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9 Thoughts on helping family + friends wake up from COVIDmania
They are asleep, wake them up gently.
I started reading about the Covid elephant in March 2020 and have been through all the different emotional phases one goes through when they discover they and everyone they love and care about have been lied to. I started writing to family and friends to help them see through some of the lies (with varying degrees of success), but they were private communications, some of which I have now published here on my Substack.
What really got me going was the arrival of the Vax at my family’s doorstep. This led to me writing this letter for my two adult kids:
Having shared it on Substack, it’s been viewed over 13,000 times so far and been helpful to many people in my immediate circles. So, I’ve decided to keep writing.
Why I write
For my family first as they don’t have the benefit of all the material I have consumed. I want to make it as easy as possible for them to remain awake and alert during this unprecedented global propaganda campaign
For my friends next, for the same reasons
For the immediate circles of both my family and friends
Writing is a form of thinking, and it’s a high form of thinking for me. So, I think better as I write, and this helps me to understand and synthesise all that I consume
So, I can have a record of my thoughts, as I will inevitably forget. I want to look back and check the balance and mechanics of my thinking
I am writing for the vast middle, the Unsure but Curious. Their intuition is that there is something not quite right about all of this, but they don’t know what and they haven’t found a way through “from under the rubble”. I hope this Substack, online and free, might be like a message in a bottle, and a way out to full awakening
The following are 9 thoughts I’ve had about Thinking during the Covid era. Propaganda takes advantage of poor thinking, and our best defence is to improve our thinking patterns and skills.
1. The 6 blind men and the elephant: “It’s a mammoth…I think.”
I love this parable. It maps over life so well and has mapped over the Covid era perfectly.
I hadn’t realised that it was popularised in the West by an American poet, John G. Saxe. It’s a lovely poem found here:
The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a snake!”
Covid may be the largest elephant of our lifetime. How much of it I ultimately get to see and understand is unclear.
I have tried to read about as many parts of the elephant since March 2020 and in some respects, I feel I have clear vision of the part, and in other areas I feel I have a good probabilistic take on the matter and in others I remain unsure.
I try to hold my views of each body part lightly, even when I feel I have clear vision. New insight may come along to change my knowledge and perspective.
I don’t like being the guy who shouts, “It’s a snake!”. I don’t mind being the guy who says, “I’m pretty sure it’s a mammoth.” I am happy to be close to the shape of the overall truth as “mammoth” orients me better in the world than “snake”.
2. Unsure vs Certain
Certainty and closed mindedness are bed fellows. As I have repeatedly told my kids, to their eternal eye rolls, “The mind is like an umbrella, it only works when opened”. Certainty closes the mind.
This doesn’t mean that you can not settle on a truth, it simply means that when some another idea comes along that is “much more likely” to be true, then let go of the first and hold the next one lightly.
In the Covid labyrinth, the “virus has never been isolated” storyline is one of those. It closely ties in with “it’s just the flu that has been rebranded”. These ideas popped up very early in the Covid timeline and at least to a layman like me held some sway for a while. There was circumstantial evidence at least pointing in that direction for example the inability of Freedom of Information requests to extract admissions from government and health departments about the isolated virus and the full sequenced genome. Also, the collapse of the flu all over the world, it has simply vanished. When you put these two data points together you can see how so many people arrive at “it’s a snake!”.
I sorted it out for myself this way:
Many people are dying from a disease, some FROM and many WITH, but they are dying for sure
Let’s ignore the PCR test, because that has a whole world of BS woven into it, so we won’t use that as evidence
We also know that many of the deaths, especially early on, died with “flu like” symptoms and were labelled as a Covid death either because of uncertainty, or financial incentives (a Covid death would get the hospital paid much more gov. support than a flu death)
But many, many more deaths have occurred with symptoms that are clearly different than the flu. All the doctors, all around the world are not lying about patient death with symptoms and post-mortems that clearly have nothing to do with the flu
Thousands of research studies have been done since March 2020 on Cov-Sars-2. They are not all lying about the existence of a virus that is different to the flu virus. The classical “conspiracy” mindset tends to hold onto the tail of the elephant even harder here, their “certainty” increasing. It’s a shame because they simply become a version of the very thing they despise. They despise the “ignorant” and the “fooled” not realising that their orientation to information and their thinking patterns have led them to “fool themselves”
But you are still left with the fact that the flu has vanished from the planet. That is a weird one. You can test for the flu, it’s not just a symptomatic diagnosis. So, we can say with confidence that it has gone. The Fast Thinkers of the world, and there are many have been saying for a long time now that it’s because of all the NPIs (lockdowns, masks, social distancing etc), but that shouldn’t survive even a moments thoughts because the NPIs haven’t been able to make Cov-Sars-2 vanish, but they have been able to get the flu to vanish?? That’s a silly non-starter, but many people believe it. The truth seems to be, that nobody really knows why the flu has vanished, viruses are mysterious things and this one is a bit of a mystery. The most likely answer, at least for me and for now, is a phenomenon known as Viral Interference
Viral interference, also known as superinfection resistance, is the inhibition of viral reproduction caused by previous exposure of cells to another virus. The exact mechanism for viral interference is unknown.
