Bias and societies' struggle for unity
Sometime in the last year a "documentary" was released that had everyone going bananas, for well... bananas and other vegetables. The film was titled Game Changers and it had everyone talking about it. I know because when a bombshell like this drops friends and family tend to seek my opinion. I have dedicated my life and career to understanding and the body and have some experience wading through confusing and oftentimes contradictory nutritional advice. I’ve maintained my position of recommending a paleo diet and lifestyle so of course inquiring minds needed to know if I was going to give up eating meat now that the incontrovertible truth was streaming on Netflix.
Now I want to say for starters I didn't watch this film because I eat meat and it's counter to my own belief system. I am biased. I have a bias that naturally rejects information about health that runs counter to my own conclusions. I also don’t watch films like this because those presenting it are also biased; they have a belief system that gets in the way of presenting fact in favor of an ideology. I did however look up internet reviews of the movie from PhD's with nutritional research backgrounds to help confirm my own bias and it was pretty simple to do. Not because there is a meat eating conspiracy against vegans, but because the scientific claims in this film were easy to dispute.
Game Changers was not a documentary at all, because a documentary shares information with you and lets you decide for yourself what the truth is. A good example of a documentary would be The Tiger King. Think about it: you mulled over whether or not you thought Joe was crazy or just exotic and whether Carole Baskin did or didn’t kill her husband. Information from both sides was presented and you were left to draw your own conclusions. In the end no claim was made to exonerate Joe or Carol, the creators were unbiased and had no agenda - this is what makes something a documentary and everyone agreed it was incredible. Game Changers had an agenda; to convince you that vegetables could produce an athlete of equal prowess to the top meat-eating athletes and that meat-eating is unhealthy. Game Changers was not a documentary but “propaganda” which is defined as,”information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view”.
There is another documentary that I love called The Century Of The Self, dedicated to the birth and genesis of propaganda. If you like learning about how the masses are controlled and their free wills are subverted, wait till you learn about the secret history of marketing.
Anyway, the reason I am on this tangent at the moment is because it is clear that while everyone has biases, not everyone is aware that they have biases, without which it is impossible to be self critical- something we as a country are in desperate need of right now. Sometimes we hear something or see something and we feel deep-down inside that it must be true because it's in total alignment with everything that we know and believe to be true. Unfortunately feeling something is true or not true does not make it so.
Now you might be thinking, "I am a rational person who thinks objectively about things", but in reality nobody is really rational per-say. Why? Because we are primarily emotional creatures that decide things based on feelings and then use our rational mind to justify our own feelings as true or righteous. How often do you hear an opinion contrary to your own belief and ponder it as a possibility before responding to refute it? Take a moment to consider "this." When you heard about the coronavirus, did you immediately search google for “Covid-19 hoax”? Or when you hear about a mass shooting, do you look for videos of crisis actors? I see you, and I am you. I have learned over time that just because I have found a story about reality that I find more plausible and believable than what those in the mainstream are promoting, does not make it true. At best it's another perspective that needs to be scrutinized voraciously before being integrated into a more complete picture.
"It's not that man is a reasoning creature but a creature that can reason”. The author of that quote is unknown, though it's rather definitive..
If there is any question as to the validity of this quote, see exhibit A: Donald Trump. Despite the fact that many people feel he is disingenuous and the antithesis to a Philosopher King*, his base finds little fault in anything he does. It does seem at times that he could commit murder in public and be exonerated. Why? Because those that believe he is righteous can justify anything with their rational minds….anything. Because bias. It's that powerful. Conversely when he presents an idea or makes a decision that makes sense his detractors assume its asinine because that's how they see him, they're biased. If you believe veganism is the only way to live, you will give endless reasons to me why eating meat is wrong. Because I believe meat is part of a well balanced diet I will take you to court until you agree to disagree. This is how bias works. Granted for my own part, if my experience with dieting and scientific literature could confirm veganism's claims I would be open to it.
