There seems to be a lot of conspiracy theories being propagated. They strive to uncover the “truth” behind some of the biggest news stories, from the JFK assassination and the moon landing to supposed UFO sightings and COVID-19. On today’s podcast, Bill Stierle and Tom take a closer look at some of the most popular conspiracy theories in circulation and discuss how conspiracy theories are a way to indoctrinate people and to purchase truth away from them. Open up your mind, get out of your bubble, and get in touch with the real truth behind these theories as you join Bill and Tom in this episode.
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Purchasing Truth Through Conspiracy Theories
Bill, I think it’s about time we had the discussion about conspiracy theories. There are always some floating about, and they’ve been with us more than my entire life. Some of the most obvious ones go back to the John F. Kennedy assassination or the moon landing if it happened or not things like that. There seems to be an awful lot of conspiracy theories being propagated, and there have been some discussion in the media about it. I thought it makes sense to go over that and maybe we need to start with defining conspiracy theories just so that we have a common place to start here.
Conspiracy theories have provided an interesting benefit for human beings and people are going to be weirded out that I would say benefit. It’s an interesting place for us to talk about how to purchase truth around it. As well as the center of the show is how to use language or how language is used in the belief structure of the brain in order to do some things for us throughout our lifetime. You’re right. The definition is totally where to start. A secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful. It’s an interesting place to start a definition.
One of the things that set of words does is it activates an important need for us, protection and its protection from the unknown. Tom, there are three steps to purchase somebody’s belief. One of them is to create uncertainty. That definition does that because the dopamine level is going to move up. I’m going to be enthusiastic about uncovering things. We’re naturally curious. If you’re telling me something’s unknown behind door number 1, door number 2, or door number 3, which one are you picking? The curiosity draws you in. If the thing that happens is life-changing or very large, the conspiracy becomes more likely. Oswald shooting John F. Kennedy because he died is different than the shooter shooting Ronald Reagan because Ronald Reagan didn’t die.
That does make a big difference.
The end result is the thing that creates the uncertainty. Ronald Reagan didn’t die, so it’s only proportional. If he did die, do you know how many movies there would be about? I can’t remember the guy’s name there.
I always get his killer confused with John Lennon’s. There was like Mark David Chapman was one of them, which I may have wrong, and then there was John Hinckley Jr. Maybe it was John Hinckley Jr. that shot Ronald Reagan.
The conspiracy to destroy the government is a big thing. If I keep a narrative about the evil liberals destroying the government by turning it into communism. Meanwhile, the alternative motive is to create an oligarchy where there’s a bunch of rich people running everything. Two thousand families own a great portion of the wealth of America. We can’t vote to raise taxes on those people?
That’s why they’re called the 1% or even the fraction of 1%. By the way, it was John Hinckley Jr. for the record who shot Ronald Reagan.
The act of conspiring means that I then get to gather people, my tribe of like-minded people to believe that thing. The way the language and the brain works a little bit as somebody that spends time picking better words for people to say, to reduce conflict and mediation rather than picking words that are going to escalate the conflict. I want to pick words that are going to deescalate the conflict. If I wanted to keep people hooked into a group of people to be agreeing to stuff, whether it’s an organization that has problems, a government agency, a church, a family that has a belief about the way someone is, I want to gently be able to let truth come forward so that everybody can start talking about the truth and then get peace along the way.
Conspiring means that I’m keeping the mystery alive because that keeps me and my people close. All of a sudden, the physiology of the body starts to calm down because I have certainty that there was a conspiracy to shoot John F. Kennedy because I’ve introduced the most valuable phrases in both sales and politics. What if some people are saying, “I’m not sure if it’s fully true, but that’s what I’m hearing?” That’s how you pull people into doubt and skepticism about what might not happen. Using conspiring language in the upper part of government allows leaders specifically in certain countries to hold the majority of people in their general set of agreements about the way the world is and how the world will work best. You just start separating and picking off the outliers. It’s an unsettling thing to say separating.
