Why Our HUMANITY Matters!


I am someone who is gay
I rarely talk about it. đŸ€·â€â™‚â€

I am someone who is Hispanic
I rarely talk about it. đŸ€·â€â™‚â€

I am someone who is Atheist
I (especially) rarely talk about it. đŸ€·â€â™‚â€

Why do I rarely talk about these things? đŸ€”

let’s take a step back. 👣

Say you were meeting me for the very first time, and the only information you were given about who I am were these labels: 📜

Male. Gay. Hispanic. Atheist.

What kind of person comes to your mind that fits into each of these categories? đŸ€”

What comes to your mind when you think of a “Gay Male”? Flamboyant? Feminine? Limp wrists?

What comes to your mind when you think of an “Atheist?” Snobbish? Science-obsessed? Blasphemous?

take these labels and apply them back to me. And compare these labels to how you đ˜ąđ˜€đ˜”đ˜¶đ˜ąđ˜­đ˜­đ˜ș know me as a person. đŸ™‹â€â™‚ïž

Let me ask: do these labels easily fit into your general perception of me? 😅

Of Donald Arteaga? đŸ€·â€â™‚ïž

If your answer is “no”
THAT is the reason why!

🙌 𝐓𝐡𝐞 đ«đžđšđŹđšđ§ 𝐈 đ«đšđ«đžđ„đČ đđžđŹđœđ«đąđ›đž 𝐩đČđŹđžđ„đŸ 𝐱𝐧 đ­đžđ«đŠđŹ 𝐹𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐬𝐞 đ„đšđ›đžđ„đŹ 𝐱𝐬 𝐛𝐞𝐜𝐚𝐼𝐬𝐞 𝐈 𝐱𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐧𝐝 đŸđšđ« đČ𝐹𝐼 𝐭𝐹 𝐬𝐞𝐞 𝐩𝐞 𝐚𝐬 𝐚 𝐡𝐼𝐩𝐚𝐧 𝐛𝐞𝐱𝐧𝐠, đŸđąđ«đŹđ­ 𝐚𝐧𝐝 đŸđšđ«đžđŠđšđŹđ­, đ›đžđŸđšđ«đž 𝐭𝐡𝐞 đ„đšđ›đžđ„đŹ. 🙌

I’d rather we all be judged, as Martin Luther King Jr. said, based upon the content of our character. đŸ‘€

👍 I don’t intend for you to judge me by virtue of my sexual preference.

👍 I don’t intend for you to judge me by virtue of my race.

👍 I don’t intend for you to judge me by virtue of my religious affiliation.


THIS is why I generally don’t provide this information to people upfront. I want you to get to know ME first, minus the preconceptions. 🙂

👀 𝐁𝐞𝐜𝐚𝐼𝐬𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 đŠđšđ«đž 𝐈 đžđŠđ©đĄđšđŹđąđłđž 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐬𝐞 đ„đšđ›đžđ„đŹ 𝐚𝐬 𝐰𝐡𝐹 𝐈 𝐚𝐩, 𝐭𝐡𝐞 đŠđšđ«đž 𝐈 đžđ§đœđšđźđ«đšđ đž đČ𝐹𝐼 đšđ§đ„đČ 𝐭𝐹 𝐬𝐞𝐞 𝐩𝐞 đ­đĄđ«đšđźđ đĄ 𝐭𝐡𝐞 đŸđąđ„đ­đžđ« 𝐹𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐬𝐞 đ„đšđ›đžđ„đŹ. 👀

The problem is these labels are only mere facets of who I am as a human being, just as I believe this to be the case for any other human being. 💎

I’ve held this ideal ever since I started my mission to Transcend Labels in 2018. ⏳

The ideal has always been for me to show through my example that people don’t have to be entrenched in their labels. 💯

The ideal has always been for me to show that my diagnosis of Autism is just a temporary explanation and not a final destination. 💯

The ideal has always been for me to show how limiting labels are as frameworks for understanding ourselves and other people. 💯

Consider the facts:

🙌 No one on this planet is 100% exactly the same.

🙌 No one thinks 100% exactly the same way.

🙌 No one has lived 100% exactly the same life as another person.

𝐁𝐞𝐜𝐚𝐼𝐬𝐞 𝐹𝐟 đšđźđ« đąđ§đĄđžđ«đžđ§đ­ đąđ§đđąđŻđąđđźđšđ„đąđ­đČ, đžđŻđžđ«đČ𝐹𝐧𝐞 𝐡𝐚𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 đ©đšđ­đžđ§đ­đąđšđ„ 𝐭𝐹 𝐭𝐞𝐚𝐜𝐡 𝐼𝐬 𝐬𝐹𝐩𝐞𝐭𝐡𝐱𝐧𝐠.

𝐁𝐞𝐜𝐚𝐼𝐬𝐞 𝐹𝐟 đšđźđ« đąđ§đĄđžđ«đžđ§đ­ đąđ§đđąđŻđąđđźđšđ„đąđ­đČ, 𝐚 đ©đžđ«đŹđšđ§â€™đŹ đ„đšđ›đžđ„đŹ 𝐜𝐚𝐧 đ§đžđŻđžđ« 𝐝𝐹 𝐣𝐼𝐬𝐭𝐱𝐜𝐞 𝐭𝐹 𝐭𝐡𝐞 đœđšđŠđ©đ„đžđ±, 𝐼𝐧𝐱đȘ𝐼𝐞 đąđ§đđąđŻđąđđźđšđ„ đ„đšđČ𝐱𝐧𝐠 𝐰𝐱𝐭𝐡𝐱𝐧 𝐞𝐚𝐜𝐡 𝐹𝐟 𝐼𝐬.

𝐁𝐞𝐜𝐚𝐼𝐬𝐞 𝐹𝐟 đšđźđ« đąđ§đĄđžđ«đžđ§đ­ đąđ§đđąđŻđąđđźđšđ„đąđ­đČ, 𝐚 đ©đžđ«đŹđšđ§â€™đŹ đ„đšđ›đžđ„đŹ 𝐜𝐚𝐧 đ§đžđŻđžđ« 𝐛𝐞 𝐚 đđžđ­đžđ«đŠđąđ§đšđ§đ­ 𝐹𝐟 𝐹𝐧𝐞’𝐬 đ©đžđ«đŹđšđ§đšđ„ đœđĄđšđ«đšđœđ­đžđ«.

As Ayishat Akanbi put it: “đ‘»đ’‰đ’† 𝒇𝒊𝒙𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏 𝒘𝒊𝒕𝒉 𝒚𝒐𝒖𝒓 𝒊𝒅𝒆𝒏𝒕𝒊𝒕𝒚 𝒍𝒊𝒎𝒊𝒕𝒔 𝒚𝒐𝒖𝒓 𝒊𝒅𝒆𝒏𝒕𝒊𝒕𝒚.” The obsession with one’s labels become a self-fulfilling prophecy which leaves no room for change, let alone the possibility for personal growth. 🙌

For me, my mission to Transcend Labels is a life-affirming philosophy that says we are more than our pasts, more than our circumstances, and that we are capable of becoming more than the people we were yesterday. ✊


Perhaps as you read this, this sounds like common sense to you! 😅

things seemed to have changed. 🧐

Not with my mission; it remains the same. But I’m talking about within our society. đŸ‘„

More and more I continue reading about a growing ideology that:

đŸ˜± Encourages people to see each other ONLY for their labels, not for their individuality.

đŸ˜± Encourages people to see each other ONLY for their group identities, not for their common humanity.

đŸ˜± Encourages people to indulge in cognitive biases like mindreading, overgeneralizing, and black-and-white thinking.

This smorgasbord of an ideology has come to be more popularly known as: “being woke”.