I hope I am conveying a picture of how strong bias can be right now, and if you'd like to learn more about this subject check out the book, Why Good People Fight About Politics and Religion by Johnathan Haidt. It’s pertinent and he's brilliant. Everyone who likes engaging in discussion would benefit from the subject matter. I also would direct readers to another of my favorite treatises on the subject of debate, and freedom of expression. On Liberty by John Stuart Mill. It's not for the uninitiated though, here are two of his shorter quotes, many are paragraphs long because he’s very careful to express himself succinctly so that his words cannot be misconstrued.
“We can never be sure that the opinion we are endeavoring to stifle is a false opinion; and if we were sure, stifling it would be an evil still.” ― John Stuart Mill, On Liberty
Indeed there is no benefit to stifling opposing views because in the context of what I'm about to discuss this only drives more and more people to believe its “truthiness”. As Mills argues in his writings, the truth need not fear falsehoods. My favorite quote is this one:
“He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion... Nor is it enough that he should hear the opinions of adversaries from his own teachers, presented as they state them, and accompanied by what they offer as refutations. He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them...he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.” ― John Stuart Mill, On Liberty
As I said, my man Mill is a legend and I hope to one day be as persuasive as he. We could all do better to listen and properly discuss ideas with tact and openness. This goes for both sides of any argument be it political, nutritional, or scientific.
Now obviously I didn't write this post to just comment about Game Changers. I want to draw attention to another piece of propaganda that's making the rounds, one which utilizes an amazing array of narratives and controversial political topics to draw in ideological dissenters of every stripe. This film has cast a wide net and, not surprisingly, has been shared millions of times. Why? Obviously because it's true! Or at least it feels true, like it resonates with other things that you have “learned” that felt true as well.
This is how confirmation bias works. When we develop a set of beliefs about the establishment or religion or science, we tend to filter everything through that lens of judgement, making anything that does not fit into that narrative not only false, but also threatening. It’s threatening because for most people their beliefs are tied into their identity and reputation. If suddenly you came out and said you were actually wrong about everything you've stated on a subject, how would you be perceived by others? What changes would have to be made to live in that new framework? Would you be accepted by that community? Would the people who listened to you in the past feel let down or lied to? I can imagine that many people who supported Donald Trump the outsider have over time regretted that decision but still find it hard to say “I guess I was wrong” for this precise reason. Doubling down is easier for most than folding.
The other day I read an article by a research scientist at MIT who has been studying Glyphosate toxicity and its effects on health for 10 years. She made a case for how Covid-19 which is the sickness caused by Coronavirus was the result of toxicity from Glyphosate. Her theory suggested that the lack of automobiles on the road, which are now fueled with glyphosate containing gasoline, is the reason the spread was slowing, NOT social distancing. Seriously? To say that her theory was unsupported by science is an understatement. This is an MIT research scientist, but she's obsessed with Glyphosate and can probably draw conclusions about everything in relation to it….her opinion is biased.
For those of you who have departed from mainstream educational materials in lieu of alternative wisdom, knowledge that is perspective-based and cant be confirmed by historical or scientific evidence, I implore you to come back to the center. Consider that your viewpoint may be skewed, your aim swayed by the reinforcing materials you continue to inculcate yourself with and your peer group who echo your sentiments. To those that gulp at the trough of government and media spewed propaganda please consider alternative possibilities that are plausible yet under reported or distasteful. Objective truth can only be arrived at when considering possibilities objectively, that means anything that's plausible. Mills has quite a bit to say about truth being forged in the battle of ideas only when all opinions are heard and considered.
“First, if any opinion is compelled to silence, that opinion may, for aught we can certainly know, be true. To deny this is to assume our own infallibility. Secondly, though the silenced opinion be an error, it may, and very commonly does, contain a portion of truth; and since the general or prevailing opinion on any subject is rarely or never the whole truth, it is only by the collision of adverse opinions that the remainder of the truth has any chance of being supplied. Thirdly, even if the received opinion be not only true, but the whole truth; unless it is suffered to be, and actually is, vigorously and earnestly contested, it will, by most of those who receive it, be held in the manner of a prejudice, with little comprehension or feeling of its rational grounds. And not only this, but, fourthly, the meaning of the doctrine itself will be in danger of being lost, or enfeebled, and deprived of its vital effect on the character and conduct: the dogma becoming a mere formal profession, inefficacious for good, but cumbering the ground, and preventing the growth of any real and heartfelt conviction, from reason or personal experience.”
