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This Is Humanity

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We have all been there. Toiling through an assortment of books, websites, articles, you name it we’ve all been digging. Whether it be from conspiracy, spirituality, GMO’s, UFO’s, chem-trails, the “matrix” – anything to feed our insatiable hunger for information. Anything to find the root of that “splinter” in our minds.

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Yet what is the bottom line here? What is the actual implication to this heroic adventure we are all helping to manifest one way or another? Is it truly to simply expose corruption within this system? To debate on what issue is the most important? Are we even meant to debate at all? I feel I have a slice of this answer, and it is something truly special.

The truth is that we all know that this terrible, anti-human system is marauding us toward oblivion.

No, not really.

We are using this “system” (which doesn’t really exist) to spiral toward oblivion. We can all sit here, meander back and forth whether or not this system is “broken” or was “built this way” but those minor qualms do not matter. What matters is that we have each other, and this is what I know will get us through. There are so many solutions to the most artificial of problems, whether it be world hunger, over-population and so much more. We can truly have a paradise here, and I am convinced of this – we will make this planet the beautiful paradise it always could be.

Humans are not the competitive creatures we have been conditioned to believe. In the book No Contest: The Case Against Competition by Alfie Kohn, Kohn cites over 400 peer-reviewed studies that prove humans are not naturally competitive. We learn (are conditioned) to operate with this small, small, small box of perception. We naturally care and are cooperative with each other, we naturally love each other. This doesn’t need to be “proven” via analytical diagnosis. How many people actually want to go to war? How many people actually want to kill another human being, one they have never spoken to? Most humans will say they would never do that. A famous example is the Truce of 1914, during World War I. On Christmas Eve, both sides had an unofficial cease-fire and joined one another to sing and exchange gifts. This is what humanity is. Not the lies we have been fed since birth, not this alien system’s perception on us. As Einstein once said,

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Nothing will end war unless the people themselves refuse to go to war.” – Albert Einstein

German and British troops celebrating Christmas together

German and British troops celebrating Christmas together

Of course the fighting continued after this calm. But why? Because they chose for this to occur. They may have been coerced, but one sergeant cannot physically force a squad – or a general physically force an army.

There is one vital element here that has to happen to ensure this never happens again. And yes YOU do have a choice, YOU do have the power: YOU are the power.

One vital essence that will propel us to places we have never been before -that is spirituality. The definition of spirituality is to see spirits, but I am not implying this definition. What I mean here is accessing our hearts, our scientifically proven levels of higher understanding, compassion and appreciation. Higher levels of intelligence that our brain does not posses, our innate “GPS” that helps us navigate this life. We access this through appreciation, and how do you appreciate? By being in just the right NOW and doing what you KNOW to be right, not just simply “thinking” what is right.

Based upon my own personal experience, once this is fully accessed your life is truly in coherence, and it feels so right. I personally feel very powerful, yet also respectful and humble -tender and strong. All at once, and it is truly beautiful to me. But hold on a minute; what about everyone else?

My journey that has lead me to this place in my life, that has lead me to typing this; that has lead to you reading this, are one in the same. I am not anymore “special” than you and vice versa. We are cut from the same magical cloth so to speak. We all have the equal potential to access this higher state of being, and truly be the change we have dreamed of seeing. Truly live the adventure that life truly is. To make a true impact, and leave behind a legacy of true wonder and magic. Because we all can access this, what happens when we do?

I can only offer my personal experience, you may or may not agree, which is alright. My opinion is that once we truly access our true nature we will dance according to what the “Universe” or what some call “God,” “Allah,” the “Creator” and so many more names beats the drum to. We will cascade amongst each other, in wholesome solitude, not realizing we are forming an infinite tapestry that will propel humanity with the winds of change. True change. I am convinced we will see this in our lifetime, relatively soon. A true r(EVO)lution: where our hearts will guide our spirits to abundance and harmony.

There is a multitude of data that I will not repeat here, that demonstrates our “inner” world constructs our “outer” world. We are extremely powerful and this can be demonstrated by the Placebo Effect, or the Double Slit Experiment with a arsenal of other examples. Just recently it was proven your brain can tone your muscles without any exercise. You can grow your muscles by imagining exercise.

