Wear The Damn Mask!

“Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety”

Benjamin Franklin

What follows might be bollox, so be warned.

Me and my wife went to London the other day. It was the first day out since lockdown started. It was also the first time either of us used public transport. It was a nice day, but it would have been nicer if it weren’t for the constant dehumanizing reminders that we are all dangerous, potentially infectious, dirty bags of germs. Before boarding the train in Watford, everyone masked up like a good, responsible citizen. Everyone apart from us. My wife had kept two masks in her purse in case we were told off, but I was not going to put one on no matter what. My wife, who is asthmatic, was willing to suffer a short-term discomfort to avoid confrontation. I wasn’t. The people in Euston stared at us like they had just seen Bonnie and Clyde – that couple they recognized from the “Wanted” posters. Some eyes spelled fear, while others expressed disgust, and confusion – how are they getting away with this disobedience?

The exact look masked people give me on the street

The ancient instinct

As the quote above suggests, I am not willing to sacrifice my liberties for temporary safety. I am responsible for my own safety and you are for yours. This should be where the mask debate ends. But it doesn’t so, if you’re persuaded by the government’s advice and “the science”, then by all means, wear a mask, gloves, goggles, and a top hat if you want. My problem is with the government trying to take my right to take responsibility for my own life away from me. I don’t need the state to be my parent. I can make my own informed decisions about my health and safety. I can take risks and those who don’t want to take them can, just as well, stay home and “stay safe”. This has been my stance throughout the lockdown. The belief that it is OUR job to take responsibility for ourselves and our immediate family and keep them safe from harm. It’s not up to me to keep you or your grandad healthy or alive. As harsh as this sounds, this is true, and no amount of online shaming is going to change that.

We care for our own. Countless scientific research, as well as common sense, confirms that we, as humans and as mammals, value the health of our own family members more than that of strangers. Our own children and children of our siblings are the priority because they carry our genes. And even though we don’t think about it like this, our genes want to survive by being passed on to our offspring. So, the genes make us love and care for our children and protect them from harm. We share genes with our brothers and sisters, so their kids are, by definition, successful copies of our genes. Unlike our parents, who have already contributed to the growth of our family tree. The job of the next generations is to continue that expansion. That’s why we love our children and want the best for them. Anyone who has children or is expecting one, like me, knows how important it is to keep them safe and everyone else, including our own parents, becomes less important. It’s not that we stop caring. Poor health or the death of a parent definitely does hurt, and we never fully expect it even when we have every reason to. It’s that we know that as they age, the chances of them getting seriously sick skyrocket and we are wired to accept that. It’s tough to think your mom or dad will die one day, but this day will come, and you know it. We never think in these terms about our children. Because we know the circle of life by now. “No mother should bury her son”, I heard once in a movie.   We, as parents, should be the first to go and it’s up to us to make sure the natural order occurs.

This instinct is hard wired so deep inside our subconsciousness that we can’t control it. We think we can. But we can’t. In the end, there is an order in which we value human life and what we are willing to do to protect, save, or defend it. This means risking our life, health or even principles, beliefs and values we hold to save somebody’s life, depend on our relationship with the person and what danger face. Another factor also plays a role. It is the hypothetical victim or a number in the statistic VS a real person we know or can relate to. Smoking illustrates it perfectly.

The older you

Research finds that approximately seven thousand non-smoking adults die from lung cancer in The United States each year because of inhaling second-hand smoke. It is not a big number in a country of three hundred and thirty million people. Nevertheless, it’s over seven thousand people whose lives are cut short because of other people’s unhealthy lifestyle. How many smokers would be willing to quit smoking if it helped lower that number? I’d say no one would when presented with a simple statistic. How many would quit or be more mindful of others if the statistic turned into real people with names, families, dreams and plans? I’d say more people would consider quitting. What if quitting smoking meant saving someone they knew? Someone they were close to? I’d say the number of quitters would rise significantly.

It is for the same reason we don’t really think or care about starving children in Africa, but we would care more about a single African child with a name, face, and dreams even if we only met him in a documentary, charity advert or a leaflet from the same organisation. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s what we do. We think it’s upsetting and unfortunate, but we aren’t willing to do anything that would cause us discomfort to help those in need.

