Why Our HUMANITY Matters!

โค๏ธ ๐“๐‡๐„ ๐•๐€๐’๐“๐๐„๐’๐’ ๐ˆ๐’ ๐๐„๐€๐‘๐€๐๐‹๐„ ๐Ž๐๐‹๐˜ ๐“๐‡๐‘๐Ž๐”๐†๐‡ ๐‹๐Ž๐•๐„! โค๏ธ

I am someone who is gayโ€ฆI rarely talk about it. ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™‚โ€

I am someone who is Hispanicโ€ฆI rarely talk about it. ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™‚โ€

I am someone who is Liberalโ€ฆI rarely talk about it. ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™‚โ€

I am someone who is Atheistโ€ฆI (especially) rarely talk about it. ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™‚โ€

Why do I rarely talk about these things? ๐Ÿค”

Wellโ€ฆlet’s take a step back. ๐Ÿ‘ฃ

Say you were meeting me for the very first time, and the only information you were given about who I am were these labels: ๐Ÿ“œ

Male. Gay. Hispanic. Liberal. Atheist.

What kind of person comes to your mind that fits into each of these categories? ๐Ÿค”

What comes to your mind when you think of a โ€œGay Maleโ€? Flamboyant? Feminine? Limp wrists?

What comes to your mind when you think of an โ€œAtheist?โ€ Snobbish? Science-obsessed? Blasphemous?

Nowโ€ฆtake these labels and apply them back to me. And compare these labels to how you ๐˜ข๐˜ค๐˜ต๐˜ถ๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ญ๐˜บ know me as a person. ๐Ÿ™‹โ€โ™‚๏ธ

Let me ask: do these labels easily fit into your general perception of me? ๐Ÿ˜…

Of Donald Arteaga? ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™‚๏ธ

If your answer is โ€œnoโ€โ€ฆTHAT is the reason why!

๐Ÿ™Œ ๐“๐ก๐ž ๐ซ๐ž๐š๐ฌ๐จ๐ง ๐ˆ ๐ซ๐š๐ซ๐ž๐ฅ๐ฒ ๐๐ž๐ฌ๐œ๐ซ๐ข๐›๐ž ๐ฆ๐ฒ๐ฌ๐ž๐ฅ๐Ÿ ๐ข๐ง ๐ญ๐ž๐ซ๐ฆ๐ฌ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ฌ๐ž ๐ฅ๐š๐›๐ž๐ฅ๐ฌ ๐ข๐ฌ ๐›๐ž๐œ๐š๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ž ๐ˆ ๐ข๐ง๐ญ๐ž๐ง๐ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐ญ๐จ ๐ฌ๐ž๐ž ๐ฆ๐ž ๐š๐ฌ ๐š ๐ก๐ฎ๐ฆ๐š๐ง ๐›๐ž๐ข๐ง๐ , ๐Ÿ๐ข๐ซ๐ฌ๐ญ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ๐ž๐ฆ๐จ๐ฌ๐ญ, ๐›๐ž๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฅ๐š๐›๐ž๐ฅ๐ฌ. ๐Ÿ™Œ

Iโ€™d rather we all be judged, as Martin Luther King Jr. said, based upon the content of our character. ๐Ÿ‘ค

๐Ÿ‘ I donโ€™t intend for you to judge me by virtue of my sexual preference.

๐Ÿ‘ I donโ€™t intend for you to judge me by virtue of my race.

๐Ÿ‘ I donโ€™t intend for you to judge me by virtue of my political views.

๐Ÿ‘ I donโ€™t intend for you to judge me by virtue of my religious affiliation.

THIS is why I generally donโ€™t provide this information to people upfront. I want you to get to know ME first, minus the preconceptions. ๐Ÿ™‚

๐Ÿ‘€ ๐๐ž๐œ๐š๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฆ๐จ๐ซ๐ž ๐ˆ ๐ž๐ฆ๐ฉ๐ก๐š๐ฌ๐ข๐ณ๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ฌ๐ž ๐ฅ๐š๐›๐ž๐ฅ๐ฌ ๐š๐ฌ ๐ฐ๐ก๐จ ๐ˆ ๐š๐ฆ, ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฆ๐จ๐ซ๐ž ๐ˆ ๐ž๐ง๐œ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ๐š๐ ๐ž ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐จ๐ง๐ฅ๐ฒ ๐ญ๐จ ๐ฌ๐ž๐ž ๐ฆ๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐ซ๐จ๐ฎ๐ ๐ก ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐Ÿ๐ข๐ฅ๐ญ๐ž๐ซ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ฌ๐ž ๐ฅ๐š๐›๐ž๐ฅ๐ฌ. ๐Ÿ‘€

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. ๐Ÿ’Ž

Iโ€™ve held this ideal ever since I started my mission to Transcend Labels in 2018. โณ

The ideal has always been for me to show through my example that people donโ€™t have to be entrenched in their labels. ๐Ÿ’ฏ

The ideal has always been for me to show that my diagnosis of Autism is just a temporary explanation and not a final destination. ๐Ÿ’ฏ

The ideal has always been for me to show how limiting labels are as frameworks for understanding ourselves and other people. ๐Ÿ’ฏ

Consider the facts:

๐Ÿ™Œ No one on this planet is 100% exactly the same.

๐Ÿ™Œ No one thinks 100% exactly the same way.

๐Ÿ™Œ No one has lived 100% exactly the same life as another person.

๐๐ž๐œ๐š๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ž ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ ๐ข๐ง๐ก๐ž๐ซ๐ž๐ง๐ญ ๐ข๐ง๐๐ข๐ฏ๐ข๐๐ฎ๐š๐ฅ๐ข๐ญ๐ฒ, ๐ž๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ๐ฒ๐จ๐ง๐ž ๐ก๐š๐ฌ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฉ๐จ๐ญ๐ž๐ง๐ญ๐ข๐š๐ฅ ๐ญ๐จ ๐ญ๐ž๐š๐œ๐ก ๐ฎ๐ฌ ๐ฌ๐จ๐ฆ๐ž๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ง๐ .

๐๐ž๐œ๐š๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ž ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ ๐ข๐ง๐ก๐ž๐ซ๐ž๐ง๐ญ ๐ข๐ง๐๐ข๐ฏ๐ข๐๐ฎ๐š๐ฅ๐ข๐ญ๐ฒ, ๐š ๐ฉ๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ๐จ๐งโ€™๐ฌ ๐ฅ๐š๐›๐ž๐ฅ๐ฌ ๐œ๐š๐ง ๐ง๐ž๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ ๐๐จ ๐ฃ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ญ๐ข๐œ๐ž ๐ญ๐จ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐œ๐จ๐ฆ๐ฉ๐ฅ๐ž๐ฑ ๐ข๐ง๐๐ข๐ฏ๐ข๐๐ฎ๐š๐ฅ ๐ฅ๐š๐ฒ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ฐ๐ข๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ง ๐ž๐š๐œ๐ก ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ฎ๐ฌ.

๐๐ž๐œ๐š๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ž ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ ๐ข๐ง๐ก๐ž๐ซ๐ž๐ง๐ญ ๐ข๐ง๐๐ข๐ฏ๐ข๐๐ฎ๐š๐ฅ๐ข๐ญ๐ฒ, ๐š ๐ฉ๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ๐จ๐งโ€™๐ฌ ๐ฅ๐š๐›๐ž๐ฅ๐ฌ ๐œ๐š๐ง ๐ง๐ž๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ ๐›๐ž ๐š ๐๐ž๐ญ๐ž๐ซ๐ฆ๐ข๐ง๐š๐ง๐ญ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐จ๐ง๐ž’๐ฌ ๐ฉ๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ๐จ๐ง๐š๐ฅ ๐œ๐ก๐š๐ซ๐š๐œ๐ญ๐ž๐ซ.

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. โœŠ

Perhaps as you read this, this sounds like common sense to you! ๐Ÿ˜…

Butโ€ฆthings seemed to have changed. ๐Ÿง

Not with my mission; it remains the same. But Iโ€™m talking about within our society. ๐Ÿ‘ฅ

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

๐Ÿ˜ฑ Encourages people to see each other ONLY for their labels, not for their individuality.

๐Ÿ˜ฑ Encourages people to see each other ONLY for their group identities, not for their common humanity.

๐Ÿ˜ฑ Encourages people to see each other ONLY in binary camps of either being Oppressors or being Oppressed.

๐Ÿ˜ฑ 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: โ€œbeing wokeโ€.

(๐˜๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ ๐˜ข ๐˜™๐˜ฐ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ต๐˜ต๐˜ข ๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ž๐˜ฐ๐˜ฌ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ช๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฐ๐˜ญ๐˜ฐ๐˜จ๐˜บ, ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ฅ โ€œ๐˜Š๐˜บ๐˜ฏ๐˜ช๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ญ ๐˜›๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ฆ๐˜ด: ๐˜๐˜ฐ๐˜ธ ๐˜ˆ๐˜ค๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ท๐˜ช๐˜ด๐˜ต ๐˜š๐˜ค๐˜ฉ๐˜ฐ๐˜ญ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ด๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ฑ ๐˜”๐˜ข๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ ๐˜Œ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜บ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜ˆ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ต ๐˜™๐˜ข๐˜ค๐˜ฆ, ๐˜Ž๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ, ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜บโ€ ๐˜ฃ๐˜บ ๐˜‘๐˜ข๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด ๐˜“๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ๐˜ด๐˜ข๐˜บ & ๐˜๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ ๐˜—๐˜ญ๐˜ถ๐˜ค๐˜ฌ๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ.)