-John Stuart Mills, On Liberty
Obviously he gave a lot of thought to this, and that is what I want to convey here to everyone. Give more thought to something before you decide to share it with everybody as an incontrovertible truth, or reject something out of hand. If the claims being made are great ask yourself “What doesn't make sense about this and how does this theory or the science being presented not add up?" Is there a bias? What do these individuals have to gain by creating this? These are important critical thinking questions to ask. Otherwise you end up sharing information you have not scrutinized and when it's challenged, rather than acknowledging that the challenge is warranted and fair since you have already noted the weakness, you become defensive of the opinion rather than open to finding truth.
In the case of a conspiracy theory video that shares a kernel of truth wrapped in rotten fruit, the actual message about concern for our liberties is thrown out by those biased against the falsehoods and swallowed wholeheartedly by those who have already decided the counter narrative is untrue. This polarizes groups and delegitimizes any useful information that was shared instead of bringing everyone together around a congruent cause. If anything this video benefits the evil cabal being assailed more then anyone and makes a truth seeker like myself wonder who’s behind its production. Could it have been funded and brought into existence by the very groups that it claims to be exposing? If you understand psychological warfare and misdirection, and are weary of the shadow organisations in existence then this is as plausible as the content of the vignette itself.
If you're going to bash the news as being fake or owned by the elite but openly forgive a film that's 80 percent false because its remaining 20 percent is what you know to be true, what does that say about your sense of fairness, judgement and discernment? Have you spent as much effort investigating the protagonist or producer of Plandemic as you Dr fauci? When presented something like this, do everyone a favor and try and disprove it before sounding the doomsday whistle. We need inquiring minds that think critically and share pertinent information removed from its disingenuous wrapping. Obviously this film was really well received by some and discarded simply from its odor by others. That should give some indication to its palatability. If widespread consumption of something is important to the creator it would behoove the producers to fact check their own work and make sure it passes the smell test. Otherwise how much can we trust them if they aren't concerned with their own accuracy ?
It's time for everyone to come out of their tribal bubbles and emerge as members of the global community treating each other with respect and dignity, and listening to what's really being said underneath it all. I know that many are threatened by this new unknown and it seems that having a story which makes sense to you gives a semblance of order to an otherwise chaotic world. Is it possible that what's happening right now is part of a global conspiracy to steal your liberties, track your movements and force vaccinations while disarming you? Sure, it's possible. Could the virus have escaped a laboratory in Wuhan? Yes but, claiming that it was manipulated when scientists who study viruses have disputed it causes the baby to be thrown out with the bathwater. What about a bat to pangolin germ swap. Scientists seem to think that it’s sound. But Facebook experts are telling us no virus has ever traveled from animal to human. Now we're in flat earth territory. The flu vaccine conspiracy seems to have some wholes in it. If you're not open to the possibility that your theory is wrong, how can you expect the rest of us to meet you halfway?
Regardless of its origin one thing about this pandemic is clear to me. Our fears about “them”, the “elite”, the draconian overlords or whoever, are clouding our judgment, the same way that those who are concerned about our ability to weather this challenge are paralyzed by the fear of a moderately dangerous* virus, and demanding conformity of beliefs from everyone else.
This entire corona virus quarantine has given everyone an opportunity to either wither into fear or grow into something strong and resilient, fracture communities or bring us together, maybe a little of both. Like a magnifying glass it has focused the light of awareness deep into everyone and shone bright up on what's inside. If your inner world possesses visions of 5G towers infringing on your vibrational space, well then that's what this is about for you. If having your guns taken away is a deeply held fear then you're marching on your capital . Mandatory Vaccine agenda on the mind? Bill Gates is now Satan. Each and everyone of us must learn to face our deepest fears personally and directly before projecting them onto anything out there that moves or resembles them. If not we run the risk of having the flames of our own discord fanned by any headline or crappy propo* that confirms our own biases.
