global government and binding political rules those that hold the largest stake and sway across finance, politics and the media meet to discuss certain issues on their mind that otherwise could not be practically discussed due to the absence of supranational institutions. In many ways this is probably a good thing as none of these pent up opinions have to be divulged in the international media circus and I bet that right about now some American billionaire who does not work in formal State diplomacy is letting others know what he really thinks about Putin.

The corridors of power and influence being open, even if in an informal way, to others with power and influence would not come as a surprise to most. In fact it is a hyperbole version of what happens in national politics when politicians flirt with celebrities, popular figures and finance and media moguls. Yet those who believe that the Bilderberg Group really does run the world in the form of a secret one world government take what they see as the failings of Liberal Democratic governance in the west and replace it with a Meta Conspiracy Theory of unrestrained debauchery. For them it is not enough to say that elites within each country have access to power and decision making at the international level. Instead by the very definition of the Bilderberg Groups as the secret one world Government, national politics itself is secondary and merely the ramification of illusions deliberately perpetuated by our global puppet masters. In this sense Meta Conspiracy Theories (conspiracy theories that account for all the observed intentional economic and political phenomenon) are alternative forms of ideology. They posit alternative political and social explanations to governmental and social theory akin to the political philosophy of Liberalism or Socialism for at their very root they postulate an ontological framework for how society, politics and the economy operate.

In this respect, as cognitive thinking creatures we are all the same. From the internal position of Meta Conspiracy Theory, the logic and rationale operates in concordance with beliefs that connect the dots and answers conundrums to social phenomena. You have to ascribe to the belief system of Meta Conspiracy Theory for it to be rationally acceptable and applicably consistent just as socialists generally agree upon social distribution and conservatives upon non-interference. This analysis of belief systems, world views and psychological schemas are the focus of much study in social psychology. A schema can be loosely described as a mental structure that represents some aspect of the world. Schemata are an effective tool for understanding the world. Through the use of schemata, most everyday situations do not require effortful thought - automatic thought is all that is required. People can quickly organise new perceptions into schemata and act effectively without strenuous conscious labour. The social world can be understood and represented via internal rationale and self-sustaining logic. This produces a disposition to perceive phenomena in a particular way through a particular perspective and this applies to the schema of Meta Conspiracy Theory just as it does to other schemas.

So what can be said about the schema of Meta Conspiracy Theory? Does the cynical disposition in adhering to Meta Conspiracy Theory say something psychological about the believer or the social and cultural values of a specific community? Research conducted at the University of Virginia concluded that people who believe in one conspiracy theory are more likely to believe in others. Unsurprisingly there is a good chance that someone who believes the moon landings were faked will also believe that JFK was killed by a second gunman upon that infamous grassy knoll. Dr Karen Douglas at the University of Kent goes one step further. In her article entitled Does it take one to know one? Published in The British Journal of Psychology she explains how belief and endorsement of conspiracy theories is influenced by a personal willingness to conspire. A study carried out in 2002 by Bruce Scheiner explored a way of thinking called "major event - major cause" reasoning. Essentially, people often assume that an event with substantial, significant or wide-ranging consequences is likely to have been caused by something substantial, significant or wide-ranging itself. Social structures, intentions, causes and meaning can have greater appeal, in terms of order and purpose, when aligned with conspiratorial explanations than they do when they are merely presented as social randomness and ad hoc events. Conspiracy theories give social phenomena some additional meaning that would otherwise be a product of social randomness. No matter how perverse or fantastical the explanatory conspiracy theory is, for its adherents, it is often more comprehendible than random and spontaneous occurrences. In a dappled and unpredictable social world conspiracy theory is often better than no theory.

The above demonstrates the wide spread appeal and adherence to conspiracy theories in general. Meta Conspiracy Theories take that one extra step in which all phenomena can be explained by a unifying conspiracy theory, bringing parsimony in terms of an efficiently required explanation for a vast number of observed phenomena. Yet the widely applicable ideology of Meta Conspiracy Theory is like its competing ideologies - polarised and diverse. This means that there are distinguishable conspiracy theories across the political spectrum - reinforcing the overlap between Meta Conspiracy Theories and political ideology. This is with regards to conspiracy theories of the State, individual liberty within society, and certain religious and transcendental elements that pertain to Meta Conspiracy Theory. For instance, with regards to the one world government conspiracy theories, generally speaking, those on the left on the political spectrum see the conspiracy as a globalist, fascist and authoritative State conspiracy. In this context, the one world government Meta Conspiracy Theory is the antithesis of the natural individual rights of man. This is the philosophy of political liberalism expanded to realm of international political conspiracy theory. Those on the right of the political spectrum, particularly in America, perceive the same conspiracy of world domination and authoritative State control as being a threat to America's Republicanism and constitutional liberties. They often employ dogmatic Christina values in defending their conspiracy theories. This includes the much popularised idea that the Freemasons and Illuminati are not only in full command of the globe but are also devil worshipers. They also see those on the left of the political spectrum as their foes, often believing that that there is a Marxist conspiracy to rule the world in the form of totalitarian State control.

Believing that the Bilderberg Group does secretly run the world can be psychologically seductive for those who believe that what is normally perceived as Liberal Democracy has drastically failed or is a deliberate smoke screen; or a concoction of both. Whether one needs answers to seemingly random and tragic events, general disbelief, economic and political pain or whether one is just deeply mistrusting or is willing to conspire themselves the belief that the secret one world government is the Bilderberg Group is appealing because within the schema it becomes the only option that makes explanatory sense. Moreover once it makes sense on micro scales then upgrading it to the macro level can widen its explanatory power and reinforce the conspiratorial schema enacted at the micro level and before you know it you end up believing that the Bilderberg Group secretly runs every facet of global politics and economics. Once sincerely engaged with, the schema of Meta Conspiracy Theory is as seductive as any other schema and ideology; and this makes it very hard to relinquish.

MORE:Karren Douglas University of Kent and Bilderberg GroupThe Bilderberg Group meeting 2014 Tony Sobradoelite theory and the Bilderberg group and Ian Richardsonpsychology and conspiracy theoriesconspiracy theory and schemas and tony sobradoelite theory and the Bilderberg group and tony sobradoChris French and conspiracy theoriespsychology and the Bilderberg conspiracy theoryTony Sobradoone world governmentmeta conspiracy theories and The Bilderberg Groupanthropology and the Bilderberg conspiracy theoryIan Richardson and The Bilderberg GroupRobert Brotherton and conspiracy theorieselite theory and the Bilderberg groupBruce Scheiner and conspiracy theoriesTony Sobrado and meta conspiracy theoriesThe Bilderberg Group Conspiracy TheoryIan Richardson and Tony SobradoIan RichardsonThe Bilderberg Groupconspiracy theory as ideology and tony sobradoKaren Douglas University of Kent conspiracy theoriesChris French and Tony Sobradothe schema of conspiracy theoriesthe illuminatiThe Bilderberg Group meeting 2014the schema of the Bilderberg group conspiracy theoryBruce Scheiner and Tony Sobradobruce Scheiner and the Bilderberg conspiracy theorythe freemasonsanthropology and conspiracy theoriesthe schema of meta conspiracy theoriespolitical science and the Bilderberg conspiracy theoryconspiracy theory as ideologypolitical science and conspiracy theoriesElite TheoryChris French and The Bilderberg Groupconspiracy theory and schemasRobert Brotherton and Tony SobradoRobert Brotherton and the Bilderberg GroupTony Sobrado and conspiracy theoriesmeta conspiracy theoriesThe Bilderberg Group 2014