Weekend Motivation 208

Let’s talk for a moment about the power of misinformation (which I kind of already did here), what it can lead to and why we need to give most of the people that fall victim to it more care than average. Let’s all start by fessing up to something we honest to god believe in that actually makes no logical sense. So think of yours right now. I’ll go first in my heart of hearts I really do think that how ready I get for a storm is inversely proportional to how likely the power is to go out. If I don’t buy groceries, charge power banks and have generator gas on hand it is WAY more likely to go out. On the other hand If I do all that, fill the tub, bring in wood, run off drinking water and get some cash out, that power is totally staying on. I logically do know that I actually don’t control power outages in storms but in secret I really think I sort of do. Nutty right?

The reason I ask you to think of the crazy thing you actually believe is to start with some empathy. Other than that I am the ‘trust the science’ sheeple (sheep-person?) you would expect a person who actually has a PhD in biology to be. For the last month or so Canada and the world has watched all sorts of ‘free thinkers’ and people who ‘do their own research’ act pretty damn poorly. I’ve joked that they all spell it FREEDUMB and personally enjoyed the #flutruxklan hashtag over on twitter. Here’s the thing almost all of those people in Ottawa and elsewhere believe the things they are saying just as much as I think I actually do control the flow of electricity.

I would argue that the vast majority, like 90% really do believe what they are saying is 100% true. As such the fear and anger they feel is very real. These are the people I while I don’t agree with their actions I have a lot of sympathy for. That’s because the other 10% or so are the ones pushing that information out to the rest. In many cases these people benefit either monetarily by selling something or in gathering a following or attention. Lots of these people that are believing this stuff are on some level being preyed upon and I wonder if these spreaders are knowingly actively exploiting that. At this point we all probably know someone in this headspace and I’ve noticed many of them are vulnerable in some way. At the best of times they might be:

  • Snuggling with some mental health issues (diagnosed, treated or not)
  • Barely making ends meet in the first place
  • Not well educated
  • More impacted then most by the pandemic
  • Lonely
  • delicately… have an elevator upstairs that doesn’t reach the top floor
  • Searching for something
  • Feeling like they understand things others don’t

Next think about the freedom, right or moral that you hold most dear. That could be your family, your religion, Safety, right to bear arms or access of education/information depending on who you are. How would you feel and what would you do if that really was being taken away from you? Most of us don’t believe that people are en mass injecting children with time released poison, that we’re all about to develop aids and that the governments of the world want to kill off roughly 90% of the population any way they can. But what if you did?

This whole phenomenon can be viewed as a few self serving people targeting vulnerable populations to take specific steps to work against their own best interest to serve their own selfish ones instead. That is at the heart of things like racism, classicism, misogyny and the worst aspects of capitalism. These followers are being exploited at the end of the day even when they claim to be fighting the system that oppresses them and us. Take some time, turn off all the distractions around you and think about that please.

So as these people come back to their lives and ours handle them with empathy for in many cases they know not what they do. I wish there was some roadmap to helping people see the truth of this or any other situation there simply is not. It’s also never mostly appropriate to force someone to think the way about something as you. Take some time this weekend to find some softness in your heart for these individuals rather than focusing on the actions of the group as a whole.

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