Before I continue I would like to share some personal beliefs. I have always stood for the right to choose, be it abortion or vaccines. I don't accept that the liberty over one's body does not extend into this realm on principle, especially when it’s well documented that vaccines have hurt people and on rare occasions result in death. I still believe that the overall benefit to the world outweighs this but the individual should not have to sacrifice their choice for this reason. The ability to decide when and what gets injected into someone's body should belong to the individual. Anytime I have voiced this opinion in an online forum I am immediately labeled an anti-vaxxer instead of being pro-choice. It is infuriating to know that instead of listening to my beliefs on something which are nuanced that I am immediately cast aside as an intellectual leper for having them. Everyone can be guilty of this depending on the topic at hand so I want to be clear here. The more recent outgrowth of conspiratorial sects and ideas are as much our responsibility as those who create and promote them. Instead of listening to others with different ideas and having a conversation, we tend to prejudge and insult, forcing them into the subterranean world of thinkers where they can be heard and sadly absorb many new alternative ideas. Instead of a population of open minded citizens that straddle the middle and listen to each other we have become polarized ends who can't agree on which way is up. Very few are innocent of this, present company included.
I’ve now laid my cards on the table, so let’s dig into this new film everyone's talking about.
The beginning of the Plandemic trailer starts off with this narrative:
“In the early 1900s, America’s first Billionaire, John D. Rockefeller bought a German pharmaceutical company that would later assist Hitler to implement his eugenics-based vision by manufacturing chemicals and poisons for war. Rockefeller wanted to eliminate the competitors of Western medicine, so he submitted a report to Congress declaring that there were too many doctors and medical schools in America, and that all natural healing modalities were unscientific quackery. Rockefeller called for the standardization of medical education, whereby only his organization be allowed to grant medical school licenses in the US.”
Let me just say, I love history and the more of it I read the more nuanced it becomes, this is not nuanced and it omits one very important fact. Lots of actual quacks were duping people into false unfounded medical treatments along with natural remedies, there was no consensus. Without some kind of process and standardization we would be living in the medical dark ages. Whatever ills this brought to us as a people we also benefited from the rigorous processes of scientific inquiry applied to the medical establishment.
Now I know if your education is from conspiratorial books you associate the name Rockefeller with dark evil and subversive controls. What you probably aren't aware of is all the wonderful philanthropy and improvements in health that has come from him and his family organisation and is well documented. Here's an example of some pro Rockefeller facts;
“At the urging of Frederick T. Gates, perhaps his most trusted philanthropic adviser, Rockefeller became increasingly devoted to medical research. In 1901, he funded the Rockefeller Medical Research Institute in New York City. Modeled on the Institut Pasteur in France and the Robert Koch Institute in Germany, it was the country’s first biomedical institute, soon on a par with its European models. The results were dramatic. Within a decade, it created a vaccine for cerebrospinal meningitis and had supported the work of America’s first winner of a Nobel Prize in medicine. Today, known as the Rockefeller University, it is one of the leading biomedical research centers in the world. Twenty-four Nobel Prize winners have served on its faculty”.
“Like many wealthy industrialists of his era, Rockefeller was scandalized by the poverty and deprivation that still afflicted the American South nearly half a century after the conclusion of the Civil War. He created the General Education Board in 1902, charging it with a ranging mission that included improving rural education for both whites and blacks, modernizing agricultural practices, and improving public health, primarily through efforts to eradicate hookworm, which debilitated many Southerners and dragged down productivity of all sorts. The General Education Board helped establish hundreds of public high schools throughout the South, promoted institutions of higher education, and supported teacher-training efforts for African Americans”.
“Rockefeller’s work to eliminate hookworm was related to a broader effort to improve public health generally. Starting in 1913, the campaign against hookworm was exported globally. It was soon followed by similar efforts against malaria, scarlet fever, tuberculosis, and typhus, all under the auspices of the Rockefeller-funded International Health Commission. Rockefeller created the first school of public health and hygiene at Johns Hopkins University in 1918, which he then duplicated at Harvard in 1921. In all, he spent $25 million introducing public health programs at scores of universities across the globe”.
