The Limitations From Accepting Things As ‘Normal’

Quantum mechanics suggests us that at the core of our reality there is energy – every potential existing at one time. It’s only when we begin to observe, or better yet define those potentials, that we start to see that energy take shape into what we know and experience every day.

Within the wondrous creations we have on this earth that are solid foundations for experiencing life i.e. the planet, our bodies etc, we also have limitations that we create within our psyche and consciousness. One limitation we deal with almost every day of our lives – one that creates a great deal of drama, un-ease, worry, guilt and fear – is the core underlying idea of ‘what life is.’

We are born, we go to school, we graduate, we go to university or college (or straight to work), we get a ‘good’ job, we get married, have kids, buy a house, work for 30 years, retire, do whatever, and check out… seems a little robotic perhaps? This is sold as a dream in many ways, and at its core it’s something we joke about but don’t really question. It’s just normal.

When we join this mysterious experience we call life, not only are we taught how things are by our parents, but we are also greatly influenced by what can be called the collective matrix.

You can imagine this ‘matrix’ as a depository of thoughts, ideas and experiences that we are uploading to and downloading from constantly. A collective consciousness of sorts. In simple terms, it’s the automatic responses that are subconsciously fed into almost every one of us when it comes to societal ideas that are widely accepted. Deep ideas of how things “should be.” Ideas that are believed so widely and deeply that an energy of acceptance begins to create and holds quantum potentials in place as a definition that make up these norms. Thus, we have an acceptance of what is.

Being connected to this collective consciousness means we play into these “norms,” we feel them and we think they are real – even when we are not sure where they come from or how they got there. The only real thing keeping any of these ideals in place is the fact that we are all invested in them.

Over the course of time there have always been those who questioned these norms. now however, I find it hard to ignore the feeling that the numbers of people questioning these norms everyday is growing.

Right now more and more people are asking:

“Do our political systems really work?”
“Is mass media really telling the truth?”
“Do I really want to live life the way everyone else around me does?”
“Is it possible for me to work less and still get the things that matter to me in life?”
“Woah, what really DOES matter to me in life?”

Each one of us that asks these questions begins to crack a hole in our systems and structures. A bit of power taken away from them, and a bit more ‘quantum potential’ re-awakened. As we converse about these ideas, a new power grows. As we refine ideas, action is taken. This ‘stepping out’ of accepting these collective norms allows others to see a ‘shake’ in the foundations, ultimately giving those people permission to question things themselves even is discomfort initially ensues. This is what happens when people lead by example and their experience inspires others.

Reflect For A Moment

The results of economies we have today are things like inequality, poverty and scarcity, results that don’t HAVE to be there, but are as a result of accepting that we cannot question nor change the basic foundations for how we live.

On a global scale we have accepted rules small groups of powerful people have have made decade after decade. We feel more and more confined by these rules as time goes on. A voice inside tells us something more is possible, but how often do we simply drown it out? Or justify what we currently do? Or feel like nothing can be changed?

For me, I feel many of us stay away from these questions because they can be overwhelming. They can seem like they bring forth no solution for action forward. And this can be true. But my thought has always been: how do we get anywhere with anything if we do not talk about it and converse with others about it?

We can’t. Everything we have ever created began in our minds. It began with a vision, a dream, an idea, a feeling – things that were discussed, fleshed out, expanded upon and refined to eventually become something. In some cases, we felt things were impossible, only to see them become a reality with each step.

But since I was in my teens, I have have always wondered why our larger culture stops with the wondering and the questioning when it comes to larger foundational ideas about what we can change in our society. I think we are capable of more. I feel we are. I have been wanting to converse with others about how we can radically change society at its core since I was in my teens and the truth is, more and more people have been wanting to join that conversation with me each year that goes by.

NOW, people are feeling the pressure to change more. NOW, people are feeling that something better, more fulfilling, and more natural is possible. Yes, it is still a huge vision. Yes, it is still hard to wrap our minds around. But more people are asking bigger questions about how we want to feel everyday, what we want our life to look like, how we want to commune with others. And what’s coming out of people’s minds cannot be done in the system we hav today very easily – creating a realization that acts as an evolutionary pressure to begin addressing the BIG questions I’ve discussed above.

How Can We Step Out?

Deprogramming Limits has always been a big concept to me. In this process, I have challenged myself and others to reflect on what they have accepted about our current world and why. When it comes to things you believe, why do you believe it? Where did it come from? And can you get curious about how you could explore a new belief about that? Can you get curious enough to truly understand why someone else might have a different belief about that thing?

“Who says a university degree equates to intelligence?”
“Who says politicians have our best interests at heart? How can we know that they actually do?
“Why do we use economies to create artificial scarcity?”
“How do I KNOW what are the things I like?”

These sorts of questions begin to allow us to follow the path of our thought process back to why we think these things. At the root, we realize it’s nothing more than what WE ALL have bought into and accepted decade after decade. A complex system of acceptance, but one that must be questioned if we wish to make change in our world. These ideas are not our nature, we simply think that’s how it is because we bought into and identify with it and are afraid to go elsewhere.

It’s my intention to remind you that you can question these things – and we can do it collectively.

It’s also my intention to say there are many faculties that in some ways have gone un-nurtured within us that help us sit with, get curious about, and explore these types of questions. For those who want to explore themselves, their ideas, and develop good introspection and curiosity skills, check out our course called ‘Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking‘ in our membership.

This course is much more than a ‘logical’ exercise. It will help you become more present, more self aware, improve your communication and it includes some basics around nervous system regulation as well. Learn more here.

The Takeaway

You can stumble upon many examples or things you simply accept in your life. Plat with them, question them, get curious about them. When we do something because we feel others will judge us if we don’t, ask why. When we do something because that’s what everyone else does, ask why. When we hear our parents or friends say things that we all KNOW for sure, ask if it’s true and explore how we can know that.

You will be shocked and surprised at how much of our lives are based on norms that we have bought into. I believe we are full of potential that becomes limited the less present and aware we are of why we do the things we do. The first step is certainly self awareness, but discussion these thoughts, ideas and and feelings with others is what will spread the seeds of curiosity throughout our communities such that we begin a whole new vision for what’s possible.

The post The Limitations From Accepting Things As ‘Normal’ appeared first on Collective Evolution.

To Those Who Feel Unheard & Misunderstood

I’m sure at some point in your life you may have felt unheard or misunderstood. Whether people actually didn’t ‘hear’ you and misunderstood you, or whether it was just your perception, I’m sure you’ve felt this at some point. But then there are some of us who might have felt this more than just ‘at some point’ in our lives. Those of us that might feel like it happens daily or weekly. Something in our core experience states “people don’t hear me, they don’t understand me and I can’t seem to do anything about that.” I know, because I have felt this many times in my life, and this is currently one of the key aspects of myself I’m integrating.

I’ve long known that this programming and feeling of being unheard is not something that results from things people are doing wrong to me, but that within myself I have a story running that creates a lens through which I see my daily reality. In that sense, in times where I truly am heard and understood, I don’t see it, and instead, my brain looks for ways to prove that I am not heard.

This is the basic format in which the brain will search our daily lives to reinforce rampant stories we might have running in our minds. All this happens through the brain’s reticular activating system (RAS), a useful system where all senses are connected. It’s like a filter that helps the brain so it doesn’t have to deal with more information than it can handle.

Where this gets a bit more important to our navigation of self is understanding that the RAS is like a gatekeeper of information that is let into the conscious mind. That is to say, the RAS will filter in information that is established in our subconscious, or deeper belief systems. It will also let in something we are really focusing on in a given moment. What this means in context to my story of not being heard, or any story for that matter, is that my RAS is literally operating to reinforce that story already within my subconscious mind. Any information that doesn’t reinforce that story, is likely not going to be let in as easily, hence why even when I’m heard, I don’t acknowledge it as deeply as when I’m feeling unheard or finding ways to reinforce that story.

Example: I might have factually had 10,000 people read an article I wrote, but that doesn’t become something I pay attention to. Instead, I notice the people who didn’t read the article, didn’t understand the article, or the person who left the singular negative comment.

Enough on the technicals for now.

If you’ve watched some of the discussions I have with people on my podcast episodes or shows, you might have noticed times where at the end people begin thanking me for the work I’ve done and how it has impacted them, and usually I well up. This is because when I conduct my conversations I’m really engaged, and in these moments I’m hearing proof of something that is meaningful to me but that a part of me denies. In my subconscious mind and story, I feel unheard, misunderstood, and that people don’t see the totality of the message I’m trying to share with my work.

Regardless of what anyone else might think looking at the billions of content views CE’s content has received over the last 11 years, I still feel unheard. It’s true I didn’t create all the content that’s been seen. It’s true that I can’t lay out my entire mission and message in every piece of content I’ve created. But mostly, I don’t feel heard or understood because of my internal stories – my subconscious stories – not because of what is happening in my life.

This all started when I was a kid, then it went away for a while when I did a lot of internal work on it around 2009, and then it returned around mid-2017 when life got very chaotic and I let stories reprogram my mind.

Some of the earliest memories where these stories began to emerge in my life was when I was in grade 5 and I began telling my friends and classmates that I felt what we were learning in school was not really helping us but making us “brainwashed to accept normal society.” Sounds harsh I know lol. And perhaps most fifth graders don’t think this way, but I did. And I still do feel traditional education is atrocious. That aside, by the time grade 7 and 8 rolled around, my peers were all beginning to really express their style, personality and were adopting pop culture. I didn’t go the ‘pop’ route because it felt uncomfortable and inauthentic to me. This is where the story began.

I was now a visible outsider. I felt that people were adopting pop culture in lockstep because everyone else was, and everyone wanted to fit in. It seemed robotic and weird to me at the time, and quite frankly, I didn’t like how it changed my friends and classmates. People started to put on a persona of being badass, cool, and ‘hard,’ it wasn’t authentic to me and it changed the way my friends would interact together. At the time I called it a mask, now I know it as the ego, but I started to see the false sense of self people would portray and something about it just didn’t feel good.

Because I chose not to go along with the emerging culture, I began to feel lonely. People didn’t listen to me, ask me things, seek to understand me – and they’d talk a lot of shit behind my back. Regardless of how curious I was to speak to them, understand them, and sure, challenge them at times about their choices, I felt it was always a one-way street. It wasn’t long before I went from feeling ‘cool’ and accepted, to feeling like and being treated as a complete outcast. And it’s weird looking back because I wasn’t mean, the class bully or anything like that. I was the guy who wanted everyone to play together, same team!

This experience continued throughout high school. There are many more details, but I’m sure you get the general point by now. But by the time college years came around, I felt like it was a fresh start, and even though I had become very quiet and shy around groups from that experience, I was eager to meet new people.

Fast forward a bit and I found myself beginning to read books about the ego, the subconscious mind, and how to navigate personal change. I met a friend and mentor who took me through many sessions that cleared away old subconscious programs and stories. I felt insanely empowered and unstoppable. Plus, now I knew how to do the work on myself very easily if something else were to arise. This was in 2009, and over the next 8 years, things were smooth on the front of feeling unheard and misunderstood. While people may not have always understood me, it didn’t bother me one bit, and I could see the people who truly appreciated whatever I felt inspired to share.

Then came a period in late 2017 where the biggest tech companies in the world were now descending upon alt media. They literally crippled a business our team took 9 years to build. On top of that, myself and a partner in another business could not align with the intentions and integrity of what we were creating, and I wanted out. It was a stressful time both financially and personally, and slowly but surely I found myself overwhelmed. Usually, I welcome change and love it, but with all that was changing at once, and how devastating the effects seemed, it was too much – or at least that’s how I felt.

After a 3 year life and emotional beat down, I started to feel unwelcome, unaccepted, and again unheard. On top of all that, it felt to me like so many people did not understand the underlying message of the work I was producing and that’s all I could focus on because, again, I built the story and my RAS was filtering out all information that told me otherwise. In this, you start to feel paralyzed. You can’t do anything right, you feel a lack of energy, and purpose feels lost.

A friend recently got me back into looking at old and new methods of exploring these stories again. And in just a few days, I’m already seeing why this inner work had so much power back in 2009. During one of the deeper moments of feeling like shit about all of this, my wife Ruby wrote me a letter that inspired this article and sharing. I wanted to share it with everyone because it resonated with me and was a great reminder to stop, take a breath, and reassess. Of course, doing the inner work is a must.


To the Unheard:

I know your voice and heart are growing tired, your spirit broken, and the moments where you see your purpose are fleeting..

But there’s so much you can not see when your head is down, feeling somber and purposeless.

What my eyes see when you’re not looking:

Someone new found you today.. their face lit up and their heart felt full.. they’ve found someone who speaks their language, understands their views, and carries the same values – who just GETS IT and THEM. They didn’t think it possible, but HERE YOU ARE, providing them hope and helping them envision a future they knew they wanted but didn’t believe was possible. They hear what you have to say, and are excited to listen – with fresh ears and an eager mind, happy to have found your perspective they begin to dive deeper, and tomorrow they are more aware because of it.