It sounds like conspiracy theories are a way to indoctrinate people and to purchase truth away from them.The way beliefs work is tiny breadcrumb messages that maintain the connection with the person that you believe in are loyal to. Click To Tweet
They’re not in touch with the truth because what they’re doing is they’re narrowing on a portion of the truth or a fact. They will argue with you with the sentence, “What about?” “Donald Trump did this. What about Barack Obama like those things? We’re even.” They’re not even, but it doesn’t matter in the conspiracy mind because there is a portion of fact that allows the brain to make those things equal. It’s proportional, but if you keep the conspiracy alive, it’s not proportional. The traction with Ronald Reagan just getting shot, there can’t be any conspiracy because they caught the guy, they prosecuted him. They saw that they looked at all the evidence and because he didn’t die, there’s no mystery. If he did die, we’ll never know. What do you mean we’ll never know? It’s the same set of facts.
It’s the same research, but the brain wants to equate the bigness of change and wants to try to find some certainty. You and I can have the discussion about whether me and ten of our friends sit in your backyard and an alien ship lands and a relatively safe looking alien comes out with no metal weapons around, with a universal translator that they happen to have. “We’ve come X number of light-years here. We’re welcoming you. We think your species is ready. We wanted to introduce you to find people. I was wondering if you could share some of your barbecue with us.” As I’m creating this story, the proportionality of the experience of a real alien standing in front of us is going to cause the feeling of shock, worried, anxious, nervous and scared. There are some people that might run from the backyard as they’re seeing it come down. They’re thinking, “I’m not going to wait to face the alien because clearly, the alien is a dangerous person.” The framework of the alien is viewed from a place of safety, not from a place of inclusion.
Isn’t that human nature that, as human beings, we have our bubble of what we view as safe and our bubble of beliefs? You and I talk about certain bubbles and the reality is there is safety and certainty in your close-knit community. There are different bubbles. You probably have the bubble that is your neighborhood. You have the bubble that is your school system. You might have a bubble that is your church. You have a bubble that is then your town. Maybe we have a bubble that is America to a degree and of course, their biggest bubble is probably the whole Earth when you’re talking about aliens. Different levels of certainty that get threatened, don’t they?
They do. That’s why a conspiracy starts careening towards evil, unlawful, treacherous, surreptitious plan formulated in secret by two or more people. It’s a plot. Roswell is a plot because it’s unknown and unseen. They’re not going to say Roswell is where they first tested the stealth plane before it was enrolled to the world, and they kept it there for ten years as they were testing the single-wing design. They look up in the sky and say, “There’s a single-wing design. That can’t be ours. It must be from aliens.” It’s like, “What the heck?” “Us coming up, us testing new things. No.” When someone’s out of the loop, they feel helpless. When they’re in the loop, they feel some confidence, but they’re still the mystery of what I don’t know.
It’s easy to scare somebody in a certain bubble by making it helpless about the people that are outside the bubble. That’s why, “We want immigrants to work in our meat factories and not paying them anything, but we don’t want them here illegally. Since they are here illegally, we’re not going to give them any rights even though they’re paying more taxes than many of the citizens. They’re paying stuff going into the system and not taking anything out of the system.” It’s unsettling that these beliefs about people that are outside the American bubble aren’t able to breathe through the change or the awareness about what’s best, what’s proportional, what’s most effective, and what’s most fair for illegal aliens, as well as the people that are here. Does that make some sense?
It does. It doesn’t take aliens to make a conspiracy theory. There are plenty of them right here in America. In fact, there’s even our current president. He hints at conspiracy theories all the time. Let’s talk about why people make up conspiracy theories. What’s the point? Is it to purchase truth? Is it to move people’s beliefs? Is it just a play on their beliefs? Why would you launch a conspiracy theory?
To build a community, to have other like-minded people get on and support me from my place of either helplessness or scared. I need support. I’m feeling helpless about the world, about my job for 30 years. The conspiracy is that the aliens are taking my job. The immigrants are taking my job.
That was the conspiracy theory that Donald Trump propagated even before he ran for president about Barack Obama not being a natural-born American.
You’re helpless about somebody giving you healthcare that your party is telling you that this healthcare is going to take away or ruin something you have. Even now, when something goes into law, it doesn’t stick into law. It used to stick for 5, 10, 15, 25, 35, 45, 55 years. What happens is the people that don’t like that law try to chisel away at it. They try to weaken it. They try to put a provision that guts the law. The law is on the books, but this provision just took all the teeth out of it like the voting rights thing. You just took the teeth out of the thing. The thing can’t bite anything. It doesn’t have any edge anymore.