According to the Telegraph article from 2019, six thousand non-smokers die of lung cancer in the UK each year. The article however links the deaths to pollution. How many of us, honestly, are willing to give up certain luxuries, like flying or driving to save six thousand people? My guess is this number doesn’t impress anyone even if it’s so close to home. The truth is, in my opinion, that we don’t want to give up our comfort because we convince ourselves that our effort has little to no impact on the lives of those six thousand men, women and children. It is the same with smoking. Cigarettes pose a threat to the smoker and those around him, but he is not convinced to quit. Why? I believe it’s because he doesn’t see the direct correlation between his actions and the health of his friends and family. And smoking doesn’t always lead to death of lung cancer and when it does, it takes years or decades. If cigarettes killed or caused cancer in 99% of smokers within months and not decades, then less people would smoke. Smoking however, doesn’t always lead to lung cancer and smokers often live to a very old age. In fact, cigarettes can just contribute to poor health with the help of other unhealthy habits like eating junk food and lack of exercise. So, even though there is addiction involved, many smokers just don’t see a direct threat. The damage isn’t done in a day or a month and can’t be observed in real time. One day you may or may not develop a cough and may or may not die prematurely, but the “may or may not” is not convincing enough to make a lifestyle change. This is, I believe, the reason why people start smoking even though there are no health benefits. It’s because they don’t have to deal with the consequences right now. They come later. When they are older. When they expect to be in poor health. When it almost doesn’t matter. The fact of the matter is, we all make choices in the present, pursue short term pleasures and let our older selves deal with the consequences. Cigarettes, in my opinion, fall into that category. If we deliberately sabotage the health of our older selves, how can we ask others to care for the anonymous members of the risk group? Just like I stated above, as species, and as humans we prioritise the youngest among us and the fact that we are willing to destroy our bodies from within and let our older selves deal with it, shows it perfectly.

Who do we save?

Recall the scene from “Titanic” where women and children were prioritised to take the limited number of spaces on the rafts. It makes perfect sense, if we think of humans as one big organism that grows with every child and can’t afford to lose women of childbearing age and children. The same instinct, among certain social and cultural factors, sends young men to war. It’s because even a hundred years ago, when the world population was only two billion, we could afford to lose men, but not women. Once a woman is pregnant with a man, she can’t get pregnant with another man, while a man can make multiple women pregnant. Obviously, this is not what usually happens, because we are governed by many other laws of human nature, but if you think of us as mammals, and males and females, you can see how reproduction can be a big deal for us subconsciously. We are more than animals, so I am not suggesting we sacrifice the elderly because they won’t have anymore kids. No. I am saying, if we are one big organism that wants to grow then it makes sense why we don’t care how our older selves will deal with the consequences of the choices we make today. This can also explain why we may not be willing to do certain sacrifices for the “high risk” people, who are mainly the elderly, when they are presented to us as soulless and anonymous graph or statistic. I also realize that we don’t think if these categories, but I believe there is a more powerful force at work, and it promotes certain feelings and supress others to trigger a certain behaviour. It makes us feel discomfort when we experience or are about to experience something bad for our health. It makes us feel pleasure when we do things that are good for our survival or survival of our genes, like eating or sex. It makes us love our children, so we protect them and make sure they survive. In a way, this force will trick you by making you feel different things physically or mentally, to make you do what it wants you to do. Imagine picking up a pencil and piercing it through your hand. Could you do it if you wanted to or is something stopping you?

So, how does all this relate to face masks? For some people it’s just a mask. No big deal. Others, however, are clearly against it to the point where it angers and upsets them and makes them feel anxious about trying to live a normal life again. They say the new rule is invasive and the government is overstepping by taking away their freedom. They refuse to comply and prepare for war on the 24th July.

This brings me back to the previous paragraphs where I highlighted what level of discomfort we are willing to suffer for others and how it depends on our relationship with them and the level of danger they are facing. For example, if someone were drowning, we would be willing to jump in and get our clothes wet. Would we jump in if it were a frozen lake and there was a huge possibility of not making it back to the surface? What if someone were drowning when the infection rate was at its highest? Would we jump in and save the life, or would we hesitate because of the possibility of getting coronavirus and infecting our loved ones?

You must be calling me mad for even suggesting we would hesitate for the fear of the virus. We might hesitate for other reasons, including not willing to risk our own life. Nevertheless, it is a valid comparison. When facing immediate life or death situation, we are more willing to risk our life or health, sacrifice our belongings, suspend our beliefs, and suppress biases. But we wouldn’t distribute them equally. So, we would risk getting coronavirus to save a drowning child, but we wouldn’t risk drowning to save a child from getting coronavirus. Why? Because drowning is an immediate threat and the child may or may not get the coronavirus. Same applies the other way around. If we don’t jump in, he is definitely going to die, and the risk he is infected and will infect us is unknown just as how our immune system reacts, and it is just as likely for us to be carriers.

