Conspiracy is easier than vulnerability and grief

“Our culture faces a flood of conspiracism” says the Atlantic Monthly.

My great Uncle forwards an article that says we are tracking along stages as we did to WWII.

I write back. No, I say, we are tracking towards WWI.

Because of Covid-19.

The problem with the pandemic is vulnerability and grief. It is difficult to be mature enough to accept vulnerability and grief. It is easier to find someone to blame and go after them. We can’t burn a virus, we can’t hang it in effigy, we can’t take it to court and give it the death penalty. Many people are terrified and do not want to feel vulnerable and do not want to grieve. So they fall into conspiracies: it is safer to believe that the pandemic is a lie, that alien lizards have taken over the US Government, that it is the fault of a country making it on purpose, or a race, or a religion. It is easier to believe that nanocomputers are being injected with the vaccine than to think about the number of dead. It is easier not to think about the number of dead, the terrifying randomness, to believe that this only affects people with preexisting conditions, or people who God wants to smite, or people the lizard aliens hate. Or that the whole thing is a lie.

We are mimicing the late 19 teens and early 1920s very well. A world pandemic. We have a war, that is not a world war. This time we have bombs capable of destroying current life on earth. We’d be left with tardigrades and those bacteria who live in the deep trenches in boiling water where the earth’s crust is thin. At least one of my friends thinks this might be a good thing.

We have just reached 8 billion people.

In London, the Black Death had a 50% kill rate in the 1400s. Half the people that got it died. It changed the world. Pandemics change the world. In this pandemic the death rate is about 1% or a little more. However, 10% to 30% of the people with Covid-19 have Long Covid. Today, Johns Hopkins says we are at 635 million people who have gotten Covid-19. 6.6 million or more are dead from it. Then we have between 65 million and 195 million people with Long Covid in the world.

We don’t know how long Long Covid lasts. We don’t know how to cure it. We do not know if we can cure it or if people will get better. We do not know, we do not know, we do not know.

Which is also terrifying. So the conspiracy and someone to hate or some group to hate or someone to fight is safer for many people.

Do not go there. We must grieve. We must help each other. We must face fear and not give in to it. We must not fall into the trap of the charismatic leader who will give us villains, who will lead us into a World War to distract us from our grief.

And from there into a world depression. Remember, the Roaring Twenties end with the worst depression the world has seen so far. Let us not repeat it, let us not beat it.

Peace you and blessings.

11 thoughts on “Conspiracy is easier than vulnerability and grief

  1. Animals in the wild neither mourn their dead (for any great length of time) nor do they subscribe to conspiracy theories. I found a philosophy out there during 20/21 which was, “Stay alive.” So far so good. The imperative behind that is “don’t do anything to fuck with life, your life, anyone’s life.” The cranes don’t. They look out for each other and stay alive. They’re very good at it, those dinosaurs. Human philosophy is interesting but doesn’t seem to get to the point.

    Earlier this year I read Erich Fromm’s Escape from Freedom; disturbing and enlightening. The 20th century dates you refer to here are the focus of his book. One point that emerged is that fear makes people choose authoritarianism.

  2. Well said! Beware the conspiracist trolls. I had one threaten me with mobs with pitchforks and torches, after which I blocked him from commenting on my site. As a health care professional, I was clearly part of the conspiracy. Thanks for acknowledging that we don’t know. My father used to tell me that “I don’t know” was “the dummy’s answer”. I later realized that you can’t learn anything unless you start from not knowing and embracing that.

    • drkottaway says:

      Yes, I know I could attract negative attention. I did get thrown out of a website, partly for writing a fiction series in the first person admitting, that yes, I am an alien lizard, and you humans have a long way to go. It annoyed them. They “separated” me for “not explicitly breaking the rules”. I explained that Cthlulhu’s minions had taken over their brains, so I was being thrown out.

  3. Lou Carreras says:

    witch hunts are a normal thing in some soscieites that see disease as dis-ease among the members of the community. Someone gets, expelled, rituals of healing happen, and sometimes people get killed to cure the dis-ease. these are societies lacking weapons of man destruction.
    In more “advanced” societies ( heavy on the irony here!) we can nuke it all away. different solutions, same sort of idiot world view expressed in similar terms.

    • drkottaway says:

      Heck, we had a clinic in town that would get rid of a provider scape goat every two years. I was number three in the fifth year I was there. Since I saw a pattern, I had a secret bet on the next one. I was wrong, but there was one two years after me and four years after me. And both came to me for advice, which is sort of comic. Both no longer work in town.

      • Lou Carreras says:

        We hardly need sophisticated explanations. Casting the scapegoat out as the ancients did still work…and many doubt that magical practices work. Same issues as in the Bible, and the same practices in use, except we justify them differently.

        • drkottaway says:

          Well, it “works” in that everyone is satisfied that the scapegoat was the problem and the problem is now gone…. but the problem is NOT gone so another scapegoat has to be labeled and ousted. In retrospect I decided I was an escapegoat and was HAPPY I was no longer there.

    • drkottaway says:

      Also, an organization here in town that I am a member of is having a knock down drag out knives out battle for money and control. I don’t approve at all.

  4. Very well said. It’ brings to mind the words of FDR, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

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