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Shock Value

It seems in the age of “wokeness” and sensationalistic activism that there has been a swift and severe degradation of our capacity for civil discourse and critical conversation on challenging and complicated issues. The moment a narrative has traction or popular adoption, speaking against it in any way places you solidly in the “against us” category. It’s embarrassing, socially destructive, and clearly holding us back from progressing as a collective.

Truth can change, and science is always — if pursued in earnest, without agenda or bias — testing, hypothesizing, correcting and evolving. Neither is an absolute, insofar as our scope of this Earthly reality is concerned, yet we will forever be moving the needle toward that end. The problem is that in today’s social climate — polarizing, divisive, hypersensitive and hyper-political as it is — there’s little room for “I don’t know” and “I’m not sure”. Furthermore, social justice activists have generated an environment of rigidity, tribalism and extreme bias, whether they’re promoting, defining or defending ideas based on fact, or not. Nobody wants to be attacked, defamed, or otherwise canceled. So, when did the center, the ephemeral meeting place where traditionally both sides could safely cohabit and conspire to resolve and produce results, become so volatile and reviled?

Of course, this hasn’t happened overnight. It has steadily developed over several generations, with a significant uptick in recent years. We could blame social media, but the narcissism and volatility therein is a symptom of what has been boiling underneath — and as a function of our society, social media is little more than a decade in existence. We could blame PR and advertising firms, certainly. We could blame academia; the adults of today were the students of yesterday. But where did the widespread cynicism, self-righteousness, entitlement and cognitive impairment arise from? Sure, it’s complicated and multidimensional, but what binds it together are the underlying energies of discontent, distrust and growing disillusionment.

So, the ad rem, if you will: please don’t be gullible, reactionary and ignorant. Or, to put it another way, don’t be stupid. We (humanity) need your senses, sensemaking and capacity for reason in full working order, now more than ever. We need the real you. We need the raw, unfinished, unfettered, authentic expression that can only arise from within a psyche that is being completely honest. Reshaping the world and rebuilding society will require all hands on deck. It will require a community. Don’t be so quick to be certain of anything. Rather, be certain that things are changing rapidly, and that you’re on the front lines of defining existential parameters for the coming years, for our children and future generations.

It is a strange, unsettling time in the world, but this is nothing new. The difference is that today it is easier than ever to take a word, phrase, statistic, quote or opinion completely out of context, put it on a banner or a clever graphic, and go screaming down the street, or social media stream, claiming that yet again, the sky is falling. The unfulfilled, dissatisfied, disrespected and disregarded are forming angry, impressionable, manipulable mobs. Pay attention. Truth seekers need to be patient, diligent, deliberate and discerning — not to mention awake, aware, fearless, and willing to be wrong.

Yes, there are sick, twisted agendas at play in the world. Regardless, not everything is a conspiracy. The solutions are not likely to be found among the polar opposites, or anything extreme whatsoever. Fearmongering and blatant emotional baiting serves only to further fray the already shaken and disturbed nerves of your fellow human beings. You can’t frighten nor shock the fear out of people; cognitive dissonance will never allow you to reach nor influence anyone outside your already converted audience, and this epidemic of censorship and narrative-protection practices will assure you are shunned, shamed and silenced long before your point can be legitimately made.

What we can safely observe is that standard/mainstream media (which likely includes some of your favorite TV networks and magazines) is now a complete and utter failure, oblivious and incapable, cowardly and subject to coercion — concurrently an integrated part of the fragile systems failing everywhere else. It is truly fodder for the lazy and those lacking any critical thinking. If you are not yet willing to look beyond the repetitive narrative being thrust at you from the parrots, pulpits and preachers, you are inevitably destined to become part of the problem. Wake up. Ask questions. Seek understanding. Stand up.

Remember, common sense isn’t a thing. In the battle for the hearts and minds of the people, we need to substantiate disturbing, enraging, infuriating claims with facts and sources; we need something true to stand upon. I’m a big fan of the mysterious and the esoteric, but if we can’t prove it, to explain or defend our position, it’ll be used by psychopaths, sociopaths and algorithms as more fuel for the fire that’s already out of control, and thus nothing will change for the better.

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Regarding this article’s featured image, we know Covid-19 numbers are blurry at best, and will continue to be a source of confusion for some time. Any parent who chooses to put a mask on a child had better consider the implications, psychologically, socially and years from now when they’ll ask why you chose to consent. All of my research in the past six months suggests there is malevolence, manipulation, disinformation and misinformation regarding the science and data surrounding this… virus. And sure, this could be one of those nefarious agendas playing out. Is it because of 5G; are our bodies again adjusting to yet more EMF radiation? Is it China’s fault? Is it the general state of our health, degraded and weakened by decades of ingesting glyphosate, GMO and food “products”? Is it climate change? Is it Pharma seeking yet more profits? I don’t know. Perhaps it’s all of them.

Human trafficking statistics are not any easier to nail down accurately, but it should suffice to say that they are horrific and real and widespread. It is an actual, legitimate reality affecting tens of millions of people, right now, everywhere, and tens of thousands of people (largely female) fall into the malevolent abyss every year. It boggles the mind how any functioning human can choose to profit from this disgusting business, but we know the reasons and justifications vary far and wide, ideologically, culturally, politically and socioeconomically. Can we blame it all on money? Capitalism? Politics? Cults? No. Again, it is not a simple problem.

Consider that the human species is a superorganism, one that is utterly reliant on Mother Earth; many parts of a unified, living system. Consider your part in this grand, living story. If you care about making real change in the world, consider your trusted sources and their information. Trust, perhaps, but verify. Even the best of us get caught up in the frenzy and passion of groupthink, virtue signaling, identity politics and oversimplification of the issues of our modern world.

Solvitur ambulando