(𝘍𝘰𝘳 𝘱 đ˜™đ˜°đ˜Žđ˜Šđ˜”đ˜”đ˜ą đ˜Žđ˜”đ˜°đ˜Żđ˜Š 𝘰𝘯 𝘞𝘰𝘬𝘩 đ˜Șđ˜„đ˜Šđ˜°đ˜­đ˜°đ˜šđ˜ș, đ˜łđ˜Šđ˜ąđ˜„ “𝘊đ˜ș𝘯đ˜Șđ˜€đ˜ąđ˜­ đ˜›đ˜©đ˜Šđ˜°đ˜łđ˜Ș𝘩𝘮: 𝘏𝘰𝘾 đ˜ˆđ˜€đ˜”đ˜Șđ˜·đ˜Șđ˜Žđ˜” đ˜šđ˜€đ˜©đ˜°đ˜­đ˜ąđ˜łđ˜Žđ˜©đ˜Șđ˜± đ˜”đ˜ąđ˜„đ˜Š đ˜Œđ˜·đ˜Šđ˜łđ˜șđ˜”đ˜©đ˜Ș𝘯𝘹 đ˜ˆđ˜Łđ˜°đ˜¶đ˜” đ˜™đ˜ąđ˜€đ˜Š, đ˜Žđ˜Šđ˜Żđ˜„đ˜Šđ˜ł, đ˜ąđ˜Żđ˜„ đ˜đ˜„đ˜Šđ˜Żđ˜”đ˜Șđ˜”đ˜ș” 𝘣đ˜ș 𝘑𝘱𝘼𝘩𝘮 𝘓đ˜Șđ˜Żđ˜„đ˜Žđ˜ąđ˜ș & 𝘏𝘩𝘭𝘩𝘯 đ˜—đ˜­đ˜¶đ˜€đ˜Źđ˜łđ˜°đ˜Žđ˜Š.)

Simply put
the very ideals I’ve stood for the past few years are in direct opposition to this ideology. đŸ€·â€â™‚â€

So perhaps you can understand why a part of me is fascinated at how this ideology has reached such a wide audience, especially among the political Left, with little Critical (pun intended) examination. 😅

Perhaps you can understand my fascination reading about this ideology that argues the very ideals I stand for, the message I’ve promoted for years, can now be entirely summarized under labels like “white supremacy”, “white privilege”, “patriarchy”, “racist”, “microaggression”, and “hateful”. đŸ€š


But I get it. ❀

I understand in these current times A LOT of us are stressed out and worried. I understand it’s hard for anyone to think clearly, let alone rationally, when our minds are shrouded in weeds. 😖

𝐈 đźđ§đđžđ«đŹđ­đšđ§đ 𝐱𝐭’𝐬 đŻđžđ«đČ đĄđšđ«đ 𝐭𝐹 đ­đĄđąđ§đ€ 𝐱𝐧 𝐧𝐼𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐞𝐝, đœđšđŠđ©đ„đžđ± 𝐰𝐚đČ𝐬 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐧 đšđźđ« 𝐩𝐱𝐧𝐝𝐬 đ§đšđ­đźđ«đšđ„đ„đČ đœđ«đšđŻđž đŹđąđŠđ©đ„đąđœđąđ­đČ đđźđ«đąđ§đ  đŹđ­đ«đžđŹđŹđŸđźđ„ 𝐭𝐱𝐩𝐞𝐬.

If I were to combine every negative event which has happened the past year, I can’t blame someone for not feeling comfortable with all this Uncertainty. 😹

As I saw 1 tweet put it: “𝐘𝐹𝐼 đšđ«đž 𝐰𝐚𝐭𝐜𝐡𝐱𝐧𝐠 đ©đžđšđ©đ„đž 𝐠𝐹 đ­đĄđ«đšđźđ đĄ đ°đąđ­đĄđđ«đšđ°đšđ„ đŸđ«đšđŠ 𝐭𝐡𝐞 đžđŠđšđ­đąđšđ§đšđ„ 𝐚𝐝𝐝𝐱𝐜𝐭𝐱𝐹𝐧 𝐭𝐹 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐩đČ𝐭𝐡 𝐹𝐟 đœđžđ«đ­đšđąđ§đ­đČ.” ❀

So yes, I definitely understand that lots of people at this time will be desperate to find something which helps them get back to Certainty, back to some sense of clarity and normalcy, back to some sense of renewed purpose and meaning
even if that means embracing an over-simplistic, fringe ideology like this one. 🙌

And THIS is one of the main reasons why I’ve not spoken up about this topic personally. 𝐈’𝐩 𝐧𝐹𝐭 đ„đšđšđ€đąđ§đ  𝐭𝐹 đ­đšđ€đž 𝐚 đœđĄđąđ„đâ€™đŹ đ›đ„đšđ§đ€đžđ­ 𝐚𝐰𝐚đČ đŸđ«đšđŠ 𝐡𝐱𝐩 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐡𝐞’𝐬 đŸđžđšđ«đŸđźđ„đ„đČ đœđ„đąđ§đ đąđ§đ  𝐹𝐧𝐭𝐹 𝐱𝐭 đŸđšđ« đđžđšđ« đ„đąđŸđž. 😭

At the moment, the child needs something, anything to stay calm and feel safe. 🛡

Don’t get me wrong, there are 100% real problems in our society that still need to be solved. I’m not here to pretend like everything is all fine and dandy. It’s not.

But we’re not going to solve them when we’re making the incorrect diagnoses, which in turn prescribe the wrong solutions. 👎

đ–đžâ€™đ«đž 𝐧𝐹𝐭 𝐠𝐹𝐱𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐹 đŹđšđ„đŻđž 𝐭𝐡𝐞 đœđšđŠđ©đ„đžđ± đ©đ«đšđ›đ„đžđŠđŹ 𝐱𝐧 đšđźđ« 𝐬𝐹𝐜𝐱𝐞𝐭đČ 𝐰𝐱𝐭𝐡 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐚𝐩𝐞 đšđŻđžđ«-đŹđąđŠđ©đ„đąđŹđ­đąđœ đ­đĄđąđ§đ€đąđ§đ  𝐰𝐡𝐱𝐜𝐡 𝐱𝐬 đœđ«đžđšđ­đąđ§đ  𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐩. 👎

But that part of the discussion will be saved for another post

My point is: THIS is not the way forward. ❌


đŸ€Ź â€œđ‘Ÿđ‘Źđ‘łđ‘ł 𝑮đ‘č. 𝑯𝑰𝑼𝑯-đ‘šđ‘”đ‘«-đ‘Žđ‘°đ‘źđ‘Żđ‘»đ’€ đ‘«đ‘¶đ‘”đ‘šđ‘łđ‘«, đ‘źđ‘¶đ‘» đ‘šđ‘”đ’€ đ‘©đ‘Źđ‘»đ‘»đ‘Źđ‘č đ‘°đ‘«đ‘Źđ‘šđ‘ș?!” đŸ€Ź

I believe I do! And it goes right back to what I was talking about earlier. 😊

🙌 We move forward by focusing on our common humanity.

🙌 We move forward by focusing on what we have in common.

🙌 We move forward by focusing on understanding and less on labeling.

𝐖𝐞 𝐃𝐈𝐅𝐅𝐔𝐒𝐄 𝐭𝐡𝐞 đ©đšđ°đžđ« 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 đ„đšđ›đžđ„đŹ đœđšđ«đ«đČ 𝐛đČ 𝐟𝐹𝐜𝐼𝐬𝐱𝐧𝐠 𝐹𝐧 đšđźđ« 𝐜𝐹𝐩𝐩𝐹𝐧 𝐡𝐼𝐩𝐚𝐧𝐱𝐭đČ.

𝐖𝐞 𝐓𝐑𝐀𝐍𝐒𝐂𝐄𝐍𝐃 𝐭𝐡𝐞 đ©đšđ°đžđ« đšđźđ« đ©đžđ«đŹđšđ§đšđ„ 𝐛𝐱𝐚𝐬𝐞𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 đ©đ«đžđŁđźđđąđœđžđŹ đœđšđ«đ«đČ 𝐛đČ 𝐟𝐹𝐜𝐼𝐬𝐱𝐧𝐠 𝐹𝐧 đšđźđ« 𝐜𝐹𝐩𝐩𝐹𝐧 𝐡𝐼𝐩𝐚𝐧𝐱𝐭đČ.

𝐖𝐞 𝐀𝐂𝐊𝐍𝐎𝐖𝐋𝐄𝐃𝐆𝐄 𝐭𝐡𝐞 đ„đžđ§đŹđžđŹ đ­đĄđ«đšđźđ đĄ 𝐰𝐡𝐱𝐜𝐡 𝐰𝐞 đ đžđ§đžđ«đšđ„đ„đČ 𝐬𝐞𝐞 đšđ­đĄđžđ« đ©đžđšđ©đ„đžâ€Šđšđ§đ đŹđ­đąđ„đ„ 𝐂𝐇𝐎𝐎𝐒𝐄 𝐧𝐹𝐭 𝐭𝐹 𝐠𝐱𝐯𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐩 𝐬𝐱𝐠𝐧𝐱𝐟𝐱𝐜𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐟𝐹𝐜𝐼𝐬𝐱𝐧𝐠 𝐹𝐧 đšđźđ« 𝐜𝐹𝐩𝐩𝐹𝐧 𝐡𝐼𝐩𝐚𝐧𝐱𝐭đČ.