So, that’s a long way of explaining how I sorted it out for myself. There is a real virus, it is newish or novel, it does cause death and it’s not the flu.
It’s uncomfortable being Unsure, we like to “know”, and we certainly like to FEEL like we know. All I can say, is hold onto both lightly.
“It’s the flu!” is the same as “It’s a snake!”.
3. Curious vs Incurious
Being Certain AND Incurious is a deadly combo. The combo is lethal to thinking, let alone healthy critical thinking, and at least for me it’s a turn-off. I tend not to waste my time with people that are both.
There are so many people in the world today that have a gut intuition that there is something not quite right about all of this. They may be blind, but their intuition is telling them that there is something big in their midst, they can “feel” it. Try sitting down next to an elephant, and closing your eyes, you will be able to “feel” the presence of something large. Now, imagine that someone came up to you and whispered in your ear that what you are feeling is actually a Rhino, and not only once but every day at the same time, around 6pm, a group of people would turn up and whisper all about the Rhino in your ear.
One day they even take your hand and put in on the Elephants tusk and allow you to feel it for a few seconds while telling you that it’s the Rhino’s horn. You go back to your seat “knowing” now that it IS a Rhino.
Curiosity is the gateway out of this hell. When the Whisperers have gone home for the day, Curiosity is what get’s you out of your chair, you blindly fumble over to the “Horn” and start feeling it for much longer. You realise it’s pretty short, not as long as you would have expected a Tusk to be, you think “Maybe it’s a baby elephant?” This is good because you have started to ask questions. But you eventually find the tip and realise it’s quite pointy, much more than you would have expected a baby elephant’s tusk to be…hmmm…you start wondering. You start walking around the elephant, feeling different parts, and asking yourself different questions. This is what Curiosity is, it requires a spark, it requires doubt, it requires work, and it requires constant questioning.
When the Whisperer’s come to you at 6pm the next night, and start again with their Rhino narrative, you know by now they are not telling you the truth, even if you don’t know WHY they are lying to you. The WHY is almost irrelevant, what matters is whether you listen to them and allow them to mould your mind back to Rhino thinking. As your Curiosity grows, and your night trips around the “creature” give you more and more information, you come to KNOW for sure it’s NOT a Rhino. You end up punching the Whisperer’s in the face one evening and they never come back.
At some point, you child comes up to you as asks, “Dad, what is it?”, and you are either going to tell him proudly, “It’s a Rhino!” thus perpetuating the lie, or you will say “I’m not quite sure son, I know it’s NOT a Rhino, but to my thinking we might be living next to a Hairless Mammoth, be careful not to be crushed by it.”
I had a good real-life example of this last year. There was a great story doing the rounds about how Dutch hospitals were airlifting patients to Germany. It was a story that was used to support multiple concurrent narratives. That Covid is deadly, needs to be contained, is overwhelming hospitals and what the government is doing with lockdowns is warranted to keep the Dutch safe. I wrote a long piece on why I thought the whole thing was a wonderful piece of propaganda, and certainly NOT a Rhino.
If you read the whole thing, you will see how even one of the most trusted governments in the world, the Dutch, has lied to its people. The Dutch are one of the most trusting cultures in the world, and rightly so, they have had wonderful government over the years, certainly far better than many other places. The trusting nature of its population has been taken advantage of.