Someone else has had a rough year, and with everything going on they didn’t know what to believe – so they began questioning. It’s been months, but they’ve regained their faith in humanity and see the world differently now – because of You. You see, they’ve fallen upon your work and finally found a voice that doesn’t shove beliefs down their throats, but relays facts and lets them discern what’s real. They feel valued, heard, and uplifted – grateful that someone out there cares about so much that they’ve made it their mission to aid in their personal and our collective evolution. They may not know it yet, but this is the start to something completely transformational.

Then there are the ones who have been following you for years. The die-hard loyals that feel more like family than anything. They’re the ‘regulars’ that over time you have met or spoken to and become close with – they see your struggles and feel your pain, but most importantly they see You and value your work because they understand. You helped them through a rough patch, you held their hands whilst taking their first steps into the unknown, you reawakened them after a lifetime of slumber and in return when you were pushed down, they helped you up time and time again because they know you’d do the same if ever the opportunity or need. Your voice is a beacon of light to them, and in return, they follow you to the ends of the internet – knowing you are not there to lead but to show them the path.

And yet..

Every day you awaken and every night you lay your head, a voice is telling you that you are unheard, irrelevant, and falling behind. This voice grows louder and now your days are filled with a belief that is weighing you, and your nights hold a hovering limit that you did not try to surpass.

This voice that you’ve carried has begun to crush your spirit and silence you – little by little, making you question yourself and your creations, making you believe that success is that en masse and that without the world watching you may never truly help humanity..

And I’m just here to tell you: that voice, is wrong.

The voice in your head that fills your life with dread is but a story which needs to be rewritten. Because it is YOUR Voice that needs to be heard.

As you question what the point to all of the hours, months, and years poured into work that ‘no one’ sees.. there are thousands finding truth and themselves in your words.

It is in your character, your heart, your message, and your desire to help the collective that you have already helped so many. For every ‘someone’ that finds you is led down a path of discovery, and that fire you’ve ignited is like a torch passed onto others on their path.. slowly, but surely, setting the world ablaze.

I could go on for eons discussing the battle between ego/the mind and the Soul. But will just say for sake of knowing you know – the falsities playing on loop like a broken record in your head are solely doing so because they are threatened by the reality that your truths are so much more powerful. The only way to disempower You is to make you believe that you have none – and in doing so, your creations halt, you have no drive to bring your visions to life, you feel more and more lost and less and less YOU. You must remember, trust, and BELIEVE that your message holds more weight than any story your mind could ever tell you.

Remember that from infancy you saw this world differently. Never did you succumb to the external validation nor allow your mind to take the wheel – no matter how hard it became. In your teens you knew you had it within you, as you know we all do, to change our world for the better. And though times are trying, it’s time to shake yourself awake from the chains of self-loathing and doubt. This story has played like a rerun of a show you’ve grown tired of.. it’s time to change the channel and reawaken that little boy who knew any and everything was possible and who did not allow the critics, trends, or world to tell him any different or change him in any way. You are so special because you’ve always believed and have always been You – do not let anything take that away, not now – not ever.

It’s always been within you, as it is now, to cultivate something extraordinary and create a real shift on this planet – and whether you believe it or not, the truth is the world is ready and waiting for you to stand tall, lift and hold your head high knowing that this is what you are here to do.

And as you do, there will be those who will cheer, those who will boo, those who are grateful, and those who cast doubt – but in the end, it is about those who hear your call that change their lives and those around them because of you and your work. Focus on and remember these people, however many or however few..

For it is not in the masses that Your voice needs to resound.. but in the many that your voice inspires individually that will ripple onto the mass – as with any true altering frequency.

Know that what you broadcast is different, deeper, of higher purpose, and in return harder to hear and come to – like a dog whistle to the ones here to awaken oneness consciousness, your voice calls to those who are ready to tune in to that frequency – and therefore it is in that depth and consistent tone that you, collectively, will change the world.

All this to say, it may not be heard across the globe at first, but to those who do hear it, you have our attention and We Are Listening.

For it is in the unheard that we believe in something deeper.

I love you. Release all fears, doubts, limits or restraints – Remember Who You Are.?

– Ruby

The post To Those Who Feel Unheard & Misunderstood appeared first on Collective Evolution.

Mercury Retrograde In Libra: Relationship Changes

IMPORTANT NOTE: I will be taking some time off from writing my astrology articles and putting out regular content. It may be for 2-3 months but not sure as of yet. Join my mailing list here to be notified when I will have new work published in the future when I am back at it. You can also follow me on Social Media (links below) to stay connected. I will still be available for personalized readings, more information and scheduling can be found on this page.

Mercury begins another retrograde process on September 27th which will last until October 18th/19th. This is when it appears to be moving backwards from our Earth based vantage point due to the positioning of the Earth and Mercury in each of their orbits around the Sun. This one is occurring completely in Libra.

In the weeks (and especially days) leading up to it, it can already start to feel like a retrograde and some of its themes can get seeded. This happens because Mercury slows down (again from our vantage point) and travels in the part of the sky it will be returning to after the retrograde begins. This is known as the ‘pre-shadow’ period which began on September 6th/7th.

If you have read my previous Mercury Retrograde articles, the remainder of this section and the following one are nearly the same. You can skip to the third section and beyond if you don’t want to re-read all the general themes associated with these periods. Those other parts are more specific to this edition of it.

Mercury retrograde is known for the problematic effects it often has on communication technology, transactions, motor vehicles, anything with moving parts, and commuting in general. Some people even get headaches near the beginning of it. We could experience some challenges, misunderstandings, and errors around our communications, numbers/details, and commerce, as well as changes, cancellations, or delays in our schedules.

Sometimes these issues could occur when we are excessively analytical without tuning into our internal guidance. Depending on how we flow with it and other variables, we may not always experience these surface level inconveniences, or they could just be minor irritants.

Mercury Retrograde can also be a good time to revisit or redo tasks, projects, ideas, or anything else that was initiated in the past. It can give us a different perspective or shift in thinking that can help us to approach these things in ways we wouldn’t have done before. This may also be a period of reconnecting with old friends, family, lovers, or others we haven’t seen in a while. When we reconnect with people during a retrograde, it sometimes can help to facilitate a shift in the relationship. In some cases, issues from the past can come up which may need to be hashed out.

The Deeper Purpose of Mercury Retrograde

Ultimately, Mercury Retrograde is a time for us to recalibrate and adjust specific areas of our lives as well as how we apply our minds towards these issues. It is a period in which we may receive important insights and see things in a new light. In most cases, it can be mildly transformational, but in some cases it can facilitate more major transformations depending on how it corresponds to your personal astrological chart.

During and following the retrograde, certain areas of our lives can go through changes or shifts, or we can experience a re-orientation of some sort which influences how we proceed over the coming months or in some cases, it can have a more long-term significance. In the three weeks afterwards, known as the ‘post-shadow’ period, we move forward with some sort of new awareness, adjustment, as well as new ideas and thoughts that have been seeded which will develop and become more defined as time progresses.

Certain things that have come up specifically in the weeks leading up to the start of the retrograde could determine where this energy could play out. It is also possible that there could have been changes or developments at that time which may go through a sorting-out process or shift in dynamics during the actual retrograde and in the two weeks following. There could be unknown variables, either positive or negative, that were either unseen or hadn’t been conceived yet, which may become apparent over the coming month.

The sign(s) and element(s) in which Mercury retrograde travels in shows the energy we are re-orienting ourselves with. More importantly, if you are familiar with your natal astrology chart, then your house(s) or any planetary placements being affected will show more specifically which areas of life you will be experiencing its energy in. For the astrologically literate, it begins at 25’28 degrees of Libra and will retrograde back to 10’08 degrees of the same sign before turning forward again.

Occurring In Libra, The Third Of A Series In Air Signs

Mercury Retrograde always happens in primarily one element for 1-2 years. This is the third of a series that is mainly occurring in Air signs which will last until Fall 2022. The first one was in January-February in Aquarius. The Air element is about intellect, objectivity, the mind, and social aspects of life. This period is about re-aligning ourselves with these qualities if necessary and ultimately expressing them in new or revamped ways.

With this retrograde in Libra, we may also experience or apply re-orientations, adjustments, developments, circumstances, or reflect on themes connected to relationships, partnerships, companions, balance, fairness, equality, justice, laws, art, aesthetics, beauty, creativity, or attraction. Libra is also about consideration of others, cooperation, compromise, peace, harmony, diplomacy, relating, and finding common ground.

Mercury Retrograde Significant Dates

Below are some of the dates and information for some of the major astrological configurations during this retrograde.

*The dates below are based on the Americas. The further East you are located, you may need to consider it as the next day.

September 27th Mercury Retrograde Begins September 27th at 5:10am Universal Time. 

The common Mercury retrograde themes and complications may come up strongly at this time and in recent days leading up to this as it has been nearly stopped in stationary position. You may get some sort of indication of how it may be playing out for you over the next month based on how you feel or what transpires. It’s possible that certain things that happen at this time, which may seem insignificant, can somehow be connected to how this retrograde process will affect you. Also keep in mind that the pre-retrograde shadow began September 6th/7th and Mercury entered Libra on August 30th, so certain things that have come up since then may also be a factor in how things play out over the upcoming month.

September 30th-October 1st/2nd Mercury Square Pluto, while Mars opposes Chiron

Mercury made its first square with Pluto around September 21st-23rd and it has been close to it since, therefore its energy has been present since then but peaks during these periods when it is exact. At best, this energy can be good for deep thoughts and conversations, getting to the bottom of things, mental focus/concentration, addressing financial issues,  shadow work, and even therapy.

However, we can also be compulsive, obsessive, worried, pessimistic, suspicious, or fearful under this influence. Dark thoughts can also occur in some people. Conflicts, manipulation, forceful communications, or intense exchanges can also occur. Matters or dilemmas pertaining to power, control, authority, money, or sex may come up. There may be a correlation between what occurs now and things that happened around September 21st-23rd.

Mars is also opposing Chiron during this period. Issues around anger, aggression, physical energy, or how we (or others) assert ourselves may come up. This combined with Mars being in Libra  can play out as lack of direction when it comes to how we apply ourselves.

October 3rd/4th Mercury Trine Jupiter

Communications, thoughts, and connections with others can be expansive, educational, idealistic, optimistic, philosophical, big picture oriented, or could involve perceived meanings. Some people may receive positive news or be involved in a seemingly beneficial transaction. In some cases, there may be a connection with this period and things that occurred around September 20th/21st.

October 6th-9th/10th Mars Conjunct Sun & New Moon, Pluto Going Direct, Saturn Going Direct, Mercury Inferior Conjunction, Venus Conjunct South Node

We will be having a New Moon in Libra on October 6th/7th which will activate Libra energies even more so. Interestingly this New Moon occurs as Mars joins the Sun which happens approximately every two years. This is the beginning and ending of a Mars-Sun cycle and therefore things that occur at this time (and in the weeks before and after) are connected to transitions when it comes to areas and expressions ruled by Mars. This can have to do with how we assert ourselves, sex, physical activity/energy, competitiveness, courage, or issues pertaining to anger and aggression. It will be in Libra, so may be tied into relationships, partnerships, fairness, equality, fairness, balance, or justice/law related. Note: I won’t be doing an article for this New Moon and will be taking a break from articles for perhaps a few months. Join my mailing list here to be notified when I eventually have new content coming out. 

Pluto will also be transitioning to direct motion during this New Moon, as its energies will be very strong at this time as well as in the week before and after. Themes, developments, and shifts pertaining to power, control, hidden matters, empowerment, transformation, regeneration, purging, death, rebirth, shadows, finances, debts, taxes, or sex may be more prominent. In the coming weeks it can feel like there will be a forward momentum around these areas in comparison to previous months.

Another interesting thing is that all of this will be overlapping with the halfway point of this retrograde, Mercury’s inferior conjunction with the Sun, which can be a time of important insights. The themes or circumstances pertaining to how this retrograde is affecting you may come up more so during this period.

For some people, complications and frustrations can also be stronger during this conjunction depending on your circumstances or how you are applying yourself. Ultimately things that happen is part of a process of ridding yourself of certain thoughts, ideas, perceptions, old interests, expectations, or other things that are not serving you while the potential for new ones may be seeded. This will also somehow be tied into the themes of the Mars conjunction mentioned in the earlier paragraph.

Venus will be conjunct the Lunar South Node as the inferior conjunction is happening, on October 9th/10th. There may be some sort of endings or release around Venus areas such as relationships, friendships, love, pleasures, money, material things, or aesthetics. This can also be a time in which things from the past associated with Venus might come which ultimately can be something that we need to move on from.