For every time we do this, we’ll remind our survival brain who’s in charge of how we connect with others. 🧠

We’ll remind our survival brain how naïve the caricatures we create in our minds about mass groups of people are. 🧠

𝐈𝐟 𝐰𝐞 đ­đ«đźđ„đČ 𝐰𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐭𝐹 đ©đ«đšđŠđšđ­đž đđąđŻđžđ«đŹđąđ­đČ 𝐱𝐧 đšđźđ« 𝐬𝐹𝐜𝐱𝐞𝐭đČ, đ„đžđ­â€™đŹ 𝐧𝐹𝐭 đ§đžđ đ„đžđœđ­ 𝐭𝐡𝐞 đŻđžđ«đČ đđąđŻđžđ«đŹđąđ­đČ đ„đšđČ𝐱𝐧𝐠 𝐰𝐱𝐭𝐡𝐱𝐧 𝐞𝐚𝐜𝐡 𝐚𝐧𝐝 đžđŻđžđ«đČ 𝐹𝐧𝐞 𝐹𝐟 𝐼𝐬. 𝐑𝐱𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐧𝐹𝐰 𝐰𝐞’đ«đž đšđ§đ„đČ 𝐭𝐹𝐼𝐜𝐡𝐱𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐞 đŹđźđ«đŸđšđœđž.


Because what’s the alternative?

👎 A society which is OBSESSED with focusing on what makes us separate from each other.

👎 A society which DISCRIMINATES people based primarily upon their labels.

👎 A society which attempts to solve the problem of prejudice

That doesn’t sound like a desirable outcome, does it? Sounds a bit backwards, right? It’s honestly quite IL-liberal! 😅

thankfully we don’t have to go down that route! We don’t have to become “woke”! 💯

I challenge you to come with me and take the road less traveled. It’s important to remember that just because something is popular in the moment doesn’t automatically mean it’s right. 👍

I challenge you to come with me and use what might be considered a more “radical” approach these days to connecting with others:

𝐓𝐹 𝐬𝐞𝐞 đšđ­đĄđžđ«đŹ 𝐚𝐬 𝐡𝐼𝐩𝐚𝐧 𝐛𝐞𝐱𝐧𝐠𝐬 đŸđąđ«đŹđ­ 𝐚𝐧𝐝 đŸđšđ«đžđŠđšđŹđ­. 𝐓𝐹 đ­đ«đžđšđ­ đšđ­đĄđžđ«đŹ 𝐰𝐱𝐭𝐡 đ«đžđŹđ©đžđœđ­, 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐧 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐱𝐭’𝐬 𝐧𝐹𝐭 𝐠𝐱𝐯𝐞𝐧 đ›đšđœđ€. 𝐓𝐹 𝐜𝐹𝐩𝐩𝐼𝐧𝐱𝐜𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐰𝐱𝐭𝐡 đœđąđŻđąđ„đąđ­đČ 𝐚𝐧𝐝 đĄđźđŠđąđ„đąđ­đČ, 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐧 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 đšđ­đĄđžđ« đ©đžđ«đŹđšđ§ 𝐝𝐹𝐞𝐬𝐧’𝐭 đ«đžđœđąđ©đ«đšđœđšđ­đž. 𝐓𝐹 đ«đžđŠđžđŠđ›đžđ« 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 đĄđźđ«đ­ đ©đžđšđ©đ„đž đĄđźđ«đ­ đ©đžđšđ©đ„đž, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐟𝐱𝐠𝐡𝐭𝐱𝐧𝐠 đŸđąđ«đž 𝐰𝐱𝐭𝐡 đŸđąđ«đž đšđ§đ„đČ đœđ«đžđšđ­đžđŹ đŠđšđ«đž đŸđąđ«đž. 𝐓𝐹 𝐠𝐱𝐯𝐞 đČđšđźđ«đŹđžđ„đŸ đ©đžđ«đŠđąđŹđŹđąđšđ§ 𝐭𝐹 đ›đ«đžđšđ­đĄđž đđźđ«đąđ§đ  đŹđ­đ«đžđŹđŹđŸđźđ„ 𝐩𝐹𝐩𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐬.

But if all this sounds too overwhelming, how about just this…?

đ˜đšđźâ€™đ«đž 𝐚 𝐡𝐼𝐩𝐚𝐧 𝐛𝐞𝐱𝐧𝐠. 𝐀𝐧𝐝 𝐈’𝐩 𝐚 𝐡𝐼𝐩𝐚𝐧 𝐛𝐞𝐱𝐧𝐠. đŸ‘„

𝐋𝐞𝐭’𝐬 đŹđ­đšđ«đ­ đ­đĄđžđ«đž. 🙂

𝐍𝐹 đŠđšđ«đž. 𝐀𝐧𝐝 𝐧𝐹 đ„đžđŹđŹ. ❀


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Why Conspiracy Theories DEMAND Understanding!

𝐈 đ«đžđŠđžđŠđ›đžđ« 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐒𝐚𝐧𝐝đČ đ‡đšđšđ€ đ„đ„đžđŠđžđ§đ­đšđ«đČ đŹđœđĄđšđšđ„ 𝐬𝐡𝐹𝐹𝐭𝐱𝐧𝐠 đĄđšđ©đ©đžđ§đžđ. ⏳

I remember watching the news coverage, the feelings of horror, the shock among the country that such an event happened. đŸ˜±

I even remember the news wrongfully attributing the killer’s potential motive to his diagnosis of autism. ❌

It wasn’t easy for many people to comprehend. Who would want to let the feeling sink in that someone was actually capable of committing such horror on innocent lives? đŸ˜«

“đ‘Ÿđ’‰đ’‚đ’• 𝒌𝒊𝒏𝒅 𝒐𝒇 𝒑𝒆𝒓𝒔𝒐𝒏 𝒄𝒐𝒖𝒍𝒅 𝒄𝒐𝒎𝒎𝒊𝒕 𝒔𝒖𝒄𝒉 𝒂𝒏 𝒂𝒄𝒕?! 𝑯𝒐𝒘 𝒄𝒐𝒖𝒍𝒅 𝒂𝒏 𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒏𝒕 𝒍𝒊𝒌𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒔 𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒏 𝒉𝒂𝒑𝒑𝒆𝒏?!”

It was around the same time this event happened that I was browsing YouTube one day and noticed a popular video trending on their home page. The video was over a half hour in length, a video I would not normally take the time to watch. đŸ–„ïž

But the title of the video caught my attention: “SANDY HOOK EXPOSED”. đŸ˜±

I clicked on it
and for the next half hour I was entranced watching the entire video! đŸ˜”

𝐈 đ«đžđŠđžđŠđ›đžđ« 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐒𝐚𝐧𝐝đČ đ‡đšđšđ€ 𝐬𝐡𝐹𝐹𝐭𝐱𝐧𝐠 đĄđšđ©đ©đžđ§đžđ. 𝐁𝐞𝐜𝐚𝐼𝐬𝐞 𝐱𝐭 𝐰𝐚𝐬 đšđ„đŹđš 𝐭𝐡𝐞 đŸđąđ«đŹđ­ 𝐭𝐱𝐩𝐞 𝐈 𝐰𝐚𝐬 đąđ§đ­đ«đšđđźđœđžđ 𝐭𝐹 𝐩đČ đŸđąđ«đŹđ­ đœđšđ§đŹđ©đąđ«đšđœđČ đ­đĄđžđšđ«đČ. 👿

I remember watching the lengthy YouTube video and being shown a bunch of chopped-up news clips. I remember the video’s sound being muted, the subtitles of the video feeding me various questions and answers 💭:

“𝑯𝒐𝒘 𝒄𝒐𝒖𝒍𝒅 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒆 𝒃𝒆 𝒏𝒐 𝒈𝒖𝒏?!” “𝑯𝒐𝒘 𝒄𝒐𝒖𝒍𝒅 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒚 𝒎𝒊𝒔𝒔 𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒔?!” â€œđ‘»đ’‰đ’Šđ’” 𝒊𝒔 𝒔𝒕𝒓𝒂𝒏𝒈𝒆!” “đ‘ș𝒐𝒎𝒆𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒊𝒔 𝒘𝒓𝒐𝒏𝒈 𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒆!”