We don’t need that anymore. That’s not true because no matter how we think that we have progressed, there are populations of people that have not progressed. No matter how much optimism you and I think about an all-inclusive cooperative nation, there are groups of people that do not want all-inclusive cooperative nation. They would like their bubble to be protected. Because the way the laws are written, their bubbles get to be protected. Just ask the Amish. Their bubble gets to be protected because they can live and be in that belief structure, fit in that side of community and stay inside that world. There are places in the world that don’t know about 5G, even though you and I might have different opinions about 5G or have the same opinion about 5G, or have the same unknowingness about 5G. Notice if it’s big, a conspiracy comes with it because I’m helpless and I feel scared.
There was a conspiracy going around something about how 5G caused Coronavirus or made it worse.
They looked at the towers. This is where purchasing truth. You’re going to totally crack up on this. Here’s the Coronaviruses, here’s the 5G rollout. They match. Look at the red dots are similar. What was missing was the third map, which is here’s population density. 5G is matching population density and it just happens to be Coronavirus is more prolific where there are more dense people.
They both were happening because of population density. They were happening in the same areas, but one was intentional to support that population density, and one is a virus that’s like burning a forest full of dry wood. If there’s more wood, it’s going to burn more.
I’m interested in any kind of science that shows up in front that says 5G with its thing has certain detrimental pieces to it and how this new thing is going to affect. We are soft animals and we have learned a lot about all kinds of things that are environmentally toxic to our body. That initially they’re going like, “This is pretty toxic, but we could use it because it doesn’t seem like it has any effect on things.” We’re learning about microfibers and PFSS, different chemicals, different things that sink into the water table, and things that don’t get dissolved over time. We’re learning that we need to collaborate and cooperate with nature or things will not go well for us. It’s called plastics on the shores of a remote island that float there and stay there for hundreds of thousands of years.
The Pacific garbage patch that’s out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It’s like the size of Texas. It’s so sad.
It’s huge because no one sees it just because that’s why it’s not there. I’m trusting that this plastic water bottle is going to be recycled. Is that true? Not 50 other people are throwing in a place that gets into the ocean, so it gets recycled anywhere. It says, “My bottle gets recycled.” The evilness of it that you can take and hijack somebody’s bias and immediately yank 20% or 30% of the population to say, “Mexico is the problem. They give us our rapists and they’re murderers. They’re not sending us their best people.” That constructed narrative easily hijacks 25% of the vote. That’s scary.
A lot of the time there’s not an interest in this population of people buying into it. There’s not an interest to seek truth to find out for themselves if it is true to do the research and the work. It’s much easier to get on board with a conspiracy theory that happens to fit your bubble of beliefs, or at least is giving you some kind of safety or certainty feeling.
What’s unsettling is that the safety uncertainty, we did an episode on the problem with truth and time. If you’re hunkered down and you’re not making enough money with one job and therefore you have a second job, and then you have a third job just to make enough money, you have no time to find truth. There’s no time to find truth in a factory in China. There’s no time for that person to find truth there because they’re working 10, 12, 14 hours or 16 if it’s bad. There’s no time in their life then suicide by jumping out of one of the buildings looks like a good idea because I don’t have a life here. I’d rather not have this experience because it’s too painful for me. That’s problematic and we have our own version of it and our truth can get hijacked. The word ‘hijacked’ is a little too strong. I like to think of it that you don’t have to hijack a person. All you’ve got to do is put a breadcrumb in a direction of where you would like them to go and they just follow it.
It’s small messages to get them over there. We’ve got to watch because a big part of what happens with psychology during this election time is small messages and evil. If you look at President Donald Trump’s speech, he literally threw the kitchen sink at unbelievable things. They want to get rid of suburbs. They’re are going to be gone and also schools. They’re going to get rid of all police. Listen to this globalizing language. It’s conspiratorial. It’s saying this big, bad thing is going to take place. That’s how we got elected the first time. There’s this big, bad thing at the border and it’s immigration. We haven’t dealt with it. We need to keep these bad people out. He has breadcrumbed them all the way to the voting booth. It didn’t matter how much truth that the border crossings have been declining for the last X years. The initial shock of NAFTA that drove everybody north.
Let’s talk about something that’s more right in all of American’s faces, which is COVID-19. We were able to see it. If you pay attention to any headlines in this country, the President was interviewed by Chris Wallace on Fox News. Chris Wallace more than any other correspondent at Fox News I think is a real journalist. All of us have our biases, but he’s a pretty levelheaded guy.
