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Flat Earthers have taught me a lot  RSS feed

 
gardener
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I used to think that there were only a few types of people when it came to conspiracy theories:
  • Those who believe the theory
  • Those who don't believe the theory
  • People making money off of the theory

  • I watched a few flat earth videos to see what they were on about and realized there are more types (more than one may apply).  
  • Those who want to believe almost any alternative ideas and conspiracy theories - subset of them like to be on the "inside"
  • Those who believe the theory
  • Those who pretend to believe the theory to dumbfound others
  • Those who pretend to believe the theory to convert others to believe it
  • People making money off the theory
  • Those who don't believe the theory
  • Those that volunteer time to disprove the theory
  • People making money disproving the theory

  • There are probably more types that I can't think of at the moment.

    This has taught me a bit more about my fellow human.  When someone says they believe in XYZ, now I have to wonder if they truly believe, if they're just trying to yank my chain or if they're trying to convert the easy-to-influence.  Knowing that there are different motives makes the mess bigger but can explain what's going on.  Or in other words, for every 100 flat earthers, maybe only 30 really believe it and the rest are stirring the pot.

    I realize that calling something a "conspiracy theory" is one of the easiest ways to spin it so that believer is painted as crazy.

    I hope for the conspiracy theories I believe in, I'm correct in my belief.
     
    pollinator
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    There's also those people that join in just to say that Fillory is flat.
     
    gardener
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    What about the people trying to prove the theory is right? Or did I miss that one in your list?
    Then there are some people who tried to prove the theory was right but are now apparently missing from the planet.
     
    Mike Jay
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    Bryant RedHawk wrote:What about the people trying to prove the theory is right? Or did I miss that one in your list?


    True, that's another grouping.  Maybe a subset of "people who believe the theory".
     
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    I suspect I'm something of a grouch because my reaction to this whole idea:

    There are those who speak sincerely and those who don't. The latter appear so terribly problematic that I just try to avoid wasting resources on them. _Any_ resources.


    Rufus
     
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    Having looked into this topic for a few years now I can tell you about a few more types of people to consider.
    For me, it can probably be boiled down to three different groupings. Those for, those against and those on the fence.
    There is another group that might be considered. Since beliefs can often turn into knowing or knowledge. Those that verify and accept or realize the validity of said information... however it might've been introduced to them. Also, regardless of whether or not they did or did not base this belief or knowing on real life experiences or various levels of using the scientific method or other accepted ways to come to or approach conclusions. For example a legal approach might take into consideration a preponderance of evidence in absence of one definitive proof. It's hard considering semantics as one person's knowing is another's belief and vise versa. Some of it is cultural and where people and/or more specifically how people are raised.
    Some of these may be redundant but here are some other types to consider as well...
    -People that consider the opposing view or perspective and do a deep investigation into it. Concluding for, against or perpetually sitting on the fence.
    -People that think it's crazy but find it more and more impossible to debunk the more they look into it. Maybe this type is the ones that volunteer (side note: I'm kind of wondering who they are volunteering for?) to disprove it? Although there are the same three outcomes from trying to disprove it.
    -People that have known nothing else. In this case, consider many aboriginal and indigenous peoples or previous civilizations. Maybe these people could also be called biased or previously biased people?
    -People that might be bored and curious. Not caring which side they land on in the end.
    -People that might be peer pressured.
    -People that have investigated and come to accept the supposed theory with real life experiences and tests or experiments.
    -People that are gullible no matter the topic or subject.
    -People that blindly jump into it just from debunking an opposing topic, theory or set of facts.
    -People that are paid to infiltrate a group for various reasons. Can be on any side of the topic.
    -People that use it as entertainment. Those that like to stir the pot (so to speak).  
    -People that just wanna argue or debate.

    I could go on. Not trying to stir the pot again. I think it's sad but it seems it's a sore subject for many including major tech. companies that operate search engines and social platforms. It's become hard to find any legit outcomes from a search on the subject these days....mainly for one side of the topic. So, if anyone is interested in more info. (both for or against...or on fence) on this topic....send me a purple moose egg.

