Pay attention to who clings to the narrative the longest, who’s still adhering to it even now. Not because you should be angry or resentful towards them, but because it’s important information about them, and very valuable when deciding the weight that you should give to their advice and opinions and analysis on other matters. You can dearly love someone who says 2 + 2 = 5, but you wouldn’t hire them to do your accounting.
Some people took the shots because they decided it was a good idea for their health. Good for them, I’m glad they were able to get the treatment they wanted.
Separate from that, the way our governments are using the shots is as a loyalty pledge. In order to be considered a fully citizen in good standing, in order to be effectively “on their side”, people need to prove that they will do what they’re told. In this function, the risk of harm from the shots is a feature, not a bug, since taking a loyalty pledge that could be dangerous is a greater demonstration of loyalty.
No one should be in denial that by participating in a passport system or a mandate they are tacitly endorsing it, which means they are approving of the discrimination and social and financial attacks on those who don’t–at the very least, that’s how our governments will see it.
Everyone’s situation is unique; we have different vulnerabilities and different responsibilities. Some are less able to resist the coercive measures than others because they feel a stronger need for the things that would otherwise be withheld from them (entertainment, socialising, etc.). Some may be forced to participate in this system in order to feed their families.
But just as there may be situations where one needs to steal to feed one’s family, stealing remains wrong. If you allow the necessities of your situation to push you to believe the passport systems and mandates are good or OK, then the manipulations being done to you have succeeded in corrupting you, and you have lost your most important freedom and autonomy: your independent ability to determine for yourself what is good for you and what you ought to do. The most important place to be free is your mind.
Please take this in the way it is meant–as something for you to consider for yourself for your own benefit. I don’t want to try to change peoples’ behaviour by inducing a sense of guilt in them. Stoking peoples’ negative emotions (fear, anger, resentment, despair) in order to manipulate them isn’t the way I’d prefer to interact with people, my preference instead is to appeal to higher ideals and motivations than that (and in any case, my power to manipulate people in that way is massively dwarfed by the abilities on the other side, so it would be pointless to try even if I wanted to).
The point of an expert is to give you some knowledge you don’t have, either because they’ve studied the topic more, or they have some experience you don’t have, or they’re better able to understand something complex, etc. It’s up to you to then decide what to do with that knowledge.
The point of an expert is not to tell you what to do. Listening to an expert does not mean simply doing what they say. Being an expert does not mean dictating motivations, values, interests, and fundamental assumptions about the word–these are things you choose for yourself (if you are free) and then use to interpret and assess the expert’s knowledge, and from this synthesis make a decision.
The purpose of censorship on social media is sometimes said to be solely for maximising profit. The motivation is purely to keep people engaged so that they’re exposed to more ads, so that there is more ad revenue, and therefore opinions, ideas, and values that would scare away advertisers need to be blocked.
This misses the most valuable aspect of what a mass social medium (like Facebook or Twitter) offers. Especially now, when direct unmediated human interaction is rare, for a significant proportion of people, a significant proportion of their interaction and communication is through online media. Peoples’ understanding of what’s happening in the world, what the world is, what is good, and nearly everything else comes through these online media.
For most people, the biggest influence on what they believe is their peer group, or whatever person or group they hold in high esteem. It’s difficult to overstate the intensity of social instincts in humans–people tend to act from these without thinking, without being conscious of it. And fear of ostracization and isolation can overpower even fear of death, as demonstrated by people who kill themselves when something taboo about themselves is revealed (whether true or not), or when they believe that no one loves them.
The real value in controlling social media and online communication in general is the power that comes from being able to manipulate and fake peoples’ perceptions of what their peer group or esteemed group believes and thereby manipulate and alter their beliefs. If communicating some concept or expressing some value becomes forbidden and impossible then people won’t form beliefs based on them.
But even if it’s not fully suppressed, even labelling and categorising it as somehow not OK is enough to signal to peoples’ social instincts that it should be avoided. While this applies most to those who have respect for the institution that applies the label, even those who don’t will still be influenced, they still understand in a sub-conscious instinctual way that these concepts or values should be avoided. At the scale of these institutions, a large effect isn’t required on the individual level in order for there to be large effects on society.
Belief is the basis for power. Armies of men with guns are very powerful, but only if they believe in the legitimacy of the authority that directs them. If that belief goes, the authority can’t wield the power, and it goes too.
Remember, Twitter was able to censor the American president, who in popular imagination is (or was) considered the most powerful man on the planet.