But where am I going with all of this?

I would like to emphasize that we do not need a solid three-dimensional “plan” (not discouraging that either) to get this job done, as many like to bullhorn this is an inside job. Once you start inner work on yourself, accessing your heart’s potential – accessing YOUR potential you will eventually take action based on your newly found perception. This is where your adventure begins. This is where you craft and choose your destiny – this is when you do what you came here to do. If there is one theme I wish to convey is that this life is a mystery. No matter what the preacher says, the rabbi says, the journalist says, the scientist says, the politician says, the “elite” says – what I say. There is no disputing the mystery of this “place” we currently find ourselves in. But there is one thing I do know. Change is coming, it is coming faster than it ever has before. We can all feel this, we all know this is true. That is most likely why you are reading this now. We are activating and fully grabbing life by the reins; and you aren’t the only one who is doing this. Our human family is waking up, to one aspect or another and there is no denying that. What comes after this, is up to us, as cliche and corny as that sounds – it’s the truth. You can join in on the ride if you truly want to. Thanks so much for reading.

I will leave you with this quote, by the late great Bill Hicks,

Folks, it’s time to evolve, That’s why we’re troubled. You know why our institutions are failing us, the church, the state, everything’s failing? It’s because, um – they’re no longer relevant. We’re supposed to keep evolving. Evolution did not end with us growing opposable thumbs. You do know that right?” – Bill Hicks

As an added bonus I will leave this famous speech by Bill Hicks:

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Consciousness

The Hard Truth About Psychedelics We Must Consider While Ayahuasca Continues To Go Mainstream

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Psychedelics can be a useful tool in helping people to work through a number of serious challenges like addiction and extreme trauma. These practices are best done guided and with expertise involved.

  • Reflect On:

    Is the popularization of psychedelics marginalize what they can do? Do psychedelics actually change you? Or do they show you what you need to change about yourself?

This may be controversial in some perceptions, but authentic truth is so important to me that I had to share this for deeper reflection. It’s especially important in a time where psychedelic substances like mushrooms, ayahuasca, peyote and so forth are becoming quite popular. I believe we are losing sight of what they actually do and what their true purpose is to some extent.

There is no such thing as a shortcut to enlightenment. We might think that because we gain insight during an experience, that the journey is done. The reason why this is not the case is because it’s what you do with that insight that makes all the difference. You will see this sentiment further explained by Graham Hancock below.

My main calling in life is to help expand consciousness and possibility. This is what I have been doing since founding CE 9 years ago and what I see myself doing until my heart makes it clear a new path is turning up. Given that, I am all for anything that helps expand consciousness. I’m not for nor against any of these substances we call psychedelics. I am “If you are drawn to it authentically in your heart, do it.”

Side note: I recorded a podcast with my friend Mark DeNicola you can listen to here on this subject.

I feel it’s important to spend time getting in tune with your heart and finding out what direction it is guiding you. Unfortunately, I feel we are spending more time trying things all over the place from the space of the mind because we are afraid to quiet our minds.

With various consciousness expanding methods available to us, you may get a glimpse of what it is like beyond the mind, but if we do not practice being in the heart, we are not going to change from the experience and challenges we have with any of these substances, or any other methods for that matter.

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For the record, I’ve not done psychedelics. I’ve not been drawn to them in my heart and so I have not done them. I’ve chosen a path to expand my consciousness through meditation, breath work and practice, and that has worked well for me. Thus, I have not needed to do psychedelics. What I mean by this will be clear as we go on. (If you check out at this point, you will miss the important sentiment I find many people are not conscious of which makes up the wisdom of this article.)

Finally, I’m writing this because I feel the full story is often not shared. Many people claim all the crazy experiences and benefits they had, but rarely talk about the fact nothing changed the first 3  or 5 times they did it. Also because all too often we hear ‘the coolest stories of all time without asking the big question:’

“I was out of my body and seeing all these colors and beings and I saw the trees breathing etc etc.”

This sounds cool, you expanded beyond daily reality which is great. I have also seen these things. But I know that just as one can see these things through meditation, what does that do to help create a lasting change in your life and evolve beyond the struggles you experience on a daily basis?