I remember watching a clip which showed a father whose daughter was killed in Sandy Hook seemingly go from smiling to crying in seconds. Again, the subtitles were ready to tell me what to think: “𝑹 𝒏𝒐𝒓𝒎𝒂𝒍 𝒑𝒆𝒓𝒔𝒐𝒏 𝒅𝒐𝒆𝒔𝒏’𝒕 𝒅𝒐 𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒔!” “𝑰𝒔 𝒉𝒆 𝒂𝒄𝒕𝒊𝒏𝒈?!” 💭

I remember another clip which showed the mother of the daughter, but she was smiling and saying words you couldn’t hear because the audio was muted. Again, the subtitles were ready to tell me what to think: “𝑯𝒐𝒘 𝒄𝒂𝒏 𝒔𝒉𝒆 𝒃𝒆 𝒔𝒐 𝒉𝒂𝒑𝒑𝒚 𝒂𝒕 𝒂 𝒕𝒊𝒎𝒆 𝒍𝒊𝒌𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒔?!” “đ‘ș𝒐𝒎𝒆𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒊𝒔 𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒚 𝒘𝒓𝒐𝒏𝒈 𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒆!” 💭

I also remember the shocking realization I felt watching the video. There was this excitement, this sense of thrill within me that I was learning something the general public was not aware of. Only me and other viewers of this YouTube video were now privy to this private information! 📚

The video brought me to the conclusion it wanted me to come to: that Sandy Hook never happened, that it was a hoax. đŸ˜±

…Looking back on this memory in hindsight, I’m glad I watched the video.


But watching this video helped me learn a valuable lesson early on in my life about how alluring conspiracy theories can be, how attractive they are on the surface, yet how hollow the cynicism lays underneath them. 😠

Thankfully, at the time I watched this video I had enough skepticism to get additional perspectives on the video’s claims.

I quickly learned there was a TON of misinformation in the video. (For information on the video, you can refer to the Snopes article here: https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/sandy-hook-exposed/ )

📌 The father who went from crying to smiling? There could be any number of reasons why that happened. 𝑹 𝒔𝒊𝒏𝒈𝒍𝒆 𝒄𝒉𝒂𝒏𝒈𝒆 𝒊𝒏 𝒇𝒂𝒄𝒊𝒂𝒍 𝒆𝒙𝒑𝒓𝒆𝒔𝒔𝒊𝒐𝒏𝒔 𝒊𝒔 𝒏𝒐𝒕 “𝒑𝒓𝒐𝒐𝒇” 𝒉𝒆’𝒔 𝒂𝒏 𝒂𝒄𝒕𝒐𝒓 𝒏𝒐𝒓 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒆’𝒔 𝒔𝒐𝒎𝒆𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒅𝒊𝒂𝒃𝒐𝒍𝒊𝒄𝒂𝒍 𝒈𝒐𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒐𝒏.

📌 That mother who was smiling in the muted video clip? If you got to hear the video clip unmuted, you’d quickly understand she was smiling because she was sharing positive memories about her daughter. 𝑰𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒄𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒕𝒐𝒓 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒔 𝒉𝒐𝒂𝒙 𝒗𝒊𝒅𝒆𝒐 𝒍𝒆𝒇𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒐𝒓𝒊𝒈𝒊𝒏𝒂𝒍 𝒂𝒖𝒅𝒊𝒐 𝒊𝒏, 𝒚𝒐𝒖’𝒅 𝒆𝒂𝒔𝒊𝒍𝒚 𝒔𝒆𝒆 𝒉𝒐𝒘 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒘𝒆𝒓𝒆 𝒃𝒆𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒎𝒊𝒔𝒍𝒆𝒅.

𝐈 𝐰𝐚𝐬𝐧’𝐭 𝐟𝐞𝐝 “𝐭𝐡𝐞 đ­đ«đźđ­đĄâ€ 𝐚𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐯𝐱𝐝𝐞𝐹 đ„đžđ 𝐩𝐞 𝐭𝐹 đ›đžđ„đąđžđŻđž. 𝐈 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐟𝐞𝐝 𝐚 𝐜đČđ§đąđœđšđ„ đ§đšđ«đ«đšđ­đąđŻđž 𝐛𝐚𝐬𝐞𝐝 đźđ©đšđ§ đ©đ«đžđŹđźđ©đ©đšđŹđąđ­đąđšđ§đŹ, đœđĄđžđ«đ«đČ-đ©đąđœđ€đžđ đđžđ­đšđąđ„đŹ, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 đžđ±đ­đ«đšđšđ«đđąđ§đšđ«đČ đœđ„đšđąđŠđŹ 𝐩𝐚𝐝𝐞 𝐰𝐱𝐭𝐡 đ„đąđ­đ­đ„đž 𝐭𝐹 𝐧𝐹 𝐞𝐯𝐱𝐝𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐭𝐹 đ›đšđœđ€ 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐩 đźđ©. 👎


We can use Merriam-Webster’s definition: “A theory that explains an event or set of circumstances as the result of a secret plot by usually powerful conspirators.” 📖

We can also use Britannica’s definition: “An attempt to explain harmful or tragic events as the result of the actions of a small, powerful group.” 📖

Let’s also add in Dictionary.com’s definition: “A theory that rejects the standard explanation for an event and instead credits a covert group or organization with carrying out a secret plot.” 📖

The reason I wanted to give you all these definitions is there’s also a conspiracy theory online that the CIA created the term “conspiracy theory” to silence people during the JFK assassination. This is False. 👎

(Source: https://www.snopes.com/news/2020/03/16/did-the-cia-invent-the-term-conspiracy-theory/ )

Even more, there’s a conspiracy theory that the source I’ve been citing above, Snopes, has a “leftist propaganda political agenda”. This is again False. 👎

(Sources: https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2019/jun/19/viral-image/no-factcheckorg-didnt-bust-snopescom/

https://www.allsides.com/news-source/snopes )

If you’re starting to notice a pattern, the problem is that 𝐚𝐧đČ𝐭𝐡𝐱𝐧𝐠 can be made into a conspiracy theory. The fact I’m even discussing it right now makes me susceptible to someone accusing me of being a “shill” or a “sheep”. đŸ€·â€â™‚ïž

If you share contrasting information with a conspiracy theorist, they can easily dismiss it as just being part of the conspiracy. They can claim every fact-checking source I cited above as “fake news” simply because it doesn’t fit with their worldview. ❌


Let me clarify: đ‚đšđ§đŹđ©đąđ«đšđœđąđžđŹ 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝟏𝟎𝟎% đĄđšđ©đ©đžđ§đžđ đ›đžđŸđšđ«đž! 💯

📍 I could tell you about Project SUNSHINE in 1956, where the United States Atomic Energy Commission wanted to measure the long-term effects of nuclear radiation on the body. The way they did this included collecting tissue from deceased children’s bodies without permission from grieving families.

📍 I could tell you about Prohibition in the 1920s, where the federal government pressured manufacturers to add poisonous substances to their alcohol to make it undrinkable. Unfortunately this did not stop people, and it is estimated thousands died from drinking this tainted alcohol.

📍 I could tell you about MKULTRA, a CIA-sponsored program which started in the 50s and ended in the 70s, where experiments were done on human test subjects including the use of LSD, hypnosis, and electric shocks to develop methods the government could use for future interrogations.

