Currently, we have a clash of realities on our little island. Two entirely incompatible ways of viewing the world are sparking off each other, and neither side sees what the other side sees.
The first, the dominant, mainstream reality, goes like this: a deadly global pandemic has upturned economies and thrown a spanner into the works. After a couple years of lockdown and the loneliness, deprivation and suffering that goes with it, we finally have a solution so we can get back to some version of normal. Of course, the vaccine isn’t perfect, but it works pretty well to keep people out of hospitals and alive. Unfortunately, vaccinated people can still spread the virus, which means the unvaccinated are still at risk of hospitalization and death, which costs a lot and takes up space in hospitals, and that is bad. Getting everybody vaccinated is our best hope to keep the medical system from being overwhelmed. Such a fine, easy solution, what a relief! The vaccines are freely available, why are people protesting and resisting, what’s wrong with them? Why be so crazy, so unreasonable? They are a danger! They should be forced!
Here’s how the other reality works: there is a global elite that runs the world from behind the scenes, who have a sinister agenda to control and depopulate the world. Their control and coordination is so perfect that only the self-educated (who know how to interpret the clues) have any idea what is happening. This so-called vaccine isn’t even really a ‘vaccine,’ it’s some sort of genetic modification or nanotech to program and control us, and it’s deadly. In two to three years at most, most vaccinated folk will begin to die off. In this reality, the vaccine is the latest phase of a long-range, deadly agenda which has been playing out for many years. It’s obvious if you know what to look for. The dots exist! Connect them! Watch the videos! Why won’t you listen? What’s wrong with you? Why are people blind to their own oppression? Wake up sheeple!
These clashing fears amplify each other alarmingly. The more one side clamps down, the more endangered and pressured the other side feels. I don’t think it matters which reality is ‘correct,’ because emotionally, whatever we believe is real for us. The human brain can’t tell the difference between a dream, a memory, an imagined scenario, or what’s actually happening. Each lights up the exact same area of the brain.
So: two realities, each driven by fear. Our local venues are interpreting public health guidelines particularly stringently. These guidelines require a passport for entry to events and gatherings of 50 or more people. But here, passports are required to do anything that puts you in a room with any number of people. We can’t attend a meeting of a half dozen people, a class with a handful of participants, or a public event of any kind indoors. We can’t even work out alone in the gym. This seems extreme to me, and I am on the ‘vaccinated’ side of this fence.
In reaction, several of our friends and neighbours show up at the Co-op every Saturday, carrying signs with shouty slogans on them like ‘Oppose vaccine apartheid’. The people they are trying to ‘wake up’ are their friends and neighbours, who resist feeling accosted and preached at in public. Nobody likes being protested at; it’s an inherently confrontational situation. When the protesters use words like ‘apartheid,’ ‘holocaust’ and ‘genocide,’ as the only words strong enough to express the extremity of their feelings, they generate outrage by co-opting the experiences of racialized peoples oppressed for who they are, not what they are choosing.
But to the protesters, accepting the vaccine is simply not a choice. They cannot say yes, no matter what, so in their reality, resistance is the only way. No one is going to change their minds, because they are firmly planted in their reality. Likewise, they aren’t likely to change others’ minds which are equally firmly planted. But there are some bottom-line truths highlighted in this situation.
Like this: everyone has, or ought to have, the unconditional right to choose what happens to their own bodies. “My body, my choice” applies in all situations. No one should be forced to accept a substance into their bodies that terrifies them. That is deeply inhumane. I believe we can find creative, safe solutions to allow people who cannot allow themselves to be vaccinated to live their lives without being ousted from their jobs or ostracised from their communities. It’s a shrinking world, but we can’t expect everyone to agree on everything, ever. We must allow space for alternative realities and beliefs. We are creative, intelligent and kind beings. We can come up with something that works.
As always, I love to hear from you! Many thanks to those who have been in touch, for the support, kind comments, and suggestions for future interviews and articles. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.