Good day, survivors. Yesterday, I released a video about the ethical considerations in getting vaccinated.
Having reviewed philosophical literature over the last 300 years, I have reached the conclusion that you have a moral obligation to get vaccinated, because if you don't, you are putting other people in harm's way.
Now, this, of course, brought out all kinds of weirdos, wackos, the ignorant, the intellectually challenged, the psychopaths, the grandiose narcissists, everyone came out of the woodwork and crawled from under the rocks in order to express their uninformed opinion.
I would like, therefore, today to provide you with some grounding in literature, research, studies and science when it comes to the psychology of such people, the psychology of anti-vaxxers.
Before I continue, I want to make a distinction between vaccine hesitancy and anti-vaccine.
Vaccine hesitancy is legitimate. You should do your research and you should gather information from reliable sources before you put anything into your body, and that includes antibiotics, medication, food, supplements and of course, vaccines and inoculations. Vaccine hesitancy is just another name for due diligence, for critical thinking, and I'm all for it. I am against, however, anti-vaccine. I am against anti-vaccine because these people are mentally ill, and I'm going to substantiate this claim throughout this video, if you care to listen.
But before I go there, even in vaccine hesitancy, there are a few caveats.
Number one, raw information is not knowledge. Therefore, you should not confuse the gathering of information with being informed. If you want to be informed, you must resort to reliable, professional sources of information, because these sources have processed the information and rendered it knowledge.
In other words, you should rely on knowledge, not on raw material, because you are not qualified to assess the raw material. You hadn't been trained, you hadn't been educated in medicine.
Number two, you should exercise critical thinking. But exercising critical thinking is not the same as adopting misinformation. If the source is unreliable, if the source is unknown, if the source is just your neighbor or colleague or your mother-in-law, ignore it. Ignore it because they are not qualified to provide you with knowledge, not even with information, and they are very likely to be spreading nonsense and fake news.
And the final point is, doing research is not the same like hoarding bits and pieces of anecdotes. If you hoard anecdotes, if you collect anecdotes, that doesn't make you a researcher, that doesn't make you informed, it just actually amplifies your ignorance.
So by all means, before you get the vaccine, go online, go to university libraries, consult professionals, go to reliable sources, gather as much knowledge as you can, then make up your mind.
But do not aggrandize yourself, do not think that you are in any position to make judgments, or to convert information to knowledge, or to realize what is true and what is not, or to base your final opinion on anecdotes.
These are bad practices, and they lead inexorably to conspiracy theories, as example, anti-vaccine.
Now, there's recently a virulent, poisonous confluence of conspiracy theories and victimhood movements. Many conspiracy theories present themselves as victims, victims of the establishment of the elite, of the state, of big pharma, of corporations. They are eternal victims.
It feels good to be a victim. It's morally a pride. If you're a victim, you have automatic rights and no obligations. If you're a victim, you can do anything you want because you had been victimized. It's a psychopathic stance. Psychopaths and narcissists like to claim and pretend that they are victims. They truly believe it, actually.
There has been a series of studies in the past two years that have demonstrated conclusively that people who are eternal victims, people whose identity is victimhood, and activists in victimhood movements are actually psychopaths and narcissists.
I am ashamed of my profession. I'm ashamed of my colleagues. I'm ashamed of medical doctors. I'm ashamed of psychologists. I'm ashamed of public intellectuals because they are cowed and afraid to speak out. They are terrified. They cower, cowardly, craven. They don't dare to say the truth bluntly and honestly, as I do, no matter the cost and no matter the price. They are slaves to political correctness in the assortment of woke movements.
There's a hijacking of activism by narcissists and psychopaths, as I've mentioned, and no one wants to eff around with psychopaths and narcissists. You don't want to meddle with them. You don't want to make them your enemies.
So I talk to my colleagues. I talk to my colleagues and they say, you're right, you're right. They send me secret emails through proton mail telling me that they encourage me. They support me.
Finally, someone says the truth about the anti-vaxxers, but they are afraid to go public with this. They are afraid of death threats and worse. They are afraid of reputational costs. They're afraid to lose their jobs.
I said that there is a confluence, or shall I say effluence, of conspiracy theories with victimhood movements. It's a very pernicious conflation.
It threatens the very existence of the species.
Let's start by reviewing the psychology of conspiracy theories.
I refer you to a very recent study in 2019 by Karen Douglas, Robbie Sutton and Alexandra Sichuac. They had published an article titled The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories.