Simply putโ€ฆthe very ideals Iโ€™ve stood for the past few years are in direct opposition to this ideology. ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™‚โ€

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. ๐Ÿ˜…

Perhaps you can understand my fascination reading about this ideology that argues the very ideals I stand for, the message Iโ€™ve promoted for years, can now be entirely summarized under labels such as โ€œwhite supremacyโ€, “privilege”, โ€œracistโ€, โ€œmicroaggressionโ€, and โ€œoffensiveโ€. ๐Ÿคจ

โค๏ธ But I get it. โค๏ธ

I understand in these current times A LOT of us are stressed out and worried. I understand itโ€™s hard for anyone to think clearly, let alone rationally, when our minds are shrouded in weeds. ๐Ÿ˜–

๐ˆ ๐ฎ๐ง๐๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ๐ญ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ข๐ญ’๐ฌ ๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ๐ฒ ๐ก๐š๐ซ๐ ๐ญ๐จ ๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ง๐ค ๐ข๐ง ๐ง๐ฎ๐š๐ง๐œ๐ž๐, ๐œ๐จ๐ฆ๐ฉ๐ฅ๐ž๐ฑ ๐ฐ๐š๐ฒ๐ฌ ๐ฐ๐ก๐ž๐ง ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ ๐ฆ๐ข๐ง๐๐ฌ ๐ง๐š๐ญ๐ฎ๐ซ๐š๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ฒ ๐œ๐ซ๐š๐ฏ๐ž ๐ฌ๐ข๐ฆ๐ฉ๐ฅ๐ข๐œ๐ข๐ญ๐ฒ ๐๐ฎ๐ซ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ฌ๐ญ๐ซ๐ž๐ฌ๐ฌ๐Ÿ๐ฎ๐ฅ ๐ญ๐ข๐ฆ๐ž๐ฌ.

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. ๐Ÿ˜จ

As I saw 1 tweet put it: โ€œ๐˜๐จ๐ฎ ๐š๐ซ๐ž ๐ฐ๐š๐ญ๐œ๐ก๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ฉ๐ž๐จ๐ฉ๐ฅ๐ž ๐ ๐จ ๐ญ๐ก๐ซ๐จ๐ฎ๐ ๐ก ๐ฐ๐ข๐ญ๐ก๐๐ซ๐š๐ฐ๐š๐ฅ ๐Ÿ๐ซ๐จ๐ฆ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ž๐ฆ๐จ๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง๐š๐ฅ ๐š๐๐๐ข๐œ๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง ๐ญ๐จ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฆ๐ฒ๐ญ๐ก ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐œ๐ž๐ซ๐ญ๐š๐ข๐ง๐ญ๐ฒ.โ€ โค๏ธ

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 meaningโ€ฆeven if that means embracing an over-simplistic, fringe ideology like this one. ๐Ÿ™Œ

And THIS is one of the main reasons why Iโ€™ve not spoken up about this topic personally. ๐ˆโ€™๐ฆ ๐ง๐จ๐ญ ๐ฅ๐จ๐จ๐ค๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ญ๐จ ๐ญ๐š๐ค๐ž ๐š ๐œ๐ก๐ข๐ฅ๐โ€™๐ฌ ๐›๐ฅ๐š๐ง๐ค๐ž๐ญ ๐š๐ฐ๐š๐ฒ ๐Ÿ๐ซ๐จ๐ฆ ๐ก๐ข๐ฆ ๐ฐ๐ก๐ž๐ง ๐ก๐žโ€™๐ฌ ๐Ÿ๐ž๐š๐ซ๐Ÿ๐ฎ๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ฒ ๐œ๐ฅ๐ข๐ง๐ ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐จ๐ง๐ญ๐จ ๐ข๐ญ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐๐ž๐š๐ซ ๐ฅ๐ข๐Ÿ๐ž. ๐Ÿ˜ญ

At the moment, the child needs something, anything to stay calm and feel safe. ๐Ÿ›ก

Donโ€™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 weโ€™re not going to solve them when weโ€™re making the incorrect diagnoses, which in turn provide the wrong solutions. ๐Ÿ‘Ž

๐–๐žโ€™๐ซ๐ž ๐ง๐จ๐ญ ๐ ๐จ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ญ๐จ ๐ฌ๐จ๐ฅ๐ฏ๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐œ๐จ๐ฆ๐ฉ๐ฅ๐ž๐ฑ ๐ฉ๐ซ๐จ๐›๐ฅ๐ž๐ฆ๐ฌ ๐ข๐ง ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ ๐ฌ๐จ๐œ๐ข๐ž๐ญ๐ฒ ๐ฐ๐ข๐ญ๐ก ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฌ๐š๐ฆ๐ž ๐จ๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ-๐ฌ๐ข๐ฆ๐ฉ๐ฅ๐ข๐ฌ๐ญ๐ข๐œ ๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ง๐ค๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ฐ๐ก๐ข๐œ๐ก ๐ข๐ฌ ๐œ๐ซ๐ž๐š๐ญ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ฆ. ๐Ÿ‘Ž

But that part of the discussion will be saved for another postโ€ฆ

My point is: THIS is not the way forward. โŒ

๐Ÿคฌ โ€œ๐‘พ๐‘ฌ๐‘ณ๐‘ณ ๐‘ด๐‘น. ๐‘ฏ๐‘ฐ๐‘ฎ๐‘ฏ-๐‘จ๐‘ต๐‘ซ-๐‘ด๐‘ฐ๐‘ฎ๐‘ฏ๐‘ป๐’€ ๐‘ซ๐‘ถ๐‘ต๐‘จ๐‘ณ๐‘ซ, ๐‘ฎ๐‘ถ๐‘ป ๐‘จ๐‘ต๐’€ ๐‘ฉ๐‘ฌ๐‘ป๐‘ป๐‘ฌ๐‘น ๐‘ฐ๐‘ซ๐‘ฌ๐‘จ๐‘บ?!โ€ ๐Ÿคฌ

I believe I do! And it goes right back to what I was talking about earlier. ๐Ÿ˜Š

๐Ÿ™Œ We move forward by focusing on our common humanity.

๐Ÿ™Œ We move forward by focusing on what we have in common.

๐Ÿ™Œ We move forward by NOT assuming malicious intent of those who disagree with us.

๐Ÿ™Œ We move forward by focusing on understanding and less on labeling.

๐–๐ž ๐ƒ๐ˆ๐…๐…๐”๐’๐„ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฉ๐จ๐ฐ๐ž๐ซ ๐ญ๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐ฅ๐š๐›๐ž๐ฅ๐ฌ ๐œ๐š๐ซ๐ซ๐ฒ ๐›๐ฒ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐œ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐จ๐ง ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ ๐œ๐จ๐ฆ๐ฆ๐จ๐ง ๐ก๐ฎ๐ฆ๐š๐ง๐ข๐ญ๐ฒ.

๐–๐ž ๐“๐‘๐€๐๐’๐‚๐„๐๐ƒ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฉ๐จ๐ฐ๐ž๐ซ ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ ๐ฉ๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ๐จ๐ง๐š๐ฅ ๐›๐ข๐š๐ฌ๐ž๐ฌ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ฉ๐ซ๐ž๐ฃ๐ฎ๐๐ข๐œ๐ž๐ฌ ๐œ๐š๐ซ๐ซ๐ฒ ๐›๐ฒ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐œ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐จ๐ง ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ ๐œ๐จ๐ฆ๐ฆ๐จ๐ง ๐ก๐ฎ๐ฆ๐š๐ง๐ข๐ญ๐ฒ.

๐–๐ž ๐€๐‚๐Š๐๐Ž๐–๐‹๐„๐ƒ๐†๐„ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฅ๐ž๐ง๐ฌ๐ž๐ฌ ๐ญ๐ก๐ซ๐จ๐ฎ๐ ๐ก ๐ฐ๐ก๐ข๐œ๐ก ๐ฐ๐ž ๐ฌ๐ž๐ž ๐ ๐ž๐ง๐ž๐ซ๐š๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ฒ ๐ฌ๐ž๐ž ๐จ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ซ ๐ฉ๐ž๐จ๐ฉ๐ฅ๐žโ€ฆ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ฌ๐ญ๐ข๐ฅ๐ฅ ๐‚๐‡๐Ž๐Ž๐’๐„ ๐ง๐จ๐ญ ๐ญ๐จ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ๐ ๐ž๐ญ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ก๐ฎ๐ฆ๐š๐ง๐ข๐ญ๐ฒ ๐ฐ๐ž ๐š๐ฅ๐ฅ ๐ก๐š๐ฏ๐ž ๐ข๐ง ๐œ๐จ๐ฆ๐ฆ๐จ๐ง.

