I know that the wheels keep on turning, I do. Sometimes it seems as if our lives are simply a series of wheels, all things cyclical. In the online autism world, it's all things thimerosal again, and as Orac says, it's so 2005 of them. Age of Autism serves up the same off-the-wall ideas of governmental conspiracies; this time it's to make sure the thimerosal study hit the airwaves right before Blaxill and Olmsted's book. Yes, because they're just that important that the journal Pediatrics and the government were aware well in advance of the book release and colluded to put the journal article out the day ahead of the Age of Autism book. It can't be avoided, though, even if the folks over at AoA wanted to, that Kirby has stopped writing about thimerosal. Even Jim Carrey has moved on. Must be a conspiracy on their part, too, to write about things entirely unrelated to autism on this all important week after B and O's book came out. Coincidence? No way!
Can't you see, though, that all this proves the complicated web that is the pharmaceutical, governmental complex that is killing us all? I mean, surely, it's just a matter of time before the AoAers connect it all and realize that the big agra is also working on this, and that it's the food, too, that's poisoning us all. Some folks truly believe that the government is slowly poisoning our children on purpose. To what good end? What kind of person could believe that the puffy white behind planes, chemtrails, are intentionally being used to poison us all with mercury and keep the autism rates high? It's a web, alright.
You're asking yourself, but what's this got to do with the flowers? Ah well, it's part of what my week is made up of, just as reading these bits of fractured reasoning are. And to be honest, it's the better part. I don't have a lot of time in the garden, anymore, but what time I do get restores my soul. I'm thinking that some of these folks who settle into the wheels of conspiracy theories and woo might not have things that restore their souls, refresh their spirits or lift their hearts.
Wheels and webs, our lives are made of these. Some of the wheels we get on are good; they are the pulse that we live by, the ebb and flow that lets us know our place in the universe. Some webs we create are good; they are the interconnectedness we feel as part of a community, that lets us know our place in the universe. The same can be said of dysfunctional wheels and webs, wrought not in reality but in some fantasy land that provides an overarching narrative and purpose for people; these too let them know their place in the universe, never mind that many of us reject the veracity of that universe.
We forget this essential truth, that the realities we construct are real to us, even if they are not really real. As the Chief says in One Flew Over a Cuckoo's Nest, "But, please. It's still hard for me to have a clear mind thinking on it. But it's the truth even if it didn't happen." It might help us, though, to remember, when we choose to read people whose fundamental realities we reject as fantasies that it's their truth, "even if it didn't happen."
How one does that, how one distinguishes between a flim flam artist and a true believer, I don' think there are any ready answers. How to find compassion and respect while still standing against the dangerous rhetoric that threatens to put society back into the dark ages, I only know is not an easy balance to strike.
We've always been there, poised at the brink; there's always been the fight between magical thinking and scientific realism, always been a struggle. There always will be.
To realize this is not a war that can be won but only a battle to be continuously fought is to learn how to take a breath, stop, and smell the roses, recharge ourselves, rearm ourselves for the most important battle we will ever fight and one that must be fought with the realization that at times it is ourselves we must wage the battle against. We are imperfect, fragile, and easily persuaded.
To look into that great blue sky, to see the potentiality of humanity to constantly rise above its petty, base instincts for self-immolation, that is a great leap of faith in the human mind and the quest to see the world as it really is, not as we would construct it to be.
If we cannot move forward with grace, humor, and compassion, then we should pause. If we can only wage battle with emotion and passion (cached version of Mark Edward's "Passion" blog that he's now deleted without explanation), we do not advance our cause of reason and rationality.