I’ve always been quiet about talking about the ‘fascinating’ things or beings I see etc. The reason is I find it distracts people immensely from why they want to do something and it makes them focus on the trip itself. One can have, and I have had, a full out of body experience through 20 minutes of breathwork, but is that why one would do breathwork? Is that going to help us clear out the emotional challenges we face?

That’s for each one of us to reflect on and decide within ourselves.

Ultimately, what is the reason we do them? To have a trip? To work through our emotional blockages?

An Overuse Crisis?

I’ve not heard this from just myself, but from the spirit of the plants themselves and from many others who have come across the same conclusions. We are in a period where overuse of these substances is extreme. Anytime we want clarity we turn to them. Anytime we think someone should shift their consciousness we tell them to do it. We use them 1, 3, 7 or even 10 times per year. In many cases, we are acting with these plants EXACTLY the way we do in the pharmaceutical world. We’re looking for that quick fix. And we have tossed self-mastery and daily care and practice aside.

We keep saying, “but nature is here to help us!” But to that I ask us to reflect: we already know we have challenges, right? So we know we have to be active in making changes in our everyday life, right? So we need to then develop a practice and self-mastery to make that happen daily, right? So why are we viewing what nature provided as a means to justify our lack of commitment to practice and instead want a quick fix? Herbs are here on this planet to help heal our bodies if we get sick. But they aren’t here so we can use them every time we get sick due to the fact we still want to smoke, drink alcohol, eat processed foods, etc. all day long. Nature is here to support us, not awaken us.

Psychedelics were used back in a time when the level of consciousness of the planet was not as high, which helped give insight to shamans so they could share it with their communities. It was meant for use in extreme cases where heavy trauma or addictions existed and people could not use other ways to work through their emotional challenges. Here in present time, we use them in a western fashion as THE GO TO for moving through all of our challenges. I’m here to remind you that you have so much power and ability as a being that in most cases, you don’t need any of these things to evolve. I’m not suggesting don’t do it, I’m simply saying truly ask your heart what you want, and don’t get caught up in the grand allure and peer pressure.

I made it a point to prove to myself that it was possible to quickly and easily create noticeable shifts within people and give them a practice to continue with. I developed a 5 day challenge using concepts I’ve learned and developed over 8 years of practice. I’ve put 180,000 people through these 5 days and most people have reported very powerful emotional shifts and life changes in these 5 days alone. This is great news. But did they last? That is something that is never up to the method or the plant, but up to the person, and this is my point. While I have heard a number of amazing stories of lasting changes from this challenge, I have no idea how many lasted for a long time. What I do know is the challenge was designed around self mastery and practice, giving us the tools to carry forth long after it was complete from within ourselves.

Misconceptions

One misconception we have to begin to explore is that taking these substances don’t suddenly reveal to us all the secrets of the universe. They do precisely what other altered states do – they provide insight into what the space of awareness is beyond your mind. In some cases, they also tap you into the astral field, which isn’t the source of grand truth even though we sometimes see it that way.

Like masters, yogis and meditators of our past, we know we can achieve deep states of consciousness and tap into truth quite easily while sober, it just takes some time to do so. How much? Depends on what you are doing, but one can achieve a silent mind in just 20 minutes of breathing.

Regardless, it doesn’t matter whether you are a master meditator, veteran psychedelic user, a yogi master or whatever other method we may use sober or not, none of it matters if we are not actively doing what it takes to change our lives on a daily basis based on what we see during our experiences.

People have sometimes assumed that when I share what I share about self-mastery I am stating that only psychedelic users bypass the work they need to do, but this isn’t true at all. I do know some people who have chosen the psychedelic path and have made incredible changes within their first session, and I have known people who have chosen breath work paths who’ve done the same in the first session. I’ve also known people from both categories who have a great trip/experience but deal with the same challenges for many years to come because there is a lack of integration and self empowerment.

 

An Incredible Story

Many of my friends have experienced psychedelics, and I have had the pleasure to hear so many people’s stories in the 10 years that I have been in the consciousness exploration space. I have noticed a ton of common trends and specifically have seen that there is an unbalanced perspective being spread quite a bit that I feel requires some grounding.