I know, I know! Nobody is drowning. Nobody has to make that decision…

The government telling me – a healthy person to wear a mask, is like telling me how many people drown each year, therefore I shouldn’t take my family to the beach or lake. The government telling me to wear a mask is like telling smokers how many non-smokers get lung cancer as a direct result of breathing their cigarette smoke and expect them to quit. In the end, I am responsible for my children at the lake, and non-smokers have a choice of waiting outside. A parent might make a good choice to never smoke around her children, but she doesn’t need to quit to contribute to lowering the statistic and save some hypothetical lives which she may or may not affect. We don’t think we are all equal. We value life according to our relationships, unconscious and conscious biases and we make sacrifices according to that hierarchy. For some of us the mandatory face covering is too much to ask to save hypothetical people who may or may not get a virus. Especially when the data about the benefits of masks is conflicting to say the least.

The argument

You can’t convince someone out of something he convinced himself into

Jonathan Swift

We could sit here all day and argue about COVID19. You’d tell me it’s killing people. I’d tell you, so do influenza and pneumonia. You’d quote the latest number of deaths. I’d ask, “Where did the flu deaths go?”, and tell you how hospitals around the world have been exposed for quoting COVID19 whether it was the cause of death or not. (One of my colleague’s relatives died recently after a hundred years old. They never had or tested positive for coronavirus, but the hospital classed them as COVID19 death – as if they were expecting a hundred-year-old person to live another twenty years if it weren’t for the pandemic.) You’d tell me how many experts say this is serious and I’d tell you about many other experts, who don’t get interviewed by the media, who suggest otherwise. You’d tell me I wouldn’t be saying all this if someone I love died or were on the ventilator. I’d say that personal experience or emotional blackmail are not arguments. I could say the same about cancer patients who have had their operation postponed. First time moms who haven’t received the same care they would have if access to hospitals and midwife service were normal. My wife, for example, is pregnant for the first time and just noticed something concerning on her breast. It could be nothing or it could be something serious. Before getting an appointment with the doctor, she first has to describe the problem to them on the phone so they can just disregard it as nothing to worry about and nothing worthy of a doctor’s time in these “uncertain times” when everyone could be a danger to others. English is not her first language, but only she knows how she feels and the sensation of the area she that worries her. What if she gets nervous when describing it on the phone, and her description of the problem will not be taken seriously? Since when do we self-diagnose mysterious lumps on our bodies? In other circumstances she would have it looked at right away.

So, the quote above perfectly illustrates our situation. You think you have every reason to believe that you need to be in the panic mode and live in fear until told otherwise, and I believe there is no pandemic, in a sense that the virus seems to be lethal to already seriously weakened immune systems. The defence systems are down and the virus attacks. We both look at the same data but see different information. I think I am the one with the glasses on and see the subliminal messages and you think I am crazy. I am convinced the only way for you to see the truth, is to put the glasses on, but you aren’t interested. We are both certain we hold the right position.

It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they’ve been fooled

Mark Twain

The quote by Mark Twain illustrates how hard it is for people to admit they’ve been fooled (and I may be guilty of it too), even in the face of new evidence. Especially when they’ve been emotionally invested in the matter. You have spent four months trusting the government and their experts, who broke their own rules, like Neil Ferguson, the man who gave us lockdown and social distancing. You are unwilling to even think that all this has been unnecessary. Even more so, you are unwilling to let your sacrifice be all for nothing. It’s like discovering your partner cheating and lying to you after you’ve invested and sacrificed so much to be with him. The realisation that it didn’t mean anything to him is hurtful. So, you block the idea that the sacrifice you’ve made for the last five months for the greater good has been for nothing, unnecessary, unreasonable. Furthermore, you might not even be willing to accept that the government is lying to you or doesn’t know what they are doing in this crisis. Between you and me, I don’t know what’s worse, lies or incompetence. Living in denial or voluntary ignorance.