For every time we do this, weโ€™ll remind our survival brain whoโ€™s in charge of how we connect with others. ๐Ÿง 

Weโ€™ll remind our survival brain how naรฏve the caricatures we create in our minds about mass groups of people are. ๐Ÿง 

๐ˆ๐Ÿ ๐ฐ๐ž ๐ญ๐ซ๐ฎ๐ฅ๐ฒ ๐ฐ๐š๐ง๐ญ ๐ญ๐จ ๐ฉ๐ซ๐จ๐ฆ๐จ๐ญ๐ž ๐๐ข๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ๐ข๐ญ๐ฒ ๐ข๐ง ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ ๐ฌ๐จ๐œ๐ข๐ž๐ญ๐ฒ, ๐ฅ๐ž๐ญโ€™๐ฌ ๐ง๐จ๐ญ ๐ง๐ž๐ ๐ฅ๐ž๐œ๐ญ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ๐ฒ ๐๐ข๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ๐ข๐ญ๐ฒ ๐ฅ๐š๐ฒ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ฐ๐ข๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ง ๐ž๐š๐œ๐ก ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ž๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ๐ฒ ๐จ๐ง๐ž ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ฎ๐ฌ. ๐‘๐ข๐ ๐ก๐ญ ๐ง๐จ๐ฐ ๐ฐ๐ž’๐ซ๐ž ๐จ๐ง๐ฅ๐ฒ ๐ญ๐จ๐ฎ๐œ๐ก๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฌ๐ฎ๐ซ๐Ÿ๐š๐œ๐ž.

Because whatโ€™s the alternative?

๐Ÿ‘Ž A society which is OBSESSED with focusing on what makes us separate from each other.

๐Ÿ‘Ž A society which DISCRIMINATES people based primarily upon their labels.

๐Ÿ‘Ž A society which attempts to solve the problem of prejudiceโ€ฆwith EVEN MORE PREJUDICE.

That doesnโ€™t sound like a desirable outcome, does it? Sounds a bit backwards, right? It’s honestly quite IL-liberal! ๐Ÿ˜…

Butโ€ฆthankfully we donโ€™t have to go down that route! We don’t have to become “woke”! ๐Ÿ’ฏ

I challenge you to come with me and take the road less traveled. Itโ€™s important to remember that just because something is popular in the moment doesnโ€™t automatically mean itโ€™s right. ๐Ÿ‘

I challenge you to come with me and use what might be considered a more โ€œradicalโ€ approach these days to connecting with others:

๐“๐จ ๐ฌ๐ž๐ž ๐จ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ ๐š๐ฌ ๐ก๐ฎ๐ฆ๐š๐ง ๐›๐ž๐ข๐ง๐ ๐ฌ ๐Ÿ๐ข๐ซ๐ฌ๐ญ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ๐ž๐ฆ๐จ๐ฌ๐ญ. ๐“๐จ ๐ญ๐ซ๐ž๐š๐ญ ๐จ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ ๐ฐ๐ข๐ญ๐ก ๐ซ๐ž๐ฌ๐ฉ๐ž๐œ๐ญ, ๐ž๐ฏ๐ž๐ง ๐ฐ๐ก๐ž๐ง ๐ข๐ญ’๐ฌ ๐ง๐จ๐ญ ๐ ๐ข๐ฏ๐ž๐ง ๐›๐š๐œ๐ค. ๐“๐จ ๐œ๐จ๐ฆ๐ฆ๐ฎ๐ง๐ข๐œ๐š๐ญ๐ž ๐ฐ๐ข๐ญ๐ก ๐œ๐ข๐ฏ๐ข๐ฅ๐ข๐ญ๐ฒ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ก๐ฎ๐ฆ๐ข๐ฅ๐ข๐ญ๐ฒ, ๐ž๐ฏ๐ž๐ง ๐ฐ๐ก๐ž๐ง ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐จ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ซ ๐ฉ๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ๐จ๐ง ๐๐จ๐ž๐ฌ๐ง’๐ญ ๐ซ๐ž๐œ๐ข๐ฉ๐ซ๐จ๐œ๐š๐ญ๐ž. ๐“๐จ ๐ซ๐ž๐ฆ๐ž๐ฆ๐›๐ž๐ซ ๐ญ๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐ก๐ฎ๐ซ๐ญ ๐ฉ๐ž๐จ๐ฉ๐ฅ๐ž ๐ก๐ฎ๐ซ๐ญ ๐ฉ๐ž๐จ๐ฉ๐ฅ๐ž, ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ญ๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐Ÿ๐ข๐ ๐ก๐ญ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐Ÿ๐ข๐ซ๐ž ๐ฐ๐ข๐ญ๐ก ๐Ÿ๐ข๐ซ๐ž ๐จ๐ง๐ฅ๐ฒ ๐œ๐ซ๐ž๐š๐ญ๐ž๐ฌ ๐ฆ๐จ๐ซ๐ž ๐Ÿ๐ข๐ซ๐ž. ๐“๐จ ๐ ๐ข๐ฏ๐ž ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ฌ๐ž๐ฅ๐Ÿ ๐ฉ๐ž๐ซ๐ฆ๐ข๐ฌ๐ฌ๐ข๐จ๐ง ๐ญ๐จ ๐›๐ซ๐ž๐š๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐๐ฎ๐ซ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ฌ๐ญ๐ซ๐ž๐ฌ๐ฌ๐Ÿ๐ฎ๐ฅ ๐ฆ๐จ๐ฆ๐ž๐ง๐ญ๐ฌ.

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

๐˜๐จ๐ฎโ€™๐ซ๐ž ๐š ๐ก๐ฎ๐ฆ๐š๐ง ๐›๐ž๐ข๐ง๐ . ๐€๐ง๐ ๐ˆโ€™๐ฆ ๐š ๐ก๐ฎ๐ฆ๐š๐ง ๐›๐ž๐ข๐ง๐ . ๐Ÿ‘ฅ

๐‹๐ž๐ญโ€™๐ฌ ๐ฌ๐ญ๐š๐ซ๐ญ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ซ๐ž. ๐Ÿ™‚

๐๐จ ๐ฆ๐จ๐ซ๐ž. ๐€๐ง๐ ๐ง๐จ ๐ฅ๐ž๐ฌ๐ฌ. โค๏ธ

Why Conspiracy Theories DEMAND Understanding!

๐ˆ ๐ซ๐ž๐ฆ๐ž๐ฆ๐›๐ž๐ซ ๐ฐ๐ก๐ž๐ง ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐’๐š๐ง๐๐ฒ ๐‡๐จ๐จ๐ค ๐„๐ฅ๐ž๐ฆ๐ž๐ง๐ญ๐š๐ซ๐ฒ ๐ฌ๐œ๐ก๐จ๐จ๐ฅ ๐ฌ๐ก๐จ๐จ๐ญ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ก๐š๐ฉ๐ฉ๐ž๐ง๐ž๐. โณ

I remember watching the news coverage, the feelings of horror, the shock among the country that such an event happened. ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

I even remember the news wrongfully attributing the killerโ€™s potential motive to his diagnosis of autism. โŒ

It wasnโ€™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? ๐Ÿ˜ซ

“๐‘พ๐’‰๐’‚๐’• ๐’Œ๐’Š๐’๐’… ๐’๐’‡ ๐’‘๐’†๐’“๐’”๐’๐’ ๐’„๐’๐’–๐’๐’… ๐’„๐’๐’Ž๐’Ž๐’Š๐’• ๐’”๐’–๐’„๐’‰ ๐’‚๐’ ๐’‚๐’„๐’•?! ๐‘ฏ๐’๐’˜ ๐’„๐’๐’–๐’๐’… ๐’‚๐’ ๐’†๐’—๐’†๐’๐’• ๐’๐’Š๐’Œ๐’† ๐’•๐’‰๐’Š๐’” ๐’†๐’—๐’†๐’ ๐’‰๐’‚๐’‘๐’‘๐’†๐’?!”

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. ๐Ÿ–ฅ๏ธ

But the title of the video caught my attention: โ€œSANDY HOOK EXPOSEDโ€. ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

I clicked on itโ€ฆand for the next half hour I was entranced watching the entire video! ๐Ÿ˜ต

๐ˆ ๐ซ๐ž๐ฆ๐ž๐ฆ๐›๐ž๐ซ ๐ฐ๐ก๐ž๐ง ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐’๐š๐ง๐๐ฒ ๐‡๐จ๐จ๐ค ๐ฌ๐ก๐จ๐จ๐ญ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ก๐š๐ฉ๐ฉ๐ž๐ง๐ž๐. ๐๐ž๐œ๐š๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ž ๐ข๐ญ ๐ฐ๐š๐ฌ ๐š๐ฅ๐ฌ๐จ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐Ÿ๐ข๐ซ๐ฌ๐ญ ๐ญ๐ข๐ฆ๐ž ๐ˆ ๐ฐ๐š๐ฌ ๐ข๐ง๐ญ๐ซ๐จ๐๐ฎ๐œ๐ž๐ ๐ญ๐จ ๐ฆ๐ฒ ๐Ÿ๐ข๐ซ๐ฌ๐ญ ๐œ๐จ๐ง๐ฌ๐ฉ๐ข๐ซ๐š๐œ๐ฒ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐จ๐ซ๐ฒ. ๐Ÿ‘ฟ

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 ๐Ÿ’ญ:

