Peter Limberg (a philosopher) writing over at The Stoa takes a soak in the conflicting narratives in the COVID vaccination debates.
Soaking in this bubbling hot-tub of misinformation, disinformation, propaganda, cognitive biases and general all-caps yelling (both virtual and physical), Peter attempts to find some root commonality or synthesis from which progress might be made.
He refers to this soaking process as ‘Ontological Flooding‘ (ontology is the branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being and the essence of things) whereby, instead of cognitively interrogating or critically appraising the other side, he embraces both views as true until they feel true and then examines those feelings.
After noting the often intense fury felt by each side towards the other and the predisposition to dehumanise opposing tribes, he comes up with one common connection……fear.
For the Vaccine supporters:
I fear dying from the virus and being responsible for the death of others. I also fear being called dumb for not understanding the science and shamed for being called a bad person by failing to act in ways that would protect others.
And the Antivaxxers:
I fear losing freedoms and giving my power away to top-down control structures that can slip into totalitarianism. I also fear being societally segregated and persecuted by those scapegoating me for this mess.
Whilst admitting that the highly charged energy makes coexistence difficult, acknowledging the fundamental root of this energy as synthesised enables a possible co-existence. A necessary co-existence.
A COVID synthesis can emerge from the narrative warfare currently happening, but only if we in turn have the courage to feel deeply into our own fear, and empathically feel deeply into the fear of others.
Featured image by Charl Folscher