    I would like to include a presentation that I think is perfect for this thread. It's a Ph.D. anthropologist who did an extensive study and subsequent presentation on the movement and people of this topic.
     
    pollinator
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    I'm assuming this connects with today's political theory in so far as the powers that be don't actually believe their own rhetoric, they just know that their constituency will, i. e. states' rights, pro-life, freedom etc.

    I agree with Rufus - these posts aren't worth a response. I think this ties back to the idea of the eco-scale, people are at different points, on the eco-scale, on self-reflection, etc.
     
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    anyone on here ever proved the earth is a sphere?
    just sayin
     
    pollinator
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    At one point in time we thought that there were only 4 type of element solid, liquid, gas, and plasma ...... sorry I meant earth, water, air and fire.
    Now we have reclassified, that as states of matter and have redefined what 'elements' are and use them to create various things, I myself have never actually purified iron or gold or nitrogen, but I have used them.

    Similarly on my tiny island or continent, I haven't personally walked from one end until I end up right back where I started from.
    And it really is true that my tiny island/continent is NOT a complete isolated sphere. Instead the best way to represent my tiny island/continent is as a flat rectangle.
    But merchant/military ships that provide services for me and other things like airplanes, communication satellite and other do show that the big world as a whole is a complete self-contained sphere.

    Maybe at some point in the future we will have a deeper understanding and realize that according the string theory or something else, we don't exist in a flat 2 dimension rectangle, or a 3 dimension sphere or cuboid, but instead in some other weird thing that I can't even being to describe.
     
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    Albert Einstein:

    'Did the Chicken cross the road, or, did the road move beneath the Chicken?'

     
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    I just bought an InfoWars t-shirt last week so that may disqualify me from rational conversation. LOL.

    Anyway I use  youtube for news and entertainment and occasionally the algorithm serves up a really whacked out conspiracy theory video. When that happens I immediately get paranoid and think "What was I watching that would put me in THAT category?"  
     
    pollinator
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    Lucrecia Anderson wrote: "What was I watching that would put me in THAT category?"  



    If you think about how lucrative advertising is through visual media (starting with print and taken to high form through video), you realize down the road how powerful the medium is at modifying one's behavior and even world view.  It's a short leap then to realize that "news and entertainment" are doing the same.  For sure they are valid in claiming it to be "news and entertainment", but the way we are built and incorporate 'quantity' (from being baby-sat by the TV through to being fixed on the modern phone-infotainment) eventually means a lot of what we think of as "me" is an amalgam that was influenced by the medium.  All of which is to opine that it's good to be as aware as humanly possible of the sources of manipulation in whatever form they arrive.
     
    Lucrecia Anderson
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    John Weiland wrote:

    Lucrecia Anderson wrote: "What was I watching that would put me in THAT category?"  



    If you think about how lucrative advertising is through visual media (starting with print and taken to high form through video), you realize down the road how powerful the medium is at modifying one's behavior and even world view.  It's a short leap then to realize that "news and entertainment" are doing the same.  For sure they are valid in claiming it to be "news and entertainment", but the way we are built and incorporate 'quantity' (from being baby-sat by the TV through to being fixed on the modern phone-infotainment) eventually means a lot of what we think of as "me" is an amalgam that was influenced by the medium.  All of which is to opine that it's good to be as aware as humanly possible of the sources of manipulation in whatever form they arrive.



    I agree. While I do watch mainstream news clips on breaking stories mostly I follow independent creators that do commentary and research various current stories/events. The big networks all have an agenda (keep viewers and sell advertising which means tell them what they want to hear in 3 minutes or less) and while independent smaller creators sometimes do the same thing, many are really quite good and cover all angles.

