I think we can all agree that we are living in very polarizing times, and it seems as if we can never find a way to come together again.  But despite the polarization, I actually believe there is one thing both sides have in common.  And that is a desire to know the truth.  There is currently extreme disagreement on what the truth actually is, and perhaps the biggest reason for this massive polarization, is the shared belief that we are all being lied to.  It causes us to seek out those we believe to be telling us the truth, to stay connected with those groups that share our truths, and to cling on much more tightly to information that we believe to be true. 

The explosive growth of QAnon (an organization that has only been around since October 2017), is one of the most visible reactions to this dilemma regarding truth.  People don’t know what to believe in, but they want to believe in something, so they are searching for people and places who share their concerns and perspectives. QAnon addresses that search, provides a “safe” context for those concerns, and in doing all this, creates a “truth” for their followers to believe in.

So, how do we know who’s lying to us, and who’s telling us the truth? 

In the past, we might have relied on our political leaders or our faith leaders or our family and friends, to be our source of truth.  That might have worked for some time in our lives, but it involved giving up our ability to think for ourself, in order to follow someone else.  How do we know for sure that that “someone else” actually has or speaks the truth?  And, we have seen over and over again, how very damaging it can be to an individual to lose their soul, to lose their identity, in order to be accepted within the thought processes of a group.  It is healthy, and spiritually sound, for people to ask questions, to explore different ideas, and to want to be in alignment with larger truths.  Most people on this type of journey, are not evil people intending to cause harm, but rather, they see themselves as trying to save others by sharing the “real truth” that they believe they have discovered. 

I believe the collective consciousness of the human species, is going through a type of existential crisis, in which it is questioning it’s very meaning and purpose – a sign that we may be going through an evolutionary process together, that will impact the entire species in a very significant way. And because we are in this time of personal and collective crisis, we are extremely vulnerable to those who wish to manipulate our questioning process. They can do this very effectively, by drawing on those things we all are feeling deep down, and linking it to fear. It’s a process that has been used for thousands of years, but has taken on a whole new level of manipulation with the advent of technology and the internet.  

So, again, how do we know who’s lying to us, and who’s telling us the truth?

There is a process I use for myself, to help me distinguish between those trying to manipulate me and others, and those working on my behalf and on behalf of others.  And this process involves asking myself, “How do I “feel” about what I am hearing? How is my body receiving the information?”  If what I am hearing or reading or being told, causes me to feel fear, or anger, or resentment, or competitiveness, then I recognize those as the markers of someone’s attempt to manipulate me. 

To be clear, I’m not saying that it is wrong to feel fear or anger when hearing about something specifically harmful to others.  I have certainly felt it many times (as you might have seen in my last post).  These can be very helpful feelings that cause us to pay attention to the things going on around us.  But where I am referring to manipulation, is when general statements are made about something or some group, with the intent to stir up anger and fear, in order to ignite a level of violence or hatred that will result in the causing of harm to others. This is something that I believe QAnon, Conspiracy Theorist Organizations and extremist groups do very effectively.

Manipulators will take a piece of truth that everyone can agree on, and then wrap it up in lies or fabrications, in order to create an emotional reaction that can be justified by the piece of truth they started with.  They do this, not to improve on conditions for the whole, but rather, to serve their own specific interests. 

For example, we might hear “You can’t trust the media”.  We can say that there is a level of truth to this, because the media’s role is to report facts, not feelings or assumptions regarding facts.  And we can all agree that, for years, the media has often been more focused on sensationalizing stories by skewing details or coverage, rather than more consistent reporting on facts that inform the public.  So, a person with an intent to manipulate, can say (because there is a grain of truth in this), “The media is lying to you” – something most everyone can identify with and feel is right.  But then, a person intending to manipulate, will take the manipulation to the next level by stating “We need our own source of news that will only tell us the truth” – this seems reasonable to people who agree that they don’t always get honest, informative news.  So, then, the manipulator, having drawn people in, creates a TV or online “news source” that, rather than reporting news, reports, instead, messaging intended to subtly influence ideas.  Was this done to help others?  No.  What it has successfully done, however, and what it was intended to do, was to empower a few, who will always use this tool to make money, attain power, and control others.  They will do this by appealing to their followers honest desire for truth, and honest desire to change things for the better. 

Here’s another example.  We might hear “You can’t trust the government” or “Government doesn’t work”.  Interestingly, many of these people repeating this statement the loudest, are those in political office or running for political office – the very people who you might refer to as “the government”.  And when they have been in government, did they do anything to restore faith in government or improve people’s lives?  I would argue no.  What they did do effectively, though, was break government to the point that it either couldn’t help, or caused more harm than good, and then they used that information to “prove” their point that “You can’t trust the government” or “Government doesn’t work”.   Was this done to help others?  No.  What it has successfully done, however, and what it was intended to do, was to empower a few, who will always use this tool to make money, attain power, and control others.  They will do this by appealing to their followers honest desire for truth, and honest desire to change things for the better.   Sound familiar?

The same voices that argue for news that only “they” approve of, government that cares for only those deemed worthy by “them”, and policies that impact only those things “they” approve of that are intended to either help or harm only the few, are the same voices that will use “truth” as a “weapon” to tear us apart, often wrapping it in words that evoke a sense of patriotism or spirituality.  And this is where I come back to my practice of asking myself, “How does my body receive their information?”  If what they are telling me is making me feel angry, fearful, entitled, competitive, victimized, and so on, then I recognize that manipulation is occurring.  There is a darker agenda at play. 

What we should be looking for, and feeling, are those voices that inspire hope – not hope at the expense of someone else, but hope that brings us all together as one. 

We should be looking for voices that inspire unity – not the unity of one group against another, but unity that causes us to see beyond our differences, because we know we are one country, one world, one species. 

As I said earlier, we are unified in our search for truth.  Right now, that search is polarizing us.  We need to ask why that is.  And we need to understand that many of those we fervently disagree with – everyday people – have been slowly and methodically manipulated to the point that they don’t know what the actual truth is.  And for now, they are living in a state of fear, and mistrust, and anger – all signs of the effectiveness of manipulation. 

I have faith that, eventually, the manipulation will be exposed, and the truth will set everyone free.  For the moment, we are all impacted by the darkness we “believe” we are seeing around us.  And to this I would say, question how you feel inside, and why. 

Below is a 21-minute video, which was shown on “60 Minutes Australia”, and is worth watching.  It talks about the rise of QAnon, and explains how people have been drawn into it.  If, like me, you didn’t know much about QAnon, nor understood why it is so attractive to so many “questioning souls”, I think you will find this video very informative.