Ultimately if your mind is made up you will interpret everything I just said in a negative way. If your internal computer classifies John Rockefeller as evil then everything that comes after will conform to that belief system. This film was able to take a paint roller to a 100 years of history that required millions of brush strokes from countless artists. I’d say unless one reads a biographical account of John Rockefeller to balance out the disgruntled alternative healthcare practitioners history of the man that our narrative is incomplete. There are positive and negative consequences that happen as a result of influential people like him, and if you had the chance to remove him and all his deeds from history with a magic crystal you may regret the world that you create.
Biases have always existed, and led to many if not all of human misunderstandings in one way or another. At the root of all this talk about bias, and its effects on consciousness is something fundamental to the core mission of becoming the most powerful and actualized version of yourself. It might be the greatest realization a sentient being can have. Let's call it the "Primary Bias" because it precedes all other biases we have and influences everything we think and do. It's like a lens that has two sides, one side sees that:
“I have the power to choose and I am responsible for everything in my life, my choices create the world around me and when I step into this realization and voice it, I empower others to do the same. As awakened individuals we will build the world of our dreams.
This worldview tends to favor a sort of cause and effect model of the universe.
The other side sees this:
Everything is happening to me, I am at the whim of forces outside of myself that are more powerful than me. They are making me XY and Z and if only they didn't exist humanity would all rise up into the utopian ideals I hold in my heart. I am the victim and I have no choice.
This worldview has a more religious slant, there is good and there is evil
The victim says that “coca cola is forcing us to be sick”, the chooser says “stop drinking soda”. The victim says “but i can't because they have programmed me", the chooser says “you always have choices”. The victim says “they are dumbing us down with TV and frequencies”, the chooser says go outside in the fresh air and connect with nature". The victim says “but chemtrails” The chooser says “I am powerful and chemtrails cannot stop me” The victim is always thinking about what “they” are doing to suppress them. While the chooser always thinks how can I rise above and be better, live better, grow from this challenge and create more of what I want to experience in this moment.
Both philosophies are like intellectual contagions. The more you build people up and support them in making choices, the more they realize their own power, and influence others, just ask the fitness community? The more you tell people they can't elevate themselves because forces outside of them are actually in control the more helpless and resigned they become. This is the Pronoia (the universe conspiring for me) vs. Paranoia (universe is against me) paradigm that all conscious beings have to understand because our minds are so powerful they can literally shape the way we perceive the world.
I have been encountering quotes my whole life from great thinkers expressing this in one way or another..
“The basic difference between an ordinary man and a warrior is that a warrior takes everything as a challenge while an ordinary man takes everything as a blessing or a curse.”
- Carlos Castaneda
"The mind adapts and converts to its own purposes the obstacle to our acting. The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way."
"There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so"
Mankind's greatest gift or curse is our ability to shape our reality with our judgments and to influence others with our words, actions or stories. The power is great and if it is not realized, it is easily manipulated or misused. This is exactly what propaganda is designed to do. Once upon a time this power was called Magic and all though our stories have changed its form, it still remains a power to influence reality and events. Mystics understood that there were two types of magic. The light kind, which is all about elevating others and lifting them up, to shine a light upon and speak to their brilliance and power. Complimenting and praising, expanding and imbuing all things with the infinite power of the cosmos. And the dark, telling you “how weak and powerless you are”. “I've heard everyone talking about you….there only pretending to be your friend, nobody likes you and you'll never amount to anything, go to hell” etc. I'm sure you can feel the difference as you read my words how they affect the way you feel so let me lay this out plainly for you:
If there is a plot to control the masses it involves keeping you in a state of victim-hood fear and negativity. Telling you that there is an elite group of people who control everything, that they have figured it all out, control the banks, energy, healthcare and the government, and that they are the reason you are sick, poor and helpless is a clear attempt to manipulate you into giving away your power. This is manipulation 101. Know that you have great power, to choose in every moment who you are and what you want from life. Choose to be the best version of yourself and understand that the things you buy and consume, the things you do, or say to others all influence the whole of society. They're Not forcing you to consume oil, you have chosen to drive a car. They are Not making you sick, you have chosen what to eat and how to care for your body. They are Not making people dumb, people are choosing not to educate themselves. Schools are not programming children, parents aren't raising their young consciously. Lets stop looking outside of ourselves for the cause of our suffering or salvation for it will not come. Stop pointing fingers, recognize that you are a piece of a fractal universe every bit the whole and when you perfect yourself the whole becomes perfect. We are all in this together.