Curiosity’s tools are questions. Good questions are far batter than good answers. Ask questions and listen to the answers and then ask more questions. This is what a healthy mind does.
In these times, Curiosity is the Vitamin D of the mind, it will protect your mind from the plethora of bad ideas and mind viruses swirling the planet.
4. Fast Thinking vs Slow Thinking
YouTube has removed the video from the site (run of the mill Covid censorship) but the audio of the podcast can be found here:
It’s just over an hour and worth watching in full, but at least watch this 5-minute spell between minutes 22 and 27 where Malcolm talks about “Fasting Thinking” and Bernard Lown and heart attacks.
Malcolm, writes about it here also:
A hero of mine is Dr Bernard Lown. Many decades ago, he and his mentor decided to stand against a piece of universally accepted medical dogma. Which was strict bedrest following a heart attack. These two dangerous fools, instead of forcing patients to lie virtually motionless in bed for six weeks, allowed them to sit up in a chair at the end of the bed. Shock, horror.
‘Although I knew that the project would be a chore, I didn’t expect it to be an act of martyrdom. Little did I realize that violating firmly held traditions can raise a tsunami of opposition. The idea of moving critically ill patients into a chair was regarded as off‑the‑wall. Initially the house staff refused to cooperate and strenuously resisted getting patients out of bed. They accused me of planning to commit crimes not unlike those of the heinous Nazi experimentations in concentration camps. Arriving on the medical ward one morning I was greeted by interns and residents lined up with hands stretched out in a Nazi salute and a “Heil Hitler!” shouted in unison.’
It is now well recognised that strict bed rest is deadly, was deadly. An action that killed tens of million world-wide. However, those daring to question it were treated with Nazi salutes. A particularly galling insult for a Jew, I would imagine. And somewhat ironic, as strict bed rest probably wiped out more people than the Nazi’s ever managed.
Malcolm writes about it in even more detail here:
Fast Thinking is everywhere, and I need vigilance in myself to make sure I don’t fall for my own Fast Thinking. It can be found in the “Airlifting to Germany” story, it can be found in the “Flu has vanished” story. It is the basis of “Masks protect you from airborne viruses” story.
Fast Thinking is the basis of the proclamation “It’s a snake!”. Beware of your own Fast Thinking first, and then that of others.
Fast Thinking is not some little puppy in the corner. It is the predominant “pattern recognition” modality of everyone around you, including yourself. It can and does lead to society wide Fast Thinking “grids” of thoughts, ideas, narratives, beliefs, ideologies, science, and laws. It is NOT A PUPPY; it is a full-grown WOLF that can kill 100s of millions of people.
If in doubt, I refer you back to Bernard Lown.
5. Once what is True is discovered: “Never Look Away”.
A few years back, my wife had gone back to Holland for a family and friends visit. I was home alone and decided to wander down to our local, small, cinema and watch a movie. They had this German movie running that I knew nothing about, Never Look Away. I walked out of that movie thinking it was one of my top 3 movies of all time, today I think it’s my favourite.
Probably the most profound line in the movie for me is: “Don't look away. Never look away, Kurt. All that is true is beautiful.”
It was a difficult line for me to understand, it took me a while, I think there are several takeaways from the line and one of them, for me at least, is that you need to keep staring at the truth even if you don’t like what you see. That there is an inherent symmetry to truth, and that symmetry is what beauty really is.
The truth about Covid from the start has been hard to put together, but once found, it is grotesque yet symmetrically beautiful. I for one will not look away.
I want to see the world as it is, not as I would like it to be.
6. “There is only one sin…”
How we Think, impacts how we Feel which determines how we Act.
Think. Feel. Act.
Feelings convert Thought to Action, and how we Feel about things is heavily influenced about our thoughts on “Right and Wrong”.
Many years ago, I came across The Kite Runner, a debut book by Khaled Hosseini. Loved the book and the movie. There was one sentence in that story that hit me like a sledgehammer and has stayed with me until today.
“There is only one sin, only one. And that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft. When you kill a man, you steal a life... you steal his wife's right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone's right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness... there is no act more wretched than stealing.”
All these years later, it has held up as fundamentally true to me. It’s a wonderful articulation of a deep anchor around which values, and morality can tie to.