As the inferior conjunction is ending, Saturn will also be transitioning from retrograde to direct. Themes, developments, expressions, and shifts pertaining to responsibility, commitment, discipline, duty, structure, boundaries, consolidation, or restriction can come up during this period and in the week before and after.

October 16th/17th Mercury Sextile Venus

Mercury will be sextile Venus in Sagittarius on October 16th/17th. This is a more mild transit but this can be good for social connections and reconnecting with friends or other relations. In some cases, positive developments pertaining to love, finances, material things, or pleasure might play out.

October 18th/19th Mercury Goes Stationary Direct, Jupiter Goes Stationary Direct, Mars Trine Jupiter, Full Moon Building Up

Mercury will end its retrograde and be stationary on October 18th/19th. It will slowly begin to move forward and gradually pick up speed in the following days and weeks. As this happens, the areas of our lives that have been affected by this retrograde will start to become more increasingly clear, things will fall into place more easily, and we may experience resolutions depending on how it affected you. We can feel that we are in a better place to move forward in the areas of life that have been impacted and pertaining to how Libra themes played out for you.

However, usually the first few days after it ends can still feel like it is retrograde as complications may occur due to Mercury’s stationary position. It’s usually best to wait until at least 3 days afterwards before finalizing decisions, agreements, etc.

As Mercury transitions in motion, Jupiter will also be ending its retrograde that began in the second half of June. At this time, and in the week following this date, we may experience developments that can be expansive. This can be connected to Jupiter ruled areas such as education, travel, foreign countries, beliefs, perspectives, faith, media, marketing, or promotion. It could even be lucky for some people. As this is happening, Mars will be in a trine with Jupiter which can be good for applying ourselves in these Jupiterian ways mentioned or with some sort of optimism.

The Full Moon in Aries will be building up as it will be occurring on October 20th/2st, a few days after Mercury goes stationary direct. This will be an eventful time and some of the things that occur at that point will play a role in the aftermath of the retrograde. The Sun will still be in Libra and oppose the Moon in Aries. Therefore relationship matters can be in a push-pull dynamic with matters pertaining to self and individual needs. With the Moon being in Aries combined with four planets going direct leading up to that point, a sense of moving forward will be a part of the astrological backdrop at that time.

About six weeks later on November 28th/29th and/or in the days following, there can be even more clarity around certain things that have been seeded or occurred during this specific retrograde. From there, we can experience developments which can give us a better perception of where things are headed. In some cases, the circumstances at that point may also indicate lack of sufficiency or not what was anticipated. If so, the perception acquired at that time can help us to make necessary decisions on how to proceed with the aspects of our lives that are impacted by this Mercury Retrograde in Libra.

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The ‘Race To The Bottom’ Trap: Why Companies Produce Low Quality Products

Ever wonder why companies keep producing low quality products that are not only bad for people but the planet as well? I do. In fact, I’ve thought about it since I was a kid. But it wasn’t until my early twenties when I began pondering how we could redesign society to make it better did I learn why this happens in our current world.

The race to the bottom trap is a concept that can help us consider how our current societal infrastructures incentivizes companies to engage in this type of behaviour in order to continue operating ‘successfully.’ In this case we’ll define success as gaining financial wealth.

This concept also helps us pull our minds out of the idea that companies are just evil and unethical and allows us to begin seeing the bigger problem at hand a little bit more clearly. If we can truly identify any problem and the various ways the problem connects with other areas of society, we can begin solving problems at their core.

Race To The Bottom Trap

Investopedia defines this concept as,

“The race to the bottom refers to a competitive situation where a company, state, or nation attempts to undercut the competition’s prices by sacrificing quality standards or worker safety (often defying regulation), or reducing labor costs.”

You’ve likely recognized this happening in our world. Apple changes its quality of components to save money and compete in the marketplace better. The result is a more expensive product that is worse, not to mention the story of Apple’s sweatshop like conditions in China where their phones are made.

Let’s look at a hypothetical example. Four companies begin making breakfast cereals for children. At the onset of their ventures, the companies are using high quality ingredients, maybe even organic, to make their cereals. There are no sugars, added color or nasty preservatives. As time goes on the companies are making money competing with one another but eventually the shareholders of one company start to feel a little antsy during an economic downturn and want more returns on their investments.

In order to appease shareholders, that company decides they’re going to cut costs to increase profits. They change out their high quality wheat for a cheaper GMO counterpart. They add high fructose corn syrup and artificial colors to the mix by adding colorful marshmallows to the cereal. This not only drives down the cost of their once high-quality product but now also creates an addiction to the product in the children who are eating the food. Heck, adults might even get involved. Expanded market!

In an attempt to keep up with now dropping profits, the other companies begin following suit and coming up with their own ways to save money with their cereals. After all if they don’t, they will lose the game of making money and staying in business. So, insert lower quality ingredients, research sugar addiction and implement best practices, and find a way to get kids identified with nice mascots on the boxes. Of course this sort of happens one step at a time. Stretching our ethics and morality with each step.

This game will go on and on until the quality of the food is eventually so bad while at prices in alignment with what consumers will and can pay. But being lost is a generation of kids who are not well-nourished and who are addicted to sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. Profits win and the collective health of society loses.

You might argue that by running business this way we employ more people and therefore people with money means and increase in quality of life. But the problem with that argument is it fails to recognize we’re playing a rigged game that we invented and one that we can change. The primary reason why we continue with our current game is because we’ve been convinced this is the best we can do. We accept this as the vast majority of us don’t even question or understand how our systems are rigged.

Vote With Your Dollar?

You might also feel that voting with your dollar is the way to go. And perhaps in some cases this might work. This may also be a way to solve short term problems that occur, but is it truly a long term solution?

Voting with your dollar means accepting higher costs associated with high quality products, – perhaps a standard of products that should be what we aim for to begin with.

If consumers decide to vote with their dollar in one area of the marketplace, are they going to have enough money to vote with their dollar in other areas of the marketplace? Most likely not. In fact, the vast majority of people can’t even afford to ‘vote with their dollar’ given the state of local and planetary poverty. Thus, a large market for low quality products will always exist.

Another key design within our economic system is that the rich will always get richer and the poor will always get poorer. Inflation will always make it so that voting with your dollar becomes more and more difficult every year that goes by. Can we expect something different from this system?

The Solution?

This is the hardest part of this discussion. It’s primarily because it invites people to forget everything they know, have studied and come to learn how to master about being a cog in the wheel of our system.

The solution to a problem like this isn’t necessarily centred around lobbying government to subsidize organic ingredients so the breakfast cereal companies can offer a higher quality cereal at a lower price. Perhaps this type of action can create an isolated short term solution, but what other problems will arise from switching where subsidies go? Who will get mad next? Do people want to be taxed more?

Attempting to solve that one isolated problem is likely to create more problems elsewhere given the design of our current society. We need to think about a new system all together. And then put a plan in place to transition towards it quickly.

Wholesale discussion around redesigning society is where we are at. As someone who has been thinking about this for almost 20 years, it’s exciting to see how many people around the world are embracing this reality as well.

As much as that seems like a difficult discussion because most people can’t imagine a society outside of what we currently have, it is our only option. Instead of spending hundreds of hours in large meetings and events talking about how we can make minor changes within our existing systems, which most of the time will just create more problems, perhaps we could bring minds together to talk about an entirely different redesign of society that puts quality of life and human thriveability at the top of the list of priorities.

Our current society does not prioritize quality of life for all humans. It does not prioritize the thriveability of the planet, animals and humans either. For humans, little thought is put into emotional health, mental health, spirit or joy. We’re workers. Producing widgets and keeping the economy continually growing. How does one expect a world to produce a high quality of life when it’s literally not the priority of the societal structures it’s built upon?

Where Do We Start?

Where does this all start? Well, a shift in the way we analyze problems is certainly one thing that needs to happen. Instead of seeing things simply on the surface level and rushing to identify the isolated issue, can we stretch our minds to see how issues are connected? Can we move beyond political ideologies to see other ways of looking at problems? Do we truly take the time to understand another person, each other’s experiences and what life is like for each of us?

I believe many of these qualities to be the foundation of our way beyond many of the challenges of today. But it will take a focused intention to grow these qualities and capabilities within ourselves in order to get there.

The post The ‘Race To The Bottom’ Trap: Why Companies Produce Low Quality Products appeared first on Collective Evolution.

*Attention* Looking For Our News Articles: We’ve Moved Our Journalism To The Pulse

A large portion of our journalism that you’re used to seeing on our Collective Evolution platform has now moved over to The Pulse. We will be publishing our news articles there, while Collective Evolution focuses more on personal transformation content.

You can follow The Pulse on Telegram, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  

https://t.me/thepulseone

https://www.instagram.com/thepulse_one/

The Pulse’s YouTube Channel

https://www.facebook.com/ThePulseOne

We’ve done this switch for a number of reasons, partly due to the censorship at Collective Evolution, as well as creating a clearer message for readers around the focus of our two key missions: conscious journalism and personal transformation.

We hope you join us over at The Pulse in our quest to keep doing what we do!

The post *Attention* Looking For Our News Articles: We’ve Moved Our Journalism To The Pulse appeared first on Collective Evolution.

The Unseen Damages Fact Checking Has On Public Discourse

By now the discussion around the potential lab leak origins of COVID-19 is where it should be – in a space where we can admit we don’t know exactly what the truth is, but that there is in fact evidence of lab origins that should be investigated. This evidence was widely available to public health officials and the public as far back as February of 2020 when the pandemic began hitting Western countries and the origins battle began. Yet here we are in disarray, wondering how mainstream media and science labelled this story a ‘conspiracy theory’ in the first place.

We’ve covered the question of lab origins in depth through multiple pieces we’ve published since the pandemic began. A more recent article we published in March 2021, by Dr. Madhava Setty, pointed to the validity of lab origins even before the famous,  Nicholas Wade investigative piece. Due to public sentiment at the time, Dr. Setty’s article was met with criticism of course.

Back in September of 2020, I published a piece exploring the claims of a Chinese virologist named Dr. Li-Meng Yan who said she had proof that COVID was made in a Wuhan lab. Interestingly, our coverage was met with a fact check from PolitiFact claiming that our piece was false because her claims have been widely debunked. And it’s here where I want to turn your attention to how fact checking works and also discuss the unseen damages it causes to not only independent media public also public discourse. Inevitably, we’ll also have to discuss a truth I feel is emerging: fact checkers seems to be glorified journalists that re-enforce mainstream perspectives, as opposed to fact checking content.

How Fact Checking Happens

The way it works is, we painstakingly work on a piece, fact check it, edit it, and then publish. We then start disseminating our content to our networks via email and social media. If we’ve made a mistake, we usually catch it within hours as inevitably someone brings it to our attention. While this is not common, it happens, and it is a normal part of running a news/media publication. We then issue a correction and make it clear in the article. But when a fact checker gets involved it’s a bit different. We receive the dreaded email in our inbox claiming that an independent fact checker has rated our content posted on Facebook as false. We know what this means, and it’s rare that it’s actually a mistake.

It’s important to understand what happens next.

A notice is placed over top of our content on Facebook newsfeeds. Someone on Facebook would see something like this:

Readers are then given the option to read why it was considered “false” or “misleading” by reading an article written by a fact checker. In some cases, the fact checker is correctly ‘debunking’ poor claims made in an article. But in many cases, this isn’t quite what is going on. Sometimes, the fact checker merely disagrees with the objectivity of the article in question.

Before we continue, this “False Information” notice doesn’t just look bad on brand who produced the content, who’s logo appears next to the post in millions of newsfeeds, it also affects the content reach of the brand and thus their ad revenue.

From our data, which admittedly isn’t perfect, we typically see about a 75% reduction in traffic from Facebook when we are hit with a ‘fake news’ claim. That equates to a 75% reduction in our ad revenue as well considering that traffic is now gone. What’s worse is that Facebook seems to keep a log of how many fact checks a brand gets over time, and they claim that repeated false news strikes will result in long term reach reduction .

According to a 2021 article in Adweek,

Facebook will begin showing prompts to users who are about to follow a page that has repeatedly shared content deemed to be false by its independent fact-checking partners.

Facebook has also said that repeated sharing of misleading information could result in page deletion as well. Of course, no one knows just how much reach is taken away or how many strikes a brand needs for their page will be removed, but I can tell you we’ve gone from doing about 20 million page views a month in web traffic to about 3 million a month.

Evidence of our traffic loss over time. Source: Google Analytics

Almost all of our traffic loss is from the Facebook side, with about 15% coming from Google search after they systematically removed us from their search results in 2020.

Google’s systematic removal of our content from their search results. Source: Google Search Console.

Looking specifically at the Facebook side, ‘false news’ claims have huge implications on independent media companies, and it directly affects the bottomline. And what we’re about to get into explains how it’s not as though in all cases fact checkers are cleaning up fake stories, they are actually dead wrong – a lot. This attack on objective journalism can literally put a news company out of business. And no one is holding fact checkers accountable when they are flat out wrong.

