The nature of human beings
There is no denying that we, as human beings, are not rational beings. While we tend to think we are, and this is by itself a proof of our irrationality, we are the complete opposite. Hindsight is 20/20, as the saying goes. During a situation or an event that may have the greatest impact on your life, you can only hope that your brain is capable of anticipation.
Hindsight is 20/20 because it leaves us a lot of room for interpretation and plenty of time to analyse and draw conclusions about a particular event. In the rational realm, conclusions need much experimentation to be reached. Still in the domain that holds the highest regard for reason and logic, there seem to be quite a few slip-ups, or should I say a lot?
The scientific community grows as the world population grows. Statistical data are abundant and up for interpretation. When you combine both, you have a highly competitive environment that incentivizes those who publish more rather than those who publish well-thought-out, impactful research. Now you can say to yourself, "The data is the same; why would there be two different results?". Well, that's human nature, and it all depends on the original question from which the research endeavour stemmed. A hypothesis.
If this can happen in the scientific community with big budgets and incentives on the line, then imagine your average human being.
This is the story of a virus that roamed the world left and right. For the past 2.5 years, we have heard about the story of this virus more than any other thing on the planet. It grew up before our eyes; we cherished it and hosted it. At first, however, we were xenophobic towards it. We even locked ourselves up to avoid it. But now we have learned to accept it as our own.
Jokes aside. WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED THE LAST 2.5 YEARS? (Forgive my shouting.) With hindsight, we messed up big time.
I don't want to go into the intricacies of the whole ordeal, but one thing I got out of it all is that governments lie about everything they can get away with. That may not actually be a dumbfounding discovery, but to feel it is another story. I spent the first lockdown alone, working remotely at a job that was already getting heavier and heavier to bear. The more time went by, the more I was getting sceptical about the whole narrative, and rightfully so.
Then came the vaccination programme, and everybody lunged into it. No questions were asked, and the whole "my body, my choice" argument collapsed. Through fear and intimidation, they got the hesitant ones to crack under the deception: "You will save lives, they said".
During the European Parliament’s COVID-19 committee hearings, Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, was invited but didn't show up. He sent Janine Small, a Pfizer executive, instead. She said:
Regarding the question around, did we know about stopping immunization before it entered the market? No. [...] We had to really move at the speed of science to really understand what is taking place in the market. And from that point of view, we had to do everything at risk.
Yet governments are reluctant to admit their wrongdoing. I can't blame them; that's what governments do. What actually makes my blood boil is how stupid the public is.
Great technological advancements took place in the last century, many of which were direct results of both world wars and psychological warfare. The United States of America found itself at war for world dominance against the Soviet Union. It was a cold war, and so conventional warfare was not in effect. The last century also saw a rise in the number of experiments done on human subjects concerning psychological warfare, mind-altering chemicals, and interrogation techniques. A good chunk of these methods are in the public domain. And while they are out there, people keep falling for them. Propaganda is a real thing.
Now you may think that these methods are not used by governments against their own people. You are wrong. As established, governments lie, and if I were a bit intrepid, I would say, "The first enemy of a government is its people, and the first enemy of the people is their government", but I'm not that brave, so I'm not going to.
Religion as a tool
It is very important for a human being who seeks truth to be aware of biases that can affect their rational judgement. It comes with a big price; however, we'll talk about it later. We tend to think that we are very rational; the decisions we make in life are based on rational thinking, but we are very wrong. Although this is a known fact, we still fall into the trap of our emotional selves. We are humans after all.
We all have an ego and an identity that are often given to us. Our ego needs constant nurturing. It needs to feel special, useful, impactful, and valuable. Our identity is almost always tied up to the tribe we came from, the language we use, the religion that was given to us, our vocation... We don't ever sit and think about half of what constitutes our identity.
Let's take religion as an example. Nothing rational ever can confirm which is the true religion of the universe. That is, if you think God exists. Yet when you talk to any average religious human being, you can see the undoubtfulness they have about their religion. They are so sure, in fact, that the simple idea of its invalidity can shatter their lives. Same goes for an atheist (I've never seen or heard of an atheist who goes religious and falls into depression, just saying!).
Religion was used throughout history to control people. It was used to appease the crowds. It was used to give some privileges and oppress others. I don't say religion is bad; its uses were very catastrophic in the hands of the malevolent, especially when they could alter the integrity of religion. This raises the question of what religion is being used today, if any.
Science as a religion
With the advancement of science, we can explain more and more of what is incomprehensible. Modern educational systems provided liberation to the people but introduced a colossal vulnerability to our minds. While illiteracy is low and more people can read and write, we have more attack vectors in our brains.
Imagine a person who doesn't read or write and who is absolutely ignorant of what's happening around them. They are easily led to believe one thing or another, but the beautiful thing is that they are also easily swayed to believe in the exact opposite. Now take your average university graduate student; they are predisposed to believing in everything "scientific they read", and whatever that is that they got persuaded of first, good luck trying to convince them of anything else.
This is very similar to an ignorant person's conviction about religion. However, what was limited to the spiritual realm is now the norm for everything. And we know biases exist in science, be it on purpose or not.
Science, Oh science
The vast amount of knowledge in the world right now is unfathomable. It takes decades for a human being to be an expert in a subject. In fact, we are still exploring and rectifying what we think we understand about the universe. But there is something vital to our existence: society.
We are social animals. We just can't live alone; we need other human beings to survive. A society, however, has norms, laws, and customs that will lay the groundwork for a scoring system that will eventually yield your social status. Based on your social status, you will have access to or be denied certain services. You will most likely avoid being connected to a group of people out of fear of losing your social status, and you will gravitate towards the groups that will promote yours. A fertile soil for corruption to grow and thrive. And we all know how prone we are to corruption.
Throughout history, when members of a society lose their morals, sooner or later it plunges into chaos. And we don't need religion to define what's right and what's wrong. When social status is almost synonymous with how much money you have or earn, don't wait for scientists to be your source of truth. They are only humans and are also easily corruptible.
It's really bemoaning how I reached this level of skepticism. I used to value the words of scientists. Now I have to take it with a grain of salt. Don't get me wrong! I love science. The good news is that not all branches of science suffer from this.
Doubting yourself can be dangerous
Being aware of cognitive biases can be very dangerous. When you start learning more and more about human beings, you start to see the flaws in your own judgement and decision-making processes. Sometimes you can even be paralysed in the face of an event because you will be scared to take the wrong decision and dwell on how irrational you were after the fact. You will also recognise how little you know or how the Dunning-Kruger effect may affect you.
The healthy approach will be to accept that we are flawed and take a decision anyway. When you are undecided, go with what your gut says and suffer the consequences, as they come with no remorse, because most certainly the decision you'll make will be in line with your morals. This is the ultimate liberation you can achieve. You will be impervious to corruptible powers.
Be aware of cognitive biases that the human mind can fall victim to. When studying a new subject, strip yourself of any prejudices, past convictions, or ideas you have about it and start from scratch. Build your own knowledge not only from the experiences of others but also from your own. Observe the world around you, and don't be afraid of drawing conclusions that are far from being socially acceptable.