I would like to read to you the abstract.
What psychological factors drive the popularity of conspiracy theories which explain important events as secret plots by powerful and malevolent groups? What are the psychological consequences of adopting these theories?
The authors say, we review the current research and find that it answers the first of these questions more thoroughly than the second.
Belief in conspiracy theories appears to be driven by motives that can be characterized as epistemic, understanding one's environment, existential, being safe and in control of one's environment, and social, maintaining a positive image of the self and of the social group.
However, little research has investigated the consequences of conspiracy belief. And to date, this research does not indicate the conspiracy belief fulfills people's motivations.
Instead, for many people, conspiracy belief may be more appealing than satisfying.
Further research is needed to determine for whom and under what conditions conspiracy theories may satisfy key psychological motives.
And we're going to come to that a bit later and demonstrate conclusively that a belief in conspiracy theories is a prime indicator of mental illness. And if you believe in conspiracy theories and you believe yourself to be a victim, that's a sure sign that you need help.
Now you can ask, is it possible that so many millions are mentally ill? Yes, of course it's possible. Of course it's possible.
In the wake of the pandemic, one third, that's 35%, 34% of the adult population had been diagnosed with clinical major depression and anxiety disorders.
Mental illnesses are like viruses. They are pandemics. They spread.
Look at narcissism. Narcissism today, by my estimate, is anywhere between five and ten times more prevalent and higher incidence than 10 years ago or 20 years ago.
Studies by Twenge and Campbell support this.
Mental illness can and does infect people. It's a contagion and the anti-vaxing movement is a form of mass psychosis, mass mental illness. These are seriously mentally ill people. They need help.
The anti-vaxing community is founded on psychological motives and psychological needs and psychological traits that are common to other conspiracy theories.
Let's start with the psychological trait of conspiracism.
Conspiracism is the tendency to believe in conspiracy theories as organizing and explanatory principles of the world around you.
Conspiracism is reactive to uncertainty and fear.
So when you are embedded in an environment where things are in flux, where everything is arbitrary or capricious, where you are at the mercy of external factors like a virus or the government, if you have conspiracism, you are likely to develop a conspiracy theory.
Conspiracy theories are extensions of a mental health pathology known as pareidolia. Pareidolia is the tendency to see patterns where there are none. Random events, random points, random occurrences, random people are connected somehow with spurious, specious, nonsensical narratives. That's pareidolia.
You see event A and event B and you create a narrative C that connects them totally non-sensically.
So conspiracism and pareidolia are common in the anti-vaxxing community and this leads of course to paranoid ideation.
Paranoid ideation is the belief that you are the target, the grandiose belief by the way, it's a grandiose belief that you are the target of some cabal, some elite, some establishment, some unnamed faceless experts who are conspiring with money, big pharma for example, to do you in, to kill you, to poison you, to hijack your body, to inject a chip into you. Who the hell are you? Who cares about you? They do. It makes you self-important.
Of course, paranoid ideation is often a compensation for anxiety and depression and anxiety and depression are reactive to uncertainty and fear.
I refer you to an article titled, paranoid ideation without psychosis is associated with depression, anxiety and suicide attempts in general population. It was authored by Na, Choi, Hong, Meng, Fava and others and it was published in the journal of nervous and mental disease in October 2019 before the pandemic, volume 207.
Another psychological element in the anti-vaxxing conspiracy victimhood movement and I'm taking the anti-vaxxers as an example.
This applies to all victimhood movements which are founded on conspiracies.
So another element is delusionality, and impaired reality testing.
Impaired reality testing simply means you don't grasp reality properly. Instead of grasping reality, what you are grasping is your perception of reality and your perception of reality is subject to cognitive biases, cognitive distortions and defense mechanisms which falsify reality in a way which makes you feel comfortable.
In other words, you fake reality, you distort it in order to reside or stay in a comfort zone and this is called impaired reality testing. It's bad for you. It's bad for you because you are not embedded in reality and you gradually develop delusions.
Now what are delusions?
Delusions are beliefs. They are a symptom. They are a pathological symptom in, for example, delusional disorder. They are beliefs which are unshakable, immutable, unchallengeable. Beliefs that you hold, no matter what, no matter what's the countervailing information, no matter how many studies, no matter how many people tell you otherwise, no matter how many people try to convince you otherwise, nothing changes your mind.
That's it. You've made up your mind. You don't want to be confused with the facts.
