The greater influence of mass media whose primary task

The first constant I want to talk about is family education. Independently from the
actual way of family organization, an important characteristic of family
education is the tendency – thus not necessarily the fulfilment – of parents
(or greater family) to educate their children with a certain effort for justice. We want to be good parents and, in our view, this
usually means to be consequent, that
is, to reward good action and to condemn injustice. Good parents, this is a
universal phenomenon of civilized society, want to keep their children away
from the evils of this world. Thereby, in a process of conditioning and usually
completely unintended and unnoticed, we inflict on our children a false belief
about this world, the so called Just
World Belief.

 

While psychologists like Lerner (1980) emphasize the
stabilizing nature of the Just World Belief for the individual, I am of the
opinion that it is related to early development psychology, more precisely to
the above mentioned universal tendency which becomes more prevalent in more
industrialized societies.

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The Just World Belief leads to a conflict as humans
approach the period of adolescence, because very apparently, there is a lot of
injustice in this world. The greater influence of mass media whose primary task it is to report the unusual, rather than the ordinary, reinforces that impression.
The result is a faith crisis.
Believers in a just world need therefore models to reconcile their own view
with reality. So we can either postpone justice, as many religions do (referring,
for example, to a Judgment Day), we can attribute injustice to ourselves
(taboos regarding sexuality fulfil that purpose) – or we create conspiracy theories about one certain
group of beings that are not only extremely evil, but equally have a very great
power. While in earlier times this could be the devil and his demons, this term
seems increasingly irrational to modern man though secularization, and so he finds other groups, such as Freemasons or
Jews. Conspiracy theory, in this context, is a coping strategy against the
conflict between the belief in the just world and the suffering we see around
us.

 

A second constant
of modern human civilization is capitalism.
Instead of reflecting on what the capital
is – which was elaborated before by people who are much more competent in the
field of economics than me – I want to emphasize the process by which
capitalist thought is imprinted into our minds by socialization. In modern
society, we have no chance of interacting with society, except though working,
earning and consuming. The constant repetition of the whole process conditions us, not less than the reality
of parental education described above. It results in faith in the equivalence
of money, labour and goods and also in identity
through social class. Both can, however, be radically questioned in times of financial crisis. The resulting faith
and identity crisis is another fundamental motivator for people to seek refuge
in conspiracy theory.

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