All of these happened! 💯

It’s not that I don’t believe conspiracies have never happened or that I believe world governments have never done anything shady before. They have! And there’s a lot of classified information we as the general public will never be aware of. 👍

Citing the incidents above, it’s very reasonable for a person to start feeling cynical towards the government or people in authority. They’re the ones we’re supposed to place our trust in, yet knowing these past wrongs makes it a lot harder to, right? 👍

The difference with my perspective is 𝐈’𝐩 𝐧𝐹𝐭 đ°đąđ„đ„đąđ§đ  𝐭𝐹 đŁđźđŠđ© 𝐭𝐹 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐚𝐼𝐭𝐹𝐩𝐚𝐭𝐱𝐜 đšđŹđŹđźđŠđ©đ­đąđšđ§ 𝐹𝐟 𝐚 đœđšđ§đŹđ©đąđ«đšđœđČ đŸđšđ« đžđŻđžđ«đČ đ„đąđŸđž-𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐱𝐧𝐠 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐧𝐭. 𝐈’𝐩 𝐧𝐹𝐭 đ°đąđ„đ„đąđ§đ  𝐭𝐹 đ­đšđ€đž 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐬𝐞 𝐟𝐞𝐰 đšđœđœđźđ«đ«đžđ§đœđžđŹ 𝐹𝐟 đšđœđ­đźđšđ„ đœđšđ§đŹđ©đąđ«đšđœđČ 𝐚𝐧𝐝 đ­đ«đžđšđ­ 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐩 𝐚𝐬 𝐚 đ«đžđŸđ„đžđœđ­đąđšđ§ 𝐹𝐟 đžđŻđžđ«đČ đŹđąđ§đ đ„đž đ đšđŻđžđ«đ§đŠđžđ§đ­ đšđŸđŸđąđœđąđšđ„ 𝐚𝐧𝐝 đ©đžđ«đŹđšđ§ 𝐱𝐧 đšđźđ­đĄđšđ«đąđ­đČ. 👼

It’s important to remember when we demonize “the government” we’re also referring to thousands of people, from the postal service to the armed forces to Congress, each with their own separate positions and functions, each with their own families and set of values, each of them living their own individual lives. đŸ‘Ș

It’s this very problem of overgeneralizing I even have to remember myself! I’m guilty of it too! đŸ™‹â€â™‚ïž

I’m aware I have a habit of criticizing what I often call “the media”. I need to continue to remind myself it’s not a singular entity, that it consists of thousands of news outlets and thousands of individual people with different intentions and agendas. 📰

It would be foolish of me to assume the negative actions of 1 or 2 journalists was a reflection of the entire field of journalism, right?! 😅

My point is: don’t let your obsession over a few bad apples spoil the entire bunch. Or as I always say: 𝐃𝐹𝐧’𝐭 đ­đĄđ«đšđ° 𝐹𝐼𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐛𝐚𝐛đČ 𝐰𝐱𝐭𝐡 𝐭𝐡𝐞 đ›đšđ­đĄđ°đšđ­đžđ«. đŸ‘¶

The other day I watched the Netflix documentary “Behind the Curve” about Flat Earthers, people who believe the world is flat and that this truth is being covered up by NASA. 🚀

I think for many of my friends you’ll be quick to laugh even hearing that such a community exists. But I actually did take a valuable lesson watching the film, and I’ll tell you whatâ€ŠâŹ‡ïž

Sure, the Flat Earther arguments lack critical thinking. Sure, it’s very easy to disprove their claims with less than five minutes of research online. Funny enough, the Flat Earthers even disprove themselves after they conduct a science experiment in the documentary! 😅

But putting all that aside, there is one valuable lesson I took away from the film: ridicule of Flat Earthers is NOT a helpful solution! 💯

In fact, telling someone they’re wrong can cause them to dig their feet deeper into their beliefs. Showing them contradictory evidence can strengthen their affinity for their beliefs. It is what’s known as the Backfire Effect. ↔

My point is: we need to apply this same understanding with the people around us. 🌎

𝐈𝐭’𝐬 𝐛𝐞𝐜𝐚𝐼𝐬𝐞 𝐈 đšđ„đŠđšđŹđ­ đŸđžđ„đ„ 𝐝𝐹𝐰𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 đ«đšđ›đ›đąđ­ đĄđšđ„đž 𝐩đČđŹđžđ„đŸ 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐈 đšđ«đ đźđž đŸđšđ« đŠđšđ«đž đžđŠđ©đšđ­đĄđČ 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐱𝐭 𝐜𝐹𝐩𝐞𝐬 𝐭𝐹 đœđšđ§đŹđ©đąđ«đšđœđČ đ­đĄđžđšđ«đąđŹđ­đŹ.

It’s not to say their ideas don’t lack critical thinking or that these ideas don’t cause harm to others. They do. It’s to say, as the saying goes: “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” You won’t change anyone’s mind by ridiculing them. 🙌

Mick West says the same thing in his book “Escaping the Rabbit Hole”. The former co-founder of Neversoft Entertainment, Mick first became introduced to conspiracy theories when he was studying aviation weather for his pilot’s license. 👹‍✈‍

He was introduced to the Chemtrails conspiracy theory, the belief that condensation trails left by aircrafts are toxic chemicals being sprayed by the government to poison people. đŸ˜±

What initially started as a website he created to debunk the theory led him to debunking many more theories. As of today, Mick is the founder of Metabunk and has spent over 10 years debunking conspiracy theories. đŸ˜Č

But there’s a difference between Mick and many others who just want to prove conspiracy theorists wrong online. 🛑

From his many interviews with current and “former” conspiracy theorists, he advocates for understanding and respectful communication. ❀

In his book “Escaping the Rabbit Hole”, he argues we’re ALL susceptible to conspiracy theories. Like while I myself personally don’t believe in most conspiracies, even I still at times am prone to feeling cynical towards pharmaceutical companies, to give one example. 💊

đ‘Ÿđ’† 𝒆𝒎𝒃𝒓𝒂𝒄𝒆 𝒃𝒆𝒍𝒊𝒆𝒇𝒔 𝒍𝒊𝒌𝒆 𝒄𝒐𝒏𝒔𝒑𝒊𝒓𝒂𝒄𝒚 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒐𝒓𝒊𝒆𝒔 𝒃𝒆𝒄𝒂𝒖𝒔𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒚 𝒉𝒆𝒍𝒑 𝒖𝒔 𝒔𝒊𝒎𝒑𝒍𝒊𝒇𝒚 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒎𝒂𝒌𝒆 𝒔𝒆𝒏𝒔𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝒐𝒖𝒓 𝒄𝒐𝒎𝒑𝒍𝒆𝒙 𝒘𝒐𝒓𝒍𝒅. 😹

đ‘»đ’‰đ’†đ’š 𝒑𝒓𝒐𝒗𝒊𝒅𝒆 𝒖𝒔 𝒇𝒆𝒆𝒍𝒊𝒏𝒈𝒔 𝒐𝒇 𝒑𝒐𝒘𝒆𝒓 𝒕𝒐 𝒔𝒊𝒕𝒖𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏𝒔 𝒘𝒆 𝒇𝒆𝒆𝒍 𝒑𝒐𝒘𝒆𝒓𝒍𝒆𝒔𝒔 𝒐𝒗𝒆𝒓. 😹

đ‘»đ’‰đ’†đ’š 𝒑𝒓𝒐𝒗𝒊𝒅𝒆 𝒖𝒔 đ‘Ș𝒆𝒓𝒕𝒂𝒊𝒏𝒕𝒚 𝒂𝒏𝒅 đ‘ș𝒊𝒈𝒏𝒊𝒇𝒊𝒄𝒂𝒏𝒄𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒘𝒆’𝒓𝒆 𝒂𝒘𝒂𝒓𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝒔𝒐𝒎𝒆𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒐𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒔 𝒂𝒓𝒆 “𝒂𝒔𝒍𝒆𝒆𝒑” 𝒕𝒐. 😹

đ‘»đ’‰đ’†đ’š 𝒎𝒂𝒌𝒆 𝒖𝒔 𝒈𝒆𝒏𝒖𝒊𝒏𝒆𝒍𝒚 𝒃𝒆𝒍𝒊𝒆𝒗𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒘𝒐𝒓𝒍𝒅 𝒊𝒔 𝒂 𝒅𝒂𝒓𝒌 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒔𝒄𝒂𝒓𝒚 𝒑𝒍𝒂𝒄𝒆, 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒘𝒆’𝒓𝒆 𝒂 𝒎𝒊𝒏𝒐𝒓𝒊𝒕𝒚 𝒐𝒇 𝒊𝒏𝒅𝒊𝒗𝒊𝒅𝒖𝒂𝒍𝒔 𝒘𝒉𝒐 𝒌𝒏𝒐𝒘 𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒔 𝒕𝒐 𝒃𝒆 𝒕𝒓𝒖𝒆, 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒐𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒔 𝒏𝒆𝒆𝒅 𝒕𝒐 𝒃𝒆 𝒘𝒂𝒓𝒏𝒆𝒅. 😹

𝑰𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒔 𝒘𝒐𝒓𝒍𝒅𝒗𝒊𝒆𝒘, 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒆 𝒄𝒂𝒏 𝒃𝒆 𝒂 𝒎𝒐𝒏𝒔𝒕𝒆𝒓 𝒊𝒏 𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒚 𝒄𝒍𝒐𝒔𝒆𝒕. 😹

The unfortunate part is just that some individuals fell deeper down the rabbit hole than most of us ever did. đŸ•łïž

So, Mick’s personal mission with his work is not about shaming conspiracy theorists but rather on helping them climb out of the rabbit hole their cynical minds have become stuck in. 🙋‍♂‍

His biggest piece of advice: be respectful and understanding. Remember: it could’ve just as easily been you under the same circumstances. đŸ‘€

𝐎𝐟𝐭𝐞𝐧 𝐭𝐱𝐩𝐞𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐹𝐧𝐞𝐬 𝐰𝐡𝐹 đšđ«đž đĄđźđ«đ­đąđ§đ  𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐩𝐹𝐬𝐭 đšđ«đž 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐹𝐧𝐞𝐬 𝐰𝐡𝐹 𝐧𝐞𝐞𝐝 đ„đšđŻđž 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐩𝐹𝐬𝐭. ❀

Apart from our susceptibility to conspiracy theories, we all as human beings suffer from what’s known as cognitive biases. They are patterns of thinking which psychologically distort how we view the world. 👀

Some of the most common biases include:

🧠 Negativity Bias. We’re more likely to give attention to negativity than we do to positivity.

