Let's Teach Conspiracy Theories In School


Don't freak out on me quite yet.  I know, conspiracy theories are insane.  Literally, they're usually thought up by crazy people off their meds.  Or so the story goes.  But hear me out for a minute, alright?

Some of the greatest ideas in human history are technically conspiracy theories.  Trust me, as someone receiving a liberal arts education, the parallel is crystal clear.

But first, why do I mention my liberal arts education as a qualifier for writing a piece on the topic of conspiracy theories?  Well, a liberal arts education consists of the seminal texts in literature and philosophy.  The goal of a liberal arts education is to impart all the intellectual mythology of a culture onto the next generation, or in actuality, to make the student a great speaker at cocktail parties.  What is that intellectual mythology if not a conspiracy theory, in the loosest terms possible?  A quick google search defines a conspiracy theory as "a belief that some covert but influential organization is responsible for a circumstance or event."

Adam Smith gave us the invisible hand theory to explain the free market, we have god to blame for the flood, and Helen is the explanatory principle for the Trojan War.

So let's go ahead and stop skirting the issue.  Kids learn about conspiracy theories on their own regardless – the internet is a very powerful and very invasive tool.  But also, if we continue to teach the same tired old ideas to every new generation, we are not promoting a creative means of thinking.  If we continue to base new ideas off the former and only teach the ancient, then how are future generations supposed to understand that philosophy, history, and the cultural narrative are not necessarily set in stone?  That there is room to encourage new ideas?

Instead of teaching a singular narrative of all intellectual history, let's include the outliers.  Better yet, let's encourage them!  Let's not shoot down the strange thought processes, let's show the next generation that it's worth taking a few risks; that as a society we understand that deviant thought dictates the cultural narrative more than its popular counterpart.

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Meet The Author

I'm Madysen, born and raised in Nebraska but now living out my dreams in New York City. I moved here to go to Columbia, but living in New York has become so much more to me. This blog is a space where I can share my experiences of reconciling my midwestern upbringing with the life I live in the city. But even bigger than that, this blog serves as a space where I can try to understand where I fit into the larger social world, where I want to go in life, and how I want to go about pursuing all of these endeavors.

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