All I know is that I don’t believe the threat is real. Because of that, I don’t believe I should be required to wear a mask. I would really wear it just because you are scared, and I refuse to cover my face with your fear. Remember when we talked about what sacrifices we are willing to make for others? Well I, and many others, based on our independent research, believe it is unnecessary for us to give up our bodily autonomy and right to breathe, because someone, somewhere may or may not get sick. Even if masks worked perfectly, which they don’t, their effect can’t be witnessed in real time and it is not clear whether they have stopped the virus or if the virus has simply  gone away for the Summer, as they do. We simply don’t want to let the government have the power to invade our privacy and freedoms to such extent as to mandate what to do with our faces. You, on the other hand, have come so far, haven’t you? Four months of living in fear and feeding it through your TV screen. You can’t give up now. How do you, Brits say it? In for a penny, in for a pound? Others like me refuse to join this madness and in four months wake up to a headline that says, “Research finds masks have been a waste of time”. For me and others, the evidence is not sufficient. Whether we are talking about the masks or the danger of the virus itself. So far we just have evil or incompetent government who are either executing their evil plan perfectly or are too scared to take strong initiative or unwilling to admit they were wrong to enforce lockdown in the first place. The lockdown that was enforced only because of Ferguson’s inaccurate prediction of how many would die. When he lowered his predicted number of deaths, we continued with lockdown. We continued with it even when he, himself had broken the rules and his excuse was “I thought I was immune to it because I had got it already”, which was the opposite of what the government officials had been telling us about the virus and immunity to it the whole time.

Fragment from The Checklist Manifesto explains how masks only make sense for medical staff who work with patients

The tribes we belong to

When 9/11 happened, it brought the citizens of New York together. The crisis created a sense of belonging and meaning in the community. Both the crime rate and suicide rate dropped following the attacks. New Yorkers felt they were part of something bigger than themselves. Everyone wanted to do their part even if it seemed insignificant. The Blitz made people feel the same way. People depended on each other mentally and physically. Coming together in a time of crisis is not new to our species. We evolved in small tribes for millions of years and living in big cities, often alone and away from our families (our tribes), robs us of that feeling of belonging and contributing to a community. Crisis, according to the war journalist and author of “Tribe”, Sebastian Junger, awakens our ancient instincts that helped our ancestors, who lived in tribes, to survive. Junger describes many other instances where crisis brought strangers together and points out how all men and women become equal in the face of crisis. Why can’t we come together during this pandemic and agree on a seemingly small issue like wearing a mask? I have my own theory.

It is based mainly on the fact that, in my opinion, it is almost impossible for people to relate to, let alone, care about a death toll or death rate. An anonymous graph of daily infections and weekly deaths. A death toll of a major earthquake is more relatable as it claims thousands of lives in a single day and it doesn’t discriminate based on age, race or sex. It makes all men and women equal. Maybe that’s why it’s more relatable. If the COVID19 graph is made up mostly of older people with underlying health conditions, it’s not easy to relate to it. An earthquake, however, doesn’t take hostages. The death toll might still be anonymous, but we can see the devastation, and imagine the horror of mothers looking for their children in the ruins of their homes. The COVID19 deaths aren’t, at least to people who have been against the lockdown, that scary. The fact that people don’t care too much about an anonymous graph, is supported by how we usually react to the death of a celebrity. We mourn because we have invested so much time getting to know them, watching their movies or listening to their music. We relate to them. We know their name, their face and voice. We have seen them get married, have kids or throw tantrums on live TV. The death of a celebrity is so hard to process that we even create conspiracy theories suggesting he or she is still alive somewhere or that their mysterious suicide is just a cover up for something bigger.

Final reason why COVID19 pandemic has failed to bring us together, in my opinion, is that we have spent too much time dividing ourselves. Coronavirus is so invisible and weak that it simply cannot remind us of our ancient instincts. You, me, your sister and your friend Joe, all belong to groups. We all wear many labels. We all have unconscious biases towards members or our own groups and against those in the outgroups, even if the biases are subtle. This is an evolutionary trait related to tribalism. We (our ancestors) needed to be suspicious of strangers because they could be dangerous or carry unknown disease. Something that gets developed over millions of years, doesn’t disappear overnight just because we now have skyscrapers and smartphones and don’t live in small tribes. The unconscious bias is just a tiny legacy of our ancient ancestors and their lack of trust to strangers. Research shows that while we may not always treat others differently, different areas of our brain respond to members of our group and members of the outgroup. The groups can be anything from race, accent, to political views or even star sign or shared name. Of course, we have developed other traits alongside, like empathy, being social and many others which overrun the unconscious biases in most people. The recent decade, however, has seen the rise of identity politics which divided us into Us and Them. Feminism, Black Lives Matter, the election of Donald Trump, and Brexit divide us into categories. White, black, men, women, racist, sexist, homophobic, gay, straight, and so on. Even now, during, what’s supposed to be another Spanish Flu, we have managed to divide ourselves into black and white, BLM supporters and racists. Brexit vote and the election of Boris Johnson and his delivery of Brexit, divided the UK into Leavers and Remainers. Not only are we divided, but we also view each other as enemies. How can one relate to a death toll so diverse?