I decided to jump on a podcast with my friend Mark DeNicola who shares a very insightful story about his journey using mushrooms and ayahuasca.

He shares his take aways from his experiences and what mama ayahuasca told him about ayahuasca use in the modern world. He also shares how you can explore if the journey is right for you.

Grounding The Subject

Since about 8 years ago I have been fascinated with observing the research coming out about psilocybin and watching others as they use psychedelics for spiritual development. I can tell you, it absolutely can be an effective path. But I have found this to be few and far between and I feel I know why. It truly comes down to the fact that no method in this world suddenly gets rid of all of your challenges. It takes time and a practice to authentically make it go. The trouble is, many are not willing to do that work.

As Mark mentioned in the podcast, he would ask people thinking about it “If you knew that the ceremony would not get rid of all your challenges you have now that you want gone, and that you would have to do work after to truly clear them, would you still want to do it?”

This of course is not a deterrent, but an authentic question around what the purpose of these substances are.

I wanted to bring up some common challenges I have noticed that just don’t seem to be talked about enough as many don’t share the full story of their journeys. I believe this misleads people. Again, these aren’t negative things, they are calls for us to take responsibility for our evolution within and truly ask “Is what we are doing to help change our lives truly working?”

  • I’ve noticed some great changes in some, but in most cases I have not observed a lasting effect in users, simply because there is no self work after. (I can say the same about spiritual retreats in general)
  • It appears common to feel incredible 1 to 3 weeks after, but go back to the same struggles. Again, because you don’t suddenly get rid of everything during any method, I believe this is due to a lack of practice and action.
  • It’s common for people to state “I puked out all my demons and challenges, and now they are gone.” But that’s not what seems to be the case as in many cases the same challenges and patterns continue on for that person long after the ceremony. More on this on the podcast!
  • Many people I have seen use Ayahuasca 15 – 30 times, seem to ‘get worse’ the more they do it. This of course doesn’t happen to all. Again, I feel this comes down to lack of self work and thinking the plant will do all the work.
  • I don’t mean this in a negative way, but a ‘cult like’ mentality seems to form and many users aggressively try and convince everyone in the world this is the only path to enlightenment and that it will change the world if we all do it.

The Podcast

Check out the podcast here for the full story, some amazing insight and how to explore whether or not your path could include a journey like this.

I share once more because so many people ask me this question, there is no right or wrong here. We don’t need to feel that if we do them or don’t do them we are somehow wrong or missing out. You’re not on a more purposeful path one way or another. If you want to find out if any experience is right for you, look in your heart, develop that relationship.

My goal is to help others be TRULY empowered. I wrote this because I’m not seeing enough of that happen within others as we give the power to things outside ourselves. This is a reminder.

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Health

Acetaminophen—Not Worth the Risk

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Acetaminophen has been around for over a century and is the most widely used drug compound in the world. In the U.S., acetaminophen (also called paracetamol or APAP) is present as an active ingredient in over 600 prescription and over-the-counter medications marketed to relieve pain or reduce fever, including Tylenol. Every week, nearly one in four Americans takes an acetaminophen-containing medication, and pediatricians routinely recommend acetaminophen as the treatment of choice for fever in children.

Despite its ubiquity, acetaminophen also has many critics. These argue that the drug’s path to prominence has been littered with errors, false assumptions and undue complacency about risks. Documented problems include life-threatening liver damage in individuals who consume acetaminophen in “excess amounts”—something that is all too easy to do, given the drug’s different aliases and the sheer number of products in which it is present—as well as cardiovascular disease and renal injury risks associated with long-term use. In the critics’ view, these and other problems make acetaminophen “one of the most dangerous compounds in medical use.”

In the U.S., roughly 500 deaths are attributable to acetaminophen each year, as well as 100,000 poison control calls, 50,000 emergency room visits and 10,000 hospitalizations. Most acetaminophen-related emergency department visits are in young children (under age 5), adolescents or young adults. The problem of accidental (or intentional) overdoses is worrisome enough, but there are other reasons to be concerned about acetaminophen use in young people—notably, the drug’s association with asthma and developmental disorders such as autismThe research linking acetaminophen to these epidemic-level chronic conditions suggests that the drug’s automatic inclusion in the childhood medicine cabinet ought to be reconsidered.

