I'm going to have to buy one of these!
This Reddit post about Adolf Eichmann has some very deep insights about why people choose to believe in things like conspiracy theories:
In a search for some higher meaning, he gave himself to a cause so completely that he was unable to think outside of it's cliche's, standard lines... or from the point of view of other people. By adopting a cause Eichmann created a intellectual fence around himself and relieved himself of having to think critically or examine his convictions.
There is pleasure in understanding the world around us and meaning in the unending work of developing and refining a coherent world view. Adopting an ideology, short circuits that effort, providing pleasure and meaning with an unwarranted (and unquestioned) degree of certainty. Consequently, fully adopting an ideology, whether it's Nazism or Feminism, is fundamentally not a benign act. People do this on a regular basis: unquestioned, mild, allegiance to their church, to their political party, to traditional values, to their social causes, etc. This is the essence of "the banality of evil" that Arendt talks about. There is a strong intellectual resemblance between the unquestioned beliefs and unexamined assumptions that allow a man to ship millions of people to extermination camps, and the unquestioned assumptions and beliefs that we all operate on, on a daily basis. Psychopathic cruelty and blood-thirst are not required.
This is my favorite new meme:
A classic line from The Simpsons:
“There’s no need to murmur, ma’am. Here at Itchy and Scratchy Land we’re just as concerned about violence as you are. That’s why we’re always careful to show the consequences of deadly mayhem, so that we may educate as well as horrify.”