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Different realities

When You’ve Lost Someone to QAnon→

I’m still hoping to convince my parents to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but these conversations are getting more and more frustrating. It is becoming apparent that we inhabit two different realities.

Facebook and the Telegraph app are (still) particle accelerators of dangerous misinformation, and this weekend I heard elements of every conspiracy theory under the sun. It’s tempting to write off the 30% of the country that believes the 2020 election results were fradulent or stolen. It’s hard when that number includes members of your own family.

I reverse image search attachments in my email and use snopes.com to search key terms I hear from these phone conversations. Not necessarily to fact-check my family into changing their minds…that is unlikely to work. Tonight I re-read “Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds”, by Elizabeth Kolbert. It’s a review (published in 2017) of three books about confirmation bias and the possible evolutionary purpose of reason.

Instead, the fact-checking and debunking activities help me understand where some of these outlandish claims are coming from, and possibly the money behind them. At this point I don’t want to argue about whether the moon landing was faked or if John F. Kennedy Jr. is still alive. I don’t want to see someone I love willingly fall prey to a financial scam. I don’t want them to die from or infect others with the coronavirus.

So I’m sharing this Psychology Today article if it helps anyone else with some rudimentary steps to being there for a loved one if/when they’re ready to come back to reality.