Zen and the Art of Deprogramming

David Icke is the gift that keeps giving. His, shall we say, outlandish conspiracy theories are everywhere on the Internet at the moment. Even though (perhaps because) his channels have been censored. The truth may be out there but, in his case, it’s far out there! In comparison, the ideas of the Flat Earthers seem quite mild. Then there’s the anti-vaxxers. And we all know how crazy they are! And the AIDS deniers. Nuff said. Well, actually, let’s chuck in the climate deniers, 9/11 truthers, and Holocaust deniers, for good measure. All mad, if not bad. And, nowadays, dangerous to know.

Of course some conspiracy theorists do seem sane. There’s the cuddly bear cub, Spiro Skouras, who only reveals how bonkers he is when he gets onto (opposing) gun control and the demise of animal agriculture. Then there’s Whitney Webb who’s harder to spot because she not only does all that meticulous fact-checking business but she’s also got that earnest young educated American female reporter thing going for her. And happens to look like Supergirl. We only know she’s completely mad because some of her interlocutors appear to consider the mega-rich turning up at each other’s weddings as hard evidence that they’re taking over the world. And she doesn’t contradict them. Okay she might be being polite. And too busy with all that fact-checking.

Now some are very clever indeed. Take Ryan Cristián of The Last American Vagabond. Sneaky, sneaky, sneaky. In the middle of a daily round up, where he’s careful to just throw out ideas rather than endorsing any particular one as absolute truth, he makes the remark that anyone questioning the narrative has got to get over bipartisan politics (here’s looking at you, Spiro!). Well that almost sounds sane! But he rambles on. In a rambly way. So he must be crazy too.

Okay I’ll stop being ironic now and tell you what I really think.

People who believe really outlandish things are really useful distractions for the political establishment. Because anyone asking awkward questions can get lumped in with them. Our brains are predictive. That’s a great evolutionary advantage. But, as a proofreader and a linguist, I know that’s an ability that sometimes works against us. Because I can type the words “and and” next to each other in a sentence and and, when I reread it, I simply won’t notice because my brain skips over one of them, predictively making sense of something unusual using information I already know.

So we don’t actually listen to each other and we don’t actually read what someone writes. Just enough to guess the rest.

I don’t plan to pay attention to anyone theorising what seem to me to be weird Sci-Fi scenarios; I don’t think the Earth is flat or that all vaccines are bad; I don’t deny that people have died after a diagnosis of AIDS or Covid-19; I do believe the climate is in crisis; and of course the Holocaust happened. I don’t know what happened that day at the Twin Towers, because I wasn’t there, but I remember thinking that if I had an American flag I would have hung it out the window of the Scottish youth hostel I was temporarily in charge of when all the flights got cancelled, to show solidarity with all the grieving young people we had doubling up in bunks and kipping on the floor.

What’s my first point? We don’t have to agree with every viewpoint of every person who’s asking useful questions at the moment. Personally I won’t miss what David Icke is reported to have said about Jewish/ alien lizard plans for world domination – but I object to him being censored now for questioning the official Covid-19 narrative rather than then, for that.

I am also very glad indeed to hear that even some guns are being banned. I’m no fan of the military but I don’t think a citizen militia is a good idea either. That’s not the way to defend democratic freedom. As for animals, I would rejoice at the end of their captivity but I fear that all those already in thrall will simply be slaughtered anyway – unless we start to massively fund the existing animal sanctuaries.

The mega-rich tend to only have two things in common: money and knowing each other. So they do tend to turn up at each other’s family weddings and be photographed socialising. Of course there may be more to that but, in itself, it’s not conclusive.

In fairness to Spiro and Whitney, whom I admire greatly, they do check facts. They’re not responsible for all the views of their guests and neither takes socialising as hard evidence of conspiracy.

What’s my second point? I don’t think we’re literally being brainwashed. But it’s clear that there’s massive social, legal and economic pressure on us as individuals to accept a version of events and associated rules of behaviour being pushed by the state – and behind that, multinational corporations. People are religiously sitting in front of screens every day to hear and obey the words of our leaders. Neighbours and strangers are policing each other, and reporting those whose actions or even words don’t conform to the official narrative. Censorship even of expert testimony is happening around the world. Not only in so-called authoritarian regimes.

How do we make any sense of all this contradictory evidence? (If you don’t know how contradictory, follow some of the links in this post.) How do we know we’re not being programmed in some way?

Find out. Switch off. Take three days without input. Here’s how:

  • Don’t watch TV or, if you must, consciously choose content and mute the adverts.
  • Don’t tune into any content from anyone commenting on this crisis.
  • Log off social media.
  • Politely but firmly change the subject when it comes up.
  • Move any emails about the crisis into a special folder named READ LATER.
  • Spend as much time as possible in nature, with plants and animals.

After three days, you may be feeling more serene. Then, not till then, pay attention to the questions that have arisen in your mind. Does it still all make sense? If not, start asking why. Don’t stop until it does.

Congratulations. You’re de-programmed. You may have to maintain some distance from those still caught up in this madness. For the sake of your own sanity. As your serenity becomes apparent, they may ask you why. Share what you know. Cautiously.

Or, you could just get on with your life. It’s not all about the leaders of the cult of Covid leading us into Dystopia.


Thanks to Karen Arnold for releasing her photo Zen Stones on Beach into the Public Domain.