    Though there is no doubt that it contributes to the current polarization in society. "Balanced coverage" pretty much doesn't exist and everyone is in their own echo chamber. But the fact is I like it and just try to find places with intelligent/insightful sources to echo my beliefs. :)
     
    gardener
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    For me, Jay's original post is about how I think of it. But instead of putting in flat earthers, I could put in the purveyors of many different types of medical malarkey or the names of a thousand different deities. And pretty much the same categories of people in favor and against would apply. Try it. Read the first post over again and insert the name of a deity, or of a nonsensical medical treatment. It could be fun.
     
    Mike Jay
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    Good point Dale!  
     
    s wesley
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    Just wanted to add that I think it should be encouraged to challenge one's own beliefs or supposed knowings by considering other people's opinions and perspectives. I realize the outcome of just emptying or opening our brains up for anything can be negative, but if you look into the source of information you may find a better gauge for paying attention or not. I personally am very skeptical when it comes to organizations. If I consider an organization's information or propaganda I have to look into the motivations and sources of their info. Are they transparent at all or willing to give you information on their sources? Are they willing to listen and include information from outside their organization?.....Or in other words....Are they closed off to any input and dogmatic about their current information or standings? After all the truth will stand up to endless scrutiny. Is there major money involved? Money has been historically used as a controlling tool in many scenarios in the past and present.
    Permaculture is great in that it stands up to all of these questions and more. It's less an organization than it is an open-source living method of thought and action. ...At least to me. I can actually see many parallels in this current day questioning of the given shape and nature of our world we call earth. Both focus on using many tools borrowed from the scientific method and use the earth as their laboratory. Whether or not you look into current day information being gathered and experiments being done in regard to contemplation of the shape of the earth...You may want to consider that permaculture is very much a earth based or, even smaller, a property or piece of land based perspective. It's about observations around a particular piece of earth and how the elements move around and through the system. Having looked into earth possibly being a stationary textured plane, a realm not in space, I can let you know that that is the same perspective that "flat earthers" take. It's based on real world examples and it's very much down to earth. After all if you want to learn about something, I think it's best if, you start to interact with it to get to know it. For example our observations and interactions with water and it's behavior on earth are quite the same also. Depending on your point of view or belief or knowledge...it's either impossible or just really hard and rare to have any personal interaction or even observation from a viewpoint outside of earth. Another parallel I see between this topic and permaculture is the grass-roots and individual promotion of said subject. Just as Bill and David have brought about a resurgence of sustainable or abundance based ideas and approaches to living, so have many people throughout history done so with both globe skepticism and "flat" earth belief or knowledge. It's had a major resurgence since maybe the end of 2014 and it doesn't seem to be loosing steam this time. For me, it's for a good reason.
    I would like to add one last thing. Many people get triggered or thrown off by the term "conspiracy theory or theorist" I would say that it is most often used as an outside label for opinions or speculation or investigation on a given subject. I find most people have a better understanding and less knee jerk reaction when the word "conspiracy" is just replaced with "organized crime". I think most people will agree that organized crime exists but many are triggered into thinking there is no such thing as a conspiracy or conspiracies rarely happen.  
     
    Stacy Witscher
    pollinator
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    s wesley - what you are talking about sounds more like philosophical questions, like Berkeley. He went on and on with the "how do you know that the chair is really real" question. And while interesting from a mind experiment point of view, I was left ultimately not caring. It doesn't really matter to me, I'm just happy to have a chair to sit in when I'm tired. I feel similarly about a flat earth, it doesn't impact my day to day life. My daughter had an ex into conspiracy theories and she came to the same conclusion, it was a time suck, and kept him from actively engaging with the world.
     
    Lucrecia Anderson
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    s wesley wrote:
    I would like to add one last thing. Many people get triggered or thrown off by the term "conspiracy theory or theorist" I would say that it is most often used as an outside label for opinions or speculation or investigation on a given subject. I find most people have a better understanding and less knee jerk reaction when the word "conspiracy" is just replaced with "organized crime". I think most people will agree that organized crime exists but many are triggered into thinking there is no such thing as a conspiracy or conspiracies rarely happen.  



