By Adrianna Iorio and Aryanna Zavala, Clarion Staff
According to Dictionary.com, conspiracy theories are the idea that many important political events or economic and social trends are the products of secret plots that are largely unknown to the general public. These theories have impacted society’s view of the world because it is a way for the public to cope with a catastrophic event or something that they do not have knowledge of.
Due to social media and television, conspiracies have garnered a large following, especially in times of distraught and uncertainty. Typically following terrorist attacks, natural disasters, or events that result in a notable death count, conspiracy theories are a way for the public to provide themselves an alternative explanation in order to cope with how and why they occurred.
They tend to be a popular topic amongst Kennedy students. A survey was conducted by The Clarion and found that among the 60 students that participated, 49 said that they discovered conspiracy theories on social media. Platforms such as YouTube or Instagram are common ways people share their beliefs and provide sufficient evidence to convince the public. The most popular conspiracies are anything related to aliens. Most of the students believed we are not alone in our universe. Patricia Chapman, a sophomore, believes in aliens, “The fact that the universe is so big and has so many planets, it’s impossible that Earth is the only planet capable of producing life.”
The attention and discussion surrounding extraterrestrials rocked after the Roswell, New Mexico incident, giving way to the increase of both UFO sightings and the number of believers in otherworldly forms. On July 7, 1947 a rancher by the name of W.W. Brazel told Sheriff George Wilcox that something strange had been found on a sheep ranch northwest of the town. When pieces of rubber, wood, foil, tape, and paper had been found in the field, the local Army airfield was called, an drew the conclusion that Brazel had found the remains of a flying saucer. The following day the Roswell Daily Record published an article titled, “RAAF CAPTURES FLYING SAUCER ON RANCH IN ROSWELL REGION,” instantly putting Roswell on the map as the UFO capital of our nation. Alien encounters and sightings have grown since Roswell, yet some people remain skeptical.
In the survey conducted, The Clarion found that a number of students believe in the idea of aliens, but not the sightings many people have documented or posted online. According to Isabella Garcia, a freshman, “To say aliens are not real is a big statement. Our universe is expanding farther and faster than we can comprehend, so we cannot possibly be the only ones out here. However in terms of UFO sightings, all the images I see are just lights not actual objects.”
UFO and extraterrestrials are not the only popular conspiracy amongst the public, the Illuminati is also a popular conspiracy because of its relation to social media influencers and celebrities. The term ‘Illuminati’ refers to the Bavarian Illuminati, a secret society that operated for only a decade, from 1776 to 1785. Their goals was to oppose superstition, obscurantism, religious influence over public life, and abuses of state power. In 1785 secret societies were banned, which included the Illuminati, anyone who joined the group received serious punishments. Most of the group’s secrets were disclosed or published, and most historians believe the Illuminati disappeared.
The modern conception of the Illuminati is different from its predecessor, in that it is believed their goal is for their prominent members to come together and win world domination. According to In Touch, a website dedicated to following celebrities, suggest that Beyoncé and Jay-Z are the highest-ranking members of the Illuminati. This belief that they are in the Illuminati has existed for a couple of years and its popularity has not died down. “Beyoncé has zero chill about keeping it a secret. It all started with the music video for “Crazy in Love” in which Bey is performing a sexy satanic ritual to sell her soul, reborn at Jay-Z’s side as the demon-possessed Sasha Fierce,” said In Touch.
Katelyn Yang, a senior admitted, “You realize how much there is you don’t know about the universe, and everything you know could be a lie. Despite this though, they’re fun to think about.” Conspiracy theories tend to give false interpretations of how our world works and provides a coping mechanism for society to deal with the unimaginable. Social media and the Internet often lead people to question facts that are often looked at as truths. Kennedy students even admitted to their view of the world being altered because of social media and the Internet’s influence on the world. Conspiracies impact today’s society, especially today’s youth and makes them question everything they have known.