There are exceptions to what I have just stated and no doubt there are people who are looking to exert control. But what I have stated above is far more important to our collective aims than enlarging the threat of outside forces. Some will say that there are people out "there" who don't have choices. Perhaps but I wrote this essay for you.
“If you want to awaken all of humanity then awaken all of yourself, if you want to eliminate the suffering in the world then eliminate all that is dark and negative in yourself. Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self transformation”
Let's return to the present for a second and look at a possible scenario of the future through two lenses. The new world order has finally initiated their ultimate plan, contact tracing is implemented, vaccines and some form of identification are required for international travel. From the I told you so perspective that this was coming, I can understand how this looks. This stuff is really scary if you believe that the corona virus was a planned event to create this situation, It fits everything you’ve ever read about the illuminati's aspirations. What if that’s wrong? What if that story has always been wrong, how do you know that your knowledge of this new world order is actually true, and not some lens you have decided to see the world through? What if it's an organic pandemic (is that a thing)? The kind many researchers have been warning us about as a possibility for a really long time. In an attempt to mitigate massive deaths, shelter in place plans were initiated and economies were stifled so that hospital capacities could be ramped up. If you're in a position of government making informed decisions about how to proceed, protecting the most people's wellbeing is your duty. No easy task mind you even without a crisis. Contact tracing, which can tell us who is potentially infected rather than quarantining a whole country seems like a no brainer. It's an excellent use of technology we already have. Let's not be naive, we’ve already given google permission to follow every move we make and no doubt many other third party apps. Are you saying you trust big data but you're not going to let the government use this information to prevent the spread of a virus? What happened to...
“Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country”?
If we are living in a world where international travelers could bring pandemic level diseases on planes shouldn't we consider a reasonable solution for preventing such a thing. Is it that crazy to require people travelling to have a vaccine for something like covid? A vaccine Id? I have a passport already, you already need vaccines to go to some countries. Sounds like we could be prematurely overreacting to perceived threats by inflating their grandeur which rather apropos because the way covid kills people is through an overreaction of their immune system. In other words, let's not tear ourselves apart until we know exactly what's going on. Maybe the symptoms of this whole experience will be in proportion to our own inflammatory responses. While our immune system goes wild our health fails and while were launching an autoimmune response on our fellow Americans the health of our nation is failing. There will be plenty of legal conjecture around all of this and it needs to be debated from a legal and scientific standpoint. This will happen on c-span though not on Facebook.
Before we can have an effective conversation we need to examine our biases. Is it a conspiracy by the elite, or just some virus? History tells us that many plagues have come before, and scientists have warned that they will keep coming. Should we not take measures now to safeguard us against future threats? Drawing complete conclusions at present from what we can confirm would be short sighted. As for myself I haven't ruled out any possibilities, one thing I'm fairly certain of is that having a misinformed and polarized population who bicker and squabble rather than engage in conversations or debates serves no one but the would be antagonists of our own individual, and collective narratives.
I hope that my perspective is well received and can set an example for everyone to be more self reflective and discerning about all of the information that they read. Perhaps even inspire further education around subjects that have a lot of depth, like history, science and sociology. No “documentary” can give you a complete perspective and propaganda can easily mislead. Information has never been more available and so varying in perspective but media, social or otherwise is the bottom of the barrel and the world of the future that we all want to create requires us to be brilliant, thoughtful and well endowed with the virtues that can only come from choosing to be better informed than we are right now.
*According to Plato, a philosopher king is a ruler who possesses both a love of wisdom, as well as intelligence, reliability, and a willingness to live a simple life.
*by moderately dangerous I mean that most individuals seem to be only mildly affected and this virus is not threatening society as a whole simply by its deadliness.
*propo is a propaganda film