    I personally have no interest in conspiracy theories especially when there are so darn many real verifiable conspiracies backed up by legit facts/documents/admissions (especially stuff involving governments). Why bother with the theoretical stuff?
     
    s wesley
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    Lucrecia Anderson wrote:

    s wesley wrote:
    I would like to add one last thing. Many people get triggered or thrown off by the term "conspiracy theory or theorist" I would say that it is most often used as an outside label for opinions or speculation or investigation on a given subject. I find most people have a better understanding and less knee jerk reaction when the word "conspiracy" is just replaced with "organized crime". I think most people will agree that organized crime exists but many are triggered into thinking there is no such thing as a conspiracy or conspiracies rarely happen.  



    I personally have no interest in conspiracy theories especially when there are so darn many real verifiable conspiracies backed up by legit facts/documents/admissions (especially stuff involving governments). Why bother with the theoretical stuff?



    Well what is a "theory" anyway? To me, a theory is just a supposition or point in time (often the beginning) of a person's knowledge or belief on a given subject or topic. Whether it is or ends up correct is a different thing. It also means different things to different people these days. If in the beginning of researching a given subject someone supposes or speculates on a part or the whole of the subject then it might be called a theory....especially before any proof or large amount of evidence.
    Like I said before, one person's knowing is another's belief. There are plenty of "conspiracy theories" that are anything but a theory considering all the facts and evidence or even proof concerning the subject or topic. I would be careful excluding things from consideration if all one has to do is label something a "theory" in order to do so.
    In the end it's really just considering others' opinions or thoughts or ideas on anything. These days so much weight is put on labeling things correctly. I find describing things to be a more productive stance. In the end communicating is really just a way to see into and/or express one's thoughts and ideas. If we don't see or understand what the other person is trying to communicate we can just ask and talk about it. Using labels and getting into that game of being correct all the time is a slippery slope to mind control and triggered automatic responses if you ask me.
     
    Lucrecia Anderson
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    s wesley wrote:
    Well what is a "theory" anyway? To me, a theory is just a supposition or point in time (often the beginning) of a person's knowledge or belief on a given subject or topic. Whether it is or ends up correct is a different thing. It also means different things to different people these days. If in the beginning of researching a given subject someone supposes or speculates on a part or the whole of the subject then it might be called a theory....especially before any proof or large amount of evidence.



    IMO it is no longer a "theory" once you are DONE uncovering/collecting information because your case will convince 95% of skeptical and rational average Joe's and it would likely convince a jury to convict even with an opposing argument. If only a certain small segment of the population is convinced by the data then it is still a theory.
     
    pollinator
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    I think identity politics plays into it as well to some extent, though not so much as, say, political affiliation.

    Some people simply lack sense. I blame reduced funding to already threadbare educational programs and mystical thinking. They lack basic reasoning skills, and therefore think themselves part of a clever minority that has somehow figured out a huge conspiracy.

    Some people are just contrarian. I think they fall into the category of the facts, whatever they are, not really affecting them on a daily basis, or so they think, so they can indulge their contrarianism ad nauseam, without it directly causing disasters or financial ruin.

    And yes, some people, I think, are just trying to make money off of the gullible.

    And "theory" doesn't mean what loads of people take it to mean. The Theory of Gravity is a theory. So is the Theory of Evolution. Neither suffer from a lack of evidence. Theory doesn't mean hypothesis.

    -CK
     
    Lucrecia Anderson
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    Chris Kott wrote:
    And "theory" doesn't mean what loads of people take it to mean. The Theory of Gravity is a theory. So is the Theory of Evolution. Neither suffer from a lack of evidence. Theory doesn't mean hypothesis.



