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I’m glad you feel better, but I’m compelled to point out the flaws in your reasoning.

1. You stated ”I see people unwilling or unable to grapple with complexity, because the simple narratives that surround them are too seductive.”

Then went on to say ”Here's a humbling truth about this whole saga.

I'm far too much of a scientific and engineering layman to know if what I read that night is true.”

So, to use your own words, ”unwilling or unable to grapple with complexity”.

2. ”Point being, I was able to break free from conspiracy thinking because I wanted to. And because I needed to. It was the only way for me to create a sense of coherence in my worldview, and to cement my emerging identity as a Citizen. Conspiracy thinking is antithetical to who I'm trying to become, and what I'm trying to model in the world.”

So you were ”seduced by the simple narrative”. You’re describing taking the easy way out of agreeing with the acceptable explanation to avoid being ostracized.

Now read your sentence again. ”I see people unwilling or unable to grapple with complexity, because the simple narratives that surround them are too seductive.”

In contrast, there is nothing simple about a narrative of multiple factions within the government and foreign agents conspiring to commit murder of several thousand people. It is extremely complex and most normal people reject it instinctively because it would damage their model of the world too much. Surely there can’t be elements within our own government that would willingly murder our citizens in cold blood to dupe the population. Imagine how much I would have to worry about my kid’s safety.

Now it could just be a conspiracy theory hatched by an overactive imagination or possibly a schizophrenic mind. Unfortunately just such an operation was proposed to the last president to be assassinated[1]. A strategy used and celebrated by Mossad in Egypt[2], and why I mention that is obviously because of ”the dancing israelis”[3]. I feel obliged to note that I am not an anti-semite. Stating facts about the conduct of the Israeli state shouldn’t, but often does, incorrectly mark you as such. There is nothing simple about digging into the means nor ends as to why 9/11 was perpetrated. The simple narratives are spoon-fed to you through the mainstream media. This goes for all theories purposely discredited as conspiracy theories[4][5].

With all that said, there is a risk of people getting hooked on the dopamine/adrenaline hits they get from reading about horrible conspiracies. And many people do because they don’t have the intellectual capacity or inclination to engage the subject matter critically. They exchange the simple mainstream narrative for whatever they read on an online forum that gives them that visceral buzz of fear and anger.

I have been there and I’ve also done what you have, returned to the fold and repressed. It takes enormous effort and most likely some meandering back and forth between these two states to learn actual discernment. Could I still be playing with an incomplete deck? Most likely, but I have started to grasp a way to update my model of reality continuously.

Sorry for browbeating you, it’s an honest attempt at helping you along the way.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Northwoods

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lavon_Affair

[3] https://archive.org/details/DancingIsraelisFBIReport/police/page/n3/mode/2up

[4] https://www.coreysdigs.com/u-s/cia-coined-weaponized-the-label-conspiracy-theory/

[5] https://truthstreammedia.com/2015/01/13/cia-flashback-well-know-our-disinformation-program-is-complete-when-everything-the-american-public-believes-is-false/ (Inconclusive, but convincing)

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