Conspiranoia: that pandemic within the pandemic
The internet at home stopped working, a serious thing in these times of “home office”. The supplier company told me that the modem required a replacement, so the next day they sent a technician to do the job: a chatty, friendly guy, who during the forty-five minutes of his visit could not put on his mask ( left out his nose), and that in view of my clear discomfort in this regard, he insisted that there was no need to worry: Covid-19 did not really exist. It was all an invention of the media, a facade to try to implement a new world order.
For the same reason, he explained to me, he had not been vaccinated nor did he plan to do so, nor would he allow members of his family to do so. Naturally, I tried to offer him sensible arguments against it, like the hundreds of thousands who died, but his reasons were not open to debate. Instead, he told me to take advantage of the recently recovered internet to “investigate”: a word he used to refer to watching videos of dubious origin on YouTube.
Unfortunately, my technician is not an isolated case these days. There are many and from different sources who are infected with what seems to be the pandemic within the pandemic: conspiracy theories. People pregnant with such mistrust of the system, the media, and the government that they are capable of putting everything in one bag and openly maintaining that fanatically irreconcilable sectors of society are actually working together to impose a “Health dictatorship” through a “plandemic” and thus achieve a “new world order”. The latter at times translates into population reduction, and at others into less obvious objectives, such as implanting microchips for individual tracking or imposing a global business of eternal vaccinations.
The sad thing is that one might think that it is a matter of sects, of a few lunatics, of ignorant people or that suffer from a cultural retardation. But it is not true. I have found more or less similar versions in the mouths of people of all strata, people who went to university and people who never stepped foot in a school, because in truth the conspiracy is not the result of intellectual work but of a condition of the condition. postmodern.
Let’s start from something reasonable: reality is complex and there is not always a point of view that allows us to understand it in a satisfactory way. In other words, there is much in the world that is difficult to understand. That is why human history has always been so conflictive, so full of outrages, arbitrariness and unusual massacres in the name of a transcendent ideal.
Our existence is an orphan: we do not know why we are here, there is no one to explain it to us. We only have the knowledge that we have accumulated over the centuries, a knowledge that from time to time we must review with a critical eye to make sure that the new findings do not contradict them. For that we invented the academy: to review, update, question and verify said knowledge, which may well be of a scientific, philosophical, artistic nature, or whatever.
But that necessary intellectual activity has clearly been moving away from the general public. What incredible principles drive science and technology, what debates are taking place regarding contemporary art, or what are the pressing dilemmas of our age seem to be matters known to a minority. The rest are immersed in obscurantism, which as we well know is fertile ground for superstition, paranoia, manipulation and, above all, the lack of critical and informed thinking.
That is why someone can be incredulous at what they see on television, because they sense that there is always a political agenda behind it (as there usually is) and, at the same time, blindly trust the information provided by an anonymous YouTube channel, without asking who produces that material, what are its sources and why is it being disseminated on that massive platform. And the latter, it seems to me, is key: the free content on the internet.
Social networks are a business between the company that governs them and its advertising advertisers, that is, they are a business that does not involve its users, since the attention of the masses is precisely the product offered. There is, therefore, no regulation on the junk content they offer: no legitimation strategy, no critical value.
But while this explains why irresponsible content is being sold on social media, it doesn’t explain why my internet technician prefers to believe those wild explanations about the pandemic. And the answer, in my view, points to the affective, the spiritual, the intimate.
Faced with an increasingly complex and overwhelming reality, being part of the anti-vaccine sect gives a simple meaning to existence, organizes it in elementary terms and, incidentally, reinforces this point of view with a sense of moral superiority: “I understand what the masses ignore ”.
Like the flat-earthers and those who believe that the world is governed by an elite of reptiles, the Covid conspirators are people hungry for meaning, for guidance, for an ethical and political code to be governed by. They suffer from an existential void that these theories can fill, just as a package of potato chips fills an empty stomach. But if the conspiranoids are not something, it is an exception: in reality they are a reflection of a profound lack of our time.
- “Opinion journalism” in Wikipedia.
- “Covid-19” in Wikipedia.
- “What is a coronavirus?” in La Vanguardia (Spain).
- “Coronavirus disease outbreak” in the World Health Organization.
What is an opinion piece?
A opinion piece It is a type of journalistic text in which the author exposes to the reader his personal position regarding a specific topic. These are essentially argumentative texts, which use the information to promote a perspective, that is, to convince the reader to take their point of view. For this reason, they are usually signed and of a personal nature (with the exception of press editorials, which reflect the institutional position of the newspaper), since the reader may agree or disagree with what is in them. it is stated.