🧠 Confirmation Bias. We’re more likely to believe information which reinforces our worldview and more easily dismiss information which goes against it.

🧠 Black-and-White (Dichotomous) Thinking. We’re more likely to see the world in polar opposite extremes. Good versus Evil. Us versus Them.

🧠 Illusory pattern perception. We’re more likely to see patterns among things which have no relation to each other. It’s why in science there’s the principle: “Correlation does not mean causation”.

But one of the biggest culprits, especially being illuminated now in our culture, is:

🧠 The Dunning-Kruger Effect. We’re more likely to overestimate our ability at something we’re actually really bad at. The unintelligent individual is more likely to overestimate his intelligence, while the intelligent individual is more likely to underestimate his intelligence.

Or as philosopher Bertrand Russell put it back in 1933 as a response to the rise of Nazi Germany: â€œđ‘»đ’‰đ’† 𝒑𝒓𝒐𝒃𝒍𝒆𝒎 𝒘𝒊𝒕𝒉 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒎𝒐𝒅𝒆𝒓𝒏 𝒘𝒐𝒓𝒍𝒅 𝒊𝒔 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒔𝒕𝒖𝒑𝒊𝒅 𝒂𝒓𝒆 𝒄𝒐𝒄𝒌𝒔𝒖𝒓𝒆 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒊𝒏𝒕𝒆𝒍𝒍𝒊𝒈𝒆𝒏𝒕 𝒂𝒓𝒆 𝒇𝒖𝒍𝒍 𝒐𝒇 𝒅𝒐𝒖𝒃𝒕.â€đŸ€Šâ€â™‚â€

Again, we ALL suffer from these biases, some of us worse than others. They are not limited to conspiracy theorists, although they may be more greatly illuminated through their example. đŸ—Łïž

But the reason I’m sharing this all with you today is because during times of stress and anxiety, especially during these times of COVID-19, conspiracy theories are far more prevalent and far more likely to be embraced as truth. 👍

Conspiracy theories increased after 9/11. They increased after Sandy Hook. They increased after the 2017 Las Vegas Shooting. And they are now increasing during COVID-19. I’m sure you’ve already seen the 5G conspiracy being shared. 📡

More than ever, it’s going to be easy to fall into these cognitive traps so I want to remind us all to be extra mindful of this. 🧘‍♂‍

This is NOT a “conspiracy” problem; it’s a human problem, deeply rooted in cynicism, distrust, and paranoia. 😹

As Dale Carnegie reminds us: “đ‘Ÿđ’‰đ’†đ’ 𝒅𝒆𝒂𝒍𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒘𝒊𝒕𝒉 𝒑𝒆𝒐𝒑𝒍𝒆, 𝒍𝒆𝒕 𝒖𝒔 𝒓𝒆𝒎𝒆𝒎𝒃𝒆𝒓 𝒘𝒆 𝒂𝒓𝒆 𝒏𝒐𝒕 𝒅𝒆𝒂𝒍𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒘𝒊𝒕𝒉 𝒄𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒕𝒖𝒓𝒆𝒔 𝒐𝒇 𝒍𝒐𝒈𝒊𝒄. đ‘Ÿđ’† 𝒂𝒓𝒆 𝒅𝒆𝒂𝒍𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒘𝒊𝒕𝒉 𝒄𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒕𝒖𝒓𝒆𝒔 𝒐𝒇 𝒆𝒎𝒐𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏, 𝒄𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒕𝒖𝒓𝒆𝒔 𝒃𝒓𝒊𝒔𝒕𝒍𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒘𝒊𝒕𝒉 𝒑𝒓𝒆𝒋𝒖𝒅𝒊𝒄𝒆𝒔 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒎𝒐𝒕𝒊𝒗𝒂𝒕𝒆𝒅 𝒃𝒚 𝒑𝒓𝒊𝒅𝒆 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒗𝒂𝒏𝒊𝒕𝒚.”


The questions I challenge everyone to ask themselves:

đŸ€” Do you possess your beliefs? Or do your beliefs possess you?

đŸ€” Are you able to step outside your own ideology and understand your critic’s points of view?

đŸ€” Are you able to steelman your opponent’s arguments and understand their position thoroughly before dismissing them completely?

🌟 𝐁𝐞𝐜𝐚𝐼𝐬𝐞 đ„đžđ­’𝐬 𝐧𝐹𝐭 đŠđąđŹđ­đšđ€đž đšđźđ« đźđ§đąđ§đŸđšđ«đŠđžđ 𝐜đČ𝐧𝐱𝐜𝐱𝐬𝐩 đŸđšđ« đĄđžđšđ„đ­đĄđČ đŹđ€đžđ©đ­đąđœđąđŹđŠ. 🌟

In addition, I challenge you:

đŸ’Ș To get sources from multiple points of view, including information that may go against your beliefs. Not all information is created equal.

đŸ’Ș Stay aware of your cognitive biases and genuinely seek to understand other people’s points of view. See if you can steelman their argument.

đŸ’Ș Give others who disagree with you the benefit of the doubt. Don’t automatically assume malicious intent. Perhaps you may learn something from them you didn’t know before.

This is not just a reminder for you all, but also for me! I need to hear these reminders at times too! Again, I’m not immune to a lack of self-awareness. It’s an ongoing process! đŸ™‹â€â™‚ïž



Below, I am providing resources which have greatly helped me develop my critical thinking skills! âŹ‡ïž


📘 “Escaping the Rabbit Hole: How to Debunk Conspiracy Theories Using Facts, Logic, and Respect” by Mick West – https://amzn.to/3hKPnNS

📙 “Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts” by Carol Tavris & Elliott Aronson – https://amzn.to/2X7QFuj

📕 “How to Think – A Survival Guide for a World at Odds” by Alan Jacobs https://amzn.to/39DdBXr

📗 “Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman – https://amzn.to/30UV4lG

📙 “You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You’re Deluding Yourself” by David McRaney – https://amzn.to/3hLuQbV

📘 “The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark” by Carl Sagan – https://amzn.to/3jR8Oq8

📕 “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion” by Jonathan Haidt – https://amzn.to/2P2Ddna



đŸ“Œ CrashCourse Navigating Digital Information – A 10-episode series dedicated to teaching critical thinking skills for browsing the Internet. https://bit.ly/2EnmatQ

đŸ“Œ CrashCourse Philosophy – A 46-episode series dedicated to teaching philosophical ideas, which in turn practices your critical thinking skills. https://bit.ly/3faLlwH

đŸ“Œ CrashCourse Media Literacy – A 12-episode series dedicated to teaching the history and psychology of media. https://bit.ly/3f3YuYg

📄 A Systemic Review and Meta-Analysis of Psychological Research on Conspiracy Beliefs: Field Characteristics, Measurement Instruments, and Associations with Personality Traits – https://bit.ly/30WLrCR



đŸ“Œ Wisecrack – What Makes REAL Science? – https://bit.ly/3hR3pxz

đŸ“Œ Wisecrack – How Conspiracies Changed & The Decline of Expertise (Flat Earth, Anti-Vaxxers) – https://bit.ly/335qcl1

đŸ“Œ Wisecrack – How Fake Science (Pseudoscience) Can Fool You! – https://bit.ly/330Puki