Let’s take our story of the Chinese virologist that PolitiFact claimed was false back in September 2020. As of May 17, 2021, PolitiFact retracted their claim saying:

When this fact-check was first published in September 2020, PolitiFact’s sources included researchers who asserted the SARS-CoV-2 virus could not have been manipulated. That assertion is now more widely disputed. For that reason, we are removing this fact-check from our database pending a more thorough review. Currently, we consider the claim to be unsupported by evidence and in dispute. The original fact-check in its entirety is preserved below for transparency and archival purposes. Read our May 2021 report for more on the origins of the virus that causes COVID-19.”

I struggled to include this next bit in this piece because I truly don’t want to become petty here, but I don’t know how else to bring attention to how serious this situation truly is. Having been so intimately connected to this particular example since last year, I feel PolitiFact needs to be more honest and say something like:

“Here at PolitiFact we ignored sources of information that provided evidence that COVID may have originated in a lab. We only looked at evidence we thought was trustworthy from establishment sources. We did not spend enough time truly digging and applying objectivity, as journalists would, and thus we made unfounded assertions. We have since updated our story now that mainstream discourse has opened up to the idea of lab origins and now that our parents, mainstream media, told us it is OK to talk about it.”

However, this is obviously not what they wrote, because why would they? Instead, they are passing off their lack of objective research and blaming the “researchers” they sourced. For reference, here is what an objective look into this story would have produced, and why an obvious conflict of interest that ‘debunked’ the lab origins theory would have been found.

Recently, I’ve heard many people come to the defense of mainstream media and fact checkers when it comes to this ‘new’ information about COVID’s origins. Many have said things like “this is what science and journalism is, we update ideas. When new information comes forward and we see we are wrong we admit it, and move forward – updating our understandings. You should be congratulating people for changing their mind.”

But that’s not what happened. It’s not like no one knew what was going on with this information, they were just too busy hating Trump. Mainstream journalists ignored the evidence – and fact checkers followed right behind mainstream media and did the same. They did an objectively bad job of investigating this story and are now trying to celebrate their mind changing, all while continually attacking the sources that got it right from the start – independent media.

The position we took in our piece in September 2020 was simple: we don’t know enough about the origins of this virus and we need a call for further research. This was met with “this is a conspiracy theory that has been widely debunked.” And now those debunkers are admitting “we don’t know enough about the origins of this virus and we need a call for further research.”

So where is our compensation for lost revenues from Facebook or PolitiFact? Where is an apology and notification to people of Facebook that clears our name of wrong doing? There won’t be one and I’m OK with that. Could we really expect otherwise? At the same time, I feel we need to learn from the choices we’re making right now.

Learning From Cultural Mistakes

The sad part is, this is not the first time this has happened to us. To our tally of ‘fact checks’ since the start of Facebook’s campaign, only 2 of 15 have been correct, and they were more so about providing a bit of deeper context as opposed to incorrect facts.  Multiple times we have received ‘fact checks’ that stay on our page for a couple of days, only to be removed by fact checkers a day later claiming “oops this was a mistake” or even sometimes they sit in dead silence. Of course, the damage has already been done by the time they remove their mistaken fact check.

An email we received from Politifact for a fact check they wrongly applied to a piece of content we put out in 2020.

One recent fact check we received was from the small outfit called Lead Stories. They applied a fact check to one of our articles, but they cited an article that wasn’t ours. When we asked to discuss what was wrong our piece in particular they said they would look into it. They took over a month to respond, and they still have not provided any clarity as to why our piece is “missing context.” This too might be a case where pride is getting in the way and admitting there is nothing wrong with our piece is just too much – we don’t know, and that’s the problem. We won’t know if this bogus strike will be added to the pile of strikes we receive on Facebook that could one day lead to facebook terminating our account due to ‘repeated publishing of fake news.’

Another company called Science Feedback has a division called Health Feedback. They are who we deal with most. Typically Health Feedback handles health related stories that are usually the most relevant in culture at any given time. Think of things like COVID-19 or vaccine hesitancy. We’ve had multiple interactions with Health Feedback where they fact check our work and use straw-man arguments, that we do not make in our pieces, so they can debunk the straw-man claim and pretend they’ve debunked our piece. Communication with this organization typically goes nowhere productive as they hold strong to their opinions. Since they hold all the power, they wait for you to concede so you can get your business revenue back. This single fact is probably what the public does not understand about fact checking: they have the power to hold your ad revenue hostage by means of holding your social media traffic hostage.

How This Affects Public Discourse

Mainstream media often sends out a pretty common narrative across the board. Alternative or independent media often provide more information, another perspective, or even a counter perspective. Yet fact checking seems to have come along and ‘debunked’ that alternative perspective by using the same sources the mainstream uses – and in a lot of cases they are downright false. This makes fact checkers an apparently objective re-enforcement of mainstream narratives. This effectively negates the point of independent media.

Look at the COVID lab origins story as just one example of literally hundreds. People gave up on the idea, even called it downright crazy, just because mainstream media and fact checkers wrongly labelled the story a ‘conspiracy theory.’ For over a year, people argued, fought over this story. Companies who stuck with the truth saw their revenues and social media reach cut – only to be vindicated a year later, but with no real benefit to that vindication other than a personal pat on the back.

Fact checking does well to debunk obviously and verifiably false claims, but it is not always objective and thus shutting down meaningful discourse in public policy and science. Both important factors to creating a thriving society.

People have speculated that fact checking is just a way for powerful corporate interests to further police factually based dissenting ideas – they might be right. After all, look at the people behind some of these organizations.

Another way to look at it is, perhaps people began to notice that objectivity in journalism was dying. Fact checking then was a way to bring objectivity back to journalism by being a third party. Only, what’s happening doesn’t seem to support that idea as it appears fact checkers and mainstream media push their narratives in lockstep.

There are real problems in media too that aren’t just about facts. The political slanting in most mainstream and alternative media is obvious. Does that cloud the facts of a story? Does it manipulate the viewer? Does an organization choose to cover what supports its view as opposed to what is in the best interest of people? Sure, news organizations have to make money. And in many cases the first step to that is finding out who your target market is and tailor your message towards them. And in most cases, mainstream and alternative organizations are doing just that; usually aligning their content to the political views of their audience.

But in the case of mainstream media, they are also aligning with corporate interests or their main TV network sponsors, which is likely why when it comes to health and Pharma, one can’t expect to get ‘the whole story’ from mainstream news. It would be a direct conflict of interest. A conflict of interest that is not widely disclosed to you, the viewer, during every broadcast about these products, which it should be.

Now, in June 2021, with the Wuhan lab origins story of COVID being taken seriously by mainstream media, in stead of coming out and admitting they had it wrong from the start because they ignored facts an published improper journalism, they continue to weave a narrative of protection – further confusing the mass populace. Which is why, I hope, you read our news and watch our media, because we have consistently been ahead of the curve over the last 12 years.

This won’t be the last time.

If You Want To “Trust The Science” Don’t Read The Washington Post

It is being proclaimed on lawn signs and social media memes, on T-shirts and in PSAs. From sea to shining sea, the message is clear: Trust the Science! This is the mantra chanted by pro-vaccine portions of the population to encourage us to do our part. Getting the jab is no longer a matter of debate. There is only one sensible choice: vaccinate or be condemned to the anti-science movement that denies the horrors of polio and remains entrenched in a flat-earth delusion.

Scientists Do Not “Trust The Science”

I have a message for all you “science trusters”: scientists don’t trust the science. Scientists are the most skeptical of the science because they know that science is always changing. That is why our understanding evolves, and why we trust the scientists to begin with.

Scientists trust the scientific method, which is an entirely different thing. In order to do the systematic measurement, experimentation, observation and reformulation of hypotheses, the scientific method demands that we approach what is happening with an open mind, so that all possibilities are on the table to begin with. It is their unbiased approach to examining what is that instills credibility to their opinion.

Unless you are a scientist yourself, it is very hard to understand what the scientists are actually saying. Trusting the science is not the same thing as trusting what the media is telling you what the science says. This is becoming more and more evident as MSM sources continue to distort and oversimplify nuanced and complicated subjects into sound bites, tweets and headlines. In this article I attempt to explain how to critically examine content published in Mainstream Media that attempts to explain “the science”.

“Lab Origins” Was Always The Scientific Position

Perhaps the biggest example of the enormous amount of Mainstream media distortion around scientific matters is the recent acknowledgement that the SARS-COV2 virus was most likely engineered in a laboratory. Of course no new evidence emerged recently. The evidence pointing to lab origins was available 15 months ago, but it was portrayed as an absurd notion unworthy of any consideration by any legitimate news source. Nevertheless, Collective Evolution covered it here nearly three months ago.

How Do We Know If The Vaccine Is Proving Effective ?

The arguments for universal vaccination have been starting to shift now that hundreds of millions of people have been vaccinated. Is the vaccine making an impact on the spread of Covid-19? That is an extremely difficult question to answer. Unless we have access to clear data that demonstrates the rate of infection in the unvaccinated compared to the vaccinated we can only guess. Why don’t we have those numbers now? It’s because we haven’t completed Phase III trials of the first vaccines that were formulated. That’s why we do the trials and why we generally wait for them to be completed before giving the vaccine to anyone.

The best data I have seen has come from Israel and published in the New England Journal of Medicine on February 24, 2021. They matched nearly 600,000 vaccinated individuals with unvaccinated ones and observed them over 42 days. At the end of that period approximately 10,000 documented cases of Covid-19 resulted, the unvaccinated outnumbered the vaccinated by about 5 to 4. This is good, but it demonstrated a much different result than in the vaccine trials where the placebo outnumbered the vaccinated by about 20 to 1. To be precise, 57% of the people who got documented Covid-19 in this examination were not vaccinated. What this means is that vaccine efficacy is:

(57-43)/57=24.6%

This is obviously much more meager than what came out of the initial observations of the Pfizer and Moderna trials (95%). Perhaps what is more telling is that at the end of the study period only about 1% of the people got Covid-19. Of those, 43% were vaccinated. This means the absolute risk reduction of vaccination is just over 0.1%. In other words, in order to prevent 1 case, 1000 people need to be vaccinated. On the other hand, the vaccine seemed to be more effective (over 90%) as time went on. This is of course encouraging. Perhaps the vaccines will prove to be much more effective as time goes on. The point here is that unless one is willing to look more closely it is very easy to come to unsound conclusions.

The Washington Post Used Circular Reasoning To Make False Claims

The Washington Post has built an interactive Covid-19 data tracking page called “The Unseen Covid-19 Risk for Unvaccinated People” on May 21, 2021. This page was cited by a member of my social media community as proof that the vaccines were very effective and, based on the title of their page, the unvaccinated were facing a risk “unseen”. This person was quite convinced that remaining unvaccinated was irrational if not unconscionable and the data proved it. After all, it was in the Washington Post, a publication with a long history of balanced and rigorous inquiry.

The page demonstrates rates of infection among unvaccinated compared to the total population over time. From the day that vaccines began, it seemed (from the dozens of graphs presented) that the rate of infection in the total population began to drop faster than that of the unvaccinated. This was demonstrated in a number of selected states and not the country as a whole. Could they be cherry picking data? Of course. Nevertheless, I was surprised to see such a marked effect of the vaccines in any given population, cherry picked or not.

However, upon closer inspection something was missing. Where was the plot showing the rate of infection among the vaccinated? It wasn’t shown. The graphs only plotted total rates compared to unvaccinated rates. The mystery deepens…

Numbers of unvaccinated and vaccinated people with infection were not counted

If you searched for the raw data (the numbers of people who got covid who were vaccinated and unvaccinated), you won’t find it. So how are they able to tell us the rate of infection in the unvaccinated? They weren’t telling us that at all. Instead they created a variable which they call “Rate adjusted for Unvaccinated”. To see how they arrive at this “rate” you must read their methodology section at the bottom. In it they demonstrate their deception. They assume that 85% of all people vaccinated could not contribute to the total number of cases. They make that assumption based on a small study from the CDC involving about 4,000 people (one tenth that of the Pfizer study). They then apply this to all the states in their plots. 

This is a big assumption. Although the authors cite the study upon which this assumption is made in at the bottom of the article in the “methodology” section, the assumed efficacy of the vaccine (85%) is never explicitly stated in the body of the article. Perhaps the vaccine will turn out to be that good. However the NEJM study mentioned above (with 250 times more people in it) demonstrated an efficacy of only 24.6% as I pointed out above. The point here is that there is no consensus on what the vaccine efficacy is, and they buried their assumptions in the methodology section.

