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Understanding Your Conspiracy Friends


This article is intended for those of you who want to understand your special friends who excitedly tell you about their theories. In order to understand these individuals, you must first understand their basic view of the world. Although you probably call your special friends, Conspiracy Theorists, this article will kindly refer to them as Critical Thinkers, a less stigmatizing term. See the definition section, for critical thinking. This attempt at a generalization obviously cannot apply to everyone, in every respect.


The human world in a nutshell, the view of a Critical Thinker

  • Most humans have two objectives, to maintain control of their stuff and acquire more stuff. If they can, they will establish a system to achieve these two objectives. If a system is effective, the humans with the most control will compete for control of this system. The system is complex and interconnected. Governments are only one part of the system and definitely not at the top.
  • In order for some people to control a significantly greater portion of stuff than others, they must manipulate the people who could take it from them. Since < 1% of the population controls the majority of the stuff, the 99% must be manipulated.
    • To effectively manipulate a human, that human’s beliefs must be manipulated. To manipulate belief, information must be controlled. In his book Propaganda, the famous publicist, Edward Bernays wrote: “If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, it is now possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without them knowing it.”
    • The average person believes this is impossible, usually because they don’t understand tribalism or regimentation.
  • To control the main population, the system must do several things, including the following:
    • Promote and create information that will prevent people from challenging the system, then ridicule or hide all other information. If the majority of the population believes certain information, the system will collapse and the <1% will lose control of their stuff.
    • Separate people into tribes and set those tribes against each other. Edward Bernays used the word regiment.
    • Prevent tribes who are antagonistic to the system from forming and mobilizing.


Controlling Information

As a simple example, take a child and have them play video games all day. At the end of the day, what will consume their minds? Their experience of playing the games. Have fun attempting to talk to them about another topic. The video game became the child’s world. The programmers are the intelligence agencies who attempt to control what we get to experience, our game.

  • Intelligence agencies are the main control mechanism, charged with acquiring information about potential enemies of the control system. This includes all humans.
  • Politicians and bureaucrats use information from intelligence agencies to make their decisions. Whoever controls the intelligence agencies, controls government decisions. This is one reason why intelligence officials are never chosen by citizen vote. These people are chosen by another tribe.
    • Intelligence agencies don’t have to reveal real information, but they are sincerely interested in acquiring that information.
    • Intelligence agencies use information, both real and invented, to control the population. For example, how many sheep would attempt to escape their enclosure if they believed a pack of wolves waited for them on the other side of the fence?

Intelligence agencies also control the information (see definition section). The purpose is to sustain an illusion to ensure the status quo. This illusion is sustained by all information sources working together in harmony: academic, entertainment, political, social, bureaucratic… The average human never questions the improbability that all of these mainstream sources are in total agreement. When do a group of humans ever completely agree with each other?


Figure 1

Figure 1) The information control system is composed of different levels. Names in the image are suggestions only. In this article, they will not be proven as complicit instruments of the information control system. Attempting to prove complicity requires too much time and debate. People need only examine their behavior and the effects of their actions.

  • The first level of control is by far the largest and most intricate. They are the mainstream media, the government, the scientific, educational and religious establishments. They control the information of those who believe them, probably more than 95% of the world population. The goal of level 1 is to keep the herd moving and contained.
    • A common misconception is that most people in these institutions are part of a conspiracy, but in reality only the few people at the top are needed to maintain control. Top-down organizations function in this manner. These key people are loyal members of their own tribe.
    • Level 1 control pays for itself, or in other words, the majority pay for it themselves.
  • The second level of control are the direct opposition to the first level. They handle 95% of those who don’t fall under the first level, those who suspect that all is not as it seems or who dare to challenge what the majority appears to accept. The goal of level 2 is to stop this demographic from going down the wrong path, or keep them going in circles, or paralyze them with fear, disgust, confusion or hopelessness.
  • The third level of control are those who claim to expose level 1 and 2 as frauds. This level of control handles the remainder of the population, some would say a small enough group to safely ignore. In level 3, the water does indeed get murky. The goal of level 3 is the most fun, to confuse the hell out of everything.

