Why are conspiracy theories so popular today....anything to do with the collective stress?
People suspect something's wrong, that life is not what we think it is or just what it appears to be, but then that feeling translates as being manipulated by outside forces----the government, secret societies and the like. This satisfies a basic need, but only on a short term basis, and tends to feed even more anxieties.
Do you have a favorite theory?
Yes, that all these theories are ways to avoid the mother of all conspiracies: that our consiousness is under the hypnotic spell of our mind's imagination, that we live lives that are totally reactive to and controlled by mental circuits or impressions that haunt us.
And why is that something that's avoided?
Because facing this condition is the most difficult, even painful, thing to confront. Instead, it's easier to let it feed our fears and anxieties that guarantee ego-mind's continued survival.
Well, it's our own mind, so why such a self-inflicted state of affairs?
This mind is simply bent on reinforcing its own limitations, its own survival. It's on auto-pilot and we've forgotten where the off switch is.
That partly answers my question, but not fully enough.
All this leads to a bigger picture dealing with the cosmic dilemma of One Real Self that includes both unconsciousness and consciousness (take a look at An Overview).