This is delusion, this unshakable belief, but delusions are not based on reality. They are based on fears. They are based on psychological needs. They are based on other delusions. They are based on rumors. They are based on fear mongering.
Delusions are a paranoid disorder and indeed this was the previous name of delusions, a paranoid disorder.
Taken to extreme, they create a psychotic disorder. People who have delusions cannot tell what is real from what is imagined. It doesn't mean that people with delusions are completely unrealistic. It doesn't mean that the delusions are bizarre. The delusions very often have to do with something that could happen in real life. Only it's not happening.
Delusions are about what if, but then there is some short circuit in the brain and the what if becomes it's happening for sure.
So delusions involve mistaken perceptions of experience, mistaken interpretations of events. In reality, the situations are not true, highly exaggerated, never happened or just anticipatory anxiety, fear of what might happen.
So delusionality is very common in these movements and it leads to a severely impaired reality testing.
But all this is grounded in grandiosity.
Antivax's conspiracy theories, all these people are grandiose to the point that they feel entitled. And by being grandiose and by feeling entitled, they lose their empathy and at that point they qualify as narcissists.
This is the sequence.
You're delusional because you feel grandiose, you feel superior somehow, you feel smart, smarter than others, smarter than the sheeple. That makes you feel entitled because you are superior and then you lose empathy.
You say I don't care about other people, I care only about my body, the hell with everyone else. And that makes you a narcissist.
Grandiosity is a subspecies in these movements, in these movements of conspiracy and victimhood coupled.
Grandiosity is a subspecies of anti-intellectualism. Truthiness, the belief that there is no truth. Whatever you imagine, whatever your opinion is, whichever procedure you had established to find out the truth, to ferret out reality, that's the truth.
There is my truth, there is your truth, there's alternative facts. Of course, that's nonsense. There's only one set of facts. There are no multiple truths.
There's truth and there is force. There is truth and falsity. There is truth, there is fact and non-fact, counterfactual. There's only one fact and there's only one truth.
But truthiness claims that a truth is merely an opinion and every opinion is truthful. It is a grandiose position because it imbues the believer with divine powers. If I have the power to determine what is fact and what is reality, I'm God-like. If I am the ultimate arbiter and decider of what is true, I am God. It's blasphemous and sacrilegious, actually.
The irony is that many fundamentalists engage exactly in this behavior, not realizing that they are usurping the power of the divine if they believe in the divine, which I don't.
Truthiness is coupled with hatred of intellectuals, hatred of expertise. Why?
Because intellectuals and experts are superior. They're superior by virtue of their education. They're superior because they had invested efforts in becoming superior. Their superiority is commensurate with their investment.
And these members of conspiracy theory movements and victimhood movements, they want to be instantly superior without investing anything, without effort. They want to be superior just because they are capable of putting three words together, usually in the wrong order.
And this is the elite among in these groups. Most of the members can't read and write, can't spell. The average level of education among conspiracy theories and among victimhood movements is actually very low.
How do I know? Studies. Studies. Studies. Research. Facts.
So these are ignorant, ill-educated people who want to consider themselves experts and intellectuals, but realize deep inside that they are dimwits and they hate it.
So they hate reminders of their own inanity and stupidity. They hate intellectuals and experts and medical doctors and psychologists with a fervor. They hate them because they don't want to be reminded how low they are when it comes to intellect, intelligence, critical thinking, knowledge, education, irreducion.
There is a form of malignant egalitarianism. Everyone is equal to everyone, which is a bizarre thing because no one is equal to anyone about anything.
I'm short. Other people are tall. I'm not athletic. Other people are. I can't play the piano. Many do. Many can. I don't know how to drive. I don't have a driving license. You do. You're superior to me. You're not equal to me in this sense.
And what I know in psychology would take you decades to learn what I've forgotten in psychology, would take you decades to learn. So I'm superior to you when it comes to psychology, physics, economics, and many other disciplines.
Sorry to break the news. You are inferior to me intellectually. I'm inferior to you when it comes to driving.
We are all inferior to each other about something. And yet, members of conspiracy theory and victimhood movements refuse to acknowledge any differences between people. We are all equal to each other.
The only thing is they are smarter because they know that we are all equal.
There is also the issue of sacred body. My body is sacred. It's a temple. It's a shrine.
I will never risk it with a vaccine. What the hell are you talking about? Why is your body a shrine? And why is it more a shrine than my body? Why would I allow you to risk me? Why would I allow you to put me in harm's way?
The hell with your body. It belongs in prison if you refuse to be vaccinated.