… two different studies found that acetaminophen use in the first year of life predicted asthma at age three and at six to seven years of age, respectively.

Acetaminophen and atopic conditions

Numerous studies link acetaminophen use during pregnancy with increased asthma risks in offspring. Research also points to an association between use in infancy and asthma later on. For example, two different studies found that acetaminophen use in the first year of life predicted asthma at age three and at six to seven years of age, respectively.

The associations hold true not just for asthma but also for allergies and eczema. Polish researchers reported “a significant dose-dependent increase” in the risk of asthma, allergy and eczema symptoms in three age groups who used acetaminophen in the previous 12 months: children (ages 6-7), adolescents (ages 13-14) and adults (ages 20-44). A multi-center European study found that the drug was “strongly positively associated with asthma” in 20- to 45-year-old adults taking acetaminophen on a weekly basis, compared with less frequent users.

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Taking stock of the size and consistency of the evidence, Spanish researchers—while stopping short of recommending an outright acetaminophen ban—have advocated for a significant rollback on its use:

“It is absolutely clear that the scientific literature is sending a large and consistent signal that challenges the traditional excellent safety profile of acetaminophen in children. […] A widespread, professional-based recommendation of limiting acetaminophen use to those cases in which ibuprofen cannot be administered would reduce the childhood population exposure to a minimum and would provide a good opportunity to minimize the detrimental effect of acetaminophen.”

… the authors note that the long-term effects of acetaminophen exposure on neural development have never been evaluated in humans and point out that even at very low doses, acetaminophen triggers immune system activation and oxidative stress responses—both of which are hallmarks of autism.

Autism and developmental disorders

In addition to asthma, research has linked prenatal acetaminophen use to “lower performance intelligence quotient (IQ), …autism spectrum disorder, neurodevelopmental problems (gross motor development, communication), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, poorer attention and executive function, and behavioral problems in childhood.”For example, a longitudinal study that looked at language development in two-and-a-half year-olds whose mothers had taken acetaminophen during the first trimester of pregnancy found a significant association between prenatal acetaminophen use and language delays, particularly in boys. The researchers concluded, “Given…the importance of language development, these findings…would suggest that pregnant women should limit their use of this analgesic during pregnancy.”

There is especially compelling research tying acetaminophen use to autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In a 2017 study (written by a “who’s who” of autism researchers at Duke, Harvard and the University of Colorado), the authors note that “the long-term effects of acetaminophen exposure on neural development have never been evaluated in humans” and point out that even at very low doses, acetaminophen “triggers immune system activation and oxidative stress responses”—both of which are hallmarks of autism. They also assemble evidence for both prenatal and postnatal associations between acetaminophen use and neurological problems in children, including mentioning a reported link between circumcision-related acetaminophen use and increased autism prevalence.

Many parents report witnessing the onset of regressive autism following their child’s concurrent receipt of acetaminophen and vaccines.

Impaired detoxification

Studies published in 2018 propose that acetaminophen may function as an ASD risk factor in combination with other pharmaceutical and environmental toxins. For example, researchers speculate that acetaminophen magnifies the damage done by antibiotics and glyphosate because it impairs sulfate metabolism and depletes the master antioxidant—glutathione—that the body needs in order to engage in effective detoxification.

Many parents report witnessing the onset of regressive autism following their child’s concurrent receipt of acetaminophen and vaccines. However, researchers desirous of keeping the focus on acetaminophen tend to avoid discussing possible vaccine-related synergistic effects. This is somewhat puzzling, given vaccines’ aluminum content and aluminum’s capacity to impair detoxification in much the same way as acetaminophen. In fact, there are multiple mechanisms “whereby significant quantities of aluminium introduced via immunisation could produce chronic neuropathology in genetically susceptible children,” including oxidative stress, glutathione depletion and increased inflammation. The “synchronicity…between the onset of the autism epidemic and the surge in acetaminophen use” is undeniable, but so is the synchronicity between autism and the ever-expanding childhood vaccine schedule.