Speaking of diversity. I am an immigrant. I came to the UK fourteen years ago. That’s almost half of my life. Would I die for this country? No. Do I care about the royal family? Not really. I would help my community in the time of crisis. I have a family now. Would I stay here if the country turned into an Orwellian police state or socialist Venezuela? No, I wouldn’t fight for this country. What I am saying is, that this pandemic is too weak to convince everyone to come together. Diversity isn’t our strength. When you have a multicultural society, it is harder to come together to fight a virus what has 99.96% survival rate. Whether we like it or not, we care for our own. We respond better to real victims rather than graphs. We are willing to suffer different levels of discomfort for others and the more related we are to the (potential) victims, the more discomfort we are willing to suffer. The graph below demonstrates how we measure the sacrifice against the relationship when facing an immediate threat.

You’ll have to excuse my amateur skills at making a graph, but as you can see, we would risk our own life to save or protect our loved ones but the more unrelated we are to the people who are in danger, the less we are willing to do to help them. I’ve actually seen countless videos where a fight breaks out on the train (often between a man and a woman), and the other passengers choose not to intervene. Some even remove themselves from the area. I think there is a lot of people who would sacrifice more to save their mobile phone than another human. The sacrifice isn’t always physical. If someone doesn’t believe the masks are necessary, and believe the government is overstepping by making them mandatory and threatening them with fines for disobedience, then they will not make that sacrifice for anonymous people in a graph. People who don’t want to wear masks, whether they have or haven’t looked into their risks and benefits, are already angry with the government and the police for how they have been treating all of us for the past four months. They have been treating us like children. From how often to wash our hands and what song to sing, to what to wear on our faces. Not to mention the contact tracing system which has made a lot of people question the intentions of the government. I am not going to wear a mask and I will sooner be arrested than accept a fine for it. For people like me, being unmasked is a statement. We want to be heard. For some it is just a mask, perhaps providing safety, anonymity, comfort. For others it is infringement of our freedom. It is too much to ask and maybe, if it weren’t for Trump, Brexit, Black Lives Matter, identity politics, we would have a different response and would come together. Instead the rich of this world have just got richer during the pandemic while the poorest got poorer and this alone can create rebellion against the establishment even if it comes in a form of unmasked smiling face of a free man or woman.  

Something tells me this is correct

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The 5G conspiracy

How to deconstruct Conspiracy Theories

There are people out there claiming that 5G might be causing the outbreak of the Coronavirus. I feel like I almost have to distance myself from these people to not be called a conspiracy theorist. Being a conspiracy theorist is becoming almost the worst thing you can be and when you want to explore the claim, you almost feel obligated to say “I don’t believe in conspiracy theories, but…”

Well, I don’t believe in conspiracy theories, but I want to give you my thoughts on the 5G claims. First let me brief you with my relationship with conspiracy theories.

I remember a documentary that came out in 2007. It was called Zeitgeist. It presented a number of conspiracy theories. It was well made and convincing and it did make me question the reality. I also remember watching a series called Ancient Aliens. I thought it was very interesting because I find the possibility of intelligent life on other planets fascinating. I often wondered what if they had visited us in the ancient past? Then again, life on other planets, may be very different from ours. It may be more advanced or less advanced. Maybe the fish on the nearest life supporting planet never came out of the water. Or maybe a natural disaster has wiped out all ape like creatures off the face of that planet? Maybe life on other planets evolves according to different rules?

Anyway, this leads me to my current position on conspiracy theories, or at least the position I’ve held for many years until recently. This position discredits all conspiracy theories equally. Whether they talk about the Moon landing being fake, 9/11 being an inside job or Tupac faking his own death. I have believed in some of these at some point before coming to a conclusion why conspiracy theories even exist. This is how I deconstructed conspiracy theories.

  1. Human beings like certainty
  2. Human beings don’t like randomness
  3. Conspiracy theories attempt to explain significant events and tragedies (death of a celebrity, terrorist attack killing thousands)
  4. Significant events and tragedies require matching explanations

So, let’s take 9/11 as an example. The official narrative is that the planes were hijacked by a group of terrorists from Afghanistan and they flew the planes into World Trade Centre towers. The conspiracy theorists question this version claiming it was an inside job. They say that the US government was behind the attacks in order to get public’s approval to go to war in the Middle East. This was at least the theory at the time. A theory that gained a lot of followers, called 9/11 truthers, which was not a compliment to say the least.