    Difference is verified conspiracies are not called conspiracy theories.  The conspiracy among Roman Senators to murder Julius Caesar would not be classified as a conspiracy theory, it is a universally accepted historical fact. Same thing with Lincoln, no one refers to the plot among John Wilkes Booth and the others as a conspiracy theory, it referred to as simply a conspiracy.
     
    Chris Kott
    pollinator
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    In that context, a synonym for conspiracy is plot.

    In this context, the conspiracy is of necessity much larger in scope. Otherwise, there's no possibility of supporting evidence. But if the conspiracy is so large that widespread falsification of information is part of it, suddenly there could be a kernel of doubt.

    To conspire means to plot. Conspiracy theorists are seeking, in my opinion, reasons to discard the commonly held worldview for their own by claiming that it's all a plot for control.

    The specific methods and identities, the facts of the fairy tale don't really matter, and vary, probably influenced by whatever flavour of trauma the identities in question have suffered (not singling anyone out here, we all experience trauma of one sort or another that shapes us).

    Did you have a mean science teacher? Well then science must be a hoax.

    Was your priest or minister abusive in any way? Well then, all religion must be similarly tainted.

    Did your dad lose his job at the coal mine because of fracking? Well let's find a convenient political target and start denying medical truths about coal mining that have been known for centuries, and throw climate science and concern for the future under the bus, for good measure.

    Again, I think identity politics play a large role. I think this goes hand in hand with the polarisation of political identities,  and the fact that moderates are increasingly difficult to find or identify, largely because the sides are so far apart.

    It is also perhaps that, somewhere along the line, religion, and specifically the Roman Catholicism to which I was raised, started emphasizing its own mysticism rather than incorporating new learning into its worldview.

    The Church used to be a bastion of science and education back before there were academic institutions to fill that role; historically speaking, the single institution that has devoted the most time and money on scientific research and learning has been the Church, right back to Galileo and Copernicus.

    Falling back to mystery at a time when people were leaving mysticism behind for intellectual curiosity is a great way to lose any great thinkers in the flock. And when you get a multi-generational brain-drain, it can prove destructive to any organisation or country.

    I honestly don't see the draw to conspiracy theorism. I think that it's much more likely that, rather than wanting a disarmed and passive populace, gun-control advocates want gun ownership laws that work in crowded cities as well as they do in rural settings, so as to cut down on the number of illegal weapons and mass shootings.

    I think that people who don't identify with religion and rely on their own reason to guide them are simply pragmatic and frugal with their time, money, and intellectual capital. I don't believe that they secretly seek the downfall of religion so that an amoral, hedonistic culture can follow; our current path has long-since led us here.

    And even though my understanding of the sciences is that of an enthusiastic amateur, I can say with certainty that, even as a child, there was no doubt in my mind that we're living on the surface of a spinning sphereoid. There are too many convolutions for Occam to slice through for any other explanation.

    As an aside, religion, and specifically monotheistic judaeo-christianity, was likely crucial to preparing humanity for the secular worldview. It took all the mystical and unexplainable things and grouped them together, attributing them to god. Once the mystical could be separated from everything else that was, reason could be applied to figure out cause-and-effect, and science was born.

    Oh sure, god was ultimately responsible,  but this allowed the examination of the mechanics of creation, physics and biology, that could be used to materially improve their lives.

    People are contrarian by nature, I think. I think the whole anti-science movement is essentially that contrarian streak coming to the fore to say that it doesn't care what anyone else thinks, it's going to exercise its sovereignty, no matter what that means in reality.

    And that's destructive, cutting off one's nose to spite one's face ultimately.

    -CK
     
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    Lucrecia Anderson wrote:
    I personally have no interest in conspiracy theories especially when there are so darn many real verifiable conspiracies backed up by legit facts/documents/admissions (especially stuff involving governments). Why bother with the theoretical stuff?