Let’s go back to the basics. These are the proper scientific definitions:

Total Case rate = Total Number of Cases/Total Population

Vaccinated rate = Number of Cases in Vaccinated/Number of Vaccinated 

Unvaccinated rate = Number of Cases in Unvaccinated/Number of Unvaccinated

Hopefully that was straightforward and logical. The Washington Post then introduces this term:

Rate adjusted for Unvaccinated = Total Cases/(Total Population – 0.85 x Vaccinated)

What is wrong with this? Nothing–as long as they know that only 15% of the vaccinated are contributing to the number of cases. But they don’t know this, they are assuming this in order to make their graphs. To casual Washington Post readers (numbering in the millions), it would be easy to look at the graphs and believe that that is what is being reported while in fact that is what the graphs would look like if their assumption were true. 

They are taking out 85% of the vaccinated people from the total population to calculate the new “rate” and calling that the Rate of Unvaccinated. This would in fact be true if they actually measured every population in each plot and confirmed that 85% of the vaccinated people were not contributing to the case count. But that is not what they did. They assumed that was the case, drew their plots and “demonstrated” that the rates in unvaccinated people were worse than the vaccinated. This is pure circular reasoning.

Notice that in their formula for “Rate adjusted for Unvaccinated” the denominator is the difference between the Total Population and 85% of the vaccinated. What do you suppose happens to the adjusted unvaccinated rate as more people get vaccinated? Before answering, “it gets bigger!” notice that it depends. It depends on “Total Cases” which had also been dropping day after day. However in every graph they compare Total Case rate and Rate adjusted for Unvaccinated. A quick glance at the formulas above should lead you to the conclusion that “Rate adjusted for Unvaccinated” will always be larger than Total Case rate as more and more people get vaccinated. That is what every graph they published demonstrated. They are not introducing another artifact; it is the direct result of their assumption that in every geographical area plotted 85% of the vaccinated are protected.

They deepen the deception by subsequently referring to their “Rate adjusted for the unvaccinated” as “case rate for the unvaccinated” by subtly removing the word “adjusted”. As explained and defined above, the unvaccinated case rate requires that the actual number of unvaccinated individuals who are infected were counted. This is pure manipulation. What happened to the fact checkers?

They conclude the article by quoting Umair A. Shah, Washington State Secretary of health who makes this audacious claim:

“The people who are not vaccinated are the ones who are not wearing a mask or washing their hands. Those are the very people who oftentimes will socialize and be around similar like-minded people. You’re going to have the pandemic continue in those clusters.”

I wonder how Dr. Shah, an MD and epidemiologist was able to make this measurement? Did he survey unvaccinated people to see if they were wearing masks or washing their hands? Did he surveil them? This level of propaganda coming from the Washington Post or any other media platform is unconscionable yet continues to go unchecked.

The Takeaway

The Washington Post is not the only culprit in this kind of manipulation. In this piece from CE, similar kinds of spin were apparent in the NYTimes in their effort to paint 5G naysayers as Russian apologists and citing articles that contradicted their own position. Are established, corporate funded publications given an enormous amount of latitude because of their reputation? Or is it because they contribute to a narrative that is accepted by their sponsors and “independent” fact-checkers? I believe it is both.

Scientists Explain The Catastrophic Impact of Covid Forced Societal Lockdowns

Introduction:  The COVID-19 crises has been quite the catalyst for more people to question whether or not our governments are capable of making the right decisions in such a time, decisions based on rationality, science and data. Never before have we seen such a split in the scientific and medical community, and that’s okay. Science is about transparency, discussion, debate and critical questioning. If anything during such a time, this should be encouraged. Instead, what’s happened with COVID-19 is a complete shutdown of evidence, data, science and opinions that seem to constantly contradict the information and recommendations given to the masses by government/public health authorities, the World Health Organization (WHO), and mainstream media. Scientists, doctors, journalists and people of all backgrounds and professions risk having their social media accounts deleted if they decide to ‘go against the grain’ so to speak.

Over the last few months, I have seen academic articles and op-eds by professors retracted or labeled “fake news” by social media platforms. Often, no explanation is provided. I am concerned about this heavy-handedness and, at times, outright censorship. – Vinay Prasad, MD, MPH (source)

This censorship campaign itself has also been a catalyst, it simply makes people more curious as to what type of information is being censored and why. Why is it that someone like Dr. Anthony Fauci, for example, gets all of the air time he desires yet some of the most prominent scientists in the field who oppose measures taken by governments to combat COVID-19 never see the light of day? Mainstream media, unfortunately, has the ability to control the perception of the masses when it comes to not just COVID, but various other issues our world has been plagued with for decades.

Science is being suppressed for political and financial gain. Covid-19 has unleashed state corruption on a grand scale, and it is harmful to public health. Politicians and industry are responsible for this opportunistic embezzlement. So too are scientists and health experts. The pandemic has revealed how the medical-political complex can be manipulated in an emergency—a time when it is even more important to safeguard science. – Dr. Kamran Abbasi, recent former executive editor of the British Medical Journal, editor of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, and a consultant editor for PLOS Medicine, Editor of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine and JRSM Open.

This is why I feel it’s important to present a recent article published by the American Institute for Economic Research outlining the “catastrophic” impacts of forced societal lockdowns.

The article was written by Dr. Paul E. Alexander, PhD, University of Oxford, University of Toronto, McMaster University-Assistant Professor, Health Research Methods (HEI). It was co-authored by Howard Tenenbaum, DDS, PhD, MD , a professor at the University of Toronto; Harvey Risch, MD, PhD, a Professor of Epidemiology at the Yale School of Medicine; Ramin Oskoui, MD; Peter McCullough, MD, Vice Chief of Medicine at Baylor University Medical Center, and Nicholas E. Alexander. You can also find their contact info here.

“We present 31 high-quality sources of evidence [which] show that COVID #lockdowns have been a failure.”

The Catastrophic Impact of Covid Forced Societal Lockdowns:

The present Covid-inspired forced lockdowns on business and school closures are and have been counterproductive, not sustainable and are, quite frankly, meritless and unscientific. They have been disastrous and just plain wrong! There has been no good reason for this. These unparalleled public health actions have been enacted for a virus with an infection mortality rate (IFR) roughly similar (or likely lower once all infection data are collected) to seasonal influenza. Stanford’s John P.A. Ioannidis identified 36 studies (43 estimates) along with an additional 7 preliminary national estimates (50 pieces of data) and concluded that among people <70 years old across the world, infection fatality rates ranged from 0.00% to 0.57% with a median of 0.05% across the different global locations (with a corrected median of 0.04%). Let me write this again, 0.05%. Can one even imagine the implementation of such draconian regulations for the annual flu? Of course not! Not satisfied with the current and well-documented failures of lockdowns, our leaders are inexplicably doubling and tripling down and introducing or even hardening punitive lockdowns and constraints. They are locking us down ‘harder.’ Indeed, an illustration of the spurious need for these ill-informed actions is that they are being done in the face of clear scientific evidence showing that during strict prior societal lockdowns, school lockdowns, mask mandates, and additional societal restrictions, the number of positive cases went up! No one can point to any instance where lockdowns have worked in this Covid pandemic.

It is also noteworthy that these irrational and unreasonable restrictive actions are not limited to any one jurisdiction such as the US, but shockingly have occurred across the globe. It is stupefying as to why governments, whose primary roles are to protect their citizens, are taking these punitive actions despite the compelling evidence that these policies are misdirected and very harmful; causing palpable harm to human welfare on so many levels. It’s tantamount to insanity what governments have done to their populations and largely based on no scientific basis. None! In this, we have lost our civil liberties and essential rights, all based on spurious ‘science’ or worse, opinion, and this erosion of fundamental freedoms and democracy is being championed by government leaders who are disregarding the Constitutional (USA) and Charter (Canada) limits to their right to make and enact policy. These unconstitutional and unprecedented restrictions have taken a staggering toll on our health and well-being and also target the very precepts of democracy; particularly given the fact that this viral pandemic is no different in overall impact on society than any previous pandemics. There is simply no defensible rationale to treat this pandemic any differently.

There is absolutely no reason to lock down, constrain and harm ordinarily healthy, well, and younger or middle-aged members of the population irreparably; the very people who will be expected to help extricate us from this factitious nightmare and to help us survive the damages caused by possibly the greatest self-inflicted public health fiasco ever promulgated on societies. There is no reason to continue this illogical policy that is doing far greater harm than good. Never in human history have we done this and employed such overtly oppressive restrictions with no basis. A fundamental tenet of public health medicine is that those with actual disease or who are at great risk of contracting disease are quarantined, not people with low disease risk; not the well! This seems to have been ignored by an embarrassingly large number of health experts upon whom our politicians rely for advice. Rather we should be using a more ‘targeted’ (population-specific age and risk) approach in relation to the implementation of public health measures as opposed to the inelegant and shotgun tactics being forced upon us now. Optimally, the key elements for modern public health include refraining from causing societal disruption (or at most, minimally) and to ensure freedom is maintained in the advent of pathogen emergence while concurrently protecting overall health and well-being. We also understand that at the outset of the pandemic there was little to no reliable information regarding SARS CoV-2. Indeed, initial case fatality rate (CFR) reports were staggeringly high and so it made sense, earlier, to impose strict lockdowns and other measures until such a time as the danger passed or we understood more clearly the nature of this virus, the data, and how it might be managed. But why would we continue this way and for so long once the factual characteristics of this virus became evident and as alluded to above, we finally realized that its infection fatality rate (IFR) which is a more accurate and realistic reflection of mortality than CFR, was really no worse than annual influenza? Governments and medical experts continuing to cite CFR are deeply deceitful and erroneous and meant to scare populations with an exaggerated risk of death. The prevailing opinion of our experts and politicians seems to be to “stop Covid at all costs.” If so, this is a highly destructive, illogical, and unsound policy and flies in the face of all accepted concepts related to modern public health medicine. Unfortunately, it seems that our political leadership is still bound to following the now debunked and discredited models of pandemic progression, the most injurious and impactful model having been released upon the world in the form of the Imperial College Ferguson model that was based on untested fictional projections and assumptions that have been flat wrong. These models used inaccurate input and were fatally flawed.

How Did We Get Here?

Let us start with a core position that just because there is an emergency situation, if we cannot stop it, this does not provide a rationale for instituting strategies that have no effect or are even worse. We have to fight the concept that if there’s truly nothing we can do to alter the course of a situation (e.g., disease), we still have to do something even if it’s ineffective! Moreover, we do not implement a public health policy that is catastrophic and not working, and then continue its implementation knowing it is disastrous. Let us also start with the basic fact that the government bureaucrats and their medical experts deceived the public by failing to explain in the beginning that everyone is not at equal risk of severe outcome if infected. This is a key Covid omission and this omission has been used tacitly and wordlessly to drive hysteria and fear. Indeed, the public still does not understand this critically important distinction. The vast majority of people are at little if any risk of severe illness and yet these very people are needlessly cowering in fear because of misinformation and, sadly, disinformation. Yet, lockdowns did nothing to change the trajectory of this pandemic, anywhere! Indeed, it’s highly probable that if lockdowns did anything at all to change the course of the pandemic, they extended our time of suffering.

What are The Effects of Lockdowns on the General Population?

On the basis of actuarial and real-time data we know that there are tremendous harms caused by these unprecedented lockdowns and school closures. These strategies have devastated the most vulnerable among us – the poor – who are now worse off. It has hit the African-American, Latino, and South Asian communities devastatingly. Lockdowns and especially the extended ones have been deeply destructive. There is absolutely no reason to even quarantine those up to 70 years old. Readily accessible data show there is near 100% probability of survival from Covid for those 70 and under. This is why the young and healthiest among us should be ‘allowed’ to become infected naturally, and spread the virus among themselves. This is not heresy. It is classic biology and modern public health medicine! And yes, we are referring to ‘herd immunity,’ the latter condition which for reasons that are beyond logic is being touted as a dangerous policy despite the fact that herd immunity has protected us from millions of viruses for tens of thousands of years. Those in the low to no risk categories must live reasonably normal lives with sensible common-sense precautions (while doubling and tripling down with strong protections of the high-risk persons and vulnerable elderly), and they can become a case ‘naturally’ as they are at almost zero risk of subsequent illness or death. This approach could have helped bring the pandemic to an end much more rapidly as noted above, and we also hold that the immunity developed from a natural infection is likely much more robust and stable than anything that could be developed from a vaccine. In following this optimal approach, we will actually protect the highest at risk amongst us.

Where has Common Sense and True Scientific Thought Gone?