โ€œ๐‘ฏ๐’๐’˜ ๐’„๐’๐’–๐’๐’… ๐’•๐’‰๐’†๐’“๐’† ๐’ƒ๐’† ๐’๐’ ๐’ˆ๐’–๐’?!โ€ โ€œ๐‘ฏ๐’๐’˜ ๐’„๐’๐’–๐’๐’… ๐’•๐’‰๐’†๐’š ๐’Ž๐’Š๐’”๐’” ๐’•๐’‰๐’Š๐’”?!โ€ โ€œ๐‘ป๐’‰๐’Š๐’” ๐’Š๐’” ๐’”๐’•๐’“๐’‚๐’๐’ˆ๐’†!โ€ โ€œ๐‘บ๐’๐’Ž๐’†๐’•๐’‰๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐’Š๐’” ๐’˜๐’“๐’๐’๐’ˆ ๐’‰๐’†๐’“๐’†!โ€

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: โ€œ๐‘จ ๐’๐’๐’“๐’Ž๐’‚๐’ ๐’‘๐’†๐’“๐’”๐’๐’ ๐’…๐’๐’†๐’”๐’โ€™๐’• ๐’…๐’ ๐’•๐’‰๐’Š๐’”!โ€ โ€œ๐‘ฐ๐’” ๐’‰๐’† ๐’‚๐’„๐’•๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ?!โ€ ๐Ÿ’ญ

I remember another clip which showed the mother of the daughter, but she was smiling and saying words you couldnโ€™t hear because the audio was muted. Again, the subtitles were ready to tell me what to think: โ€œ๐‘ฏ๐’๐’˜ ๐’„๐’‚๐’ ๐’”๐’‰๐’† ๐’ƒ๐’† ๐’”๐’ ๐’‰๐’‚๐’‘๐’‘๐’š ๐’‚๐’• ๐’‚ ๐’•๐’Š๐’Ž๐’† ๐’๐’Š๐’Œ๐’† ๐’•๐’‰๐’Š๐’”?!โ€ โ€œ๐‘บ๐’๐’Ž๐’†๐’•๐’‰๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐’Š๐’” ๐’—๐’†๐’“๐’š ๐’˜๐’“๐’๐’๐’ˆ ๐’‰๐’†๐’“๐’†!โ€ ๐Ÿ’ญ

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! ๐Ÿ“š

The video brought me to the conclusion it wanted me to come to: that Sandy Hook never happened, that it was a hoax. ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

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

โš ๏ธ ๐๐Ž, ๐’๐€๐๐ƒ๐˜ ๐‡๐Ž๐Ž๐Š ๐–๐€๐’ ๐๐Ž๐“ ๐€ ๐‡๐Ž๐€๐—! โš ๏ธ

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. ๐Ÿ˜ 

Thankfully, at the time I watched this video I had enough skepticism to get additional perspectives on the videoโ€™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/ )

๐Ÿ“Œ The father who went from crying to smiling? There could be any number of reasons why that happened. ๐‘จ ๐’”๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ๐’๐’† ๐’„๐’‰๐’‚๐’๐’ˆ๐’† ๐’Š๐’ ๐’‡๐’‚๐’„๐’Š๐’‚๐’ ๐’†๐’™๐’‘๐’“๐’†๐’”๐’”๐’Š๐’๐’๐’” ๐’Š๐’” ๐’๐’๐’• โ€œ๐’‘๐’“๐’๐’๐’‡โ€ ๐’‰๐’†โ€™๐’” ๐’‚๐’ ๐’‚๐’„๐’•๐’๐’“ ๐’๐’๐’“ ๐’•๐’‰๐’‚๐’• ๐’•๐’‰๐’†๐’“๐’†โ€™๐’” ๐’”๐’๐’Ž๐’†๐’•๐’‰๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐’…๐’Š๐’‚๐’ƒ๐’๐’๐’Š๐’„๐’‚๐’ ๐’ˆ๐’๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐’๐’.

๐Ÿ“Œ That mother who was smiling in the muted video clip? If you got to hear the video clip unmuted, youโ€™d quickly understand she was smiling because she was sharing positive memories about her daughter. ๐‘ฐ๐’‡ ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’„๐’“๐’†๐’‚๐’•๐’๐’“ ๐’๐’‡ ๐’•๐’‰๐’Š๐’” ๐’‰๐’๐’‚๐’™ ๐’—๐’Š๐’…๐’†๐’ ๐’๐’†๐’‡๐’• ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’๐’“๐’Š๐’ˆ๐’Š๐’๐’‚๐’ ๐’‚๐’–๐’…๐’Š๐’ ๐’Š๐’, ๐’š๐’๐’–โ€™๐’… ๐’†๐’‚๐’”๐’Š๐’๐’š ๐’”๐’†๐’† ๐’‰๐’๐’˜ ๐’š๐’๐’– ๐’˜๐’†๐’“๐’† ๐’ƒ๐’†๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐’Ž๐’Š๐’”๐’๐’†๐’….

๐ˆ ๐ฐ๐š๐ฌ๐งโ€™๐ญ ๐Ÿ๐ž๐ โ€œ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ญ๐ซ๐ฎ๐ญ๐กโ€ ๐š๐ฌ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฏ๐ข๐๐ž๐จ ๐ฅ๐ž๐ ๐ฆ๐ž ๐ญ๐จ ๐›๐ž๐ฅ๐ข๐ž๐ฏ๐ž. ๐ˆ ๐ฐ๐š๐ฌ ๐Ÿ๐ž๐ ๐š ๐œ๐ฒ๐ง๐ข๐œ๐š๐ฅ ๐ง๐š๐ซ๐ซ๐š๐ญ๐ข๐ฏ๐ž ๐›๐š๐ฌ๐ž๐ ๐ฎ๐ฉ๐จ๐ง ๐ฉ๐ซ๐ž๐ฌ๐ฎ๐ฉ๐ฉ๐จ๐ฌ๐ข๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง๐ฌ, ๐œ๐ก๐ž๐ซ๐ซ๐ฒ-๐ฉ๐ข๐œ๐ค๐ž๐ ๐๐ž๐ญ๐š๐ข๐ฅ๐ฌ, ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ž๐ฑ๐ญ๐ซ๐š๐จ๐ซ๐๐ข๐ง๐š๐ซ๐ฒ ๐œ๐ฅ๐š๐ข๐ฆ๐ฌ ๐ฆ๐š๐๐ž ๐ฐ๐ข๐ญ๐ก ๐ฅ๐ข๐ญ๐ญ๐ฅ๐ž ๐ญ๐จ ๐ง๐จ ๐ž๐ฏ๐ข๐๐ž๐ง๐œ๐ž ๐ญ๐จ ๐›๐š๐œ๐ค ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ฆ ๐ฎ๐ฉ. ๐Ÿ‘Ž

๐–๐‡๐€๐“ ๐ˆ๐’ ๐€ ๐‚๐Ž๐๐’๐๐ˆ๐‘๐€๐‚๐˜ ๐“๐‡๐„๐Ž๐‘๐˜?!

We can use Merriam-Websterโ€™s definition: โ€œA theory that explains an event or set of circumstances as the result of a secret plot by usually powerful conspirators.โ€ ๐Ÿ“–

We can also use Britannicaโ€™s definition: โ€œAn attempt to explain harmful or tragic events as the result of the actions of a small, powerful group.โ€ ๐Ÿ“–

Letโ€™s also add in Dictionary.comโ€™s definition: โ€œA theory that rejects the standard explanation for an event and instead credits a covert group or organization with carrying out a secret plot.โ€ ๐Ÿ“–

The reason I wanted to give you all these definitions is thereโ€™s also a conspiracy theory online that the CIA created the term โ€œconspiracy theoryโ€ to silence people during the JFK assassination. This is False. ๐Ÿ‘Ž

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

Even more, thereโ€™s a conspiracy theory that the source Iโ€™ve been citing above, Snopes, has a โ€œleftist propaganda political agendaโ€. This is again False. ๐Ÿ‘Ž

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

Snopes

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

If youโ€™re starting to notice a pattern, the problem is that ๐š๐ง๐ฒ๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ง๐  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 โ€œshillโ€ or a โ€œsheepโ€. ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™‚๏ธ

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 โ€œfake newsโ€ simply because it doesnโ€™t fit with their worldview. โŒ

๐Ÿคฌ โ€œ๐˜๐Ž๐”โ€™๐‘๐„ ๐’๐Ž ๐‚๐Ž๐๐ƒ๐„๐’๐‚๐„๐๐ƒ๐ˆ๐๐†, ๐ƒ๐Ž๐๐€๐‹๐ƒ! ๐˜๐Ž๐” ๐€๐‚๐“ ๐‹๐ˆ๐Š๐„ ๐‚๐Ž๐๐’๐๐ˆ๐‘๐€๐‚๐ˆ๐„๐’ ๐ƒ๐Ž๐โ€™๐“ ๐„๐—๐ˆ๐’๐“!โ€ ๐Ÿคฌ

Let me clarify: ๐‚๐จ๐ง๐ฌ๐ฉ๐ข๐ซ๐š๐œ๐ข๐ž๐ฌ ๐ก๐š๐ฏ๐ž ๐Ÿ๐ŸŽ๐ŸŽ% ๐ก๐š๐ฉ๐ฉ๐ž๐ง๐ž๐ ๐›๐ž๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ๐ž! ๐Ÿ’ฏ

๐Ÿ“ 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 childrenโ€™s bodies without permission from grieving families.

