I just saw a post from a friend that included an interesting graphic related to the impact an early, clained to be flawed, medical 'study' had on the anti-vaxer movement.
I've blogged before about how there seems to be a instintual drive in humans to come up with a story to explain things. When we get it right it's very helpful to our existance.
The anti-vaxers may not as a whole be 'wanting to believe' in a medical conspiracy, or if they are, it may be driven by a more primative fear of not being able to come up with a more believable story.
I've decided a name for this basic fear of there not being a reason. To riff off of classic, cliche, Freudian terms it's cobbled roughly in German as Grundabwesendenangst.
This primal urge to explain in a way we can accept and relate to drives the anti-vax movement, the government-did-it theories of 9/11, and belief in gods. It is so much easier to think of an agency, whether it be a god or a kabal of evit pharmacutical companies that cause badness, than to comtemplate a more complex, apparently random, chain of cause and effect that brings disaster.
When fears point to some large agent, it is an echoe, a proxy, of our need for the alpha leader in a tribe. When we characterize the alpha we have hopes of relating to it. Overlay the US legal penchant and we can call it evil an hope to erradicate it, but this still causes the theory of agency to arise.
We can't think of how a small group halfway around the world could decided to drive planes into our buildings. We can't hope to relate to them as alphas. We don't understand how to lay on our backs and submissively show our bellies so they will not hurt us. We don't know how to engage them in an alpha challenge..... so it can't be them. It must have been our own government with whom we have a much more definable, comprehendable agency relationship.
Tribal instinct allows us to accept evil as long as it is alpha evil we can relate to in agency.
I'm not saying this is an absolute, but it is a strong influence on how we, how I, might tend to behave. I assume some primative parts of me are always on the lookout for the comfort of alpha agency. That's why even in Zen, the sangha wants "the master", and why contemplating "just don't know" can be liberating (and extremely nerve racking). When there is an agent boss, there is reason and our Grundabwesendenagnst is calmed.
2 days ago