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Reply To: The Boundary-Blurring Nature of Myth,” with Bradley Olson, Ph.D.”

Bradley Olson

    Hi, Juan

    I can’t really speak coherently to the issue of quantum physics, so I’ll leave that to you and others more schooled in that discipline. But it does possess an interesting quality in that phenomena that at first appear blurry, become more clear the more we develop the ability to observe it. That’s a powerful lesson for me. It teaches me not to form an opinion too quickly, not to be too sure that what I observe is the reality I’m being presented with. It’s a useful metaphor. And as you are about to see, I will quickly disregard it :0 (not really, but I am aware that the ice I’m on is getting thinner.)

    Here’s where the QAnon and some similar, so-called New Age thought goes off the rails for me. First, I find it riddled with sophism and, to a large degree, solipsism. These approaches to living are not really interested in anything remotely like consensual truth (admittedly, when we start to talk about truth, we’re already on a slippery slope), informed conversation–let alone debate, or constructive reconciliatory strategies to better, not just their own lives, or their own country, but other lives around the planet, too. For these and other reasons, I just can’t take them seriously.

    Movements like this are especially appealing to those who long to be other than who or what they are; they want to be rid of an unwanted life, an irksome existence, a too weighty humanity; they have failed in terms of finding the ability to create the kind of life they think they should have been able to live, and they find no hope of life being different for them in the future. These sorts of movements appeal to those who feel cheated by life, that they have been prevented from succeeding by hypothesized outside forces or some massive conspiracy instigated by minorities, a secret, wealthy cabal, or a “rigged system.” The indispensable book to read on this is Eric Hoffer’s True Believers. “The fanatic,” writes Hoffer, “…is usually an unattractive human type. He is ruthless, self-righteous, credulous, disputatious, petty and rude.” He is willing to “sacrifice much that is pleasant and precious in the autonomy of the individual […] The true believer is eternally incomplete, eternally insecure.” Movements like these are the only way for some to quiet the inner voices of doubt and uncertainty, and by joining a mass movement they hope to lose their frustration and seem to give themselves a new self, a new identity, and a different, less problematic life.

    You put it best when you wrote, “Further separation is not the answer to the problem. We need to borrow a page from nature, get out of our conceptual and psychological separation wagon, which some may argue is but an illusion (but with teeth) and begin to bridge boundaries.”

    Thank you very much for your contributions to this thread. You bring important perspective and issues to the table!