๐Ÿ“ 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.

๐Ÿ“ 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! ๐Ÿ’ฏ

Itโ€™s not that I donโ€™t believe conspiracies have never happened or that I believe world governments have never done anything shady before. They have! And thereโ€™s a lot of classified information we as the general public will never be aware of. ๐Ÿ‘

Citing the incidents above, itโ€™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? ๐Ÿ‘

The difference with my perspective is ๐ˆโ€™๐ฆ ๐ง๐จ๐ญ ๐ฐ๐ข๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ญ๐จ ๐ฃ๐ฎ๐ฆ๐ฉ ๐ญ๐จ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐š๐ฎ๐ญ๐จ๐ฆ๐š๐ญ๐ข๐œ ๐š๐ฌ๐ฌ๐ฎ๐ฆ๐ฉ๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐š ๐œ๐จ๐ง๐ฌ๐ฉ๐ข๐ซ๐š๐œ๐ฒ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐ž๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ๐ฒ ๐ฅ๐ข๐Ÿ๐ž-๐œ๐ก๐š๐ง๐ ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ž๐ฏ๐ž๐ง๐ญ. ๐ˆโ€™๐ฆ ๐ง๐จ๐ญ ๐ฐ๐ข๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ญ๐จ ๐ญ๐š๐ค๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ฌ๐ž ๐Ÿ๐ž๐ฐ ๐จ๐œ๐œ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ซ๐ž๐ง๐œ๐ž๐ฌ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐š๐œ๐ญ๐ฎ๐š๐ฅ ๐œ๐จ๐ง๐ฌ๐ฉ๐ข๐ซ๐š๐œ๐ฒ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ญ๐ซ๐ž๐š๐ญ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ฆ ๐š๐ฌ ๐š ๐ซ๐ž๐Ÿ๐ฅ๐ž๐œ๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ž๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ๐ฒ ๐ฌ๐ข๐ง๐ ๐ฅ๐ž ๐ ๐จ๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ๐ง๐ฆ๐ž๐ง๐ญ ๐จ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐ข๐œ๐ข๐š๐ฅ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ฉ๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ๐จ๐ง ๐ข๐ง ๐š๐ฎ๐ญ๐ก๐จ๐ซ๐ข๐ญ๐ฒ. ๐Ÿ‘ฎ

Itโ€™s important to remember when we demonize โ€œthe governmentโ€ weโ€™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. ๐Ÿ‘ช

Itโ€™s this very problem of overgeneralizing I even have to remember myself! I’m guilty of it too! ๐Ÿ™‹โ€โ™‚๏ธ

I’m aware I have a habit of criticizing what I often call โ€œthe mediaโ€. 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. ๐Ÿ“ฐ

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?! ๐Ÿ˜…

My point is: donโ€™t let your obsession over a few bad apples spoil the entire bunch. Or as I always say: ๐ƒ๐จ๐งโ€™๐ญ ๐ญ๐ก๐ซ๐จ๐ฐ ๐จ๐ฎ๐ญ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐›๐š๐›๐ฒ ๐ฐ๐ข๐ญ๐ก ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐›๐š๐ญ๐ก๐ฐ๐š๐ญ๐ž๐ซ. ๐Ÿ‘ถ

The other day I watched the Netflix documentary โ€œBehind the Curveโ€ about Flat Earthers, people who believe the world is flat and that this truth is being covered up by NASA. ๐Ÿš€

I think for many of my friends youโ€™ll be quick to laugh even hearing that such a community exists. But I actually did take a valuable lesson watching the film, and Iโ€™ll tell you whatโ€ฆโฌ‡๏ธ

Sure, the Flat Earther arguments lack critical thinking. Sure, itโ€™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! ๐Ÿ˜…

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! ๐Ÿ’ฏ

In fact, telling someone theyโ€™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. โ†”๏ธ

My point is: we need to apply this same understanding with the people around us. ๐ŸŒŽ

๐ˆ๐ญโ€™๐ฌ ๐›๐ž๐œ๐š๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ž ๐ˆ ๐š๐ฅ๐ฆ๐จ๐ฌ๐ญ ๐Ÿ๐ž๐ฅ๐ฅ ๐๐จ๐ฐ๐ง ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ซ๐š๐›๐›๐ข๐ญ ๐ก๐จ๐ฅ๐ž ๐ฆ๐ฒ๐ฌ๐ž๐ฅ๐Ÿ ๐ญ๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐ˆ ๐š๐ซ๐ ๐ฎ๐ž ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐ฆ๐จ๐ซ๐ž ๐ž๐ฆ๐ฉ๐š๐ญ๐ก๐ฒ ๐ฐ๐ก๐ž๐ง ๐ข๐ญ ๐œ๐จ๐ฆ๐ž๐ฌ ๐ญ๐จ ๐œ๐จ๐ง๐ฌ๐ฉ๐ข๐ซ๐š๐œ๐ฒ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐จ๐ซ๐ข๐ฌ๐ญ๐ฌ.

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. ๐Ÿ™Œ

Mick West says the same thing in his book โ€œEscaping the Rabbit Holeโ€. The former co-founder of Neversoft Entertainment, Mick first became introduced to conspiracy theories when he was studying aviation weather for his pilotโ€™s license. ๐Ÿ‘จโ€โœˆโ€

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. ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

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. ๐Ÿ˜ฒ

But thereโ€™s a difference between Mick and many others who just want to prove conspiracy theorists wrong online. ๐Ÿ›‘

From his many interviews with current and “former” conspiracy theorists, he advocates for understanding and respectful communication. โค๏ธ

In his book โ€œEscaping the Rabbit Holeโ€, he argues weโ€™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. ๐Ÿ’Š

๐‘พ๐’† ๐’†๐’Ž๐’ƒ๐’“๐’‚๐’„๐’† ๐’ƒ๐’†๐’๐’Š๐’†๐’‡๐’” ๐’๐’Š๐’Œ๐’† ๐’„๐’๐’๐’”๐’‘๐’Š๐’“๐’‚๐’„๐’š ๐’•๐’‰๐’†๐’๐’“๐’Š๐’†๐’” ๐’ƒ๐’†๐’„๐’‚๐’–๐’”๐’† ๐’•๐’‰๐’†๐’š ๐’‰๐’†๐’๐’‘ ๐’–๐’” ๐’”๐’Š๐’Ž๐’‘๐’๐’Š๐’‡๐’š ๐’‚๐’๐’… ๐’Ž๐’‚๐’Œ๐’† ๐’”๐’†๐’๐’”๐’† ๐’๐’‡ ๐’๐’–๐’“ ๐’„๐’๐’Ž๐’‘๐’๐’†๐’™ ๐’˜๐’๐’“๐’๐’…. ๐Ÿ˜จ

๐‘ป๐’‰๐’†๐’š ๐’‘๐’“๐’๐’—๐’Š๐’…๐’† ๐’–๐’” ๐’‡๐’†๐’†๐’๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ๐’” ๐’๐’‡ ๐’‘๐’๐’˜๐’†๐’“ ๐’•๐’ ๐’”๐’Š๐’•๐’–๐’‚๐’•๐’Š๐’๐’๐’” ๐’˜๐’† ๐’‡๐’†๐’†๐’ ๐’‘๐’๐’˜๐’†๐’“๐’๐’†๐’”๐’” ๐’๐’—๐’†๐’“. ๐Ÿ˜จ

๐‘ป๐’‰๐’†๐’š ๐’‘๐’“๐’๐’—๐’Š๐’…๐’† ๐’–๐’” ๐‘ช๐’†๐’“๐’•๐’‚๐’Š๐’๐’•๐’š ๐’‚๐’๐’… ๐‘บ๐’Š๐’ˆ๐’๐’Š๐’‡๐’Š๐’„๐’‚๐’๐’„๐’† ๐’•๐’‰๐’‚๐’• ๐’˜๐’†’๐’“๐’† ๐’‚๐’˜๐’‚๐’“๐’† ๐’๐’‡ ๐’”๐’๐’Ž๐’†๐’•๐’‰๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐’๐’•๐’‰๐’†๐’“๐’” ๐’‚๐’“๐’† “๐’‚๐’”๐’๐’†๐’†๐’‘” ๐’•๐’. ๐Ÿ˜จ

๐‘ป๐’‰๐’†๐’š ๐’Ž๐’‚๐’Œ๐’† ๐’–๐’” ๐’ˆ๐’†๐’๐’–๐’Š๐’๐’†๐’๐’š ๐’ƒ๐’†๐’๐’Š๐’†๐’—๐’† ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’˜๐’๐’“๐’๐’… ๐’Š๐’” ๐’‚ ๐’…๐’‚๐’“๐’Œ ๐’‚๐’๐’… ๐’”๐’„๐’‚๐’“๐’š ๐’‘๐’๐’‚๐’„๐’†, ๐’•๐’‰๐’‚๐’• ๐’˜๐’†’๐’“๐’† ๐’‚ ๐’Ž๐’Š๐’๐’๐’“๐’Š๐’•๐’š ๐’๐’‡ ๐’Š๐’๐’…๐’Š๐’—๐’Š๐’…๐’–๐’‚๐’๐’” ๐’˜๐’‰๐’ ๐’Œ๐’๐’๐’˜ ๐’•๐’‰๐’Š๐’” ๐’•๐’ ๐’ƒ๐’† ๐’•๐’“๐’–๐’†, ๐’‚๐’๐’… ๐’•๐’‰๐’‚๐’• ๐’๐’•๐’‰๐’†๐’“๐’” ๐’๐’†๐’†๐’… ๐’•๐’ ๐’ƒ๐’† ๐’˜๐’‚๐’“๐’๐’†๐’…. ๐Ÿ˜จ