No more candy

For years, health providers and parents have handed out acetaminophen-containing products like candy, heedless of the compound’s documented toxicity. Johnson & Johnson, the manufacturer of Tylenol and one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, has been only too happy to continue encouraging perceptions of a “favorable safety profile”; however, recurrent lawsuits and recalls and the abundant literature describing toxic outcomes suggest that it may be time for acetaminophen’s glory days to come to a close.


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Alternative News

The Anatomy of Conspiracy Theories

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Whether you believe in conspiracy theories or not, we can all agree that the use of the term has exploded in media and in conversation. The question is, why? Are we now using the term “Conspiracy Theory” more indiscriminately and on more platforms than previously? Are we, as a society, simply becoming unhinged and absurd? Are seemingly nonsensical stories, for some unknown reason, starting to resonate with people? Or are some conventional narratives getting challenged because some of these “alternative” explanations are in fact accurate, despite the fact that conventional sources refuse to acknowledge them as even potentially valid? Notice that the last two possibilities are different sides of the same coin. If you think  “conspiracy theorists” are unhinged, it is highly likely that they are suspicious of your sanity as well. Both sides insist that they are right and that the other has been hoodwinked. Note that if you choose to not pick a side, you are, by default, allowing the conventional narrative to perpetuate. That is how convention works. 

Merriam-Webster defines the term conspiracy theory as “a theory that explains an event or situation as the result of a secret plan by usually powerful people or groups”. The key elements of this definition remain consistent across all authoritative lexicons: the group responsible for an event must be powerful and covert. However, if we refer to the Wikipedia definition as of 11/2018 a new element emerges: “A conspiracy theory is an explanation of an event or situation that invokes a conspiracy—generally one involving an illegal or harmful act supposedly carried out by government or other powerful actors—without credible evidence.”

When an explanation is labeled a “Conspiracy Theory,” by today’s definition, it has no evidence to support it. An explanation with no supporting evidence is a hypothesis, not a “theory.” “Conspiracy Theory,” as it is used today, is thus an oxymoron. These “Conspiracy Theories” we seem to hear about everyday should really be called “Conspiracy Hypotheses.” More concerning is that the “Conspiracy Theory” label identifies an explanation as inherently baseless. Given this linguistic construct, where is there room for a conspiracy that is in fact true?

There is also something troubling about using the term “credible” in the definition of conspiracy theory. Legally, evidence that is credible is that which a reasonable person would consider to be true in light of the surrounding circumstances. If evidence suggests an explanation that seems at the surface to be unreasonable, how does a reasonable person avoid automatically labeling the evidence not credible? If we are not careful, the credibility of the explanation and resultant conclusions would then determine the credibility of the evidence that supports it. Is this really so important? Perhaps you are quick to see that with this approach, our understanding of what is true and real can never evolve. If any evidence arose that radically disproved our understanding or eroded our faith in trusted institutions we would automatically discard it as “not credible” and remain entrenched in our accepted paradigm. “Credible” evidence cannot be a necessary requirement of a theory that challenges what is credible to begin with.

To better illustrate this, let us consider an old but very real “conspiracy theory.” About 400 years ago, European civilization was emerging from centuries of scientific and philosophical stagnation known as the dark ages. What more befitting a place for such a renaissance to occur than the center of the universe? You see, the idea that the Earth was one of eight planets revolving around a star that is orbiting the center of one of hundreds of billions of galaxies would have been absurd in Europe in the sixteenth century. Any sane person could see that the Sun and the Moon and every celestial body rises in the East and sets in the West. At that time, if someone went about proposing the idea that everything rises and falls because the Earth was spinning, they would have been laughed out of the tavern. Would that person be a conspiracy theorist? They are not proposing that “powerful actors are carrying out a harmful act,” they are merely suggesting an alternative explanation for what is observed. However, the implication of their suggestion seems to incriminate the authority on such matters as ignorant of the truth or, possibly, the perpetrators of a lie. The possibility of a conspiracy has now been introduced.