If the people in control of a social medium were solely motivated by profit, and were somehow ignorant and unaware of the power they held, then they would be greatly undervaluing their asset, and because of this would likely sell it to someone who understands its true value and wants its power.
Without peering into the minds of those who actually control these institutions (whoever they are), we may not know for sure that they aren’t solely motivated by profit, but given what we know about the nature of these institutions (they are means to power), and given what we know about the richest and most powerful people (that they want more riches and power, and wouldn’t be hindered by moral considerations), it seems too unlikely, and a bad assumption to make.
There are many here among usJimi Hendrix – All Along the Watchtower
Who feel that life is but a joke
But, uh, but you and I, we’ve been through that
And this is not our fate
So let us stop talkin’ falsely now
The hour’s getting late
In Watchmen, one of the superhero characters is a cynical mercenary named Comedian. He believes he sees past the facade, he knows what makes the world turn and it’s the base aspects of human nature–despite fancy words and performative altruism, people do what they do because of greed, lust, resentment, and so on–and he laughs at it, laughs with it.
This worldview is shattered when he learns of the machinations of the supervillain. The scope of the calculated horror and the scale of power enacting it makes him break down and weep.
It’s very popular now to entertain simulation theories about the world. The current global standard fundamental assumptions about the world are that everything is the result of mathematical forces operating on nearly featureless particles to make them bounce around or pop in and out of existence in ways that are either deterministic or random, and that it’s all ultimately transient and meaningless. The experience of thoughts and sensations is sometimes described as an illusion.
This puts an abstract model of the world, something that was only ever claimed to be a model, knowledge about the world derived through means that as an inherent part of the way it works looks only at a subset of the world (things that can be isolated, phenomena that can be reliably repeated, knowledge that can be described mathematically), ahead of thinking and sensation, ahead of what is most immediate and is what assesses all potential knowledge–including models.
What happens then is that all experiences are interpreted within the frame of that model, and since fundamental assumptions are the basis for what is believed to be possible, real, or existing, if something outside of this happens and is experienced, it is disbelieved by assumption, and is explained away as faulty memory, a hallucination, a mirage, or not real in some other way. So it’s possible to claim to be open to some possibilities if the evidence is there, but then to necessarily assess all evidence with a worldview that assumes they’re impossible, and so will in practice always be explained away and rejected.
Any line of thinking that concludes that thinking isn’t real or is an illusion should be viewed like a reductio ad absurdum, meaning that a false assumption was made.
The implications of replacing one set of fundamental assumptions with another extend far and deep. Some old beliefs that were derived from old assumptions and need re-evaluation may persist due to habit. There comes a time when taking this reassessment seriously becomes overdue.
People sometimes say things like “he had a choice, now he has to face the consequences” in response to people being arrested or fined or fired because they didn’t follow a “public health order”. This morning I was thinking about how that sounds like something a supervillain would say.
Then in the evening I heard a genuine take-over-the-world supervillain, Dr. Doom, say “you refuse? Very well, you shall suffer the consequences!”, sampled in Hero vs. Villain by MF DOOM.
One of the most difficult aspects of planet lockdown is how many people whom I previously respected are now either frustratingly mute, or even enthusiastically cheering for the evil system that has now openly revealed itself.
I mean people whose thinking and understanding in some field or in general was admirably sound or deep in some way; friends or family who were worth listening to and speaking with because they seemed to have some real, active thought going on. Real human beings, not just parrots or social mirrors. To see them now so asleep or so willingly duped in the daily presence of absurd interruptions to basic aspects of life, hearing the blatant lies and direct contradictions, going along unquestioningly with extreme and unprecedented measures that are dizzyingly out of proportion with the scale of the threat they purport to address–it’s disappointing and disheartening.
I feel embarrassed for them. They’re agreeing to live a thoroughly controlled and micro-managed life, an artificial narrow limitation on the infinite fractaline possibilities of what their life could be, willingly becoming nearly as domesticated as a modern factory farm animal. They’re rejecting their own autonomy and preferring to see themselves as a sack of potatoes to be picked up and placed as directed by insane and evil authorities. They believe they aren’t independent beings, and I don’t want to agree with them.
I’m very thankful for the seemingly few people around me who have the ability to believe what they see, and I’m thankful I’ve always been relatively comfortable with social isolation.
A death due to COVID-19 is…
A death resulting from a clinically compatible illness, unless there is a clear alternative cause of death that cannot be related to COVID disease (e.g. trauma). There should be no period of complete recovery* from COVID-19 between illness and death.Provincial Respiratory Surveillance Report – COVID-19 Technical Notes
So any death from a respiratory virus is counted?