There appears to be a surfeit of panic but a paucity of logic and common sense when it comes to advising our politicians and the public in relation to the pandemic. We hear often misleading information from hundreds of individuals who either hold themselves out as being infallible medical experts or are crowned as such by mainstream media. And we are bombarded relentlessly with their ill-informed, often illogical, and unempirical advice on a 24/7 basis. Much of the advice can only be described as being intellectually dishonest, absurd, untethered from reality and devoid of common sense. They exhibit a kind of academic sloppiness and cognitive dissonance that ignores key data or facts, while driving a sense of hopelessness and helplessness among the public. These ‘experts’ seem unable to read the science or simply do not understand the data, or seem blinded by it. They and our government leaders talk about “following the science” but do not appear to understand the science enough in order to apply the knowledge towards the decision-making process (if there are processes, that is; most political mandates appear random at best and capricious at worst). These experts have lost all credibility. And all this despite the fact that our bureaucrats now have had at their disposal nearly one year of data and experience to inform their decision-making and despite this they continue to listen to the nonsensical advice they receive from people who are not actually experts. Consequently, we are now faced with a self-created medical and societal disaster with losses that might never be reversed.

Sadly, when faced with rational arguments that run counter to the near religiously held beliefs, which hold that lockdowns save lives, bureaucrats and medical experts act as ideological enforcers. They attack anyone who disagrees with them and even use the media as their attack dogs once their fiats are questioned. Even more egregious are the often successful actions aimed at destroying the reputations of anyone holding diverse views related to the Covid pandemic. There is also no interest or debate on the crushing harms on societies caused by decrees made by ideologues. The everyday clinicians and nurses at the forefront of the battle are our real heroes and we must never forget and confuse these Praetorian vanguards with the unempirical and often reckless ‘medical experts.’ We hold that the very essence of science and logical thought includes the ability and in fact the responsibility to challenge (reasonably) currently held dogmas; a philosophy that appears to be anathema to our leaders and their advisors.

Current Data Concerning Lockdown Effects

Let us start with the staggering statement by Germany’s Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development, Gerd Muller, who has openly cautioned that global lockdown measures will result in the killing of more people than Covid itself. A recent Lancet study reported that government strategies to deal with Covid such as lockdowns, physical distancing, and school closures are worsening child malnutrition globally, whereby “strained health systems and interruptions in humanitarian response are eroding access to essential and often life-saving nutrition services.”

What is the actual study-level/report evidence in terms of lockdowns? We present 31 high-quality sources of evidence below for consideration that run the gamut of technical reports to scientific manuscripts (including several under peer-review, but which we have subjected to rigorous review ourselves). We set the table with this, for the evidence emphatically questions the merits of lockdowns, and shows that lockdowns have been an abject failure, do not work to prevent viral spread and in fact cause great harm. This proof includes: evidence from Northern Jutland in Denmark, country level analysis by Chaudhry, evidence from Germany on lockdown validity, UK research evidence, Flaxman research on the European experience, evidence originating from Israel, further European lockdown evidence, Western European evidence published by Meunier, European evidence from ColomboNorthern Ireland and Great British evidence published by Rice, additional Israeli data by Shlomai, evidence from Cohen and Lipsitch, Altman’s research on the negative effectsDjaparidze’s research on SARS-CoV-2 waves across Europe, Bjørnskov’s research on the economics of lockdowns, Atkeson’s global research on nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), Belarusian evidence, British evidence from Forbes on spread from children to adults, Nell’s PANDATA analysis of intercountry mortality and lockdowns, principal component analysis by De Larochelambert, McCann’s research on states with lowest Covid restrictions, Taiwanese research, Levitt’s research, New Zealand’s research, Bhalla’s Covid research on India and the IMF, nonpharmaceutical lockdown interventions (NPIs) research by Ioannidis, effects of lockdowns by Herby, and lockdown groupthink by Joffe. The American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) further outlines prominent public health leaders and agencies’ positions on societal lockdowns, all questioning and arguing against the effectiveness of lockdowns.

A recent pivotal study from Stanford University looking at stay-at-home and business closure lockdown effects on the spread of Covid by Bendavid, Bhattacharya, and Ioannidis examined restrictive versus less restrictive Covid policies in 10 nations (8 countries with harsh lockdowns versus two with light public health restrictions). They concluded that there was no clear benefit of lockdown restrictions on case growth in any of the 10 nations.

Key seminal evidence arguing against lockdowns and societal restrictions emerged from a recent quasi-natural experiment (case-controlled experimental data) that emerged in the Northern Jutland region in Denmark. Seven of the 11 municipalities (similar and comparable) in the region went into extreme lockdown that involved a travel ban across municipal borders, closing schools, the hospitality sector and other settings and venues (in early November 2020) while the four remaining municipalities employed the usual restrictions of the rest of the nation (moderate). Researchers reported that reductions in infection had occurred prior to the lockdowns and also decreased in the four municipalities without lockdowns. Conclusion: surveillance and voluntary compliance make lockdowns essentially meaningless.

Moreover, in a similarly comprehensive analysis of global statistics regarding Covid, carried out by Chaudhry and company involved assessment of the top 50 countries (ranked as having the most cases of Covid) and concluded that “rapid border closures, full lockdowns, and widespread testing were not associated with Covid mortality per million people.” Conclusion: there is no evidence that the restrictive government actions saved lives.

A very recent publication by Duke, Harvard, and Johns Hopkins researchers reported that there could be approximately one million excess deaths over the next two decades in the US due to lockdowns. These researchers employed time series analyses to examine the historical relation between unemployment, life expectancy, and mortality rates. They report in their analysis that the shocks to unemployment are then followed by significant rises (statistically) in mortality rates and reductions in life expectancy. Alarmingly, they approximate that the size of the Covid-19-related unemployment to fall between 2 and 5 times larger than the typical unemployment shock, and this is due to (associated with) race/gender. There is a projected 3.0% rise in the mortality rate and a 0.5% reduction in life expectancy over the next 10 to 15 years for the overall American population and due to the lockdowns. This impact they reported will be disproportionate for minorities e.g. African-Americans and also for women in the short term, and with more severe consequences for white males over the longer term. This will result in an approximate 1 million additional deaths during the next 15 years due to the consequences of lockdown policies. The researchers wrote that the deaths caused by the economic and societal deterioration due to lockdowns may “far exceed those immediately related to the acute Covid-19 critical illness…the recession caused by the pandemic can jeopardize population health for the next two decades.”

Overall, the research evidence alluded to here (including a lucid summary by Ethan Yang of the AIER) suggests that lockdowns and school closures do not lead to lower mortality or case numbers and have not worked as intended. It is clear that lockdowns have not slowed or stopped the spread of Covid. Often, effects are artifactual and superfluous as declines were taking place even before lockdowns came into effect. In fact, in Europe, it was shown that in most cases, mortality rates were already 50% lower than peak rates by the time lockdowns were instituted, thus making claims that lockdowns were effective in reducing mortality spurious at best. Of course, this also means that the presumptive positive effects of lockdowns were and have been exaggerated grossly. Evidence shows that nations and settings that apply less stringent social distancing measures and lockdowns experience the same evolution (e.g. deaths per million) of the epidemic as those that apply far more stringent regulations.

What does this all mean?

As a consequence of their (hopefully) well-intended actions, our governments along with their medical experts have created a disaster for people. It means that the public’s trust has been severely eroded. Lockdowns are not an acceptable long-term strategy, have failed and have severely impacted populations socially, economically, psychologically, and health wise! Future generations would be crippled by these actions. The policies have been poorly thought out and are economically unsustainable and there is a massive cost to it as it is highly destructive. Our children and younger people are going to be shouldered with the indirect but very real harms and costs of lockdowns for a generation to come at least.

What are the real impacts on populations from these disastrous restrictive policies? Well, the poorer among us have been at increased risk from deaths of despair (e.g. suicides, opioid-related overdoses, murder/manslaughter, severe child abuse etc.). Politicians, media, and irrational medical experts must stop lying to the public by only telling stories of the suffering from Covid while ignoring the catastrophic harms caused by their decree actions. Lives are being ruined and lost and businesses are being destroyed forever. Lower-income Americans, Canadians, and other global citizens are much more likely to be compelled to work in unsafe conditions. These are employees with the least bargaining power, tending to be minority, female, and hourly paid employees. Moreover, Covid has revealed itself as a disease of disparity and poverty. This means that black and minority communities are disproportionately affected by the pandemic itself and they take a double hit, being additionally and disproportionately ravaged by the effects of the restrictive policies.

Why would we impose more catastrophic restrictive policies when they have not worked? We even have government leaders now enacting harder and even more draconian lockdowns after admitting that the prior ones have failed. These are the very experts and leaders making societal policies and demands without them having to experience the effects of their policies. There is absolutely no good justification for what was done and continues to be done to societies, when we know of the very low risk of severe illness from Covid for vast portions of societies! We do not need to destroy our societies, the lives of our people, our economies, or our school systems to handle Covid. We cannot stop Covid at all costs!

How is Population Health and Well-being in the US Affected by Current Public Health Measures?

Businesses have closed and many are never to return, jobs have been lost, and lives ruined and more of this is on the way; meanwhile, we have seen an increase in anxiety, depression, hopelessness, dependency, suicidal ideation, financial ruin, and deaths of despair across societies due to the lockdowns. For example, preventive healthcare has been delayed. Life-saving surgeries and tests/biopsies were stopped across the US. All types of deaths escalated and loss of life years increased across the last year. Chemotherapy and hip replacements for Americans were sidelined along with vaccines for vaccine-preventable illness in children (approximately 50%). Thousands may have died who might have otherwise survived an injury or heart ailment or even acute stroke but did not seek clinical or hospital help out of fear of contracting Covid.

Specifically, and based on CDC reporting (and generalizable to global nations), during the month of June in the US, approximately 25% (1 in 4) Americans aged 18-24 considered suicide not due to Covid, but due to the lockdowns and the loss of freedom and control in their lives and lost jobs etc. There were over 81,000 drug overdose deaths in the 12 months ending in May 2020 in the US, the most ever recorded in a 12-month period. In late June 2020, 40% of US adults reported that they were having very difficult times with mental health or substance abuse and linked to the lockdowns. Approximately 11% of adults reported thoughts of suicide in 2020 compared to approximately 4% in 2018. During April to October 2020, emergency room visits linked to mental health for children aged 5-11 increased near 25% and increased 31% for those aged 12-17 years old as compared to 2019. During June 2020, 13% of survey respondents said that they had begun or substantially increased substance use as a means to cope day-to-day with the pandemic and lockdowns. Over 40 states reported rises in opioid-related deaths. Roughly 7 in 10 Gen-Z adults (18-23) reported depressive symptoms from August 4 to 26. There is a projected decrease in life expectancy by near 6 million years of life in US children due to the US primary school closure. These are some of the real harms in the US and we have not even discussed the devastation falling upon other nations. From June to August 2020, homicides increased over 50% and aggravated assaults increased 14% compared to the same period in 2019. Diagnosis for breast cancer declined 52% in 2020 compared to 2018. Pancreatic cancer diagnosis declined 25% in 2020 compared to 2018. The diagnosis for 6 leading cancers e.g. breast, colorectal, lung, pancreatic, gastric, and esophageal declined 47% in 2020 compared to 2018. From March 25 and April 10 in the US, “nearly one-third of adults (31.0 percent) reported that their families could not pay the rent, mortgage, or utility bills, were food insecure, or went without medical care because of the cost.”

Sadly, the very elderly we seek to protect the most are being decimated by the lockdowns and restrictions imposed at the nursing/long-term/assisted-living/care homes they reside in. Just look at the death and disaster New York has endured under Governor Andrew Cuomo with the nursing home deaths and the Department of Health (DOH) Covid reporting. The Attorney General Letitia James deserves credit for her bravery, for it brings to light not only a very dark day in New York’s history with Covid but that of the US on the whole given that New York and the accrued deaths make up such a large proportion of all deaths in the US and nursing homes from Covid-19. Deaths as per James may be at least 50% higher than was reported by Cuomo. Cuomo’s policy to send hospitalized Covid patients back to the nursing homes was catastrophic and caused many deaths. Gut wrenchingly, across the US nursing homes, reports are showing that the restrictions from visitations and normal routines for our seniors in these settings have accelerated the aging process, with many reports of increased falls (often with fatal outcomes) due to declining strength and loss of ability to adequately ambulate. Dementia is escalating as the rhyme and rhythm of daily life is lost for our precious elderly in these nursing homes, long-term care (LTC), and assisted-living homes (AL) and there is a sense of hopelessness and depression with the isolation from restricting the irreplaceable interaction with loved ones.

The truth also is that many children – and particularly those less advantaged – get their main needs met at school, including nutrition, eye tests and glasses, and hearing tests. Importantly, schools often function as a protective system or watchguard for children who are sexually or physically abused and the visibility of it declines with school closures. Due to the lockdowns and the lost jobs, adult parents are very angry and bitter, and the stress and pressure in the home escalates due to lost jobs/income and loss of independence and control over their lives as well as the dysfunctional remote schooling that they often cannot optimally help with. Some tragically are reacting by lashing out at each other and their children. There are even reports that children are being taken to the ER with parents stating that they think they may have killed their child who is unresponsive. In fact, since the Covid lockdowns were initiated in Great Britain as an example, it has been reported that incidence of abusive head trauma in children has risen by almost 1,500%!