A whole section below is dedicated to examples of how this intricate control system works, but many definitions are needed before one can even begin to understand what lies behind the mind of a Critical Thinker.



Before we proceed, many words will need to be defined. If everyone had the same definitions of the terms they used, arguments would probably be a rare occurrence. Also, depending on the context, many words have multiple definitions so it is never a bad idea to confirm that all parties are using the same definitions. Many of the following words are commonly used by both intelligence agencies and conspiracy theorists alike. Some words have a special definition just for this article.

  • Information: whatever becomes part of a human’s view of the world. Sources include conversation, books, articles, songs, movies, plays, television, commercials, news, government agencies, educational agencies, religious institutions…
    • In an entertainment context, when a person watches an actor in a production, the actor’s words or actions are assimilated by the viewer. If an actor’s lines mention a scientific theory, both the theory and actors emotional response is information for the viewer. An example of information manipulation is when a character acts like she disagrees with the establishment’s position and in response, other characters ridicule her. This reminds the viewer that to disagree with the establishment’s position will result in ridicule and possible ostracization. It also teaches the viewer that this is the correct response to similar blasphemy.
  • Conspiracy Theory: When the establishment fails to convince someone with their explanation, a person devises a different theory (guess) about what is really happening. This term is used to marginalize the people who doubt the level 1 information control system. See the marginalization tactic in the Spooky Playbook, below.
  • Controlled Opposition: This is also known as false opposition. The control system knows that a certain demographic will oppose their efforts, so they will attempt to lead their opposition down ineffective paths. Business and other entities also employ this tactic. They know that it is cheaper and easier to lead their opposition, rather than fighting real opposition.
  • Crisis Actors: Paid actors to help create the illusion that a false flag was a real event.
  • Critical Thinking: Everyone can define thinking, although we usually react instead of think, but when the word critical precedes thinking, what does that mean? Critical, as defined at thefreedictionary.com: “judging severely and finding fault”. Why should people try to find fault? Seems rather negative. Everyone needs to think critically for the following reason. Individuals, businesses, governments, practically everyone wants to sell something. Sometimes, they just want to sell physical items, but many other times, they want to influence behavior by selling concepts and events. To sell something, many people are willing to lie or twist the truth. Therefore, identifying deception is the key to critical thinking. This article will not attempt to teach this important skill, but it will explain many tactics of liars and manipulators.
  • False Flag: When the intelligence community performs an action and blames it on another group. False flag operations are used to gain public support for a social or governmental policy.
  • Gate Keeper: In this article, a gate keeper is different than a member of the thought police, although they have similar definitions. A gate keeper is someone paid or otherwise compensated to disrupt people from investigating information different than the first level of information control.
  • Handler: When a person in an important government, military, business, or social position needs special instructions to perform their real purpose. Since these important public figures cannot be seen around their real employers, they need an intermediary, a handler.
  • Limited Hangout: When part of some classified or sensitive information is intentionally leaked. The RationalWiki.org definition is a good one. This is the actual name of the tactic often used by intelligence agencies, see the Limited Hangout tactic in the Spooky Playbook, below.
  • Mainstream Media: The entertainment and news information sources that agree with government institutions, and bureaucratic institutions. If an information source disagrees with established theories, it is not mainstream.
  • Mind Control: Many methods are available to control the mind, but this term simply means the psychological manipulation of humans. Often, the definition includes the conditioning of the human mind to think in a certain way, see the But Why? tactic in the Spooky Playbook, below. Parents often condition their children to behave in a certain way.
  • Peer Pressure: A normal human instinct to follow the crowd. The force behind this instinct is often the fear of being ostracized.
  • Propaganda: The free dictionary has a good definition: material disseminated by the advocates or opponents of a doctrine or cause. Basically, propaganda is the information used to promote a particular objective. The best example is when all the mainstream news sources and US government justified the Iraq war by constantly discussing terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.
  • Psyop: The abbreviated term for psychological operation. This describes any action intended to illicit a psychological or emotional response, or instill a specific belief. Many people think the Flat Earth movement to be a psyop, intended to divert attention from all the fraud perpetrated by NASA.
  • Sheep or Sheeple: This is the term that conspiracy theorists use to describe the general population. A sheep is characterized by not having their own thoughts, but respond like sheep to information from the control system. Many sheep think they have their own opinions, but in reality, their opinions are just how they have been told to think.
    • Don’t feel bad that your critical thinking friends secretly call you a sheep. Remember, you secretly call them stupid.
  • Shill: The Urban Dictionary has a good definition: a person engaged in covert advertising. These people can be considered actors, pretending to promote an idea or product.
  • Spook: A covert agent of the intelligence community. There are many agencies, some public, some secret.
  • Thought Police: An active defender of the most commonly accepted explanation for things, level 1 information. These people can be a normal citizen or an intelligence agent. They usually attack or ridicule those who have different opinions or suspicions that things are not as they seem.
  • Tribalism: Humans and other animals have an incredibly strong survival instinct to congregate in tribes, mostly for safety and food. In advanced societies, this instinct’s original purpose is obscured by social complexity. The control system uses this instinct to manipulate human activity. Humans can belong to different tribes, and sometimes these tribes are temporary, such as a simple work environment.
  • Troll: Since most people already know this, the Urban Dictionary’s definition will be used: One who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument.
  • Truther: A person who is sincerely interested in finding the truth, or in other words, discovering the real situation. Some people don’t like to be called this term because it might seem a little corny.
  • Useful Idiot: A non-spook, unwittingly participating in control system activities. A good example is a celebrity speaking out against some artificial or imaginary atrocity.
  • Vicsims: An imaginary person who purportedly died in a false flag operation. Verifying a vicsim’s existence is difficult.


