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I’ve imagined the world going to a therapist. You know, just like every Hollywood A-lister does during another marriage breakup or perhaps after an accidental overdose.

The Earth (let me call him Mr World) is having a few headaches right now and is experiencing quite a bit of over-heating along with some discomfort with waste disposal.

Trips to the doctor yield little joy, besides which Mr World is a bit tired of hearing the usual advice that, “unless you changed your very bad habits, your problems will just get worse”.

Mr World: “I’m being told by my doctor that my fever is mostly due to me consuming too much carbon and micro-plastics.”

Therapist: “Yes, yes, maybe, maybe not. No one really knows.”

Mr World: “Oh really. My doctor is an expert in health and studied these things at a university.”

Therapist: “Well, you shouldn’t believe everything you hear. My Twitter feed says it’s just ‘woke’ anyway.”

Mr World: “So, maybe I should get my advice from Twitter?”

Therapist: “Could do worse. There’s so much bullshit in the world that I don’t trust experts, media or governments anymore. Twitter is now owned by the richest and smartest man in the world.”

Mr World: “Is he the guy who called the Canadian prime minister Hitler and, in March 2020 said that people worried about the coronavirus were ‘dumb’?”

Therapist: “Yeah, nah. Well, he had a point. Actually, he misspoke.”

Mr World: “So, what would you advise?”

Therapist: “Who knows? One thing I do know is that there have always been natural changes in climate, so I don’t believe you’re causing your own fever.”

Mr World: “What else?”

Therapist: “Did you know that these experts say the world is round. I look out the window and the world is definitely flat.”

Mr World: “But, I’m round. Haven’t you seen the photos from outer space?”

Therapist: “Nah, space doesn’t exist. They’re just doctored photos from that woke Nasa outfit.”

There you go, that’s about the truth – or is that falsehood – in the real world of “yeah, nah” crazy. But that said, it’s the search for actual “truth” which is endlessly turned on its head.

An example is the relentless online feed of content that presents unexplained things, such as “the mysteries of time travel” or “are UFOs real?”

These “mysteries” are everywhere online, but while academics might suggest there are never any mysteries, just facts waiting to be discovered, there are now growing numbers of people who use mysteries to hypothesise some theory or two. This is the breeding ground of conspiracy theories and dislocation from actual facts and critical thinking.

Much of the reason for this nonsense is the relentless capture of people to social media and the search biases of Google. The search for truth is replaced by a simple answer, especially one packaged by plausible sounding people with slick videos and a speaking tour coming to your town soon.

Noticeably, while these people offer “alternative facts”, they offer no solutions. Their language is always peppered with disclaimers that ultimately absolve them of any responsibility. They can never be wrong when a good story substitutes for facts, and they will simply change their stories at the point of being proved wrong.

Speaking of never being proved wrong, in America the former president, Donald J Trump, has received a third indictment. This one is for charges including conspiracy to defraud the US and conspiracy to obstruct Congress’s certification of Joe Biden’s electoral victory.

Trump faces the rule of law, which means the facts of the case are presented in a court of law where a conclusion is expected, as adjudged by 12 jurors. That’s very different from the “court of public opinion” that currently has Trump surging in the polls as the front-runner for the Republican nomination to be president again, in the 2024 elections.

The contrast is stark. On the one hand we have a former president and wannabe authoritarian peddling endless falsehoods, with large chunks of the electorate buying it hook-line-and-sinker, while there is a quiet and deliberate effort by US prosecutors to bring him to justice, based on the facts.


You can contact Fraser here.

Fraser Carson is the founding partner of Wellington-based Flightdec’s kaupapa is to challenge the status quo of the internet to give access to more reliable and valuable citizen generated content, and to improve connectivity and collaboration.

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The world’s therapist offers little hope for global ills

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