In addition, the widespread mass testing of asymptomatic persons in a society is very harmful to public health. The key metric is not the number of new active cases (i.e. positive PCR test results) being reported and misrepresented by the vocal experts and media, but rather what are the hospitalizations that result, the ICU bed use, the ventilation use, and the deaths. We only become concerned with a new ‘case’ if the person becomes ill. If you are a case but do not get ill or at very low risk of getting ill, what does it matter if the high risk and elderly are already properly secured? It is also remarkable that while hospitals had nearly 10-11 months to prepare for the putative second wave of Covid, why do these healthcare institutions claim to be unprepared? Are the lockdowns and the resulting loss of businesses, jobs, homes, lives, and anguish that result, really due to government’s failures? And what are the reasons for the mass hysteria when most data show that whether prepared or not, most hospitals are not experiencing any more strain on their capacity than seen in most normal flu seasons? Why the misleading information to the public? This makes absolutely no sense.

Are we anywhere ahead today? In no way and we are much worse off today. So why not allow people to make common sense decisions, take precautions, and go on with their daily lives? We know that children 0-10 years or so have a near zero risk of death from Covid (with a very small risk of spreading Covid in schools, spreading to adults, or taking it home). We know that persons 0-19 years have an approximate 99.997 percent likelihood of survival, those 20-49 have roughly a 99.98 percent probability of survival, and those 50-69/70 years an approximate 99.5 percent risk of survival. But this ‘good news’ data is never reported by the media and “experts.” Covid is less deadly for young people/children than the annual flu and more deadly for older people than the flu. We must not downplay this virus and it is different to the flu and can be catastrophic for the elderly. However, the vast majority of people (reasonably healthy persons) do not have any substantial risk of dying from Covid. The risk of severe illness and death under 70 years or so is vanishingly small. We do not lock a nation down for such a low death rate for persons under 70 years of age, especially if they are reasonably healthy people. We target the at-risk and allow the rest of society to function with reasonable precautions and we move to safely reopen society and schools immediately. Moreover, and this cannot be overstated, there are available early treatments for Covid that would reduce hospitalization and death by at least 60-80% as we will discuss below.

Early Multidrug Therapy for Covid Reduces Hospitalization and Death

We must take common-sense mitigation precautions as we go on with life. This does not mean we stop life altogether! This does not mean we destroy the society to stop each case of Covid! We must let people get back to normal life. In fact, the most important information that is being withheld, bizarrely, from the US population is that there are safe and effective treatments for Covid! And most importantly we now know how to treat Covid much more successfully than at the outset of the pandemic. This therapeutic nihilism is very troubling given there are therapeutics that while each on their own could not be considered as being a ‘silver bullet,’ they can be used on a multidrug basis or as a ‘cocktail’ approach akin to treatment of AIDS and so many other diseases! This includes responding proactively to higher-risk populations (in private homes or in nursing homes) who test positive for SARS CoV-2 or have symptoms consistent with Covid by intervening much earlier (even offering early outpatient sequenced/combined drug treatment to prevent decline to severe illness while the illness is still self-limiting with mild flu-like illness). Early home treatment (championed by research clinicians such as McCullough, Risch, Zelenko, and Kory) ideally on the first day (including but not limited to anti-infectives such as doxycycline, ivermectin, favipiravir, and hydroxychloroquine, corticosteroids, and anti-platelet drugs that are safe, cheap, and effective) that is sequenced and via a multi-drug approach, have been shown to convincingly reduce hospitalization by 85% and death by 50%.

The key is starting treatment very early (outpatient/ambulatory) in the disease sequelae (ideally on the 1st day of symptoms emergence to within the first 5 days) before the person/resident has worsened. This early treatment approach holds tremendous utility for high-risk elderly residents in our nursing homes and long-term care/assisted-living facilities, including within their private homes, who are often told to ‘wait-and-see’ and all the while they worsen and survival becomes more problematic. We are talking about using drugs that are used in-hospital but we argue must be started much earlier in high-risk persons. This demands that governments and healthcare systems/medical establishments paralyzed with nihilism step back and allow frontline doctors the clinical decision-making and discretion as before in how they treat their Covid-19 high-risk patients. From where we started 9 to 11 months ago in the US (and Canada, Britain, and other nations), between the therapeutics and an early outpatient treatment approach, this is very good news! We must also not discount the potential damage to normally healthy immune systems that have not been locked down like this before but which otherwise could be expected to fight infection effectively in younger individuals at the least. We have to be concerned about the immune systems of our children that are normally healthy and functional and we have no idea how their immune systems will function into the future given these far-reaching restrictions.

Conclusion

In conclusion, given the cogent argument by Dr. Scott Atlas on the failure of lockdowns and school closures globally and the totality of the evidence presented above and AIER’s troubling compilation of the crushing harms of lockdowns, it is way past time to end the lockdowns and get life back to normal for everyone but the higher-risk among us. It is time we target efforts to where they are beneficial. Such targeted measures geared to specific populations can protect the most vulnerable from Covid, while not adversely impacting those not at risk. Why? Because we know better who is at risk and should take sensible and reasonable steps to protect them. Alarmingly, President Biden has already stated that there is nothing that can be done to stop the trajectory of the pandemic, yet fails to recognize that across the US, cases are already falling markedly, even going as far to warn of more deaths. More incredulous is that those in charge and particularly the ‘medical experts’ continue to fail to admit they were very very wrong. They were all wrong in what they advocated and implemented and are trying now to lay the blame on those of us who looked at the data and science and reflected and weighed the benefits as well as harms of the policies. They are blaming those of us who opposed lockdowns and school closures. They are using the tact that since you opposed these illogical and unreasonable restrictions and mandates, then it caused the failures, thus pretending and not admitting that their policies are indeed the reason for the catastrophic societal failures. Not our opposition and arguments against the specious and unsound policies.

It is very evident to populations that lockdown policies have been extraordinarily harmful. It is way past time to end these lockdowns, these school closures, and these unscientific mask mandates (see State-by-State listing) as they have a very limited benefit but more importantly are causing serious harm with long-term consequences, and especially among those least able to withstand them! Indeed, the Federalist published a very comprehensive description showing how masks do nothing to stop Covid spread. There is no justifiable reason for this and government leaders must stop this now given the severe and long-term implications! Donald A. Henderson, who helped eradicate smallpox, gave us a road map that we have failed to follow here, when he wrote about the 1957-58 Asian Flu pandemic and stated “The pandemic was such a rapidly spreading disease that it became quickly apparent to U.S. health officials that efforts to stop or slow its spread were futile. Thus, no efforts were made to quarantine individuals or groups, and a deliberate decision was made not to cancel or postpone large meetings such as conferences, church gatherings, or athletic events for the purpose of reducing transmission. No attempt was made to limit travel or to otherwise screen travelers. Emphasis was placed on providing medical care to those who were afflicted and on sustaining the continued functioning of community and health services.”

Dr. Henderson along with Dr. Thomas Inglesby also wrote, “Experience has shown that communities faced with epidemics or other adverse events respond best and with the least anxiety when the normal social functioning of the community is least disrupted. Strong political and public health leadership to provide reassurance and to ensure that needed medical care services are provided are critical elements. If either is seen to be less than optimal, a manageable epidemic could move toward catastrophe.” Overall, they messaged that several options exist for governments of free societies to use to mitigate the spread of pathogens (traditional public health responses which are less intrusive and disturbing) but closing down the society or parts of it is not one of them. These experts never championed or endorsed lockdowns as a strategy when confronting epidemics or pandemics for they knew and articulated the devastation that would fall upon societies that were in many instances potentially irrecoverable.

As Dr. Martin Kulldorff explains, it is critical that the bureaucrats, the public health system, and medical experts listen to the public who are the ones actually living and experiencing the public health consequences of their forced lockdown and other actions. Social isolation due to the lockdowns has devastating effects and cannot be disregarded and government bureaucrats must recognize that shutting down a society leads to suicidal thoughts and behaviour and excess deaths (deaths of despair to name one). I end by perhaps the most cogent phrase by experts (The Great Barrington Declaration): “Those who are not vulnerable should immediately be allowed to resume life as normal. Simple hygiene measures, such as hand washing and staying home when sick should be practiced by everyone.”

The Conspirituality Podcast: Clear Signal or More Noise?

“Conspirituality” is a captivatingly named podcast that has been getting a lot of attention of late and for good reason. The hosts are bringing light to a phenomenon that is rapidly emerging in our collective psyche. The belief that certain very large conspiracies are in play in our world is growing, especially in the New Age spiritual community. A growing subset of people in these circles are finding common ground with those in right-wing political factions, something that seemed unimaginable a short while ago. However, in its well-intentioned effort to bring dialogue around this emerging phenomenon, the podcast is introducing another voice that is adding more confusion to an already confusing world of divergent and conflicting narratives. If we are interested in arriving at a better understanding of how our world works we must dig deeper to find our own blindspots and notice those that may exist for others, especially for those who are graced with a growing audience.   

The co-hosts describe the podcast as:

“A weekly study of converging right-wing conspiracy theories and faux-progressive wellness utopianism. At best, the conspirituality movement attacks public health efforts in times of crisis. At worst, it fronts and recruits for the fever-dream of QAnon.

As the alt-right and New Age horseshoe toward each other in a blur of disinformation, clear discourse and good intentions get smothered. Charismatic influencers exploit their followers by co-opting conspiracy theories on a spectrum of intensity ranging from vaccines to child trafficking. In the process, spiritual beliefs that have nurtured creativity and meaning are transforming into memes of a quickly-globalizing paranoia.

Conspirituality Podcast attempts to bring understanding to this landscape. A journalist [Derek Beres], a cult researcher [Matthew Remski], and a philosophical skeptic [Julian Walker] discuss the stories, cognitive dissonances, and cultic dynamics tearing through the yoga, wellness, and new spirituality worlds. Mainstream outlets have noticed the problem. We crowd-source, research, analyze, and dream answers to it.”

Why is the Conspirituality podcast gaining support?

The three co-hosts are intelligent. They rely on their diverse backgrounds and experiences to formulate formidable arguments to explain why people in these two communities are succumbing to “conspiracy theories” as they call them. In their opinion, those in the New Age, spiritual, and yoga communities more easily succumb to the ideas like the “New World Order” and “Global Agendas” because, as the hosts say, spirituality is associated with a more creative and open way of looking at things. This flexibility in their belief system is apparently a fertile ground for conspiratorial thinking to take root. Folks in Right-Wing libertarian circles believe in hidden, dark agendas because, according to them, that’s what Right-Wing libertarians believe. 

The hosts’ tidy assessment of a concerning “problem” is gaining a lot of support not only inside of the New-Age yoga communities from which they hail but also in the population at large. In the podcast’s relatively brief existence, it has already received attention from the NY Times, WNYC Studios, CBC Radio, and the Brisbane Times. 

Much of what the hosts say about human psychology and emotion is insightful. I agree wholeheartedly with their assessment of the Conspirituality phenomenon: it is ascendant and gathering momentum in these two groups who may indeed share the same blindspot. Their effort to put this all together is commendable, but they have a very large blindspot too.

For those of us who have openly and assiduously examined the independent investigation into conspiracies, their podcast represents yet another obstruction to clarity that is gaining traction. Matthew, Derek and Julian are making a crucial mistake in their approach to the “conspirituality” problem. They assume that there are no large conspiracies in play in our world at this time. To state it flatly, to them the idea of a large conspiracy is so preposterous that they cannot even see that they are making an assumption when dismissing the possibility. I do not condemn them for it. It was only a handful of years ago when I would have cherished their position as a rare voice of reason in this confusing time.

What big assumptions are they making?

If you believe that hidden, ill-intending entities are seeking to slowly enslave the population is just a dystopian fantasy that is becoming uncomfortably popular, then the Conspirituality podcast will no doubt be a go-to resource for you. They use well-practiced cadence in their delivery, as if guiding their listeners through a sequence of increasingly challenging asanas that gently lead the audience to a level of self-assurance not previously thought possible. They bring on notable guests and exude authentic confidence to weave together an explanation as to why the conspirituality phenomenon is not just a nuisance, it is a dangerous threat to our way of life. Notably they never explore whether some, or even one of these conspiracy theories might actually be a true conspiracy. Entertaining such ideas, in their opinion, could only be a symptom of the weak mindedness they seek to identify and eradicate for the greater good.

In their opinion, easily seduced spiritual practitioners and rightwing “Q-anoners” should justifiably be thrown together with every “conspiracy theorist”, from anti-vaxxers to 9/11 truthers to flat-earthers. Rather than denigrating them, the hosts of the  podcast attempt to give us a deeper understanding of this growing population by pointing out how their biases and proclivities make them susceptible to false narratives. Addressing the facts that build these narratives is unnecessary in their opinion. Why? Because they assume these narratives are false to begin with. For those in their camp this strikes an acceptable tone of tolerance. To those of us who recognize the danger in making such assumptions and are quite convinced, through our own open-minded and diligent investigation that there may in fact be a number of big conspiracies in play, their tone could easily be regarded as poorly veiled condescension of the most unacceptable kind. Not only would they be underestimating our understanding, they would be grossly overestimating their own. 

