I have always wondered why people believe in conspiracy theories and I have to admit that at a certain point in my life, in my mid to late 20s, I believed in them too. I remember that time in my life. I had lost a high paying job, I found out my fiance was sleeping with two other men. I thought the whole world was corrupt and going to hell. I then met a man at work who was from Eastern Europe, I can't remember which country specifically, but he had grown up under the police state of communist rule during his childhood. He was beyond paranoid to a point that I thought he was putting me on. But he wasn't acting. He was neurotic.
The most notable thing was whenever he saw a policeman come into the store he would hide in the back room and peek out from behind the door and wouldn't come out until they left. We both worked a closing shift in a grocery store and would take our breaks together along with his wife who was working there as well. They seemed like nice people. He did all the talking and she just sat there smiling.
The conversation was always the same. It always revolved around the Americans and Israelis attempting to take over the world. He would start the conversation quietly but as the conversation went on he got louder and louder and would get out of his chair and start pacing the floor. His wife would have to calm him down. He was bitter. He thought that he could come to Canada and life was going to be easy, but little did he know life is only easy for a select few.
I became influenced by his negativity and his twisted inner logic, thinking he knew more than everyone else. But if he knew more than everyone then why was he working in a grocery store. Like my great Auntie Jean, God rest her soul, used to say to loudmouths, "If you know so much, why aren't you rich." This line shut up every loud mouth she ever came across.
But my Eastern European friend seemed to think that it was not possible to get rich because "The Great Satan", The United States of America and Israel had their invisible hands moving us around like chess pieces. He gave me a list of websites to visit and videos to watch. For days I watched these videos and started to become influenced by them. But then I went for a walk one night and thought about the reason a person would want to believe in conspiracy theories on a large scale and then the anwser hit me.
People use them to justify their failures in life and don't want to take accountability for themselves and their actions. It's easier to say that everything is rigged and I have no chance. It's a form of mental masturbation. It makes one feel good. The problem is once you probe deep into conspiracies they can put you and your life in a very bad place.
My Eastern European friend had a fellow countryman friend working with us who was also into conspiracies. It became too much and I began to distance myself from them. He could sense it and didn't like it, but he didn't know the reason why. I switched my availability at work to avoid him, but he would come early in for his shift to talk to me while I was working. He kept asking me why I switched my shifts and I told him that I couldn't sleep at night.
Two weeks later he got fired for shoplifting.
About two months later I bumped into him and he said he quit the store because the pay was too low. He said he had a secret to tell me and something to give me in case anything ever happened to him, but he said it wasn't the right place to do this as he was being followed and he would call me from a payphone later on with directions to meet him to pick up a briefcase and a roll of microfilm. He never called. That was one thing that I noticed about him during the time we worked together. He lied about everything. There was no truth. Truth was what you wanted to believe he said.
Then one day on the front page of the newspaper there was his picture with the caption, "Missing."
The next day they found his car on a abandoned road. He was in the front seat with his throat cut from ear to ear.