Beliefs that frustrate your friends

Before we proceed to the most interesting section, we have to clear some common misconceptions. Unlike conspiracy theorists, most people think the following.

  • There is no way that the majority can be fooled.
    • Alternate View: Do many people really investigate controversial issues on their own? The majority gets their information from celebrity anchors reading a teleprompter on the news. At the news stations, how many people really know the truth? Who is writing the scripts? Do the people writing the scripts know the truth, or are they just told what to write?
  • Big secrets cannot be kept. Someone will leak the information.
    • Alternate View: There are usually only a few people aware of any sensitive information. These key people are members of an elite tribe who are loyal to the tribe. Too restrict access of sensitive information to others, they will use compartmentalization. This term describes the process of breaking up a sensitive project into small tasks and only a few see the big picture. One purpose of level 2 control is to prevent people from believing leaked information. See the tactic called, Flooding.
  • There is no need for level 2 and 3 control since the remainder of a population is such a small demographic. In other words, victory can often be obtained if 95% of the enemy is captured or immobilized.
    • Alternate View: Only a small spark is needed to start a fire. The top tribes use networking to maintain control, so they must prevent their opposition from using similar tactics.
  • Level 2 control is an illusion, just a natural collective human reaction. Of course there’s going to be people who oppose the majority or mainstream. It doesn’t mean that they are controlled opposition.
    • Alternate View: The controllers of society, the super wealthy or asset owners, use intelligence agencies to maintain the system so they remain super wealthy. They know that other humans will want what they have and will try to change the system. Intelligence agents are more likely to stop something if they control the opposition.
  • It is not in the intelligence agency’s interest to reveal what they want hidden, see limited hangout. If an intelligence agent wants something hidden, they will not reveal any part of it.
    • Alternate View: Intelligence agents know that there is no way they can prevent some people from discovering or guessing hidden (real) information. In order to minimize the spread of real information, they must determine what information to reveal, or pretend to reveal, and prevent exposure of all other information. There is a trade-off between allowing more people to be enlightened and preventing those already enlightened from becoming more enlightened. See the objective and tactics section for more details.


The Spooky Playbook

Like any football coach, intelligence agencies use a playbook of tactics. In this article, this will be called the Spooky Playbook. Most of this section will include descriptions of how the control system manipulates humans by controlling information. Most tactics are based on natural human emotions, instincts, and reactions. They often use the fear of looking stupid. This manipulation is more effective, the more educated someone considers themselves, especially college professors, graduates, and students.