September 11 provides us with a significant event – the terrorist attack. Now, to believe it was committed by some Afghan men who live in the dessert somewhere, God knows where, is to accept a scary reality of uncertainty and randomness. It would mean that evil exists in the world. It is random and unpredictable, therefore unpreventable. It can strike at any time and we don’t know when. It means that these Afghan men can do it again, we don’t know their next move and their next target. We don’t know what they look like, we don’t know what they really want. We don’t like this uncertainty. We do however like to “know”. We like to know who really pulls the strings. We like certainty so instead we put a face on this invisible enemy. In case of 9/11 it was the US government. Maybe even President Bush. Now we know. Now we have a matching explanation. Instead of some barbarians living in caves, we have a powerful and capable institution responsible for this event. We now have a face to direct our anger at. We can watch their moves and hope that if only we can expose them, we will be safe again. We can’t expose or stop the Middle Eastern terrorists because there will always be more of them than we can defeat. But if we just dethrone our corrupt government, we will not live in fear anymore. The significant and tragic event required power, in other words, not untraceable religious fanatics.

Twenty years later, George W. Bush still walks free and being a 9/11 truther means you are a crazy person. You can find out what the truthers have to say about it and how they question the official rapports and make up your own mind.

What do you believe?

Before I move on to my most recent take on conspiracy theories, let me mention one tragedy that took place in 2010 in Smolensk. It also involved a plane. It carried 96 people on board including the Polish president, his wife and many major Polish politicians. They were going to meet with the Russian leaders in Katyn. The plane crashed in Smolensk and left no survivors. I know about this because I am Polish and the whole country mourned this tragedy. The world leaders of course sent their condolences and the world media covered it for a while, the rest of the world carried on as normal. Among us Poles, conspiracy theories started to emerge to the surface. We blamed the Russians. There was a video of the crash site. Some people claimed they could hear a gun going off. They claimed that the Russians were finishing off the survivors and that this whole crash had been planned. “You can hear the gun shots!” was the common phrase of the time. Now this may well be true…. Or it was just a tragedy. Planes don’t crash very often, but every now and then, they do. It could have been an execution though. Maybe not by the Russians. Maybe it was an inside job. I don’t think I buy the gun shots thing though. I’ll have to revisit this whole story. But the reason I mention this and the fact that the theory formed in Poland while the rest of the world moved on is that it was a significant event for Poland, not UK or America so they had no emotional reasons to question the official reports. For Polish people, however, this was a huge deal, especially since it involved Russians who I guess we never forgave for “saving” us from Nazi Germany with their Communism.

As you see this was only significant to Poland, so the conspiracy theory was created and contained within Polish borders. The idea that planes sometimes crash was not good enough to explain the tragedy. It was easier to put a powerful and corrupt face on it and hope to expose it to never live in fear again. This goes to show that conspiracy theories will surround any event big enough for those emotionally invested in it. That’s why 9/11 touched the whole world because United States is the most powerful country in the world. Smolensk affected a small European country and so the rest of the world wasn’t interested in “finding the truth”.

I believe you can use this approach to any conspiracy theory. Or at least I believed it until recently. I still want to be careful about what I say here because it seems like the moment I say I might believe there is some truth to at least some of the theories, most of you will turn off and think I am one of those lunatics. Bear with me on this.

What happened to Journalism?

Is honest journalism dead?

Apparently, the term “Conspiracy Theory” was invented by the CIA after the assassination of JFK. It was an attempt to silence and ridicule those who questioned the official investigation. Today, everyone has internet. In a way, everyone can ask questions and investigate for themselves. Whatever it might be, everyone can create a website and be a journalist who is asking questions. This is what journalism should be like – trying to find out the truth even if it means questioning the authority and digging deep. With that in mind, everyone with access to internet, can investigate so I guess my question is: At what point does investigation and curious journalism become a conspiracy theory? As soon as it questions the mainstream narrative and gains too much attention, seems to be the answer.

Asking myself this question and seeing how mainstream media attempt to ridicule those who are curious, made me question my approach to the idea of conspiracy theory. I am not saying I suddenly believe all of them but let’s think about it for a minute.