đŸ“Œ Wisecrack – The Internet was a Mistake – https://bit.ly/39EfzqC

đŸ“Œ SciShow – The Science of Anti-Vaccination – https://bit.ly/2X6IQ8i

đŸ“Œ SciShow Psych – Why Do So Many People Believe in Conspiracy Theories? – https://bit.ly/3gmdPEM

đŸ“Œ Late Night with John Oliver – Coronavirus Conspiracy Theories – https://bit.ly/3fbTjWj



LinkedIn: https://bit.ly/2RER81M

Facebook: https://bit.ly/2DSebCh

Instagram: https://bit.ly/2t2Kd8A

Twitter: https://bit.ly/3983M4L

Holonis: https://bit.ly/2t8Rwvi

Why I Never Forgot That TOWN! (PERSONAL)

” đŸŒ«ïž

When I was in elementary school, I would often spend the weekend at my dad’s house. 🏠

I fondly remember those weekends! They were the epitome of what I’d call: PURE Relaxation and Indulgence! Or as some people today might call it in modern day: the IDGAF-weekend! đŸ€Ł

On Friday nights he’d pick me up from school, and before we went to his house we’d stop for dinner at the nearby Burger King drive-thru. 🍔

Another weekend we may have stopped at the local hot dog place. 🌭

Or heck, another weekend maybe we’d order a bunch of pizzas for pick-up! 🍕

As I write this, all the memories are starting to come back to me! I remember the times my dad, sister, and I would order a few huge pizzas, each with different toppings, along with a few liters of soda, and we’d pick them up from the local pizza place. đŸ„€

We’d spend the rest of Friday night binging on pizza, soda, and watching movies! đŸ“ș

For those who know me now, let me clarify: eating healthy was NOT at all a factor for me back as a young teen! 😅

And I remember one of my favorite movies I’d watch again and again was “Good Burger”, a very dumb comedy but all of us shared the same sense of humor! 😂

But as time passed, my sister got older and found other ways to spend her weekends. Eventually these weekends became just my dad and I spending time together. đŸ‘„

But no worries, it wasn’t just a pile of junk food and movies. We also had VIDEOGAMES! 🎼

I can vividly remember the days of me packing up my PlayStation 2 into a suitcase every weekend before heading to my dad’s house. I’d wrap up the console and game controllers in towels because I didn’t want them to bang around in the suitcase during the travel there. 👍

And so, every weekend I’d pack it up in a suitcase with other PlayStation 2 games, and I’d bring them over to my dad’s house to play. 😁

Sometimes we’d stop at Blockbuster and I’d rent other videogames. For those not old enough to remember (I am getting OLD), Blockbuster was a store you could go in to rent movies and videogames for a set period of time and fee. đŸ“Œ

If you’re still not familiar, this was all before Netflix! 😜

Anyways, I remember renting MANY videogames including Pokemon games for my GameBoy Color, multiplayer games so I could play with my dad, and games
that definitely my mom wouldn’t approve of me playing at such a young age. 😅

But Dad did! đŸ€«

I can’t mention how many times I begged my dad rent the videogame “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City” for me. It was my favorite videogame, and I played for hours on end! ⏳

To explain the game in the most politically correct way, you play a gangster in an open-ended city environment where you are pretty much able to do whatever you wanted. Most often than not that anything included some sort of crime and avoiding the cops! 🚔

Mom, if you’re reading this
now you know! ❀


Don’t worry, I’m getting there! This post is NOT about this game. This post is NOT even about hanging out at my dad’s on the weekends!

If you remember the title at the beginning of the post, you may see where I’m heading

đŸ—Łïž “

Feel free, I don’t blame you! I’m sick of trying to endlessly please others anyway. And that’s why I’m even writing this post in the first place! ❀

What I really wanted to share with you all is a part of me a lot of you don’t know about. For most who have met and known me the past few years, you’ve seen many facets on my diamond. 💎

But it’s time for another facet to be illuminated, if not for you all but for my own authenticity! I say I’m going to be more real, so here you go…! 😊

For those of you who have read my previous posts, I’ve lately become very passionate about the Psychological Development of the Individual.

I truly believe that if more of us took the time to analyze and understand ourselves that we’d discover there’s so much more to our greater potentials we have yet to unravel! ❀

But as a matter of fact, this passion for Psychology isn’t new for me. đŸ˜Č

In fact, if you want to know where my real passion for Psychology first started, it was HERE! It started way back here at my dad’s house when I was a teenager…

It was when I visited the town of Silent Hill. đŸ—ș

What used to once be a resort town has become a ghost town. What used to be a town filled with tourists is now completely empty, its streets shrouded in an endless fog. The complete history of Silent Hill remains a mystery, but what is known is it has a dark past. ⌛

To clarify, Silent Hill is NOT a real town. It is actually the fictional creation of some Japanese videogame developers back in the early 2000’s, who made a series of survival horror videogames centered around this mysterious town. 🔎

But there was one particular game I played as a young teen at my dad’s house that caught my attention more than most: “Silent Hill 2”. đŸŒ«ïž


I’m getting there, don’t worry! 😊

So apart from me shooting up gangsters in “Grand Theft Auto” every weekend at my dad’s house, I was also entranced playing the Silent Hill series and continuously renting it from Blockbuster too! 💿

It was the first “horror” game I can say I ever really wanted to play. Because I’m really not a big “horror” person! 😅

But something really caught my interest about the games, especially “Silent Hill 2”. It wasn’t so much the “horror” or the “monsters” in the games as much as it was about the story and its themes. 📖

I was fascinated by how deep the storylines went, how complex (and all-too-human) the characters were, and how there was so much happening beneath the surface of the game! 🔎

It’s important I emphasize again: I’m NOT a big horror buff. But I realized that Silent Hill was not just some haunted house of “boos” game. What I was discovering for the first time in my life was what was commonly referred to as the genre of psychological horror. 😹

Unlike other horror that’s filled with tons of jumpscares and gruesome violence, this horror dealt with the mind. Sometimes the greatest fears are the we create in our heads. Sometimes it’s what you DON’T see that’s actually scarier than what’s actually there. 🧠


In order for you to greater understand what I mean, I’m going to briefly share with you the storyline of Silent Hill 2. âŹ‡ïž

It tells the story of James Sunderland, a man who is still grieving the loss of his wife Mary from 3 years prior. One day, James receives a mysterious letter from his Mary, saying she’s “waiting for him” in the town of Silent Hill, in their “special place”. đŸ˜Č

Yes, you read that right. He receives a letter from his late wife who died 3 years prior from a terminal disease saying she’s waiting for him in the town! đŸ˜±

Still haunted by his grief and determined to seek closure, he heads to Silent Hill
and what he soon finds is far more haunting than he could ever imagine…! đŸ€«

In order for you to better understand the “psychology” I’m referring to, I’m going to have to spoil the twists of the story for you all. For those who may want to actually play the game without spoilers, I’m giving you a warning NOW!




âŹ‡ïž OKAY, HERE WE GO! âŹ‡ïž

Eventually, James finds his way to he and Mary’s “special place” that she referred to in her letter. After hours of playing the game, we as the audience are finally confronted with the truth about what happened to Mary…🙌

We realize that James, the character we’ve been playing the entire time, is NOT the hero of this story. đŸ˜Č

The letter he received from Mary didn’t exist; it was just a black sheet of paper. đŸ˜±

Mary didn’t die 3 years ago; it was only a few days ago. đŸ˜±

And Mary didn’t die of her terminal disease; James killed her in a desperate act to end both of their suffering. đŸ˜±

James didn’t actually go to Silent Hill to find his wife; the guilty part of his unconscious drew him there so he could face the truth. đŸ˜±

The monsters James encounters in the town are not real monsters; they are manifestations conjured out of James’s personal fears and desires. đŸ˜±

The other people he meets in the town may be real, but they are merely a means for James to continue coming closer to the truth. đŸ˜±

One character he meets is a woman who looks exactly like his wife. But her name isn’t Mary; it’s Maria. She’s not conservative like Mary; Maria is seductive and sexual. She’s not independent like Mary; Maria is overly needy and dependent on James. 😭

But throughout the game, James continues to finds himself in helpless situations with Maria, where he keeps having to see her get killed by something outside his control over and over again. And for every time she turns up miraculously okay, another situation soon happensâ€ŠđŸ˜«