Humans have many other fears the control system manipulates: the fear of being ostracized by the tribe, the fear of losing a high social status, the fear of the world changing for the worse, the fear of unicorns… OK, that last one only affects a few of us. Alternatively, people want to appear intelligent, funny, witty and attractive. The strategy is to use psychology to control humans. Many of the tactics listed in this section describe how the information control system defends level 1 control, but they also apply to level 2 and 3. As a good introduction, consider the FBI programs called COINTELPRO:

From Wikipedia: “(COINTELPRO (a portmanteau derived from COunter INTELligence PROgram) was a series of covert, and often illegal, projects conducted by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) aimed at surveilling, infiltrating, discrediting and disrupting American political organizations. FBI records show that COINTELPRO resources targeted groups and individuals that the FBI deemed subversive, including anti-Vietnam War organizers, activists of the Civil Rights Movement or Black Power movement (e.g., Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Black Panther Party), feminist organizations, anti-colonial movements (such as Puerto Rican independence groups like the Young Lords), and a variety of organizations that were part of the broader New Left. White supremacist groups, such as the Ku Klux Klan, were also targeted.”


Below are many of the tactics used by different organizations: the police, FBI, CIA, MI6, Mossad, FSB… Some of the names are official names and some have been invented for this article. There are probably more.

Guilty by Association

This is probably the most common tactic and can also be described as throwing the baby out with the bath water. Not only do intelligence agencies use guilty by association tactics, but so do many businesses. While advertisers desire people to purchase or use their products, intelligence agents often want the opposite. They want people to reject an idea, concept, or group of people. Most of the population has fallen victim to this tactic. A video or speech containing real and useful information can be easily tainted by a single, well-placed piece of shit.

Innocent by Association

The ugly step-sister of Guilty by AssociationAs a simple example of this routine, consider the basic advertisement. A product is shown, accompanied by something pleasant. The natural human response is to associate the pleasant item with the promoted product. Sometimes, all that is needed is to show the attractive or alluring people using (enjoying) the product.

But Why?

Conspiracy theorists search for clues to help expand their understanding of a situation. They want very much to know the purpose, or what it means, but the majority needs to know the purpose. Public education usually delivers information as complete packets such as: “This is what happened and this is why.” When a conspiracy theorist shares some clues they have discovered or a suspicion they have, the most common question they get is “But why?”. When they answer, “I don’t know.” or, “It could mean this.” the common person will reject the information. They are conditioned to only accept complete packets.


On social networking internet sites, a clever post can contain interesting but false information. After the error is detected, the person who shared it will be discredited and potential correct information will be discarded. This is a variant of guilty by association tactic.


To marginalize a human, means to separate them from their tribe. The term, Conspiracy Theorist, is often used to marginalize someone and ridicule them. For this reason, many people don’t like to be called a conspiracy theorist.

Kicked by the Jackass

In this tactic, a spook might make a poor argument or offensive comment with the intention of encouraging people to choose the alternate side. As an example, the spook will discourage the concept that the moon landings were faked by claiming that NASA had to do it because the moon is made of poisonous cheese which will make the astronauts sick. This tactic is often used and very effective. They often create a personality to lead a discussion or activity, intentionally making them distasteful to the majority, consider Johnny Rotten from the Sex Pistols. This raving maniac, who was highly publicized, was intentionally associated with Anarchy, to give the concept a bad connotation. As a side note, the recording studio made a lot of money from their targeted demographic, see the section Market Share. As a simple summary, humans don’t want to be associated with the stupid idea or person, the jackass.

Jumping the Gun

This tactic has exactly the same definition as the idiom: to make hasty conclusions. A simple example is taken from the NASA moon landings. Many of the photographs can be proven as fakes, but to jump the gun means to conclude that humans never went to the moon. That conclusion required more evidence.

The Runaround

This tactic is used to divert the topic of discussion to something more trivial.

Smoke Equals Fire

Smoke often accompanies fire and most people think that the opposite is true. So, to create the illusion of a fire, just make a lot of smoke. A typical example is when an institution or person makes a lot of accusations against another. All of the accusations could be false, but they give the impression that the person is guilty of something.