Aside from making the error of assuming that large conspiracies do not exist, they are succumbing to the common mistake of lumping all people who are challenging conventional wisdom together. For example, there are thousands of engineers and architects that are patiently waiting for their day in court to present evidence that would overturn NIST’s explanation of the events of 9/11. There are also an enormous number of children who may have been irreversibly harmed by vaccinations over the decades. Health advocates and doctors who have recognized this very real possibility have been lobbying for a reformulation of vaccines since the inception of their widespread use. According to the hosts of the podcast, these thousands of structural engineers, architects and health professionals are just as crazy as people who maintain we live on a flat Earth. They may continue to assert that such conspiracies have been “debunked”, but equating highly educated professionals with flat-earthers is a stark overgeneralization that speaks to the scale of the bias they carry but refuse to acknowledge.

Their approach is based on unbalanced research, and their tone is sometimes divisive. Simply put, they are adding more noise to an already confusing picture.

“Coincidence Theorists?”

They have used the moniker of “Conspiracy Theorists” to label the subset of the population that are “afflicted” by a certain form of weak mindedness that makes them prone to a certain kind of narrative. But how might one see the hosts of the podcasts? I do not know how they would prefer to self-identify. 

For the purposes of this article I will call them “Coincidence Theorists”, a term I credit to David Helfrich, a contributor to Collective Evolution as well. By “Coincidence Theorists” I am referring to those who remain fixated on the idea of coincidence to explain events in this world that seem intimately connected: massive military exercises leaving the Eastern Seaboard undefended on the morning of 9/11? Coincidence! Three skyscrapers completely veering from expected models of behavior in a gravitationally driven collapse on the same day? Coincidence! Thousands of previously healthy children who suddenly experience cognitive decline and neurologic effects immediately after a series of vaccinations? Every single case must be a coincidence.

Coincidence is one of the primary mantras they use to dismiss extremely suspicious circumstances that would point to a conspiracy. Once dismissed, real investigation into the matter is considered flippant which justifies their characterization of all who feel differently as paranoid and easily seduced “conspiracy theorists”. It should be clear that using coincidence to explain the apparently inexplicable is not logical, it is founded on a basic assumption that because large conspiracies do not exist, any suspicious observations that point to a conspiracy must be a coincidence. This is bias and it has no part in earnest inquiry.

How convincing would a defendant on trial be to a jury if he explained his presence at the scene of a crime as pure coincidence? He may be innocent, but using the coincidence argument would not clear him from suspicion. In fact, in court, the more coincidences add up in a case, the more likely the defendant is guilty.

The other common argument they use to dismiss suggestions of a conspiracy is to flatly assert that “it’s been debunked”. This continues to astonish me. As the critical thinkers that they claim to be, how is it possible that they cannot see that the mainstream media and often the scientific establishment that they cite as debunkers and fact-checkers are the primary conspirators in all of the very real conspiracies that are in consideration? The only proof they will ever consider to be credible has to come from the very parties implicated in a conspiracy. This is pure dogmatic thinking.

Should we adopt their approach and view their position as forgivable because they are in the New Age community and we all know that those folks are prone to dogma too? How different would that be than their approach to profiling all “conspiracy theorists” as individuals that are inherently prone to paranoid delusions? It wouldn’t be any different or any less unfair.

In an effort to be more constructive, I would instead like to share my personal experience of a direct but brief exchange I had with one of Conspirituality co-hosts. I hope that this will shed some light on how their own approach to information may be the very same problem they impute to the “conspiracy theorists” that they identify as a growing threat. In other words, people who believe that “everything is a conspiracy” are suffering from the very same blindspots as those that are certain there are only conspiracy theories and no true conspiracies. The possibility that there are many (unfounded) conspiracy theories and a few very real conspiracies does not exist in minds that suffer from a certain type of bias.

My Exchange with Conspirituality podcast co-host Julian Walker

I must admit that it has been challenging for me to approach this topic. I am a physician, an engineer, a diligent researcher and an author of a book that dissects the nature of some of the false-flags and conspiracy in our history. I am also a member of several spiritual communities and view this podcast as a dangerous impediment to open inquiry–something that all spiritual communities should be espousing. If that weren’t enough, I have also participated in an exchange with one of the co-hosts of the Conspirituality podcast, Julian Walker, that was less than amiable. In order to strike the most effective tone in this piece I had to first find commonality between myself and the co-hosts. Despite our disparate view of the world I had to concede that they are as well-intending as I am. At least that is my hope.

I am part of a large spiritual community that is led by a teacher of acknowledged lineage who is an adept writer and recognized scholar in his area of study. We also happen to be friends on social media. Several weeks ago, on his own personal page, he posted a link to bonus material on the Conspirituality podcast that was published on October 12, 2020. In it, Julian Walker, co-host of the podcast, attacked an article written by anti-globalist, scholar, environmental activist and author of 20 books, Dr. Vandana Shiva, who was highly critical of a patent submitted by Microsoft titled “Cryptocurrency System using Body Activity Data”. In the article, Dr. Shiva first contextualizes our pandemic as part of a larger problem involving our species and its relationship with our environment. She writes: 

“New diseases arise because a globalized, industrialized, inefficient agriculture invades habitats, destroys ecosystems, and manipulates animals, plants, and other organisms with no respect for their integrity or their health. We are linked worldwide through the spread of diseases like the coronavirus because we have invaded the homes of other species, manipulated plants and animals for commercial profits and greed, and cultivated monocultures. As we clear-cut forests, as we turn farms into industrial monocultures that produce toxic, nutritionally empty commodities, as our diets become degraded through industrial processing with synthetic chemicals and genetic engineering, and as we perpetuate the illusion that earth and life are raw materials to be exploited for profits, we are indeed connecting. But instead of connecting on a continuum of health by protecting biodiversity, integrity, and self-organization of all living beings, including humans, we are connected through disease.”

Mr. Walker states that this perspective is shared by people like Dr. Zach Bush who use similar buzzwords like “virome” and “holistic” models that appeal to a susceptible audience. It is quite clear that Mr. Walker doesn’t see it in quite the same way. I take no issue with that. This is a debatable perspective on a very complicated paradigm and outside the scope of this article. However, he then goes on to dismiss Dr. Shiva’s assessment of the patent in question. At minute 21:30 of the podcast, he claims to “have done his research” and concluded that this is harmless technology that can be worn, like a watch, to help a system identify when a person has completed a “task”. This wearable technology can measure things like heart rate, EEG patterns, body temperature and eye movement to figure out if the subject has completed the activity in question. This is where I felt compelled to weigh in.

Having a career spent intensively monitoring patients’ physiology on an operating table as an anesthesiologist, I was surprised to discover, while doing my research, that the technology Mr. Walker considered harmless and wearable would also be able to monitor organ function, blood flow, and localized brain activity.

At this moment in time, we do not have the ability to measure such things with wearable technology. If we did, it would be used in operating rooms around the world. Moreover, it poses the obvious question: what sorts of tasks would require us to monitor such kinds of “Body Activity Data”? We are not talking about planting crops, mowing lawns or delivering packages. This kind of data can be best used for one thing: to monitor a person’s response to stimuli. It is not so hard to put it together. This technology is extremely well suited to measure a user’s level of engagement with technology submitted by one of the biggest creators of technology in the world, coincidentally.

When I offered my impression of the patent I soon learned that Mr. Walker was also on the thread. Julian did not respond to my take on the technology in question but instead deemed it unnecessary because a third party agreed with him. It was then that I asked if he would be willing to discuss the article and the patent openly in a mediated discussion here on Collective Evolution. His response:

My sense is that a speculative discussion with you on what that patent may or may not be is about as useful as the endless circles we can go in with 9/11 Truthers about building 7…The larger set of conspiracy claims and attribution of nefarious motivations are part of a style of paranoid thinking that can always take some facts and sound analysis, some reasonable seeming speculation and some outlandish nonsense and weave it all into a captivating seeming argument. I am not particularly interested in debating on a public stage in front of people who find arguments like [Dr.] Shiva’s in any way convincing or laudable, just as I would not be interested in debating creationists, flat earth-ers or 911 truth-ers.

The Dangers of Confirmation Bias

This is where we left it. How is one privy to this exchange supposed to make sense of this? I cannot expect everyone to accept my analysis because I happen to be more equipped to assess the technical aspects of the patent. Though it may seem logical to listen to the engineer and physician, I also seem to be arguing for a potential nefarious use of the technology and that would imply that Bill Gates and Microsoft have dubious intentions. If that proposition is impossible for you to believe, it is more sensical to side with the yoga teacher, podcast co-host and meditation instructor here and dismiss my analysis as the ranting of a paranoid flat earth-er. This is Confirmation bias. When looking at the world with confirmation bias we tend to focus on stuff that confirms our preconceived notions and dismiss stuff that opposes them. Confirmation bias creates unfounded confidence in our opinions.

Mr. Walker is testing positive for confirmation bias. In his mind the idea that the Earth is flat should be dismissed just as quickly as the idea of a conspiracy behind 9/11 or that patent WO2020060606 could be anything more than wearable technology that will help a person get fairly compensated with cryptocurrency for the work they do.

This is a challenge that not only faces Julian but many others. If their research into subjects like 9/11 or this patent is flimsy and superficial, they likely won’t have the understanding and context to truly unseat their initial foundational belief. Why bother going through the twenty-odd pages of technical descriptions of proposed embodiments of the patent if you begin with the assertion that this could never be anything more sinister than a smart watch? Why even read the supporting technical documents provided by NIST supposedly explaining the nature of the collapse of Building 7 if you know a priori that it must be what we have been told? In the case of Julian’s thinking here, his assumptions must be right. Otherwise it would undermine the entire premise of his attack on the “Conspiritualists.”

There is far more in the balance here than being right or wrong. We are talking about a different world view that puts everything into a different context. Isn’t that worth looking a bit more diligently?

If we examine Mr. Walker’s response a little more closely we can perhaps learn about where he may be “stuck.” First, he calls our proposed discussion to be speculative. That is true; neither of us can know for sure what this technology really represents. However, that is not how he describes his position in the podcast when he claims he “has done his research” and that it is self-evident to anyone who reads the patent description.

Next, he portrays any opinion that this technology may not be what he has claimed as part of a style of “paranoid thinking”. You can see that if he was right, I would necessarily be paranoid. Yet, if he admits that this is all speculative, how can he be certain he is right?

Finally, he claims that Dr. Shiva’s arguments are not at all laudable or convincing. However here he is using his admittedly speculative conclusions about this patent to attack Dr. Shiva’s entire position. Rather than addressing my analysis of the technology, he has labeled it unworthy of discussion because it is speculative too. Why is it fair to use speculation to dismantle Dr. Shiva’s position while claiming that a conversation about it would be useless because it is all speculative? This is clear evidence of a double standard, a necessary element in confirmation bias.

Is it possible to be objective?

This brings us to the most telling aspect of this exchange. Under what circumstances would a discussion about the difference of opinion be useless, especially if it is speculative? Aren’t those the kind of discussions that can lead to more clarity? Mr. Walker is essentially saying that because the Collective Evolution audience are all conspiracy theorists a discussion on this platform would be pointless. Why are we afraid of discussion on these issues?

Julian, if you happen to be reading this, I am not offended that you believe my opinion is no more worthy of consideration than a “flat earth-er’s”, but why would you shun the opportunity to explain your position on a platform that has over five million followers that may or may not agree with you? Are you able to understand that you have absolutely nothing to lose and the potential of helping a few million people see your side? If you are truly concerned about a dangerous “movement [that] attacks public health efforts in times of crisis” why not address those in the movement directly? What would motivate you to eschew such an opportunity to explain yourself to the very population you believe are misguided? Would you be willing to bring me on your podcast so that you can demonstrate how I have lost my bearings or better yet find some common ground and articulate a more accurate position together? If you are concerned that some of your listeners may be easily dissuaded by my “captivating sounding argument” how then would you regard their understanding of your position if it is as unassailable as you proclaim? In any case, we are not trying to win an election here. We are both after the same thing: clarity…aren’t we? 

The Takeaway

From an even deeper perspective, I hope that we can agree that being graced with a platform to express our positions comes with a large responsibility. Shouldn’t we be making every effort to examine all contrarian positions openly before leading our listeners in what we think is the right direction? Wouldn’t it be more constructive to come together and unify under a common understanding and purpose? As two practitioners of yoga, a science that is steeped in the ancient wisdom of embodying unity, shouldn’t seeking common ground be our primary intention?

Namaste.