๐‘ฐ๐’ ๐’•๐’‰๐’Š๐’” ๐’˜๐’๐’“๐’๐’…๐’—๐’Š๐’†๐’˜, ๐’•๐’‰๐’†๐’“๐’† ๐’„๐’‚๐’ ๐’ƒ๐’† ๐’‚ ๐’Ž๐’๐’๐’”๐’•๐’†๐’“ ๐’Š๐’ ๐’†๐’—๐’†๐’“๐’š ๐’„๐’๐’๐’”๐’†๐’•. ๐Ÿ˜จ

The unfortunate part is just that some individuals fell deeper down the rabbit hole than most of us ever did. ๐Ÿ•ณ๏ธ

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. ๐Ÿ™‹โ€โ™‚โ€

His biggest piece of advice: be respectful and understanding. Remember: it couldโ€™ve just as easily been you under the same circumstances. ๐Ÿ‘ค

๐Ž๐Ÿ๐ญ๐ž๐ง ๐ญ๐ข๐ฆ๐ž๐ฌ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐จ๐ง๐ž๐ฌ ๐ฐ๐ก๐จ ๐š๐ซ๐ž ๐ก๐ฎ๐ซ๐ญ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฆ๐จ๐ฌ๐ญ ๐š๐ซ๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐จ๐ง๐ž๐ฌ ๐ฐ๐ก๐จ ๐ง๐ž๐ž๐ ๐ฅ๐จ๐ฏ๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฆ๐จ๐ฌ๐ญ. โค๏ธ

Apart from our susceptibility to conspiracy theories, we all as human beings suffer from whatโ€™s known as cognitive biases. They are patterns of thinking which psychologically distort how we view the world. ๐Ÿ‘€

Some of the most common biases include:

๐Ÿง  Negativity Bias. Weโ€™re more likely to give attention to negativity than we do to positivity.

๐Ÿง  Confirmation Bias. Weโ€™re more likely to believe information which reinforces our worldview and more easily dismiss information which goes against it.

๐Ÿง  Black-and-White (Dichotomous) Thinking. Weโ€™re more likely to see the world in polar opposite extremes. Good versus Evil. Us versus Them.

๐Ÿง  Illusory pattern perception. Weโ€™re more likely to see patterns among things which have no relation to each other. Itโ€™s why in science thereโ€™s the principle: โ€œCorrelation does not mean causationโ€.

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

๐Ÿง  The Dunning-Kruger Effect. Weโ€™re more likely to overestimate our ability at something weโ€™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: โ€œ๐‘ป๐’‰๐’† ๐’‘๐’“๐’๐’ƒ๐’๐’†๐’Ž ๐’˜๐’Š๐’•๐’‰ ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’Ž๐’๐’…๐’†๐’“๐’ ๐’˜๐’๐’“๐’๐’… ๐’Š๐’” ๐’•๐’‰๐’‚๐’• ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’”๐’•๐’–๐’‘๐’Š๐’… ๐’‚๐’“๐’† ๐’„๐’๐’„๐’Œ๐’”๐’–๐’“๐’† ๐’‚๐’๐’… ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’Š๐’๐’•๐’†๐’๐’๐’Š๐’ˆ๐’†๐’๐’• ๐’‚๐’“๐’† ๐’‡๐’–๐’๐’ ๐’๐’‡ ๐’…๐’๐’–๐’ƒ๐’•.โ€๐Ÿคฆโ€โ™‚โ€

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. ๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ

But the reason Iโ€™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. ๐Ÿ‘

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. Iโ€™m sure youโ€™ve already seen the 5G conspiracy being shared. ๐Ÿ“ก

More than ever, itโ€™s going to be easy to fall into these cognitive traps so I want to remind us all to be extra mindful of this. ๐Ÿง˜โ€โ™‚โ€

This is NOT a “conspiracy” problem; it’s a human problem, deeply rooted in cynicism, distrust, and paranoia. ๐Ÿ˜จ

As Dale Carnegie reminds us: “๐‘พ๐’‰๐’†๐’ ๐’…๐’†๐’‚๐’๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐’˜๐’Š๐’•๐’‰ ๐’‘๐’†๐’๐’‘๐’๐’†, ๐’๐’†๐’• ๐’–๐’” ๐’“๐’†๐’Ž๐’†๐’Ž๐’ƒ๐’†๐’“ ๐’˜๐’† ๐’‚๐’“๐’† ๐’๐’๐’• ๐’…๐’†๐’‚๐’๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐’˜๐’Š๐’•๐’‰ ๐’„๐’“๐’†๐’‚๐’•๐’–๐’“๐’†๐’” ๐’๐’‡ ๐’๐’๐’ˆ๐’Š๐’„. ๐‘พ๐’† ๐’‚๐’“๐’† ๐’…๐’†๐’‚๐’๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐’˜๐’Š๐’•๐’‰ ๐’„๐’“๐’†๐’‚๐’•๐’–๐’“๐’†๐’” ๐’๐’‡ ๐’†๐’Ž๐’๐’•๐’Š๐’๐’, ๐’„๐’“๐’†๐’‚๐’•๐’–๐’“๐’†๐’” ๐’ƒ๐’“๐’Š๐’”๐’•๐’๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐’˜๐’Š๐’•๐’‰ ๐’‘๐’“๐’†๐’‹๐’–๐’…๐’Š๐’„๐’†๐’” ๐’‚๐’๐’… ๐’Ž๐’๐’•๐’Š๐’—๐’‚๐’•๐’†๐’… ๐’ƒ๐’š ๐’‘๐’“๐’Š๐’…๐’† ๐’‚๐’๐’… ๐’—๐’‚๐’๐’Š๐’•๐’š.”

๐Ÿคฌ โ€œ๐˜๐Ž๐”โ€™๐‘๐„ ๐๐ˆ๐€๐’๐„๐ƒ ๐€๐†๐€๐ˆ๐๐’๐“ ๐“๐‡๐„ ๐“๐‘๐”๐“๐‡, ๐ƒ๐Ž๐๐€๐‹๐ƒ! ๐–๐€๐Š๐„ ๐”๐!โ€๐Ÿคฌ

The questions I challenge everyone to ask themselves:

๐Ÿค” Do you possess your beliefs? Or do your beliefs possess you?

๐Ÿค” Are you able to step outside your own ideology and understand your criticโ€™s points of view?

๐Ÿค” Are you able to steelman your opponentโ€™s arguments and understand their position thoroughly before dismissing them completely?

In addition, I challenge you:

๐Ÿ’ช To get sources from multiple points of view, including information that may go against your beliefs. Not all information is created equal.

๐Ÿ’ช Stay aware of your cognitive biases and genuinely seek to understand other people’s points of view. See if you can steelman their argument.

๐Ÿ’ช Give others who disagree with you the benefit of the doubt. Donโ€™t automatically assume malicious intent. Perhaps you may learn something from them you didnโ€™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, Iโ€™m not immune to a lack of self-awareness. It’s an ongoing process! ๐Ÿ™‹โ€โ™‚๏ธ

WE’RE IN THIS TOGETHER! โค๏ธ

.

Below, I am providing resources which have greatly helped me develop my critical thinking skills! โฌ‡๏ธ

๐๐Ž๐Ž๐Š๐’

๐Ÿ“˜ โ€œEscaping the Rabbit Hole: How to Debunk Conspiracy Theories Using Facts, Logic, and Respectโ€ by Mick West – https://amzn.to/3hKPnNS

๐Ÿ“™ “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

๐Ÿ“• โ€œHow to Think โ€“ A Survival Guide for a World at Oddsโ€ by Alan Jacobs https://amzn.to/39DdBXr

๐Ÿ“— โ€œThinking, Fast and Slowโ€ by Daniel Kahneman – https://amzn.to/30UV4lG

๐Ÿ“™ โ€œYou Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways Youโ€™re Deluding Yourselfโ€ by David McRaney – https://amzn.to/3hLuQbV

๐Ÿ“˜ โ€œThe Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Darkโ€ by Carl Sagan – https://amzn.to/3jR8Oq8

๐Ÿ“• โ€œThe Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religionโ€ by Jonathan Haidt – https://amzn.to/2P2Ddna

.

๐Ž๐๐‹๐ˆ๐๐„ ๐‘๐„๐’๐Ž๐”๐‘๐‚๐„๐’

๐Ÿ“ผ CrashCourse Navigating Digital Information โ€“ A 10-episode series dedicated to teaching critical thinking skills for browsing the Internet. https://bit.ly/2EnmatQ

๐Ÿ“ผ CrashCourse Philosophy โ€“ A 46-episode series dedicated to teaching philosophical ideas, which in turn practices your critical thinking skills. https://bit.ly/3faLlwH

๐Ÿ“ผ CrashCourse Media Literacy โ€“ A 12-episode series dedicated to teaching the history and psychology of media. https://bit.ly/3f3YuYg

๐Ÿ“„ 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

.

