Pattern Recognition and Conspiracy Theory

One thing that human minds as intelligent entities maintain particular fluency in is the recognition and conceptual or material reproduction of patterns. It allows us to generalise by analogy and to draw inferences across multiple facts to derive underlying symmetries and principles. This lateral pattern-matching across domains is a uniquely powerful mental facility but may also be responsible for the preponderance of systems of belief that are unconstructively divergent from the assorted facts and conceptual or material relationships and dependencies they have been derived from.

Are we all so deeply and hypnotically bewitched (as though in optical illusion) by the patterns we infer to preferring the aesthetic allure of a point of catastrophic misrepresentation of reality over a more logical or rational perspective? Is the rise and rise of conspiracy theory and extreme ideological positions less a function of the semantic intentions of those bundled ideas and much more a consequence of the innate and instinctive bias towards pattern recognition that lies at some deep level in the structure of cognition? Do we believe false things primarily because they are patterned systems of belief and is the inhabitation of a mezzanine level there between facts and experience the necessary burden of abbreviation that all language, all culture and all technology invoke?

Are we entranced by a false belief precisely because its patterned complexity (or simplicity) beguiles us into suspension of disbelief of implausibility based upon the structural dynamics of an argument over the semantic ones? Do we all to some extent inhabit essentially fictional systems and is the degree of discomfort we feel about our own chosen systems of belief a measure of their veracity?

I have encountered many arguments that were enthralling and interesting without necessarily being credible or even remotely true. Do we fall for orchestrated appearances of truthfulness and then, once ensnared by the implicit deception of the trap we have made for ourselves, then retrospectively back-fill and justify our position? If so, then is almost any narrative misdirection potentially believable and, further, is it in some ways easier to believe that which is not true precisely because, being anchored only upon itself, it requires no more logical depth or credibility than that matrix of introspective references that it itself generates?

Do we value patterned structure over meaning?

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