There are too many Covid related thefts to recount here. Every single lie, and there are plenty, is a theft. Every single narrative is a theft. Every single law is a theft.
I will recount only one theft, that I wrote about here in discussing my adult children’s “Responsibility to the old.”
One of the last Hail Mary attempts at guilting people (mostly the young) into getting the injection is to call on their “obligation” towards the old.
Let’s get this straight, you do not have an obligation to put your personal health at risk for the old. We have an obligation to treat them with the dignity and respect they deserve, and to provide the best targeted protection we can. But not to put our personal health at risk!
It is not only a silly idea, but also morally corrupt and evil…and does not stack up to any level of slow thinking or analysis.
It attempts to conflate any obligation you might have or feel towards your immediate family members, brother, sister, mum, dad, grandparents, or even a best friend, with an obligation towards greater society.
It is bullshit.
At no point would anyone go to get a flu vaccine to protect a stranger’s grandparent.
You do it to protect yourself and maybe the family you live with. That’s it.
A 10-year-old has NO DUTY towards the 85-year-old grandmother of a stranger. At most if they were about to visit a stranger and the kid had the flu, then maybe the kid would stay at home. They certainly wouldn’t get an experimental treatment to protect the stranger.
The idea that a 20-year-old who has 65 QALYs (Quality Adjusted Life Years) ahead of them put that at risk to protect the 1 (or less) QALY of the 85-year-old stranger is among the evilest ideas I have ever come across.
That is not how it works and is not how anyone should think…please do NOT fall into that trap.
If someone in your family needed a kidney, you MIGHT consider giving them a kidney…it would be a big deal, but you might decide to do it. You would never decide to hand over your kidney to a total stranger just because they needed it. That is not how personal and social obligations work.
Society has been talked into stealing from the young to give to the old. Stealing their financial security, their optimism and joy and most horrifyingly of all, their HEALTH to give that which is stolen to the old and frail.
If you are lost morally about what has been going on during Covid, trying to look at it all through the lens of THEFT and see where you settle on the morality and “rightness” of it all.
7. Compared to what? Show me the evidence.
I’m not sure when I stumbled onto Thomas Sowell, but it was love at first sight. So much so that I decided on principle alone, to buy all his published books and dedicate a whole shelf of my library to him.
I would encourage anyone with an interest and curiosity in understanding how the world works, and how common-sense works, to spend some time with Thomas on YouTube, his essays, and his books. He is 91 and will not be with us much longer. I will mourn him when he moves on.
I learned the following from Thomas, to always ask:
Compared to what?
Show me the evidence.
I have found this question and demand to be two on the most powerful thinking tools I have ever come across. They are the Pick and Shovel of the gold seeker.
They have been priceless tools in this time of Covid. To any single Covid narrative and claim, they are Kryptonite. Try it.
Covid is deadly: Compared to what?
Cases are rising: What is a case and compared to what?
Too many people are dying: Compared to what?
Hospitals are full: Compared to what and when?
The vaccines work: Compared to what?
To each of these you add: Show me the evidence.
We would go on all day, there are simply too many Covid truth claims made, and they are all lies and melt under the weight of these two simple tools.
8. Lies need to die with me
I recently came across a simply stunning piece by Omar Khan. Here is the full essay:
Towards the end he poses the question:
What’s an Individual to Do?
It’s a great question and one that I struggled with myself. I had good friends ask me why I consumed as much as I did about Covid when I couldn’t do anything about it. The best answer I used to have was that I wanted to know fact from fiction, I wanted to know what was true so I could orient myself in the world correctly. That answer is true but it’s not my highest answer anymore. That answer I discovered from Solzhenitsyn.
It was wonderful to see Omar Khan flesh it out in more detail. Here is an excerpt from his essay:
I often receive anguished inquiries, of people wishing to reclaim their lives, their liberties, their human dignity. They rail against this tripe to others, who listen with glazed eyes, recite the party line, and decry the sheer sanity being suggested.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn is often credited as being a key force in bringing down the Soviet Empire. He dismantled its credibility and was such a threat he was banished from a country he had already endured hard labor in. He then had to evade an assassination attempt and made his way from Zurich to a small town in Vermont.
He argues that we can all refrain from cooperating in lies. They then cannot pass “through” us to seep back out into the world. He writes,
“If many march together on this path of passive resistance, the whole inhuman system will totter and collapse.”