Thousands of journalists investigate, ask questions and try to find the truth, why shouldn’t we at least entertain the idea that they might be asking valid questions? I guess what I am trying to ask is, what happened to the curious journalist following a hunch or a lead even if sometimes it’s a dead end? What happened to the journalist we often see in the movies? That journalist who wants to expose the truth. This journalist seems to have been sacked by the mainstream media. Where did he go then? Maybe this journalist went on the internet where he was free to follow a lead? Maybe we should at least listen to him and decide what the evidence is instead of being told what to think?

In my opinion, the media is like Peter Parker. Peter worked for Daily Bugle and he was the provider of the best pictures of Spider-Man. Of course the only reason why that was, is because he was Spider-Man so he was just pretending to be a good photographer and journalist. In reality he was staging it all. He was providing the pictures but they were not what they were sold as. They were just selfies believed to be a real action Spider-Man pictures. This in essence is what the media has been doing and it’s not even a conspiracy theory anymore. They have been exposed to stage protests to push their political agenda, they take words out of context and they often exaggerate events to make sure people tune in for more. I’ve seen this picture of one journalist reporting from a flooded urban area and he was kneeling in the water to make it look like it was worse than it was while his camera man was next to him and the water was barely up to his waist.

This brings me to coronavirus. There seems to be a growing number of people believing there is more to it than we are led to believe. I won’t get into all this. It’s a story for another time. What I want to talk about is the 5G and its connection to the outbreak of COVID19. There are people who believe there actually is no COVID19. There are also those who believe 5G causes the disease. There are also those who are quick to debunk those people. I don’t know what to believe. On one hand we have people asking questions, on the other people who may or may not have an agenda, debunking and ridiculing those 5G conspiracy theorists. All I know is people are asking questions. They are researching and following a hunch which might be a dead end or not. I also know that at this point I do not want to blindly believe anything the media tells me. Not after how quickly they dropped the Jeffrey Epstein case. They reported on it for a week or two and then settled for the official story and moved on to reporting on fires in the Amazon which by the way happen every year so there was nothing special about them. Still it seems to have worked because it got our eyes off the Epstein case and nobody asked anymore questions. “This Jeffrey Epstein guy sure knew a lot of rich and powerful people and looks like they all liked to spend time on his island. His suicide sure looks very suspicious but oh hey, look there is fire in the Amazon! Quick, get Leonardo DiCaprio and let’s make it a huge deal so people think this is important, so we don’t have to report on that Epstein guy anymore!”

At least this is what it seemed like. And this is why we should ask questions or listen to those who ask them and want to find the answers. It may not turn out to be true but at least we can think for ourselves.

Fake News overload?

Just an Ape surrounded by 5G towers

Humans have lived on this planet for 6 million years. That’s a very long time, most of which has been uneventful in terms of adaptations of humans to their environment. It is believed that for a significant part of that time there lived a number of species of Human until our current form, Homo Sapiens was the only one left. We claimed more territory and drove other species like Neanderthals to extinction or maybe we were better at adapting to climate. Maybe we were able to leave more offspring. Who really knows? War was probably significant in making us the only one left standing. A book called Sapiens – A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harrari illustrates just how it all happened and what has led to where we are today as species and societies so I am not going to get too much into it because I might misrepresent some of the facts and theories but it is nonetheless a fascinating subject.

Even if we focus entirely on us – the last standing species of Humans, then we are still looking at species that is at least 300 thousand years old. Another book called Tribe by Sebastian Junger focuses on how even though we live in big cities, we are still very much equipped with a mind of our ancient ancestors who lived in small tribes. They hunted together. They ate together. They looked after each other too without having to rely on the state to take care of them when they are sick like we do in the modern world. The book also mentions that a genetic adaptation in humans takes 25 thousand years. I would imagine it may even take longer now considering how many people live in earth currently. Adaptation can only happen by having offspring with the best possible candidates. That’s why I believe it is easier and quicker for many animals to adapt to the challenges their species face. There is less of them and only those with superior genes get to mate and leave offspring. Humans don’t have that luxury since we are spread all across the globe and we often mate with the best candidates in our local community which means the superior genes required to create superior offspring that is say, resistant to certain disease, might never find each other. If you’re interested in this subject, I recommend “The Red Queen” by Matt Ridley. It goes in depth on how genes act and what they really want.

You might be wondering why I’m talking about all this. Well, I am not a scientist. I have an interest in anthropology and evolution but that’s as far as it goes. Still, I believe what I am about to say makes sense.