๐•๐ˆ๐ƒ๐„๐Ž๐’

๐Ÿ“ผ Wisecrack โ€“ What Makes REAL Science? – https://bit.ly/3hR3pxz

๐Ÿ“ผ Wisecrack – How Conspiracies Changed & The Decline of Expertise (Flat Earth, Anti-Vaxxers) – https://bit.ly/335qcl1

๐Ÿ“ผ Wisecrack – How Fake Science (Pseudoscience) Can Fool You! – https://bit.ly/330Puki

๐Ÿ“ผ Wisecrack – The Internet was a Mistake – https://bit.ly/39EfzqC

๐Ÿ“ผ SciShow โ€“ The Science of Anti-Vaccination – https://bit.ly/2X6IQ8i

๐Ÿ“ผ SciShow Psych – Why Do So Many People Believe in Conspiracy Theories? – https://bit.ly/3gmdPEM

๐Ÿ“ผ Late Night with John Oliver – Coronavirus Conspiracy Theories – https://bit.ly/3fbTjWj

Why EMBRACE Change!

Last year I was in Glasgow visiting the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. It was such a beautiful museum, I spent nearly 3 hours looking at EVERY nook and cranny! ๐Ÿ˜

If you ever want to be reminded of how VAST our world and its history is, take a trip sometime to a museum! ๐Ÿ–ผ๏ธ

At one point, I had entered the section with an ENTIRE wall dedicated to Charles Darwin and his Theory of Evolution! ๐Ÿฆท

Before Darwin, our world had a much MORE simplified explanation as to how our world’s inhabitants came to be. ๐Ÿ˜…

Contrary to popular belief at the time, Earth is in fact WAY MORE than 6000 years old! ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

Not only going against conventional understanding, Darwin changed the paradigm of BOTH the religious AND scientific beliefs of his time! ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

He showed us there was a world FAR MORE complex than what was once thought, presenting ideas which later laid the foundation for MANY subjects we study today including Biology. ๐Ÿงซ

But why do I share this post with you? ๐Ÿค”

Because there was one KEEN observation Darwin noticed during his studies. Verbatim, I saw this written on the museum wall: โœ๏ธ

๐ŸŒŸ “๐ƒ๐š๐ซ๐ฐ๐ข๐ง ๐ง๐จ๐ญ๐ข๐œ๐ž๐ ๐ข๐ญ ๐ฐ๐š๐ฌ ๐ง๐จ๐ญ ๐ง๐ž๐œ๐ž๐ฌ๐ฌ๐š๐ซ๐ข๐ฅ๐ฒ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฌ๐ญ๐ซ๐จ๐ง๐  ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐›๐ž๐š๐ฎ๐ญ๐ข๐Ÿ๐ฎ๐ฅ ๐ฐ๐ก๐จ ๐ฌ๐ฎ๐œ๐œ๐ž๐ž๐ ๐ข๐ง ๐ฅ๐ข๐Ÿ๐ž’๐ฌ ๐ฌ๐ญ๐ซ๐ฎ๐ ๐ ๐ฅ๐ž – ๐ข๐ญ ๐ข๐ฌ ๐ญ๐ก๐จ๐ฌ๐ž ๐ฐ๐ก๐จ ๐œ๐จ๐ฉ๐ž ๐›๐ž๐ฌ๐ญ ๐ฐ๐ข๐ญ๐ก ๐œ๐ก๐š๐ง๐ ๐ž.” ๐ŸŒŸ

With COVID and everything happening in 2020, I find this quote stretches FAR BEYOND Darwin to our modern world today. Our world is constantly changing, perhaps too fast for many people’s comfort. โŒ›

But with this finding from Darwin, I challenge us to take on the this opportunity to continue adapting to whatever comes our way. Because we are greater than our circumstances! ๐Ÿ’ช

“Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.” โค๏ธ

Why Your Shadow MATTERS!

๐Ÿ’ฌ “๐„๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ๐ฒ๐จ๐ง๐ž ๐œ๐š๐ซ๐ซ๐ข๐ž๐ฌ ๐š ๐ฌ๐ก๐š๐๐จ๐ฐ, ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฅ๐ž๐ฌ๐ฌ ๐ข๐ญ ๐ข๐ฌ ๐ž๐ฆ๐›๐จ๐๐ข๐ž๐ ๐ข๐ง ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ข๐ง๐๐ข๐ฏ๐ข๐๐ฎ๐š๐ฅ’๐ฌ ๐œ๐จ๐ง๐ฌ๐œ๐ข๐จ๐ฎ๐ฌ ๐ฅ๐ข๐Ÿ๐ž, ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐›๐ฅ๐š๐œ๐ค๐ž๐ซ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐๐ž๐ง๐ฌ๐ž๐ซ ๐ข๐ญ ๐ข๐ฌ. ๐€๐ญ ๐š๐ฅ๐ฅ ๐œ๐จ๐ฎ๐ง๐ญ๐ฌ, ๐ข๐ญ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ๐ฆ๐ฌ ๐š๐ง ๐ฎ๐ง๐œ๐จ๐ง๐ฌ๐œ๐ข๐จ๐ฎ๐ฌ ๐ฌ๐ง๐š๐ , ๐ญ๐ก๐ฐ๐š๐ซ๐ญ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ ๐ฆ๐จ๐ฌ๐ญ ๐ฐ๐ž๐ฅ๐ฅ-๐ฆ๐ž๐š๐ง๐ญ ๐ข๐ง๐ญ๐ž๐ง๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง๐ฌ.” ~ ๐‚๐š๐ซ๐ฅ ๐‰๐ฎ๐ง๐  ๐Ÿ’ฌ

The Shadow is the parts of ourselves we reject, the primal emotions we suppress for the sake of societal approval, the parts we deny out of a personal desire to deny they exist. โŒ

You could also think of the Shadow like “the devil on your shoulder”. The Shadow includes the thoughts that come up in your mind you’d never tell anyone else you thought. ๐Ÿ‘ฟ

Think of an individual who is so kind, so loving, and so quiet. But one day you hear about an incident where they lost their temper, and you think to yourself: “NO! That is NOT the person I know! That is NOT who they are!” ๐Ÿ›‘

Or think of the priest who vocally condemns homosexuality in his church but is eventually found to have participated in homosexual acts. ๐Ÿ˜ฒ

โžก๏ธ These are examples of the Shadow at play. โฌ…๏ธ

๐–๐ก๐ž๐ง ๐ฐ๐ž ๐Ÿ๐š๐ข๐ฅ ๐ญ๐จ ๐š๐œ๐ค๐ง๐จ๐ฐ๐ฅ๐ž๐๐ ๐ž ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ข๐ง๐ญ๐ž๐ ๐ซ๐š๐ญ๐ž ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ ๐’๐ก๐š๐๐จ๐ฐ ๐ข๐ง๐ญ๐จ ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ ๐ฅ๐ข๐Ÿ๐ž, ๐ข๐ญ ๐ฐ๐ข๐ฅ๐ฅ ๐œ๐จ๐ฆ๐ž ๐จ๐ฎ๐ญ ๐ข๐ง ๐๐ž๐ฌ๐ญ๐ซ๐ฎ๐œ๐ญ๐ข๐ฏ๐ž ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ก๐š๐ซ๐ฆ๐Ÿ๐ฎ๐ฅ ๐ฐ๐š๐ฒ๐ฌ ๐ญ๐จ๐ฐ๐š๐ซ๐๐ฌ ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ฌ๐ž๐ฅ๐ฏ๐ž๐ฌ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐จ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ. ๐Ÿ”จ

๐–๐ž ๐ฐ๐ข๐ฅ๐ฅ ๐ฉ๐ซ๐จ๐ฃ๐ž๐œ๐ญ ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ ๐’๐ก๐š๐๐จ๐ฐ๐ฌ ๐จ๐ง๐ญ๐จ ๐จ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ซ ๐ฉ๐ž๐จ๐ฉ๐ฅ๐ž ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ฉ๐ซ๐จ๐œ๐ฅ๐š๐ข๐ฆ: “๐“๐ก๐ž๐ฒ ๐š๐ซ๐ž ๐ข๐ฆ๐ฆ๐จ๐ซ๐š๐ฅ!” ๐ฐ๐ก๐ข๐ฅ๐ž ๐๐ž๐ง๐ฒ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ๐ฒ ๐ข๐ฆ๐ฆ๐จ๐ซ๐š๐ฅ๐ข๐ญ๐ฒ ๐ฅ๐š๐ฒ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ฐ๐ข๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ง ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ฌ๐ž๐ฅ๐ฏ๐ž๐ฌ. ๐ŸŽญ

It’s why there’s so many people with emotional issues. It’s why we have many immature adults, ones who’ve never taken the opportunity to be better in touch with themselves. ๐Ÿ˜”

Instead, many have unfortunately had to settle for cultural expectations of possessing certain personality traits while suppressing others. ๐Ÿ˜ฉ

