Hey Kara. Thanks for the response.
Sorry, i neglected to mention above that him and I have a close relationship. I also forgot to mention that he's been reading this stuff before my mom died too. My mother was open to listening to him to a certain extent. I'm pretty sure that he genuinely believes this stuff; believe me. I do agree with him needing to get back on his feet with his life, the only thing he thinks and worries about is my problematic brother and he rarely gets out.
My family is in a really tough situation right now so thanks for the support, it really means a lot. :)
I wish you all the best Matthew. Do let us know what approach you decide to take. At the end of the day, he's your dad. Part of a parent's job is to embarrass their offspring :-)
You may just have to humor him, or play the conspiracies off one another. If he is prone to conspiracy theories, then how about the conspiracy that exists simply to sell crap to people or distract them? You know, the one where they try to get you to believe all these strange conspiracy theories so that you'll buy their books and videos... not to mention attend their conferences, pay for them to make speeches, donate to their projects, or perhaps even vote the way that they want you to. Then there are those who would feed you false information just to prevent you from knowing the real truth. If anybody knew the REAL truth, they would be killed, so OBVIOUSLY the "truth" that we are told is the one they WANT us to hear... and the same is true for any counter-truths which they ALLOW to "leak" out into the public awareness. The fact of the matter is, we know what they want us to know and they're influential enough to make sure that we don't know anything they don't want us to know. Because of this, any pursuit of the truth beyond what they want us to know will either prove to be fruitless or lethal (for yourself and everyone you ever knew or loved). Either way, there's no use trying.
I find that this line of thought does a good job of at least shutting them up and sometimes it can lead to them actually evaluating their beliefs (because they might be part of the conspiracy).
The real problem lies in the fact that these beliefs are not based on reason, but they use some of the same machinery to get there. It has been said before that no man can be reasoned out of what they were not reasoned into. In this instance, it's mostly an over active pattern recognition system prone to false positives combined with our tendency to remember and retail novelty. The more crazy something sounds, the more likely it is to stick in our minds.
There is something I like to call the "conspirator's dilemma" which I'll try to lay out.
What you do is contemplate the likelihood of both possible worlds; a world where the conspiracy exists and a world where it does not. You can evaluate it by thinking about the ease/difficulty with which the involved parties would be able to maintain the conspiracy as well as the strength of the motivation to do so. The more difficult the conspiracy is to maintain and the less motivation they have to do so, the less likely that it is the case. Conversely, if the conspiracy were very easy to maintain and they had a very strong motivation to do so, then it is very likely that the conspiracy exists.
My father has very similar issues with conspiracy theories, so I feel your pain. What I did was pretty much what I've laid out above. I started off by suggesting that nobody would know the truth if the guys involved were really that powerful and that the guys "selling" the conspiracies might actually be part of a conspiracy to make money off of people. Then I used the conspirator's dilemma to prove that it is much more likely that those who are pushing the conspiracies are just trying to make money. So, what you end up with is a realization that the conspiracy theorists are most likely trying to make money off of us, and if they aren't then they STILL don't REALLY know what's going on. At the very least, it helped my father to stop literally buying into this garbage... I also may have suggested that if "they" really were that powerful, that they would track his purchases and put him on a watchlist for it.
Dad's mind is still prone to lines of thought like that, but at the very least the same machinery can be used to police itself... you just have to coax it to do so.
Thats brilliant, I never thought of that. I'm going to give this a try next time he starts off!
I've know a few conspiracy nuts and you can never prove to them anything because everything is part of the machine. You can never get through to someone that in most cases you'd never be able to hide the massive conspiracies from the public for very long since you would have to have massive numbers of people involved in most of them and then people to keep them in line and so on. I'll admit I have found some of them at the very least interesting depending on the subject but the vast majority are so out there that they can't be given any value. I can maybe and that is a big maybe go for aliens visiting earth at some point since I know that it would pretty much be impossible for life not to be out there but that would be very rare and extremely difficult for any advanced race to do because of the distances involved but hey I'm more likely to believe that then I am in god. I find that the vast majority of the stories involved with Aliens and space ships are people mistaken about what they saw, people making stuff up or insane people imagining things but I do have concede that there are few stories out there that can't be easily explained at all that do make you think. Most of the other stuff out there doesn't even enter my head as being possible though... like with the lizard people that David Icke talks, the 911 truther folks, and Lock Ness (as much as that would be cool though) etc ....that's all just bat shit insane.