This may be hard to see. He wrote,
“We are approaching the brink; already a universal spiritual demise is upon us; a physical one is about to flare up and engulf us and our children, while we continue to smile sheepishly and babble.”
He may as well as have been writing about now as he searingly says,
“We have so hopelessly ceded our humanity that for the modest handouts of today we are ready to surrender up all our principles, our soul, all the labors of our ancestors, all the prospects of our descendants – anything to avoid disrupting our meager existence.”
He suggests though, what we “can” do is everything. We don’t need the level of civil disobedience or existential courage of a Gandhi or to embody a moral renaissance as Nelson Mandela did. But instead of fruitlessly trying to get people to “reconsider” which they will not, we have to take a stand against “lies.”
Each in our own lives and circle of influence, must refuse to quietly let lies be told and acted upon. There is a threat of violence when only a minority push back. It demands a daily submission to lies, a daily participation in deceit. So, we have to keep calling it out. Not angrily, not judgmentally, but with the conviction we might bring if we were somehow beamed to Socrates’ side, or Galileo’s side, or Rosa Parks’.
As he writes,
“When people renounce lies, lies simply cease to exist. Like parasites, they can only survive when attached to a person.”
We don’t have to debate everyone we pass, just don’t participate in lies to “go along.” There may be sacrifices, doubtless there already have been, far too many, for too many. These lies though desperately need acquiescence and seek to wear us down. Let’s instead, celebrate “moments” of sanity. Let’s play a different game, listen for a different, rousing chorus over the din.
Do not vote for lies Solzhenitsyn suggests, don’t cite them. Paint them or portray them to hold a mirror up to them, don’t allow education to traffic in them.
Become a prism for imperfect truth, hypotheses, uncertainties, but not for outright lies.
As he suggests, it’s a gangrenous ideology, and we need fresh circulation.
Gather friends who seek to live and be alive, have richer, better conversations. Re the trolls, tell them where to stick that jab. The Czechs faced down tanks with not much more than this, and scriveners like Solzhenitsyn whittled away until the ideologically hollow, economic shallowness could not persevere.
As more join this crusade of not letting lies pass through, not letting them stand, not letting them become more of a currency, not electing leaders who bloviate about them with idiotic poses and soundbites, then indeed we may outlast their vanity, their greed, their madness. And if we don’t, we’ll have a hell of a ride regardless. But I vote with hope and if not “positivity” at least “possibility.”
We can aim to support such growth until there is no fertile soil around us for lies. And maybe, just maybe, if enough of us do that, in the best way possible, we will outgrow the real pathogen here. We will transform our sponsoring society until we almost don’t recognize it. And in so doing, perhaps once again, paraphrasing Teilhard de Chardin, we will have discovered fire!
I have an obligation to myself first and foremost to be grounded around truth. To know the shape of it at least. Lies, and their variants, that float in the air, need to die with me, not to be echoed and amplified to others.
9. It is the best of times; it is the worst of times.
I’m not a fan of hiking.
But a few years back I had the opportunity to go and hike the Milford Track in New Zealand with a very close friend and another dad and our sons. I’m glad I did it, it was a fun, important and memorable time with my son.
The following year the group did the Overland Track in Tasmania and the year after that we did I final hike at the Larapinta Trail in the Northern Territory.
Halfway into Larapinta I, with my good friend Paul and his son Max, got lost. How we managed to do that is irrelevant, but lost we were. We were in the middle of the dessert in Australia’s Northern Territory, it was pitch black, we had lost contact with our group (we were slow walkers!) and we had no mobile coverage. We were lost in the true sense of the word.
We found ourselves a spot and sat down and were coming to terms with the fact that we would need to sleep there for the night and try to figure it out in the morning.
At one point I turned to Max, who would have been about 15 at the time and said: Max, enjoy this, you will never be lost again.
It was true then, and it is true now.
Dickens was right in his opening line of A Tale of Two Cities.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”
Guard your mind against pessimism. Help to guard the mind of those around you from the despair that can so easily settle in when chaos prevails, when lost.
Sit in the chaos, savour it. Find the joy in being lost. It’s a much more useful belief than the alternative.
I have simply changed the tense in the sentence, for now IS the best of times and the worst of times.