For 6 million years, evolution has shaped human body and behaviour. The environment we lived in, our habits, behaviour, diet, nutrition, mating preferences, they all shaped who we are today as species. Just like each individual lion or zebra are the product of their evolution that took millions of years. A Lion raised by humans, still knows how to be a lion. A Zebra that’s never seen a lion, knows to run from one when it sees it. Behaviour is passed on just like the stripes or strength. Humans have lived in pretty much the same conditions for 6 million years until they decided to explore the world some hundreds of thousands years ago. They still travelled and settled in small tribes and hunted and gathered. All this time evolution enforces their lifestyle and their lifestyle enforces evolution. 6 million years of no air pollution, no chemicals, no electricity, no oil, no processed food, no vaccines and no 5G towers. Instead for millions of years they lived surrounded by nature and had access to clean water.

Even if we only look at Homo Sapiens, we are still looking at 300 thousand years of living in small tribes with no technology as we know it today. I bet many individual birds have died when we erected the first skyscrapers and towers and started flying. Birds had to adapt quite quick to living in cities. I am sure many have died and those we see today are the descendants of those who were successful in both surviving and breeding. I believe many species of birds went extinct purely because of not being able to adapt quick enough to surviving in cities. When was the last time you saw a bright and colourful bird in London or New York?

How does this relate to us? Well the technology is a very recent invention and the modern technology is even more recent. Mobile phones are less than thirty years old. Smart phones are less than 20 years old. 3G, 4G and 5G are even younger. Vaccines have existed for less than a blink of an eye comparing to immune system. I’m not saying vaccines are bad, but I am saying that we are all descendants of those who lived through and were immune to diseases. Of course, everyone wants their kids to be healthy so they will vaccinate them. In social terms, that’s reasonable way to think about it. In evolutionary terms, it’s a bad idea because if we rely purely on vaccines and not immune system then we will not leave offspring that will be immune to the disease. Some theories suggest that birds choose each other based on their immunity to diseases. They can tell by choosing partners with the brightest colours. When researches artificially upgraded the male’s colour, females chose to mate with them regardless if these males were actually immune to a disease or not. Vaccines can have the same effect if we purely rely on them for health at least when Bill Gates talks about vaccinating the whole world leaving no room for immune system to do its magic as it has been for the last 6 million years.

Now to the 5G. If you watch the interview on londonreal.tv where Brian Rose interviews Dr. Kaufman, you will see what the 5G theory really is. It doesn’t suggest that 5G causes COVID19. It purely says that it can cause other complications including compromising our immune system. It would make total sense if you think about our evolution and adaptations we have gone through over the last millions of years and the fact that a single adaptations takes roughly 25 thousand years. There’s been simply no time for us to adapt to current technology or lifestyle. Our brains are suffering because they haven’t evolved to live in big cities and away from our families. Our mental health is at stake because we haven’t evolved to see our close relatives through computer screen. Technological progress is just happening too quick and our evolution is too slow. If last time we had a tiny adaptation was 25 thousand years ago then we will have to slow down the technological progress to the minimum over the next, say 100 thousand years for our bodies and mind to catch up… or at least catch a breath. It’s perfectly fine to assume then that something as recent as 5G can have negative effect on us even if not directly causing illness. The truth is, it hasn’t been around for long enough for us to test the pros and cons so completely discrediting the people who suggest it may not be that good for us as “conspiracy theorists” is harmful in my opinion. These questions need to be both asked and answered.

It is safe to assume that a cow kept in captivity, in a small cage only to be slaughtered for meat is living in huge stress. It is still a cow though. It has no freedom t move around, it is denied living to its full evolutionary potential. It is still a cow though. A cow that evolved to be free, breed and live offspring. Everyone knows it whether you are an animal rights activist or if you eat meat. It is still a cow though. This can be said about 5G. We didn’t evolve around 5G towers. We evolved around trees and water. For millions of years they were the only environment we knew. Suddenly, and it is very sudden, we have to be quick to adapt to cities, social media, smart phones, plastic, pollution and 5G towers and these things haven’t existed long enough for the slow process of evolution to adapt.

This is why I believe concerns about 5G need to continue to be raised. There might be nothing to worry about. It’s worth checking though especially since there is more and more experts coming out explaining how 5G may actually be not good for us. Dr. Kaufman who I mentioned earlier is a good example. He is a literate and educated man who knows what he is talking about. Furthermore, we see more and more content being censored and banned purely for mentioning 5G and COVID19 connection and this is something that should raise our suspicions. I might be wrong about all this though.

We are not so different