He stays on it and he’s going like, “I’m looking at these numbers here. From a conservative point of mine, here’s the number I’m looking at.” Donald Trump does what he does best, “Somebody else has the real numbers here, Chris. You don’t have the real numbers. I have the real numbers over here. They’re back behind door number three.”
He says, “Bring me the numbers on the death rate.” That was a question on the death rate. Chris Wallace was saying, “The US is in the bad shape with the highest death rate,” and Donald Trump was like, “No, we have the lowest death rate. Your numbers are wrong on that.” He injects this doubt and skepticism and creates the idea that there’s a conspiracy going on in America to inflate the death rate, to hurt him at the ballot box in November. These are the types of things that he does to try to get more people to support him. He just sits there on national TV spewing.
He’s promoting a point of view that meets his need for loyalty, inclusion, and his version of truth. If we were honest, we take a look at what our nation is, the USA with our population, and take how many millions of people we have here. We take that group of people and then we would look at the most important number possible, which is how many deaths per million. It’s 435 people per million are dying.
Just to eliminate truth, how does that compare to other countries? Where are we on that list?Talking about difficult things takes a few observational skills versus hopping on judgment, criticism, defensiveness, or contempt. Click To Tweet
The highest one is Spain, 608 million and the UK, 667 million. We will rapidly get there. We will be even with them by November easily.
I personally and regrettably think that you’re probably right there, Bill.
I feel sad to be right as somebody that knows five people that died from COVID. This is not a good thing. I don’t like this whole experience at all.
It’s not a good thing. It’s interesting that we brought that up about the death rates because I don’t want to be an alarmist. I did see an interview with Dr. Michael Osterholm, who’s the Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at The University of Minnesota. He is certainly not a left-wing liberal trying to push some left-wing agenda by any means. He was asked a question if we’re going to see infections in the United States at the rate of 100,000 per day soon. Is it inevitable? We’re going to get there because we’ve been in the United States hovering around 70,000 new cases per day identified. He said, “So far, we’ve infected about 78% of the US population to date.”
He said, “This virus won’t slow down until we’ve reached infecting about 50% of the US population. That’s what it’s going to take for it to slow down on its own.” At the pace of infecting about 70,000 people per day, which is the rate, he says, “It will take fully 365 days to reach infecting 50% of the population.” This is the quote that got my attention that was sobering. “We have a lot of human wood to burn in this Coronavirus forest fire. It’s likely that we will see infections of over 100,000 per day. If we do not change our ways quickly, we are going to see those kinds of numbers daily and the kinds of numbers of infecting 50% of the population.” He’s trying to say, “We’ve got to change our ways.” He was talking about wearing a mask, which we’ve talked about in another episode. If everybody would wear masks, we wouldn’t see those numbers, but we haven’t changed our ways enough yet. Maybe that will happen. This isn’t a conspiracy theory, but it is some scary honesty around that.
I’ll put a post up, and you and I have talked about masks. I think even in the last episode, we talked about masks too. The good reason why conspiracy will come about that thing called masks and what’s the conspiracy behind it. It has to do with the JFK thing, which is because this is something that is big. Therefore, since it’s big, there must be some kind of alternative motive that the people want us to do this thing. Because it’s big, there must be this mysterious thing, and the bias then gets hijacked very easily. The person goes like, “You’re being sheep. You’re being controlled. You’re being this.” How about if we’re just being considerate? How about if we’re just caring for others? How about if we’re just doing our small part? Let’s not make anything big. Let’s escalate this to the concept called contact tracing. “We don’t want to find out who you’ve connected with because if we start contact tracing, everybody’s going to keep track of everybody and you’ll know who you’re talking about. We don’t want that level of surveillance.”
You get to the privacy concern and the big brother fear of government.
We’ll investigate your people, but you’re not going to use this thing to investigate. When it comes to riots, we’ll surveil and arrest all we can over there because our belief structure is over here. The hardest part about a conspiracy is that it’s a group of people that believe that they’re doing the right thing by fighting against something that is outside, illusionary, and that’s not a part of their belief structure. They think, “It’s okay because the law allows me to do it, but it’s not okay because the law doesn’t allow me to do it. We’re not going to do contact tracing. That’s a stupid thing because the numbers on privacy, independence, and individuality are much higher than the numbers on collaboration, cooperation, and care for others. I don’t want to care for others when I’m going to lose my privacy.” It’s like, “Huh?” You’ve got to be able to think more like an adult there. You’ve got to be able to think both. How can I meet the need for privacy and how can I care for others at the same time? How can I get protection for this and how can I do my part to do this? The California numbers, the Texas numbers, and the Florida numbers take us into February 2020 in escalation. Other states, New York, New Jersey, they flattened the curve.
