Do you ever feel like you are surrounded by idiots? People that, no matter how much you try to explain the facts, just refuse to change their mind and see the truth? Do you wish they could just open their eyes, and stop being so caught up in their incorrect perceptions of the world?
Now, here’s a more difficult question. Have you ever considered that you might be the one with the problem? (Yikes, don’t hate me!)
As human beings, we want people to agree with us.
We are social animals, who survive by forming groups of like minded people, so it’s only to be expected. We are attracted to people that see and think about the world in the same way as we do, and we find it very difficult to get our heads around opinions that are far from our own.
But we are only dumbing ourselves down.
Instead of having discussions to try and understand each other better and broaden our own perspectives on complex issues, we tend to separate into different camps and call anyone who won’t be manipulated into our view point an idiot.
I think the COVID vaccine is a really relevant example of this.
If you want the vaccine, you will be called ‘brainwashed’ and ‘a sheep’ and ‘naive.’ If you don’t want the vaccine, you will be called ‘selfish’ and a ‘science denier’ and ‘a conspiracy theorist.’
People will ridicule and humiliate those that disagree with them, choosing to surround themselves with like minded people and anyone who has a different opinion is to be lectured or laughed at.
In reality, there are excellent reasons to get the vaccine and equally good reasons to be worried about it.
Arguments to get the vaccine:
- Vaccines save 2-3 million lives every year (World Health Organisation)
- Vaccinating the population could help protect the most vulnerable members of society
- The COVID-19 vaccine may have been developed quickly, but this was largely because production went ahead before all the tests had been completed, at the risk of the manufacturers (BBC).
- Independently fact checked trials have been carried out on the vaccine, who have found it to be safe (BBC.)
- The global health systems cannot take much more pressure without getting completely overwhelmed (in some cases they already are).
- The economic and social impacts of the confinement are devastating. People are desperate to return to ‘life as normal.’ No-one wants to live in a permanent state of lock down.
Arguments to not get the vaccine:
- It is impossible to know the long term effects of a vaccine that has not had long term tests. We can predict, but we cannot know.
- Under the 2005 Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act), those creating and distributing the vaccine can not be held liable for any harm that comes to people as a result of the vaccine. This was implemented for the COVID vaccine in March 2020, and essentially protects the pharmaceutical industry if it does turn out that the long term effects of the vaccine are dangerous. (MARSH)
- Due to modern animal agriculture and climate change, it is predicted that pandemics are going to be increasingly frequent. Rather than rushing through an endless stream of vaccines, we should look at the real causes of new viruses. For example, we need to stop pumping livestock full of antibiotics. (The poop of pigs is now so toxic in the USA that it can’t be transported across state lines. It is held in lead line tanks where the slurry is a breeding ground for super bugs and viruses.) We need to tackle this, not create 100 vaccines for 100 new viruses
- The pharmaceutical industry is the most profitable industry besides the financial industry. Over 50% of their trials are never published, and this has led to medication known to kill people being released anyway. The heart drug Lorcinide in the 1980’s is an example. The clinical results from the trials of Lorcinide showed that those taking it were more likely to die than those who didn’t. The results were not published, the drug was released at great profit, killing more than 100,000 people. This is one of many examples of how the big pharma has chosen profit over health, and it is a good reason to doubt a vaccine that has been developed and rolled out so quickly. Find out more here.
Nothing in this life is black and white. I wish I could say that there is a ‘right decision’ and a ‘categorical truth’ on the COVID vaccine, because it would make life a lot simpler and easier. Unfortunately, life isn’t neat or tidy enough for that.
We all have different perspectives, shaped by real life experience, and no one person can have all the answers to anything. All we can do, is educate ourselves as best we can and make the decisions that feel right for us.
“There Is No Truth. There Is Only Perception.”– Gustave Flaubert
Assuming that what we know is the absolute truth is dangerous, because it means we are focusing on changing other people’s opinions and judging their decisions, instead of broadening our own understanding of complex issues.
It’s okay to have opinions, of course! How would we ever make progress if everyone refused to take a stance on anything? But it’s important to remember that our beliefs and opinions are only that: beliefs and opinions.
If your ideas are based on a solid foundation, respectfully listening to those around you won’t do them any harm. As far as I know, it doesn’t make you weaker to hear people out, it makes you wiser.
So, the next time you are ‘talking to an idiot’ who won’t listen to ‘the truth,’ try to remember that people who see things differently to us are our most helpful teachers. And even if we will never agree with them, they can help shed light on another way to see the world.
We can share our way of looking at things respectfully, but we can’t force people to take them up, and that’s a good thing. After all, we can never know the truth about anything, just do our best to keep asking questions and then genuinely listen to the answers.
Thank you for taking your time to read this and, wherever you are seeing this, I hope you are as happy and healthy as you can possibly be. xox
You might like to check out:
- Take a Deep Breath: The World Isn’t Ending
- Wild Camping Saved My Life (How It Might Save British Nature Too.)
- 10 Household Swaps to Save Your Wallet and the Earth
And if you enjoyed reading this, you could also consider reading the Highly Sensitive Nomad Book.
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