Flooding is often used in conjunction with cloning (next). Single or multiple users flood a comment or forum section and soon other posts have been swept away in the flood. As another example, to disable real whistleblowers, intelligence agencies can plant several fake ones, each with a slightly different story. Or, the fake whistleblowers can argue with each other or accuse the real one of being a covert agent. Sometimes, insect pheromones are used as effective pesticides. If a field is flooded with the pheromone, the males will not be able to locate the females for reproduction.


On an electronic communication system, a single person can have multiple accounts. In cloning, a real user will use multiple accounts to create a social illusion. For example, a post will be submitted by one username, and an alternate personality will be used to either appear in support of the post or against. People are more likely to side with an opinion, if multiple different people believe it too.

You’re Stupid

If a falsehood can be made to appear too complex, then people will be afraid to oppose it. They don’t want to look stupid by not understanding. The majority pretending to understand something, gives the impression that they do understand and makes individuals feel stupid for secretly not understanding.

Limited Hangout

From the RationalWiki: “intelligence jargon for a form of propaganda in which a selected portion of a scandal, criminal act, sensitive or classified information, etc. is revealed or leaked, without telling the whole story. The intention may be to establish credibility as a critic of something or somebody by engaging in criticism of them while in fact covering up for them by omitting many details; to distance oneself publicly from something using innocuous or vague criticism even when ones own sympathies are privately with them; or to divert public attention away from a more heinous act by leaking information about something less heinous.”

Self Promotion

This tactic applies to many different situations and to all 3 information control levels. Like any good business, intelligence agencies must advertise to attract their victims (customers). For example, one level 2 agent will often give other level 2 agents publicity. As another example, search engines like Google, can suggest posts for their users to view. Intelligence agencies can use these powerful tools to spread their information and promote the right people. Level 3 agents can give level 2 agents publicity by accusing them of being level 2 agents and the level 2 agents can pretend to defend themselves. Humans love to see a good fight, even if it’s rigged.

Intelligence agencies will definitely not help or promote people/projects that are not a part of their network. They will ignore people with potentially effective ideas, plans and projects.

Thrash the Cripple

Bullies will often torment a physically or socially weaker person to make themselves look stronger, or feel better about themselves. This tactic is very effective and primarily used by level 1 information control. As an example, the media will pick or invent a silly argument to make their position seem stronger. This tactic can be considered similar to Kicked by the Jackass, above. As an example, many people show the inconsistencies and silliness in the Bible to make themselves look more advanced than those who believe silly religious ideas.

Sugar Talking

Sometimes, intelligence agents need only tell people what they want to hear. This has two main benefits: 1) pleasing information helps passivate people who have the potential to act against the system; 2) when people hear what they already believe, or want to believe, the information makes them more susceptible to disinformation or misinformation.


Filtering Information

So how does a critical thinker determine what information to accept, and what information to reject or ignore? Critical thinkers have chosen a much more difficult path by not immediately believing all the information given them. They must make their own conclusions, and this leads to all the different sorts of theories. The following flow chart in Figure 2 is one example of such a method. The chart in Figure 3 is how critical thinkers assume most people filter information.

Figure 2) No flowchart can help people filter all the information presented to them.

Figure 3) Critical Thinkers think most people handle information in this manner.

Market Share

The system owners, or tribes with the most wealth and influence, seek market share as opposed to money. To them, money is just a tool to manipulate in order to capture market share. These people don’t have day jobs. They have low level people like CEOs do all the work. Compared to the common citizen, they have nearly limitless time and resources to invent new markets, and exploit existing ones. The common man must work 50 hours per week, personally manage a household, raise children, maintain vehicles, pay taxes, prepare food, obsess over sports, watch the news… The system owners have a major advantage.

Just as an example, consider the food supply of the United States of America. Every one must buy food so this is an important market that the system owners wish to exploit. Every tribe has a certain amount of money that must be spent to acquire food. The system owners want as much of this market share as possible, or in other words, they want as much of the money going to them, to their tribes. They wish to minimize the amount of money (market share) captured by other tribes. Since they already have the vast majority of resources, they can bribe politicians to use the farm subsidy system to decrease production costs, so they can sell at the lowest prices. This will help ensure the maximum market share. Those who doubt this tactic, can investigate the small farms market share and how much it has dwindled since the government started subsidizing.