A man needs to always be masculine and suppress his femininity (“Boys don’t cry”), while a female needs to always be feminine and suppress her masculinity (“Girls, know your place”). โ†•๏ธ

๐ˆ๐ญ’๐ฌ ๐ฐ๐ก๐ฒ ๐ฐ๐ž ๐ฌ๐ก๐จ๐ฎ๐ฅ๐ ๐ง๐จ๐ญ ๐ซ๐ž๐ฌ๐ข๐ฌ๐ญ ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ ๐’๐ก๐š๐๐จ๐ฐ. ๐ˆ๐ง๐ฌ๐ญ๐ž๐š๐, ๐ฐ๐ž ๐ง๐ž๐ž๐ ๐ญ๐จ ๐›๐ž๐œ๐จ๐ฆ๐ž ๐š๐ฐ๐š๐ซ๐ž ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ข๐ญ ๐ฌ๐จ ๐ฐ๐ž ๐œ๐š๐ง ๐ฐ๐จ๐ซ๐ค ๐ฐ๐ข๐ญ๐ก ๐ข๐ญ. ๐Ÿ’ฏ

In some circles like self-help and spirituality, the idea of the Shadow can be frowned upon. “Let go of the things which don’t serve you.” “If you focus on it, the more energy you give to it.” ๐Ÿ‘Ž

I understand those perspectives, however I take Carl Jung’s perspective: “I’d rather be whole than good.” I’d rather accept every part of me, the good and the bad, the gentle and the aggressive, than suppress it. ๐Ÿ‘ค

๐Ÿค” So, how does one integrate their Shadow? ๐Ÿค”

The first step is acknowledgment of its existence. Whatever your Shadow is will differ from person to person. ๐Ÿ™Œ

This DOESN’T mean you have to start expressing your Shadow or have to start identifying with it. It’s simply about acknowledging it, you making a personal commitment to being brutally honest of seeing every part of yourself, whether you are “proud” it or not. ๐Ÿ’ฏ

๐Ÿ“ ๐“๐ก๐ž ๐ ๐ž๐ง๐ญ๐ฅ๐ž ๐ฆ๐š๐ง ๐š๐œ๐ค๐ง๐จ๐ฐ๐ฅ๐ž๐๐ ๐ž๐ฌ ๐ก๐ข๐ฌ ๐œ๐š๐ฉ๐š๐œ๐ข๐ญ๐ฒ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐š๐ ๐ ๐ซ๐ž๐ฌ๐ฌ๐ข๐จ๐ง.

๐Ÿ“ ๐“๐ก๐ž ๐ฌ๐ž๐ง๐ฌ๐ข๐ญ๐ข๐ฏ๐ž ๐ฐ๐จ๐ฆ๐š๐ง ๐š๐œ๐ค๐ง๐จ๐ฐ๐ฅ๐ž๐๐ ๐ž๐ฌ ๐ก๐ž๐ซ ๐œ๐š๐ฉ๐š๐œ๐ข๐ญ๐ฒ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐ฆ๐š๐ง๐ข๐ฉ๐ฎ๐ฅ๐š๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง.

๐Ÿ“ ๐“๐ก๐ž ๐ก๐จ๐ฆ๐จ๐ฉ๐ก๐จ๐›๐ข๐œ ๐ฉ๐ซ๐ข๐ž๐ฌ๐ญ ๐š๐œ๐ค๐ง๐จ๐ฐ๐ฅ๐ž๐๐ ๐ž๐ฌ ๐ก๐ข๐ฌ ๐œ๐š๐ฉ๐š๐œ๐ข๐ญ๐ฒ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐ก๐จ๐ฆ๐จ๐ฌ๐ž๐ฑ๐ฎ๐š๐ฅ ๐๐ž๐ฌ๐ข๐ซ๐ž๐ฌ.

๐Ÿ“ ๐“๐ก๐ž ๐ƒ๐ซ. ๐‰๐ž๐ค๐ฒ๐ฅ๐ฅ ๐š๐œ๐ค๐ง๐จ๐ฐ๐ฅ๐ž๐๐ ๐ž๐ฌ ๐ก๐ข๐ฌ ๐œ๐š๐ฉ๐š๐œ๐ข๐ญ๐ฒ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐Œ๐ซ. ๐‡๐ฒ๐๐ž.

We acknowledge our capacity for evil while simultaneously choosing to be good. ๐ŸŽญ

As written in The Gulag Archipelago ๐Ÿ“–: “If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them.

๐๐ฎ๐ญ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฅ๐ข๐ง๐ž ๐๐ข๐ฏ๐ข๐๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ ๐จ๐จ๐ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ž๐ฏ๐ข๐ฅ ๐œ๐ฎ๐ญ๐ฌ ๐ญ๐ก๐ซ๐จ๐ฎ๐ ๐ก ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ก๐ž๐š๐ซ๐ญ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ž๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ๐ฒ ๐ก๐ฎ๐ฆ๐š๐ง ๐›๐ž๐ข๐ง๐ .” ๐Ÿ‘ค

So, with this acknowledgement and acceptance of our Shadows, we can then take action! ๐Ÿ˜„

๐‘๐š๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ซ ๐ญ๐ก๐š๐ง ๐ฅ๐ž๐ญ๐ญ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ ๐’๐ก๐š๐๐จ๐ฐ๐ฌ ๐œ๐จ๐ง๐ญ๐ซ๐จ๐ฅ ๐ฎ๐ฌ, ๐ฐ๐ž ๐œ๐š๐ง ๐ญ๐š๐ค๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ซ๐ž๐ข๐ง๐ฌ ๐จ๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ฆ! ๐Ÿ’ช

“๐˜ ๐˜ค๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ด๐˜ช๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ ๐˜ฎ๐˜บ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜ง ๐˜ข ๐˜ฌ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ, ๐˜จ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ, ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ค๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฑ๐˜ข๐˜ด๐˜ด๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ด๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ. ๐˜‰๐˜ถ๐˜ต ๐˜ ๐˜ข๐˜ค๐˜ฌ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฐ๐˜ธ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ๐˜จ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ’๐˜ด ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ ๐˜ข๐˜จ๐˜จ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ด๐˜ช๐˜ท๐˜ฆ, ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜จ๐˜ณ๐˜บ ๐˜ฑ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ต ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ต ๐˜ด๐˜ถ๐˜ณ๐˜ง๐˜ข๐˜ค๐˜ฆ๐˜ด ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ค๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ต ๐˜ธ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฑ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ต๐˜ข๐˜ฌ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ข๐˜ฅ๐˜ท๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ข๐˜จ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง ๐˜ฎ๐˜บ ๐˜ฌ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ด. ๐Ÿ˜ 

๐˜๐˜ฐ๐˜ธ ๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ฏ ๐˜ ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜จ๐˜ณ๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ฆ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜š๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ฅ๐˜ฐ๐˜ธ ๐˜ฑ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ต ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ ๐˜ข ๐˜ธ๐˜ข๐˜บ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ต ๐˜ธ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ’๐˜ต ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ณ๐˜ถ๐˜ค๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ท๐˜ฆ ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ด?” ๐Ÿค”

What are some ways you could use your Shadow energy of anger and aggression for more constructive means?

โšฝ๏ธ You could take up a competitive sport.

๐Ÿ‹๏ธ You could use this energy in your workouts.

๐Ÿ’จ You could use it to get your work done faster.

๐Ÿ™Œ You could use it in situations which legitimately call for you to become more aggressive.

๐๐ฎ๐ญ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐๐ข๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐ž๐ซ๐ž๐ง๐œ๐ž ๐ง๐จ๐ฐ ๐ข๐ฌ ๐˜๐Ž๐” ๐€๐‘๐„ ๐ˆ๐ ๐‚๐Ž๐๐“๐‘๐Ž๐‹. ๐˜๐จ๐ฎ ๐š๐ซ๐ž ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ ๐’๐ก๐š๐๐จ๐ฐ ๐œ๐จ๐ง๐ฌ๐œ๐ข๐จ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ฅ๐ฒ ๐ซ๐š๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ซ ๐ญ๐ก๐š๐ง ๐ฅ๐ž๐ญ๐ญ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ ๐’๐ก๐š๐๐จ๐ฐ ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ž ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐ฎ๐ง๐œ๐จ๐ง๐ฌ๐œ๐ข๐จ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ฅ๐ฒ! ๐Ÿ˜„

It’s what I mean when I tell people “don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater”. ๐Ÿ‘ถ

Integrating our Shadow can be VERY useful. But we always need to make sure we’re in control and using it for a healthy means. ๐Ÿ˜Š

๐–๐ข๐ฅ๐ฅ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐ฉ๐จ๐ฌ๐ฌ๐ž๐ฌ๐ฌ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ ๐’๐ก๐š๐๐จ๐ฐ, ๐จ๐ซ ๐ฐ๐ข๐ฅ๐ฅ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐š๐ฅ๐ฅ๐จ๐ฐ ๐ข๐ญ ๐ญ๐จ ๐ฉ๐จ๐ฌ๐ฌ๐ž๐ฌ๐ฌ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ? ๐Ÿ˜ˆ

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LET ME KNOW IF YOU FOUND THIS USEFUL! โฌ‡๏ธ