In finding out the truth, we realize that Maria isn’t real. She’s representative of who James wished Mary was. Maria is only a pawn created by the town to torture James, for every time she dies James is always unable to save her. đŸ˜±

And it is only when James fully confronts his demons, when he’s face to face with the truth, that the town no longer has power over him. It is only when he has made closure with his past that he is then free to leave Silent Hill

So yeah, it’s no Grand Theft Auto! 😆

But psychologists like Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung would have a field day psychoanalyzing this game! 💯

So there you have it! As unlikely as it sounds, my fascination with Psychology really did start off on a much DARKER note to say the least! 😅

And don’t worry, even for the sake of this post I am still covering the bare minimum. There are way darker themes in the game I didn’t even mention here. Play the game if you dare! 😈

So yeah, perhaps some of my followers are shocked reading this, thinking a guy like me could ever ever be interested in stuff like this, to think the “Happy Guy” wasn’t always about sunshine and rainbows! 😉

I’m not afraid to embrace the dark. It helps the light shine even brighter! â˜Żïž

But as you can see these days, my love for psychology has clearly evolved from not just focusing on the darkest places but also to the brightest. But I’ve never forgotten my roots. I’ve never forgotten how “Silent Hill 2” was the starting point for me. 👍

One thing is for sure: I would NOT be as passionate about Psychology today had I never visited Silent Hill…and squinted my eyes every time I heard nearby monsters in the game! đŸ€Ł

It means a lot to me, to say the least! Yes, it’s quite a darker topic, so I doubt you’ll see me make any other posts about it in the future. But I wanted to share it with you all because it’s a part of me you don’t typically see! It’s always been there, just not as openly shared…and now it is! 😝

If there’s anything you as a reader can take from this, “Silent Hill 2” reminds me how we all create our own subjective reality, for better or for worse. We may not have a town physically manifesting our hopes and fears but our minds certainly manifest how we see ourselves and other people. 👀

It reminds me how powerful the unconscious mind is, how it’s influencing our lives even when we’re not consciously aware of it. 🧠

It reminds me to always look beneath the surface of what we say and do. So often there’s always far more than meets the eye. 👀

It reminds me how we need to make peace with our inner demons or they can mentally wreak havoc on our lives. 🙌

As Oscar Wilde put it: “We are each our own devil, and we make this world our hell.” 👿

” đŸŒ«ïž



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đŸ˜±Â 4 YEARS!!!Â đŸ˜±

This afternoon I took a look at my calendar 📆 and my eyes started to water.😭 I couldn’t believe it! 2 weeks from now it will have been 4 years.Â đŸ„ł

It’s hard for me to still fathom it’s really been that long!Â đŸ€Ż

The song “Seasons of Love” asks: ‘How do you measure a year?â€™Â đŸŽ¶Â But my mind is still trying to wrap around how to measure the past 4! 😅

đŸ—ŁïžÂ “What are you talking about Donald?!”Â đŸ—Łïž

I should probably explain! 2 weeks from now it will have been exactly 4 years

…since I was under 25.Â đŸ˜±Â I was so young then, but 4 years later I’m now just a grumpy old man! 😭


Seriously though, 4 years ago I was That Guy on the left in the photo.

📌 4 years ago I was That Guy who binged on junk food every day.

📌 4 years ago I was That Guy who drank 3 to 4 cans of soda every day.

📌 4 years ago I was That Guy who refused even substituting his drinks for Diet Soda.

📌 4 years ago I was That Guy who was so picky about eating vegetables he’d literally gag trying to swallow them because of his fear of textures.

And where did this inability to change bring That Guy?Â đŸ€”

To weigh over 234 pounds. ⚖ To have junk food and soda as his addictions and closest companions. To feel tired and sleepy more often than not. 😮 To never like being in photos because of the way he looked. To always feel the need to lift his chin up so his double chin didn’t show. 😔

That Guy really didn’t like how he looked or how unhealthy he ate. But regardless, him holding onto his comfort zone outweighed any inspiration to try and be thinner or be happier.Â đŸ€·â€â™‚ïž

If any of you can read this and relate, you’re not alone! ❀

I don’t necessarily mean with weight but with our general unwillingness to change things in our lives a small part of us really wants to change. While there’s that part of us that really wants to change, we nevertheless don’t change. 😕

🚬 You know quitting smoking would benefit your lung health. But you don’t.

🍔 You know eating less junk food and more vegetables would help you lose weight. But you don’t.

🚮 You know exercising would help keep your muscles strong. But you don’t.

But why? Why don’t we change? If it’s really as simple as doing or not doing something, then why don’t we do it?!Â đŸ˜”

Because we as humans
are complicated! 😅

For one thing, we are creatures of habit. It’s easier for us to break an old habit than it is to build a new one. 👍 You’ve probably heard the term: “Old habits die hard.” It’s very true, and I’ve experienced it before too! 😝

Building a new habit requires a lot of focus. 👀 It requires consistent effort. Until it becomes a full on habit in your daily life, it’s going to continue feeling difficult. 😓

But don’t be too hard on yourself either! Think of it like this: say you’ve smoked for a decade and then decide to quit. 🚭 You will then be faced with a smoking habit decades old all while you’re building the new habit to not smoke. Of course this won’t be easy! It’s an uphill battle with your Habitual Brain! 😊

As much as I’d love to tell you new habits are built overnight, they aren’t. 👎It’s why most people don’t succeed doing it. If building a new habit was so easy to build, everybody would do it! 👍

But again, you’re not alone! ❀ That Guy in the photo wasn’t willing to either! Sure, he wanted to be thinner and healthier, but why would he substitute that for all the short-term pleasures he experienced from junk food and soda?Â đŸ€·â€â™‚ïž

He even told himself: “I don’t have to worry about my health until the doctor says I have to.â€Â đŸ˜±

So what happened 4 years ago that set That Guy down a path into who is now, Me present day?Â đŸ€”

🌟 His desire to change had to become stronger than his desire not to change. 🌟

⚠ The problem was That Guy was always focused on his short-term pleasure; he was not focused on the long-term pain.

⚠ He was focused on the pleasures of junk food and soda; he was not focused on the long-term medical issues he’d have because of them.

⚠ He was focused on himself; he was not focused on the people who were trying to help him and whose advice he kept ignoring.

So when That Guy saw the path he was heading down for years to come, it planted a Seed of Horror in his mind that he had to change NOW! 🛑

Like Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol”, it was his vision of a horrific future which pushed That Guy to say: “Enough is enough!” ❌…

So here I am now, after 80 pounds lost, a No Soda policy, and many vegetables consumed!Â đŸ„ŠÂ That Guy has evolved into Me on the right. I like to call him Ace. Ace has since let That Guy retire, because now Ace likes running the show! 😎

So there’s something you really need to know! ✋

👍 I’m not going to pretend like this physical transformation happened overnight. It didn’t.

👍 I’m not going to put on an act like it was the easiest thing to do in the world. It wasn’t.

👍 I’m not going to try and make you believe I never zig-zagged during my transformation. I did
many times!

But what I will tell you though is that it is indeed possible for you to change when you set your mind to it. ❀

One of my favorite speakers Les Brown talks about the Power of Possibility: “Sometimes we can’t say ‘I can do that’. But what we can say is that ‘it’s possible’.â€Â đŸ—Łïž

🌟 If you can allow yourself to visualize the possibility of a future greater than the one you’re living now, you’ve already provided an opening for yourself to step forward. 🌟

So with this post I want to plant the seed in your mind that it is possible for you too, in whatever it is you’re looking to change! 😄

I’m not saying it will be easy. I’m not saying it will always be fun. But when you have doubts come up, remind yourself why you started in the first place.Â đŸ€”

đŸ‘€Â Do something today your future self will thank you for.Â đŸ‘€

Lastly, I have to give credit to the most powerful visual exercise I ever experienced which sealed the deal for me to change all those 4 years ago. 👍

It was attending Tony Robbins’s “Unleash the Power Within” event for the first time that I experienced what is known as the Dickens Process. đŸ˜Č

I’d love to tell you more, but I’d rather you experienced the event for yourself without spoilers. I can tell you how a candy bar tastes, but it’s a whole other thing to actually taste it.Â đŸ«

I’m not saying attending the event is your only tool, only that it’s a damn fine one in your Arsenal for Change if you do! It was for me! ❀

COMMENT below if you’ve attended UPW before or are interested in attending! 😁



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