Pretty much all New England, Connecticut, Massachusetts, all those states.
They’re all going, “We’re starting to open.” They’re being secret about them opening up the restaurants because the rest of the nation, “We want you, what you have.”
They don’t want everyone to flock there and then cause a whole second wave in those states.
There is no messaging coming out from New York for people to come there and visit. “Do not come here. We have enough contained economy. We’re going to be just fine here. Thank you very much. We don’t need the tourism. We’ll take it after the thing’s over but we’re not taking it now.” It’s very unsettling.
Returning to conspiracy theories for a moment, there was a good piece done by John Oliver regarding conspiracy theories. It’s interesting, Bill, because you posted a clip of that on YouTube, on social media about conspiracy theories. One of the comments you got from someone saying who either didn’t watch the video and understand what the story was about, but immediately tried to purchase truth away from you and away from that video. I was curious. Do you want to mention that?
The hard part about it is that the title of John Oliver’s show was Coronavirus: Conspiracy Theories: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Here’s what the person posted, “I agree, CV-19 is a conspiracy.” They literally read the title and saw it through the view of, instead of watching the show. They could have just promoting their bias. What a bias does is it doesn’t look for truth. It looks for evidence to support the bias. A lot of people were looking to put Donald Trump in a religious validation piece when he got elected. In the Bible, there was this character, this king and they equated Donald Trump to this same type of king from the Bible. That made him on the good side.
It was this weird reference from the Bible who Donald Trump has referred to us. They’re looking for something that we believe in that’s close to or next to the thing that we’re living with and we’re accepting. What happens is the truth gets purchased because it’s a breadcrumb in the direction towards certainty. How do we as human beings stare that down and go like, “How much of truth is this?” Versus, “It must be true?” That’s very unsettling. We’ve got to do a better job.
What was so revealing about that comment is that because of what the person commented, it was very clear they didn’t watch the piece. They didn’t do their own research. They didn’t inform themselves because had he watched it and still disagreed with it, he would have made different points. He would have referenced specific things within this report that John Oliver made about conspiracy theories. He didn’t do that. He immediately said, “Yes, you’re right. COVID-19 is a conspiracy.” Here’s this other information, because he posted a photo of something he was saying about Dr. Fauci and that supported his belief that COVID-19 is a conspiracy and that it’s not real. That is an unfortunate example of someone that is not interested in pursuing or revealing truth. They’re interested in perpetuating and supporting their own beliefs and then maintaining the followership.
As I looked up the story of King Cyrus, Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel said, “He’s just like King Cyrus.” It went like wildfire because all of a sudden, it’s a conservative view to people that are maintaining their populations, their bubbles, the best way they can maintain their bubbles, not looking at the greater reality or truth of, “The world is a big place with a lot of different beliefs and values. All these different human beings are living lives the way they are. Can we please get passed back to a place of collaboration, cooperation with each other, and figure out what fairness looks like to the best of our ability?”
How about that? Let’s set the course and start finding truth to get us there, instead of trying to propagating what the outside views are. It’s hard to lead from a tweet, but he’s doing it because the way beliefs work is tiny breadcrumb messages that maintain the connection with the person that you believe and are loyal to. I’m very unsettled just by saying that because that’s a part of the circumstances that we’re living in. The thing I want the audience to get ahold of is that the language breadcrumbs that are being put in front of the person to lead them there, it’s tapping into a deeper fear, a deeper acculturated fallacy that has come up.
It’s disheartening. They don’t fully know that it’s taking place because it’s the next piece of breadcrumb that’s in front of them that’s validating where they think they are. What’s valuable to them is maintaining the belief. They’re looking for committing to combining and bringing things to make sense. Their brain is desperately trying to fill in things that support that level of agreement. We’re in a very saturated time with language. On the John Oliver Show, all I’ve got to do is google this thing and look what comes up. It’s like, “If you keep staring that, that will start to look real to you.” Even Hasan Minhaj did it. He goes, “I said this one time, and then all of a sudden I Googled that thing and my name came up because I talked about that topic, not what the reality of the topic was. How did I get associated with this?” Talking about difficult things takes a little bit of observational skills versus hopping on judgment, criticism, defensiveness or contempt. Be careful not to validate what you’re reading and trying to take it in. I know this is hard, but we measure things from what we’ve known in the past. We don’t measure things from what’s in front of us. Our brain regrettably is designed that way for safety reasons.