Let me read to you something. It's from a study titled, I know things they don't know, the role of need for uniqueness in belief in conspiracy theories.
It was published in Social Psychology, Volume 48.
The authors say, "...having information or knowledge that no one else has can naturally make us feel unique."
Let me repeat this for the sake of the intellectually challenged members of conspiracy theories and victimhood movements, which is unfortunately the overwhelming vast majority.
"...having information or knowledge that no one else has can naturally make us feel unique."
This study indicates that people who believe in conspiracy theories need to feel unique by knowing scarce information.
You will see the desire to be superior. You have a sense that you're elevated above other people, that you know something more than they do.
It's the idea of, I'm in the know, and you are not in the know. I'm smart, and you are stupid. And you are stupid. How do we call this? Grandiosity, a key pillar of narcissism, psychopathy, and other mental health disorders.
This leads, of course, to contumacious defiance. Contumacious is hatred of authority, overriding authority, standing up to authority.
And it's not necessarily a bad thing. In some contexts, it's a good thing and should be encouraged.
Authority is often abused. And if we don't have rebels, and if we don't have dissidents, authority can become a malignant phenomenon.
But there's a difference between opposing authority and being contumacious. Contumacious means hatred of any authority whatsoever. And defiance means, in your face, I will do what I want and the hell with you, your body, your health, and your interests. That's defiance. That's in your face, psychopathic reactions.
And I want to read to you again from a study and what it says.
The study is titled Looking Under the Tin-Foil Hat, and it was published in the Journal of Personality by Bowers and Scott Lancasterfeld.
They administer the battery of standardized personality surveys to nearly 2,000 adults.
So it's a big study.
Their conclusion, in the most comprehensive analysis to date of people who are prone to conspiracy beliefs, a research team sketched out several personality profiles that appear to be distinct.
One is familiar, the injustice collector, impulsive and overconfident who is eager to expose naivete in everyone but him or herself.
Grandiose, another sub-type of conspiracy theorists is Lester. It's a solitary, anxious figure, moody and detached, perhaps including many who are older and living alone.
The analysis also found that the extremes, an element of real pathology, personality disorder, allow me to repeat this last sentence.
The analysis also found an element of real pathology, a personality disorder.
From the study titled Belief in Conspiracy Theories, the Predictive Role of Schizotypal Machiavellianism and Primary Psychopathy.
Yes, you heard it correctly. Conspiracy theorybelievers in conspiracy theories are Machiavellian and psychopathic.
Let me read to you a Vita March and Jordan Springer abstract of the study.
A conspiracy theory refers to an alternative explanation of an event involving a conspirator plot organized by powerful people or organizations.
Belief in conspiracy theories is related to negative societal outcomes such as poor medical decisions and a decrease in pro-social behavior.
Given these negative outcomes of belief in conspiracy theories, researchers have explored predictors of belief in conspiracy theories in an attempt to understand and possibly manage these beliefs.
These beliefs are seriously dangerous.
In the current study, say the authors, we explored the utility of personality in predicting belief in conspiracy theories.
The aim of the current study was to explore the utility of the odd beliefs magical thinking subtype of schizotypic Machiavellianism, grandiose narcissism, vulnerable narcissism, primary psychopathy and secondary psychopathy in predicting belief in conspiracy theories.
Participants completed an anonymous confidential online questionnaire which comprised demographics and measures of personality traits and belief in conspiracy theories.
The total regression model indicated odd beliefs, magical thinking, trait, Machiavellianism and primary psychopathy all as very significant in believing conspiracy theories.
No other predictors reached significance as these did.
Results of the current study highlight individuals who might be more susceptible to believing conspiracy theories.
Specifically, these results indicate that the individual more likely to believe in conspiracy theories may have unusual patterns of thinking and cognitions, be strategic and manipulative and display interpersonal and affective deficits.
It's a very polite way of saying people who believe in conspiracy theories and people who believe they are victims of conspiracy theories, they are nuts, they are mentally ill, they are wackos, they need help and they need to be isolated from the rest of us.
And yes, it's an affliction that can affect millions exactly as anxiety does, exactly as depression does.
These people are a danger to themselves which I don't care, they are a danger to others which I do care about a lot because I'm one of these others.
I want them isolated, I want them gone, I don't want them anywhere near me. I don't want to spend my life or what's left of my life in a mental asylum populated by delusional, paranoid, primary psychopathic grandiose about to become narcissists.
Really not my ideal cellmates.