Lockdown Extension and How to Search for the Truth

The lockdown has been expanded across the US until the end of April. All I can say at this point is that I hope it achieves what people think it will. I don't thing citizens will sit tight for much longer. Unemployment is staggering already and we're already starting to hear reports of higher rates of suicide, abuse, and domestic violence.

It's not much of a surprise that I'm not in favor of this extended lockdown. I personally don't think Covid19 is a hoax. I know some do, but I'm not convinced. I do think that Covid is real, but it's not nearly the threat that we're being told it is. I believe that those who are medically fragile need to be cautious. I don't think that the young and healthy need to be concerned to the level that we're at now.

If the lockdown ends May 1st, that will be 6+ weeks of living like this which really doesn't seem long, but will have a dramatic effect on our economy. Poverty leads to worse health outcomes which leads to loss of life. It's so important to remain as even-keeled as possible and to look at the implications of all proposed solutions, instead of knee-jerk reactions.

With so many calling for an increase in restrictions, who am I to say otherwise? What information could possibly lead me to conclude that the masses are wrong on this? Well, as with any issue that I come up against, I think it's important to look at it thoroughly instead of assuming that the prevalent,  group-think view, is automatically right. I could type up a small novel about why I believe what I believe on this issue, but I'd rather share my thought process on how instead of what.

First things firsts. When slogging through a topic, your frame of mind is important so stay humble, curious, and brave. These three things are your foundation for learning and assimilating information. Remind yourself that you want to learn the truth and be willing to lead where the info takes you.

Humility is important because we get into so much trouble when we choose a side and then only look for information that supports that side. You have to be able to look at all of the information that's presented to you instead of rejecting it for not fitting your pet narrative. You need to stay humble in order to engage in conversations with people on the other side. Ask at a lot of questions and get them to supply sources for what they're telling you. You'll find more angles to issues if you're willing to wade into what the other side is saying. Consider this: if you're truly searching for truth, there's no "losing." You may change your mind at some point and that's okay, in fact, never changing your mind is a clue that you might be in this more for your ego than the truth.

Curiosity is necessary because you need to be able to ask the right questions. It's easy to take data at face value. That's what we'd been doing when we were hearing about the large death toll in Italy. It seemed pretty clear cut. Come to find out, they changed the way they record deaths so that Covid trumps other issues or illnesses. So a person in the final stages of cancer, who's immune system was wiped out, could catch Covid and die and the cause of death would be labeled as Covid, not cancer. You have to be willing to dig a little deeper - the right answers are rarely found at the surface.

Last, but certainly not least, is bravery. We're social creatures who are greatly susceptible to groupthink. This is especially persuasive when one side immediately declares themselves to be morally, spiritually, or politically superior because of their position. We like to feel like we're a part of the solution and that our side is contributing to the greater good. Anything that casts doubt on this will often be immediately rejected. This is scary because sometimes (oftentimes) the initial solution turns out to have major issues or downsides as more time passes and more information is collected. Again, are we searching for the truth or trying to convince ourselves and others of our superiority? We must brave in order to be honest about our motivations and in order to pursue the truth despite others' views or opinions of us.

In addition, get as close as you can to original sources and look for sources that give data while staying clear of emotion and sentiment. It's been proven that the majority of people do not like to read or do research. These snippets of information, however tempting, do not give us the full picture - especially when trying to understand complex issues. We need as much real data as possible, numbers, studies, and first-hand testimony.

Beware of experts. If we were robots instead of human beings, it would be a different story. We could rest assured that information given to us by experts is flawless and true.  But a person can have an education, degree, and lots of experience and it doesn't make them immune to bias, greed, or group think. It's better to look at a range of experts and their affiliations, influences, etc, and look at where they're getting their info. An expert should always be willing to point others back to their sources and we should be willing to spend the time to make sure those sources are solid.

Keep opponents focused. Don't waste time engaging in arguments. Instead, look for people who are willing to discuss their views with you. Ask them for source information. If they're looking to argue instead of have a discussion, they'll eventually start to attack your character or intelligence. Don't engage in that type of nonsense. Encourage them to answer questions, to supply data, and if they can't do that disengage graciously and move on. You can learn a lot from someone with differing views and that's what we're ultimately after - the truth.

"The truth will set you free" is something I wholeheartedly believe, but we have to be really honest with ourselves as to whether or not we're searching for truth or looking for a way to justify our action or inaction. Keep asking questions, keep reading, and keep listening to those around you. This isn't a guarantee that you'll find the truth - there are some things we just won't know this side of heaven - but you can at least get as close as you can while staying away from hysteria and panic.

As for me, I'll continue to watch the press conferences and to look at the reports and data and clinical trials as they come available. The best I can hope for is that more people get off of social media and do the same.


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