    That could take us off on a tangent. There are, in the schema we are developing, this category:
    People who point to a proven conspiracy, and take it as proof of a yet grander conspiracy.
    Or, you could put in other ideas besides conspiracies. People who try to prove the existence of a deity by pointing out historical accuracy in the book purportedly by that deity. People who point to a fact of human biology as proof of some alternative medical practice they believe follows from it. And as I see it, all this suggests a possible answer to your question, "Why bother with the theoretical stuff?" I propose one answer could be: Because human brains are hard wired to find patterns, which may or may not really exist.

    Here would be an interesting experiment. Give your friend a sheet of graph paper, and ask him or her to fill in 30 squares at random. Have a second sheet of graph paper, and have a computer use a random number generator to fill in 30 squares. Prediction: the squares filled in by a human will tend to show a dispersed pattern, whereas the squares filled in by the computer will show what looks, to human eyes, like clustering. Those seeming clusters -- actually randomness -- represent the occurrences in the world that some people form into conspiracy theories, supernatural beliefs, or alternative medicine theories.
     
    s wesley
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    I would be very wary of accepting something as being fact or truth just from the popularity of it alone. To me, blind or nearly blind acceptance based on consensus or perceived consensus has given us many bad or unnatural behaviors, habits and addictions. Just look at modern agriculture and the "consensus of science" surrounding that specific topic. Would permaculture exist if everyone judged things based off of popularity or perceived consensus? Especially considering the relationship industry and big money has with supposed science and testing. Same things with the medical industry, confined human feeding operations (cities) and other areas of our lives as most of us have encountered to various degrees. To me, the shape and nature of our world and the evidence, proof and experiences required to realize it is plentiful. Again, it seems this is a bit of a (edit: heated) topic here so if anyone wants to know where to look into the more legit sources of information for this topic then they can message me. I looked deep into it before it started being censored. Which brings me to this... Please, ask yourself....Why would something seemingly sooooo ridiculous be censored so actively and heavily? It's very telling to me.
    Just one example of how google is censoring this subject. This goes for anything google owns also and many other corporations are doing the same as well. Some, I assume, are just doing so based on a perceived consensus or popular opinion.
     
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    I can't express an opinion on the flat earth theory, other than to say that it is not my belief.

    I am very fond of a person who recently decided to believe in the flat earth theory.  I respect and love this person, but for the sake of our relationship, I do not discuss it with them at all.  Except for last summer when there was a solar eclipse at a lower latitude, and they remarked that it was odd that we couldn't see the eclipse from there, with the earth being flat and all.  I nearly choked on my beans.  It was extremely hot, we were in a tent taking a break from clearing brush, and I was caught off guard.  "You're right," I said with some aggravation, "it wouldn't make any sense for us not to see the eclipse from here if the earth were flat," as I was just so tired of hearing about how space is fake, etc. for the whole week.  I said more that I won't repeat, but that is the last time we discussed it.  I ignore all other sideways remarks about space, NASA, the moon, for the sake of civility, and they come less often than they did at one time, which I'm grateful for.  I suppose I need this person to have respect for me as much as I have respect for them, if not for 100% of their ideas.

    The reason that things are still ok is that it has absolutely no bearing on our reality in day to day life whether one believes the earth to be flat or round.  I suppose people who love each other, yet have very different religious beliefs, might feel the same way at times.  No amount of my energy spent convincing this person why we have seasons, or can't see an eclipse from here, will make a lick of different, or vice versa - whose idea was it to begin faking space, and for what purpose?  I will never know.  All this line of discussion would do is create aggravation and tension, when there are so many more important things to focus our energy on.  I respect and love this person because I know their heart, and we have the same goals.

    I will say that I suspect that their point of view comes from realizing how fooled our society is on a regular basis in general, and not wanting to be fooled again.  Suddenly every commonly held belief looks like some sort of trap.  I get it.  And it doesn't change my love, or my desire to communicate respectfully.  And, he might be right that we're living in some sort of shoebox world with pinhole lights in the sky.  It doesn't matter because we'll be working toward the same goals tomorrow, together.
     
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