Now, let us say that this person claims to have proof of their absurd theory. Would you have taken the time to examine the evidence or would you have been more likely to dismiss them without further consideration? The very idea that they could be right would have been not just silly or heretical, but inconceivable to many, if not all. How could the evidence be credible if it implied something inconceivable? Dismissing their idea would have seemingly been the most logical and, therefore, the smartest thing to do.

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When Galileo Galilei appeared in 1610 armed with a rudimentary “telescope,” few would peer into it. He claimed that the refractive properties of the pair of “lenses” would allow you to see things at great distances very clearly. With it one could see Jupiter and its moons revolving around the giant planet just as our moon revolves around Earth. How enchanting! The difficulty would arise when you put the telescope down: your feet would no longer be planted on the previously immovable center of creation. Would you have looked into his telescope? What would have been the harm in taking a peek? Certainly the fear of being proven more gullible than most would have been on your mind. What about the fear that he might be right?

Imagine what must have been going through Galileo’s mind after his monumental discovery. He saw irrefutably that the entire model of the universe had been completely misconceived. One just has to look. Most did not. I can only imagine how hard he must have tried to convince anyone to simply stop, look and listen to what he had discovered. At the time, Galileo was the Chair of Mathematics at the University of Padua and had previously held the same post at the University of Pisa. Despite his bonafides and reputation as a solid contributor to the Italian renaissance, his discovery would likely have died in obscurity if it weren’t for the support of an influential family, the Medicis, who offered Galileo a platform from which he could spread his theory. It was only through allying himself with political power that he was able to slowly generate interest in his heliocentric model of the solar system. His proposition eventually caught the attention of the Catholic church, who initially warned him to desist. Eventually, he was brought to trial in the Roman Inquisition 23 years after his discovery. At the age of 70, the intrepid mathematician and astronomer was allowed to return home if he agreed to recant his story. Instead Galileo chose to spend the rest of his years in prison because he believed that that would be the only way to get people to open their eyes.

Did it work? It did not. Galileo died incarcerated while Europe continued to slumber under stars that moved around them. By today’s standards, Galileo would have been labeled a Conspiracy Theorist from the day he announced his findings until he was proven right fifty years after his death.  When the Principle of Gravitational Attraction eventually became widely accepted as true, the church had to retract their position because the motions of the stars and planets could not be explained under Newton’s laws. 

On the other hand, Galileo is credited with being the father of not only observational astronomy, but of the scientific method as well. The scientific method demands that one tests an explanation without bias towards an outcome. All data is considered before deductions are made. When all other explanations have been proven wrong, the only explanation remaining becomes a theory. The theory persists as long as all subsequent experiments continue to uphold it. This is how we ultimately know what we know and have an inkling of what we don’t. If I had to choose a posthumous title for myself, “The Father of the Scientific Method” is one I could die with. Galileo is credited with this honorific not only because he valued it more than his freedom, but because he had the discipline to regard evidence objectively despite how unimaginable the implications were. This is how a body of knowledge expands. By considering the validity of the evidence first, we then can accept what was previously unimaginable, otherwise what we know tomorrow will be no different than what we know today.

All conspiracy theorists are not Galileos. Neither are all conspiracy theories true. However, can we be certain that all of them are false? At their very core, all conspiracy theories directly or indirectly point at a central authority acting covertly and simultaneously at the media for either missing it or looking the other way. This, of course, is unimaginable, as we all know the government can make mistakes but would never do anything intentionally harmful to its citizens and then hide it. Even if they did, somebody would come forward and the media would let us know about it. This is why such a deception could never occur. The idea that your lover could be in bed with your best friend is inconceivable. Evidence of such a thing would not be credible. Dismissing all conspiracy theories seems logical and therefore seems like the smartest thing to do. 

In “Sapiens”, Yuval Harari proposes an explanation for why our species, Sapiens, out fought, out thought and out survived all other Homo species on the planet. He suggests that it was our unique ability to describe and communicate situations and events that had no basis in reality which set us apart. In other words, we could tell stories and they could not. By uniting under a common idea, story or even myth, thousands (and now thousands of millions) of Sapiens could come together with a shared purpose, identity or belief system to disband our cousins who were as individuals more sturdy and just as cunning but not nearly as good at cooperating as we were. This advantage, Harari proposes, has not only led our species to eventual supremacy over all others, but has also allowed us to form communities, governments and global alliances. 