It’s inherent that we will tend to appreciate and absorb information that’s in alignment with our past experiences. That becomes our confirmation bias, it might be other things. The conspiracy theories, I think we all have to be aware of them because they purchase our own truth and keep us in our own bubble.
Let’s end the show on a positive note. Let’s make it positive and see if we can stick the landing. That’s a big challenge when you dive deep into a subject, it’s hard to come back up and stick the landing so that we get language that’s going to help us. If you were a conspiracy person and I am listening to that, what do I say or do to have a conversation with you? What are some things that I choose not to do? The first thing that I choose not to do is I choose to set facts that I have over here on the side burner, not the back burner and turn it on low. Do not turn the facts on high. You’ve got to turn the facts on low. The second step, listen to the conspiracy theorist sentences. As soon as it gets to 7 to 13 words, repeat it back to them instantly. Don’t let the conversation go into the monologue. Get the person being heard early. You would like me to hear that there was a conspiracy with JFK. It looks like an invitation for them to go into monologue. “One piece of evidence that you have to validate what you’re saying about JFK is this. Is that the piece of evidence you’d like to be here?” “Yes.” They’ll bring a second piece of evidence. “A second thought that you have about that is this. Is that thought correct?” “Yes, it is.”
Many people might have the third fact, but we’ll start running out of steam after the second. They’ll keep fighting and that’s why it is the good reason why the mob shot JFK. “The so-and-so did it, the deep state did this. You’d like me to hear that the deep state was back at alignment back then because we do have people that advocate to protect America’s interests and may break a law too. Is that what you’re saying?” “Yeah.” Notice they’re tying conspiracy to law-breakers, CIA, NSA, to the different systems that we have that are outside, that are interested in trying to make sure that America’s interests or take place. It may not follow all the rules that Americans need to follow. I can appreciate that partial truth because there are certain ethics and beliefs that you need to follow in order to say, “We need to act on protection here. We cannot act on this other need.” It’s a problem.
You’ve reflected what they’ve said a few times and made them feel heard. What’s the next move?
All of a sudden what you’ve done is you’ve changed them from an adversarial. For those that are reading, I’m holding my left hand and right hand up and pretending I have two guns shooting at each other because that’s the way the initial conversation starts. This thing is, I’m not going to shoot anything with my side of the gun. I’m turning my hand forward and they’re shooting, but I’m saying, “You’re shooting over there. I’m seeing where you’re shooting. You’re not shooting at me. You’re shooting at the issue.” I’m trying to make it about the issue, not about us personally. See how that’s way different so I can listen and I can tolerate somebody going, “You don’t want to wear a mask because you see it’s affecting your freedom and your independence. You have some doubts on whether or not it’s effective, and you don’t believe that it’s effective. Is that correct?” “Yes. I don’t believe that.”We measure things from what we've known in the past, not from what's in front of us. Click To Tweet
“I can see how you don’t believe that. You might’ve had some information or research that might’ve informed you that it wasn’t effective.” “I saw this one thing with this doctor that said, ‘Dah, dah, dah.’” There was this one video with these two doctors that were talking and it’s been debunked, but the damage was done about their belief about what was happening. They were operating in a vacuum among other things. It’s hard. We’ve got two viruses going on. We’ve got the Coronavirus and we’ve got the virus of communication that’s just as lethal because it’s causing doubt and skepticism, hesitancy, nervous, anxious, worried, scared, all the emotions we do not want while trying to collaborate and cooperate together.
It’s assisting the virus to propagate because people have doubt that it’s real, or that it’s going to impact them or that it’s in their community.
It’s not until a high-ranking person, a well-known person, a very famous person, somebody that many people would miss on both sides that all of a sudden everybody goes. We’re unified because all of us like that person. All of us like Rock Hudson or Magic Johnson.” All of a sudden it’s like, “We like these people. We don’t want to lose these people. We may want to put some research into AIDS because we don’t want to lose more of these nice famous people we like.” They’re feeling helpless and hopeless. We’re feeling helpless and hopeless and we don’t feel that way. All of a sudden, there’s the political will to do it.