HI> i ended up on this site looking for HELP. i want to thank you for your post, because i found a bit of relief. I have a 15 year old daughter whose father is a 'conspiracy theorist' . Everything i read about from other people, he has mentioned to me at one time or the other. He doesn't work. He stays inside and 'studies' .. for years now.(youtube videos/lectures) mostly. I am heartbroken for my daughter who recently said to me, 'why does my daddy have to be crazy?". I feel so bad for her because she can barely have a conversation with him without being traumatized- worrying about aliens and black men living in the moon,clones walking amongst us and the government planning to take her away from me and hoard her somewhere, the pyramids, don't drink the water, we are going to lose our money's worth, canada, etc. He lives in California and we in NY. I left him when she was a year old and he had just started all of this "studying". He became unreasonable, had no empathy and was very angry. He had been smoking tons of pot. I am not sure if this triggered what has happened since then. Anyway, thank you for showing me that we are not alone. I don't know what to say to her to help her understand him. You are right with what you said. I think that NOTHING is worse than this. It would be easier if he got an uncurable disease and died. I have let them drift apart and don't encourage the relationship. I don't make her call him back when he calls and we often ignore the call if we see it. There is no talking to him. I try to talk to him but it is useless. He thinks I am the one brainwashed and ignorant. I don't try to call him names or anything. I try to not trigger him to start going off. I am seriously wondering if he is schizophrenic?? It runs in his family. Do you have any advice as how to help my precious amazing daughter get through this? Her once normal, loving father is a walking, crazy ghost.
Wow. I can't believe that your dealing with him talking to a(n) (impressionable?)15 year old girl about these batshit conspiracies. It's one thing for my dad to talk to me about it because i can easily discard it as nonsense, but it's another if the person your talking to isnt ready to hear these things and be scared wondering if they are true or not. It's good that your daughter at least regards the stuff he says as crazy, i feel like shes on the right track. If I were in your situation, i would tell your daughter to look to the natural world to find her answers. Encourage her to read about scientific advancement and our beautiful existence. I find that pretty much everything my father says about these conspiracies can be wisped away with a little bit of facts and simple mathematics. The true nature of our existence is beautiful and it's all a couple of books away, and its a shame that it is being blurred by religion and conspiracy nuts. As for the father I think it's up to your daughter whether or not she wants to talk to him and hear these ideas, I would ask her how she feels, and if she doesnt want to hear his conspiracies, and then i would lay down the law with him to stop talking about them to her or not talk to her at all.
Thats just me though...
I also really find it disheartening that her father would put these conspiracies before his daughter, I never had the displeasure of experiencing that. I am really sorry to hear what you are going through and I wish the best for you and your amazing daughter. I have to say that I would be very proud of her, shes 15 and she can already regard this stuff as crazy/nonsense.
Overall, i think teaching her critical thinking skills would be great, for instance:
-"Hey, they said that the anunake are walking among us disguised."
-"What are the full claims of this, who says it, why do they say it, is there factual evidence and if so, is it a reputable resource and backed by peer review as a valid theory."
-"Well, uh, this guy in this video holding a seminar on youtube who wants me to buy his DVD for $49.99 said it!"
-*laughs and shrugs it off*
If you want to talk more about it let me know. I'm glad to help out.
Best of luck. :)
thank you so much for your reply. I find that I myself have to become more educated about life, science and these theories, so that i can counter act them and continue to insulate her. It is a work in progress.. The saddest part of this is that there is NO reaching her father. He is buried in all of these thoughts and there is no reaching any common ground with him. He did stop talking to her about it, after I had a shouting match with him. It is very sad. I am sure he will never change or get help because he thinks he is the one who knows 'the truth'. I told him that he is so busy looking at and for his truth, that he missed the truth growing right in front of him. He missed his own daughter's childhood, and is now going to miss her adulthood. I recently found out from a mutual friend, that his 'friends' in CA are now keeping their children AWAY from him. He would be devastated if he knew this. I have promised not to tell him, and I won't... it would certainly wake him up.
Well, Matthew, thanks again for listening and giving me the opportunity to share. It is very difficult..and this gives me a little peace. In time, I will share these conversations with my daughter, so that she will understand that there are other people in her shoes.