Siding with the majority has served us well–until it hasn’t. One only needs to revisit the history of Galileo and basic astronomy to understand this. In actuality, the first observant minds woke up to the fact that the Earth went around the sun and not the other way round nineteen centuries before Galileo did. The Greek mathematician, Aristarcus, is thought to be the first Western person to place the Sun in the middle of a “solar system” in 270 BC. A human being traveled to the moon just 360 years after Galileo “discovered” what Aristarcus had shown nearly two millennia before. How many centuries was this journey delayed because an alternative explanation in ancient Greece became a “conspiracy theory” against authority and convention?

This poses an intriguing question. Is there something hardwired in our behavioral patterns that push us towards conformist narratives and away from alternative ones at a precognitive level? Is it this tendency that gave rise to our enhanced ability to unite that keeps us in “group-think” more than we should be? How do we know we are looking at the world objectively and rejecting alternative belief systems from a purely rational basis? How does one know whether one is biased or not?

One way is to apply the scientific method. The scientific method demands that every possibility, no matter how outlandish, is tested for its veracity and dismissed only when it can be proven wrong. Without this objective pursuit of truth, misconceptions can persist indefinitely, just as the geocentric model of the universe did. Interestingly, Aristarcus was allowed to retain his theory because he lived at a time and place where philosophers, mathematicians and scientists were revered, protected and free to pursue their notions. The freedom ancient Greek society afforded its scientists only endured for a few centuries after Aristarcus lived. In Galileo’s day, the Roman Catholic church had been presiding over such things as facts for well over a thousand years. His incontrovertible proof was suppressed by the power that had the most to lose.

These days, establishing the facts of the matter may not be as easy as we presume. Conspiracy theorists claim to have proof just like the debunkers do. How do we know that the proof offered on either side is valid? Who has the time to apply the scientific method? It certainly seems safer to go with the conventional narrative because surely there are more rational minds in a larger group. Though it seems a reasonable approach, it may be in fact where we misstep. By deferring to others, we assume the majority will arrive at the truth eventually. The problem is that those in the majority who are trained to examine evidence objectively often must take a potentially career-ending risk to even investigate an alternative explanation. Why would an organization be willing to invest the resources to redirect their scientific staff to chase down and evaluate evidence that will likely endanger their reputation with the public without any upside? Thus, conventional narratives survive for another day, or in the case of an Earth-centered universe, for a couple of thousand years.

Whether or not you are not a “conspiracy theorist” we can all agree that there is a possibility, however slight, that some conventional narratives could be wrong. How would we know? Is there a source that we can trust 100%? Must we rely on our own wits? A short inquiry into this question can be disquieting. Most of us must admit that our understanding of history, science and geopolitics are merely stories that we have been told by people, institutions or media that we trust explicitly or implicitly. Because most of us are not authorities on anything, it would be impossible to overturn any conventional narrative with an evidentiary argument. Challenging these paradigms is necessarily left to others. Generally speaking, there is no real reason to argue with convention if everything is seemingly unfolding acceptably. But what if you wanted to know for yourself ? Is there any way to ever really know the truth without having to have faith in someone or something else?

There may not be. However, it is also naive to believe that if someone, scientist or not, was in possession of evidence that challenged our deepest held beliefs that it would take root in the ethos on its own. Galileo enjoyed unsurpassed credibility as one of Italy’s foremost mathematicians. He also possessed irrefutable, verifiable and reproducible evidence for his revolutionary theory, yet the convention he was challenging did not crumble through his discoveries. History has shown us that it makes no difference how valid a point is; truth emerges only when someone is listening

So, rather than seeking to independently validate or refute what we are being told, it becomes more productive to ask a different question: How biased is our society by historical standards? How does our society regard alternative theories? Do we let them co-exist with convention as the ancient Greeks did? Do we collectively invest resources to investigate them openly? Or do we dismiss, attack and vilify them as was done in the papal states in Galileo’s time? Which kind of society is more likely to get it right? Which runs the greater risk of being hoodwinked in the long run? Which is more free?

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