You de-escalated the person on the John F. Kennedy conspiracy theory by making it about the issue, not about them or attacking you. You’ve aligned your thinking with theirs. What do you do next?
You’re ready for the next step. Thanks, Tom. I appreciate you as the person doing this because a lot of times, we get caught an explanation. It’s like, “Bill, could you just give the third step already?” Now all of a sudden, because there is some sense that I am not going to make them wrong for their conspiracy or their belief, I now can introduce two important feelings, hesitancy and doubt. I feel hesitant about what you’re saying because I heard this other alternative thing that you might not be believing. Are you seeing that this is not fully true? How are you seeing it? Notice I use the words ‘fully true’ because they’re already tilting the needle towards their bias, their belief, or their truth. You believe this thing to be this kind of truth. You have that range of evidence in your experience. “I read this article about this mother that got vaccinated and her kid died, the kid got sick or this is what happened. Therefore, it means that all.” It already goes to the big thing.
Now all of a sudden, the conspiracy has a place to live. Instead of this is a biological thing that took place inside this child that died because of whatever the genetic circumstances or the combination of, or whatever happened, or the reason why that kid died, that needs to be investigated fully. At the same time, it’s not necessarily as big as the person might think it is. What happens with conspiracy is that if there is a death, if it’s something big or if there are billions of dollars things, they’re going to stay with the conspiracy. I’ve got the third step, which is I’m introducing hesitancy in doubt. I’m presiding something that is next to the thing that they’re saying and not against. You treat it like it’s a race. “I’m curious about what’s the size of the experiences that you’re having and the size of the experience that I’m having with the truth that I’m having and what’s the proportionality. You can start adjusting perception and perspective through empathy.
You’d like safety. You would like some trust. You need more certainty. The evidence is not there for you yet. You’ve read these kinds of things, but these other things that I’ve read you haven’t looked at. You’re rejecting the things that I’m saying. I can see that. You just want to stay with your belief right now.” “No. I’m open-minded.” “No, you’re not.” They’re going to claim open-mindedness but what they’re doing is they’re trying to claim certainty that they’re right. We’ve got to get out of our nation moving forward. We have to get out of a right-wrong narrative and get into the narrative, here’s where the law stands. Here’s where ethics stands. We need to have those two layers be reconstituted. We cannot keep collapsing just because something’s not illegal that it’s right.
As you said, that place of collaboration and cooperation because if we don’t do that, we’re not digging out of this hole quickly. We’ll end up digging out of it in February or maybe like Michael Osterholm said some time a year from now. That would be a painful year.
I think I called that on one of our episodes or something like that in the past that if there’s not a flattening by July, we’re going to be into this until February, March of 2021 because the biases and the truth are being yanked around, Tom. I don’t want it this way. Do you think I like adjusting all of the things that I need to? You and I have it better than most people. Most people are sucking air. They’re grasping for financial income, food, and support. We’ve got to start rallying around those kinds of things. We’ve got to figure out how to safely support the people that are sucking air over there.
The Coronavirus takes away your breath, sucking air. It’s taking the air out of the economy and out of our collaborative nation, dividing the states. We are not the divided States of America. That’s not where the way we’re built. It sure looks like that because if you go after state’s rights, all of a sudden you just cut them off and you go, “Your state can do it the way it wants to.” That’s not the United States. That’s what you’re going to do? Great. There’s some hope in it that with an inclusive narrative using empathy and being able to listen more fully, we can get a better shot at some of these things, then it will tend to go better, but not there at this moment.
I think we have an issue with leadership that is not seeing it this way.
I wish Joe Biden would have more empathetic narratives in his dialogue. From the way he’s talking about things is, he’s using certain language that’s safe. I would request that some small infusion with a little bit more empathetic language, not a sympathetic language because he’s good there. There’s almost too much of it. If his people would contact me, I would show them the difference because they’re not in alignment with engagement fully. If you want to lead, you need to master empathy in a brand-new way. That’s what’s needed next to get us out of this.
I agree wholeheartedly, Bill. That seems like a good place to leave it for this episode. Thank you so much. I enjoyed that.
- John Hinckley Jr
- Previous episode – Beliefs, Masks, and Education: How We Purchase Truth from Ourselves
- Dr. Michael Osterholm interview on Meet The Press
- Coronavirus: Conspiracy Theories: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
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