Earlier this week I read a story about a man arrested for intentionally leaving out the COVID vaccine essentially destroying them. While reading, I noticed that he was a self-proclaimed conspiracy theorist. His wife was leaving him and feared for her safety due to his erratic behavior.
Today I watched as Trump supporters broke into Capitol Hill because they believed that there had been tampering with the election.
Throughout history, there have been Crusades and Jihads, witch trials, and the Red Scare. The thing that all of these have in common is that mobs of people get together and their shared beliefs divide them against their fellow man.
Personally, I can’t stand the conspiracy theories out there. People close to me from all walks of life are consumed with them. With very little proof or investigation, people believe whatever is presented to them. Our gullibility has made our society worse.
Recently I talked to someone who claimed in the 2016 election they didn’t even have a libertarian on the ballot. Seeing as I had voted for Gary Johnson that year, I mentioned that there was and I obviously saw it first hand. He confessed that he read it online so assumed it was true and didn’t vote.
He also said he gets all his political information from scrolling through Facebook. Flustered, I blurted out he was what was wrong with this country.
But really, there is an information war (or misinformation war) that is going on. People are consumed by it. I myself was consumed by it in 2012 during the Syria conflict. Listening to the news on my daily commute plus the “Mayan prophecy” had me seriously believing the world was going to end.
After realizing the world was not going to end, I vowed not to get so involved with the news.
But during the 2016 election, I was sucked into Facebook and reposting articles deposing both Democrats and Republicans. After the election, realizing I had been wound up yet again, I decided to focus on myself from then on.
Recently I have been reading a book titled Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. Taking the long view of history, seeing where we have come from and realizing what factors you are being controlled by is amazing. Knowing that whatever things you believe in are man-made be it religion, human rights, or how the economy works is freeing.
The real thing then, is not what separates us, but increasing kindness in the world just because it makes the world a better place.
You have to live here, right?
I went through the majority of the Trump presidency not having a real opinion on him since I was steering clear of the news. Perhaps it might seem like putting my head in the sand would make me a poor excuse for a citizen.
But I argue I was equally effective as any Facebook activist or your uncle getting upset at the news and complaining to anyone who would listen about the latest cause. The difference being that I was in a better mood and better able to bring positivity to those around me.
So I challenge you, try turning off CNN, FOX, Facebook, or your conspiracy theory Youtube channel for 90 days. Cut out your “informed” friends and steer clear of those negative coworkers and family members.
See if your life doesn’t improve. I bet you will notice the world seems a little brighter. Give it a full 90 days. The rest of the world can handle getting angry about things for a while. Trust me, if you get out at all, you will pick up enough of the news to stay somewhat informed, but for those 90 days, realize it isn’t enough to concern you.
You just might change your world.