The beautiful, misty contrails, condensation trails, that we can see behind planes high in the sky are primarily made of water, in the form of ice crystals. Some believe them to be “chemtrails,” consisting of chemical or biological agents left in the sky by high-flying aircraft, sprayed for nefarious purposes undisclosed to the general public. They say that is the only explanation for the longer lasting trails.
The moon landings were the fulfillment of many dreams, and a point of pride for all of us on earth. Moon landing conspiracy theorists claim that some or all elements of the Apollo program and the associated moon landings were hoaxes staged by NASA, possibly with the aid of other organizations.
Before we scoff at, then dismiss, those who hold those beliefs, let’s remember that tens of millions believe that COVID vaccines are either ineffective or even do more harm than good. And some even believe that COVID is a hoax.
That is the subject of today’s 10 minute episode.
There are dozens of conspiracy theories, ranging from the moon landings to New Coke to Disney. Q. How do people get themselves wrapped up in clearly unfounded theories; theories that are embraced as lifelong causes and often become embedded in the lifestyles of those embracing them? A. Some people are looking for causes, looking for ideas to believe in, and groups to embrace; a place to be wanted, accepted and to belong. The hunger to believe and to belong is powerful and compelling. Sadly, all too often not much discernment is used when choosing the beliefs and the group. That’s how people can fall into beliefs and groups that can range from just silly to downright dangerous. It’s a version of looking for love in all the wrong places.
A few years back I was listening to a talk show in the San Francisco Bay area, where the host was interviewing a guest from BASS, the Bay Area Skeptics Society. The specific topic was psychokinesis, the alleged ability to control physical objects with the human mind. The BASS guest proposed an on the spot experiment. He announced that he was going to stop watches and other time pieces using nothing but his mind, and invited people to call in if that happened to them. Sure enough, several people called in, reporting everything from stopped wrist watches to stopped wall clocks–and at least one stopped alarm clock. When the host expressed surprise at the result, the “skeptic” guest replied saying that with the large number of people who were listening at that time, with most of them having several time pieces, the odds were that several of them would have clocks that would stop naturally within 10-20 seconds of his announcement. His point was that things like this fool people, most often those who want to be fooled, those who want to believe in things like non-existent mental powers. Or that Bill Gates wants to microchip us all with the use of COVID shots. Yes, there is a live conspiracy theory here, too. This theory claims that the coronavirus pandemic is a cover for a plan to implant trackable microchips and that the Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is behind it.
Without anchors of some kind, it is a short leap from timepieces seemingly stopped by mind power, and believing that long duration vapor trails can only be explained as nefarious chemical deposits, to COVID denial and vaccine refusal. Having access to and knowing how to analyze large amounts of data is certainly an anchor; clearly scientists use this–something called the scientific method. Here is a definition: a method of procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses. However, very few of us are able to do that. We do not have access to the vast amounts of COVID-related data, and would not be able to analyze them if we did. Another anchor is trusting reliable sources. The GPS in our car and on our smartphone is an example. As is believing that the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776. I was not there, nor was anyone I know. But I trust that the year is correct.
A very useful and often overlooked anchor is our gut, our gut feelings, our instincts. These instincts are a necessary companion to our rational thinking. And the same moral compass that we often talk about here at Revolution 2.0™ can well serve as an anchor for our valuable instincts. Speaking of moral compasses, every major religion teaches as one of its prime directives loving one’s neighbor. Let’s hear from Christ, Mohammad and Krishna (The main deity in Hinduism.) about love. “Love your enemies.” -Christ. “You will never enter paradise until you have faith, and you will not have faith until you love one another.” -Mohammad. “He who has no attachments can really love others, for his love is pure and divine.” -Krishna.
If we cannot understand the complex research and data proving the efficacy and safety of the vaccines, and if we do not trust the many entities, public and private, offering this proof, what does your gut tell you? Trust your gut, but only after, after you sit and embrace your moral compass, looking for the correct gut “message.” Not the message that you might be hoping for. And what part of loving your neighbor allows for us to chance even the slightest risk, major or minor to those very neighbors? Or does the Constitution add an asterisk to admonitions, to the commands, to love our neighbors? Rational thought and our guts together will keep our BS detectors in place, and avoid creating a BS magnet. We’ll avoid thinking that leads to evil chemicals in the sky, and the alleged “evils” of these miraculous vaccines.
I am here to say that if in addition to rational thought we apply the moral compass-based gut feeling to contrails, moon landings and vaccines, we will all come up with the right answers. Contrails are natural and water based, the moon landings were real, and vaccines are safe, effective, and necessary for everyone. “To protect and to serve,” is a common slogan for police forces. We protect ourselves with vaccines, and serve others by getting them.
We all have the personal responsibility to protect and to serve; protect ourselves as necessary, and always to serve others. Speaking of personal responsibility, it does not stand alone; the two main and interdependent principles at Revolution 2.0 are:
1. Personal Responsibility; take it, teach it and,
2. Be Your Brother’s Keeper. The answer to the biblical question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” is a ringing, unequivocal “Yes.” There is no other answer.
Where do you stand? What are you going to do? Remember, it does not matter where you stand if you don’t do anything. You can start by subscribing to these episodes, and encouraging others to subscribe with you.
As always, whatever you do, do it in love. Without love, anything we do is empty. 1 Corinthians 16:1.
As we get ready to wrap up, please do respond in the episodes with comments or questions about this episode or anything that comes to mind, or connect with me on Twitter, @willluden, Facebook, facebook.com/will.luden, and LinkedIn, www.linkedin.com/in/willluden/. And you can subscribe on your favorite device through Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and wherever you listen to podcasts.
This is Will Luden. We’ll talk again in a few days.