This past Friday, two colleagues and I were standing around the office coffeemaker. In true librarian fashion, we were discussing information-seeking behavior. Information-seeking behavior studies look at why people seek out the information that they do. One of my colleagues posited that people who thrive on conspiracy theories desire a thin veil between them and chaos. The further down the rabbit hole of conspiracies that they research, the closer to chaos they become. This chaos offers them meaning in a world that has otherwise told them they don’t matter. Engaging in conspiracy thinking makes them feel that they know what’s really going on in the world. Feeling that they have a handle on the chaos, they feel more in control of their lives.
There are some people who practice witchcraft because they desire to feel more in control of their lives. Their lives are chaotic and there’s a lot of drama that surrounds these folks. These same people are likely to feel a grander sense of importance than is actual and their spiritual beliefs reflect that viewpoint. People who are surrounded by drama and constantly complain about it are likely sources of drama themselves, though. Their witchcraft will also reflect this dramatic behavior.
Drama Queens & Conspiracy Theorists
There are similarities between conspiracy theorists and people who attract and create drama:
Drama Queen (DQ) witches feel that they are in constant contact with spiritual forces. Being that they’re the center of their own world, DQs believe that that spirits revolve around them too. These are the people that say crap like “The Goddess told me to add salt to this soup.” Or “I know the outcome of That Crazy Election because my spirits gave me the 411.” Likewise, conspiracy theorists also feel that they’ve got their finger on the pulse in all things. They’ve “got their sources” and they’ve “done their research” and we’re all “sheeple.”
DQ witches regularly think they are victims, particularly of curses and hexes. Conspiracy theorists think that their existence is under constant threat by authority figures, organizations, and/or other people. Victim-minded people are vigilantly on the lookout for opportunities where they can center themselves as being on the crap-end of a poop knife.
DQ witches are more likely to think everything is a “sign” or an “omen” and usually of bad things to come. Conspiracy theorists obsess about innocuous, trivial details trying to derive meaning. The meaning they do think they’ve gotten is often negative, though. Ever hear of a conspiracy theorist tell you about a conspiracy that benefits someone or something positively? No. These people thrive on the belief that there is always someone or something out there trying to harm them. They are true Negative Nancies and Pessimistic Petes.
Lastly, DQ witches think that they are super powerful witches with vast amounts of knowledge. They’ve read all the books, know all the right people, and have had all the spiritual experiences. Conspiracy theorists feel empowered by all the “knowledge” they’ve gained through their “research” and fellow conspirators. They often feel a sense of superiority over those who do not possess this special “knowledge.”
How to Subdue a Conspiracy Theorist or Drama Queen Witch
The number one thing any one of us can do to subdue a conspiracy theorist or DQ witch is to ignore them. Like fire, they have to be fueled to thrive. Your reaction to their chaos, whether it’s positive or negative, only encourages them to think that what they believe is important. If it wasn’t important then you wouldn’t have reacted to it. Again: do not engage with their behavior or beliefs. Quell the fire by making sure you haven’t tossed another log on it to burn. If they aren’t in danger of physically harming themselves, you, or others then simply disengage.
Tell the DQ witches and conspiracy theorists that “I choose not to engage with your beliefs and behaviors.” If they press on with their chaos then walk away or hang up the phone or end the conversation. You do not owe them your time, your energy, or any explanation. It is not your responsibility to “correct” them or hear them out. Quell the fire and disengage.
Ignoring Chaos Isn’t Wise Either
On the other side of the spectrum, people that choose to pad the veil between them and chaos are naively doing so. While it isn’t a good idea to steep ourselves in chaos, it also isn’t wise to try to avoid it either. It isn’t possible anyway. Chaos is a naturally occurring element to our existence in this universe. Chaos opens up doors for chance encounters, some of which are very beneficial to our existence. Take the Big Bang Theory, for example. It’s the right combination of chaos and order that has cradled our existence since the beginning. I don’t know jack about physics but I trust in that orderly chaos.
People that engage in toxic positivity are nearly as bad as DQs and conspiracy theorists. These types choose to ignore the fact that sometimes bad things happen to good people and that there is no explanation for why. Folks like this have chosen to put a huge pad between them and chaos because chaos doesn’t allow them to be in control. Just like conspiracy theorists, those that use toxic positivity as a coping mechanism are only hurting themselves and others. We’ve got to stop saying things like, “Everything happens for a reason” or “I should count my blessings” or “At least I’m not starving like those kids in Africa.” Look. It’s okay to feel sad and to say as much. It’s okay to not want to eat the rest of that succotash on your plate and not think about starving kids.
Your life and our universe is an amalgam of chaos and order. On a day to day basis, the pendulum might swing between those two extremes. There are no certainties. Nothing is truly black or white. There are no absolutes. Purely Good People or Bad People do not exist. Stop believing in conspiracy theories. Stop choking the life out of your life and others’ lives in an attempt to apply order to them.
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