The Fear of Death, Conspiracy Theories, UFOs, and…Hey That’s What I Said!


‘A new study finds that people who are anxious about death are more likely to believe in the conspiracy theories outlined in [for example, The Da Vinci Code] (Doubleday, 2003). The thriller follows a cryptographer and a symbologist as they unravel a mystery about the secret of the Holy Grail…The students [in the study] most likely to believe the conspiracies in Brown’s novel were those who enjoyed the book the most, expressed the most New Age beliefs, and felt the most anxiety about dying. . .Conspiracy theories “can alleviate people’s sense of loss of control by giving them a reason that things happen…”‘

The text quoted is from LiveScience: http://www.livescience.com/16103-da-vinci-code-conspiracy-belief.html

I’ve long been saying, in essays and interviews, that there is a psychological connection between the fear of death and belief that flying saucers are real, that ETs are among us, and alien abductions happen. These beliefs are held by otherwise intelligent people even when you show them solid reasons to doubt the “evidence” of the extraterrestrial presence on Earth. Why? It’s like this…

Extraterrestrials are, well, extra to the terrestrial, they come from outer space (if they’re here at all), and outer space is, in the minds of children, where “heaven” resides. ETs are from “celestial” places. They come in womblike saucers, and they look, often, like embryos– the commonest description of them, the gray alien, is like embryos. The womb is a symbol of safety, and life at its beginnings, far from death. ET technology represents transcendence in the minds of believers–it seems to defy science, it suggests that the limits of the physical world can be broken, and faster-than-light barriers be damned, these creatures can come here and take us back to their world. Also aliens are presumed to have super medical abilities, and are often said to have the ability to cure all disease, should they “find us worthy”. That is, they are all about escape to safety, about transcendence of the limitations of life, in the unconscious of the believer. And the most frightening limitation on us all is mortality itself…

I can see a strong parallel with my theory of flying saucer believers’ fear of death, and the conspiracy believer’s need for an over arching explanation for every mystery…

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