I can’t tell when the count started, because the links for the weekly reports in 2020 just go to the weekly report for 2021. If I click on “Week 33 (August 9 – August 15, 2020)”, I get to the page for Week 33 in 2021.
Not that it matters; these numbers are obviously not taken seriously by anyone.
Someone I know shared one of those “you have a right not to wear a mask, but businesses have a right to not serve you” / “you are free to make a choice, but that means accepting the consequences of your actions” cliches; this was my response.
If someone points a gun at you and says “drop your pants or I’ll shoot”, you have a right to not drop your pants and accept the consequences of your actions.
This is an empty tautological statement (any reaction or response to an action you take is a consequence that you face), and being technically true masks the actual problem, it excuses the guy with the gun and ignores his wrongdoing.
It also equivocates between a single business having some weird rule (putting cloth over your face does NOT stop a virus–you know this!) and the government mandating that all businesses enforce the rule–very big difference!
The biggest problem with mask mandates is how it enforces participation in a big lie. For people who value honesty, who believe truth is real and transcendentally important, the fact that this is required to do most things in the public space–including getting food for one’s family–is not merely a minor inconvenience.
Allowing big lies to stand invites more big lies and contributes to mass psychosis. It’s easy and most convenient to just put on a mask and participate, and for those who believe this life is ultimately meaningless and just about avoiding suffering, grabbing pleasure when there’s an opportunity, and generally passively accepting things as they seem to be, it makes sense to just put on a mask and get on with the ever more limited conception of “life” that we’re being boxed into.
For those who believe that things like truth and beauty are truly real and significant, existing beyond the life and death of any individual or civilization, we can at least recognize that unthnking (anti-thinking) compliance with big lies is wrong.
Even if we fail to muster up the modicum of courage required to stand against social ostracism and verbal abuse to do so in deed, we can at least recognize that we ought to, and by doing so can retain some honesty and goodness in the core of what we are.
A report compiled by Statistics Canada, an organisation within the Canadian government, says this:
Of the 15,300 people who died of COVID-19 between March and December 2020, nearly 9 in 10 had at least one other health condition or complication or another cause listed on the death certificate.Briefing on the Impact of COVID-19 on Seniors
This is nothing new, we’ve already heard this many times since back in April 2020 at least: people dying from this virus were overwhelmingly already ill and diseased. Many places have in fact explicitly said that deaths are counted as caused by this virus not because it was what killed them, but because they recently tested positive (a “case”, in post 2020 lingo). See footnote 7 on this Ontario government site:
Any case marked “Fatal” is included in the deaths data. Deaths are included whether or not COVID-19 was determined to be a contributing or underlying cause of deathHow Ontario is responding to COVID-19
The report also says deaths from the virus are mostly old people, which again has been known since the beginning.
Between March 2020 and the beginning of February 2021, seniors accounted for 7 in 10 excess deaths, and 94% of the deaths were attributed to COVID-19. The majority of Canadians who died from COVID-19 were residents of long-term care homes.
More than half were people 85 and older (greater than life expectancy at birth). The chart that shows this includes both excess deaths and virus deaths.
Excess deaths are much more skewed towards the young, and a second Statistics Canada report spells this out explicitly:
Based on the newly updated provisional dataset released today from the Canadian Vital Statistics Death Database, from the end of March 2020 to the beginning of April 2021, an estimated 62,203 deaths were reported among Canadians aged 0 to 64. This represents 5,535 more deaths than expected were there no pandemic, after accounting for changes in the population such as aging. Over the same period, 1,380 COVID-19 deaths have been attributed to the same age group (those younger than 65), suggesting that the excess mortality is, in large part, related to other factors such as increases in the number deaths attributed to causes associated with substance use and misuse, including unintentional (accidental) poisonings and diseases and conditions related to alcohol consumption.Provisional death counts and excess mortality, January 2020 to April 2021
This is the Canadian government officially saying that for people under 65, the effects of lockdowns are four times more deadly than the virus.
It shouldn’t have to be said, but in order to justify the extreme, unprecedented measures that we’re enduring, that we’re seeing every day interfering with nearly every aspect of our lives, the scale of the threat that they will with a high certainty avoid would have to be great in proportion to the extremity and degree of disruption they cause. That is, the restrictions would need to be confidently know to save a large multiple of people that would be lost without them.
What we’re seeing–as reported by an official government body whose purpose is exactly statistical analysis of Canadian demographics–is that not only is this not the case, but the reverse is true: the restrictions are resulting in more deaths, not less.