With the proliferation of conspiracy theories and counter-narratives on social media, How do we develop coherence and sensemaking around the COVID-19 pandemic?
The editors, Daniel and Jeremy hosted a live-streamed discussion last Sunday to explore this critical question together.
Earlier this year during quarantine, 5G conspiracies were spreading online. Now a new documentary, “Plandemic” by Judy Mikovits is out, making potentially dangerous and harmful claims (masks “activate” the virus, or flu vaccines make COVID-19 more deadly) watched by millions.
Last week Daniel wrote up a review of the film, which is worth reading in full here:
And similarly, Jeremy had riffed on the feeling of powerlessness that totalizing conspiracy theories may help to (falsely) address in our culture. In a world of profound complexity and failing socio-economic and health systems, it’s understandable why we would crave simple narratives—a “misplaced concreteness” that gives us a semblance of control or sovereignty. But it’s that very desire which makes simplistic narratives even more damaging, and manipulative.
In Ed Yong’s article, “Why the Coronavirus is So Confusing,” he writes, “the desire to name an antagonist, be it the Chinese Communist Party or Donald Trump, disregards the many aspects of 21st-century life that made the pandemic possible… it may be easier to believe the coronavirus was deliberately unleashed than to accept the harsher truth that we built a world that was prone to it, but not ready for it.” Michael Garfield, who shared this piece, writes that, “I consider it the Lord’s work to help people live comfortably amidst the radical uncertainty… this takes a kind of thinking across different time scales we find difficult as human beings.” And like Michael says, let’s be sympathetic to these very human compulsions for narrative coherence, and check in with one another whenever we might feel like we’re starting to take on water.
Explore more with us in the Liminal cast, then share what you think below.
Other Show Notes
- Read a good debunking of Plandemic on Livescience
- The Verge covers how Plandemic went viral
- Lifehacker created this excellent article that is written for anyone who may be convinced by Plandemic. As Daniel mentioned in the discussion, we at Liminal appreciate the absolutely essential approach of navigating these subjects with a critical open-mindedness.
- Finally, if you’re looking for another deep dive, join the Isolation Tank (ft. Jeremy) as they talk about navigating conspiracy theories in the consciousness culture in this episode, “Nebulous Factoids and Post-Truth Reality.”