Next, consider the entertainment industry. Not only does this special tribe lust after the profits from this industry, they must control it. This industry enforces the false reality of the level one information control. For the masses, learning about the ridiculous theory of relativity in school does enough damage to their minds, but watching their favorite actor getting sucked through a worm hole will nail the concept permanently in their brains… That is just one example, but don’t get the wrong impression. Not all critical thinkers disbelieve relativity. Like so many other topics, there are many different opinions and the debates never end… Not only do movies and other forms of entertainment help indoctrinate the masses, the masses pay for it, and the money goes back to the control system owners.

They especially don’t want to lose control of the entertainment industry. BTW, many news organizations will be considered as entertainment. In order to keep control, they maintain many profitable activities. They use a very effective control method, the concept of positive and negative feedback. Awards organizations are used in this way. The actors that publicly endorse control system projects are awarded with an Oscar or Grammy, or other award. Not everything, however, is rigged as suggested above. The awarded actors are first put in the roles that earned the award. This introduces the next topic which answers the following question. How do celebrities get chosen? In the context of this article, celebrities are not only actors, but businessmen, news anchors, education officials, politicians…


Natural Selection

Cream rises to the top, right? In a wolf pack, the strongest and toughest becomes the alpha male or alpha female. In human tribes, do the strongest and toughest rise to the top and become the tribal leaders? Many people believe this to be the case. Maybe that happened in the first place, with the initial tribe, but what about later generations? Human tribes evolve into something quite different than how they started. When human tribal leaders have offspring, they will set up these offspring with all the possible advantages. Among these offspring, the cream probably rises to the top.

What happens when one of these offspring wants to be an actor or director? What if one wants to become a writer or a rock star? Who will be picked when one of these roles becomes available? The son of a wealthy banker, or the son of the baker?

OK, just for fun, imagine a scenario where all famous actors are the offspring of the ruling class, and everyone knows. What would be the implications? This unfairness might irritate quite a few people. Many would probably not go to the movies and would start their own movie studios to pick other actors. This would decrease the market share for the ruling class. What is the answer to this dilemma? Marketing! Produce what the people want. Who doesn’t love a rags to riches story, when someone from a rough situation becomes successful. Everyone loves to imagine themselves in this situation. Hiding the celebrity’s real background then becomes key to this marketing strategy. The process of hiding someone’s real background, however, will not be discussed here. Of course not all underdog success stories are fake, but when you hear them, you should become suspicious.

In the case of a famous singer, the music company just has to utilize talented musicians and lyricists for them. Then they get heavily promoted by playing their songs on the radio, touring, and even having them sing the next big song for the movies. Not only does the rich kid get to live their dream life, but the profits stay within the wealthy families.

As a final example, consider the fiction book market. Imagine that a publishing company performs a market analysis and determines there’s room in the market for a new young adult series. This is the perfect opportunity, not only to capture market share, but also for indoctrination of the next generation. If they incorporate beneficial concepts in the story, concepts that promote the system then this will help solidify their position. The team to manage this project will be composed of several people, including a writer or two, a historian, a linguist, and maybe a psychologist. Once the book is written and the future books are planned, all that remains is marketing. For the story to appeal to their target market, children, the books will first need to appeal to the parents, and specifically to the mothers. What better way to appeal to a mother, than for the story to come from a single non-wealthy mother, hoping for all her hard work to pay off. After the book is successfully promoted, then come the movies. The woman appointed to be the writer, will of course be a member of the ruling tribe, just under a different name. This woman will eventually become a social justice warrior, covertly fighting for the system. The money stays in the important families’ hands!


Life Cycle of a Critical Thinker

For many, the first step to becoming a critical thinker, is by temporarily accepting a piece of controversial information as true. If that information sticks, continues to be accepted as true, then it might lead the individual to accept other information. Depending on the path they choose, the individual may become depressed. Many of their cherished beliefs will have become discarded. At first, their new world can become quite a shock. They will need to accept a new set of information and see nearly everything in a new light. If they intelligently continue with their explorations, however, the world eventually will become brighter. A critical thinker will eventually find reality much more interesting than a lie.

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