Think For Yourself

by marin mikulic

Someone recently claimed that the Chinese had invented and unleashed the Coronavirus. On purpose, to injure the non-Chinese residents of this blue planet we inhabit.

Is this possible?

Yes. The Chinese government could have devised and attempted such a plan. It falls within the scope of the behavior of a Homo Sapiens. After all, we’ve been killing each other in the most creative ways since we could pick up a piece of rock.

Cultivating a murderous virus is a logical continuation of the human tendency to beat the shit out of one another. Remember Cain and Abel? In other words — if it didn’t happen already, it likely will in the future.

Now, is it possible that the claim above is not true?

Yes. The virus could have sprung from a species of bat or mutated from an earlier, less dangerous strain of the virus. There’s no artist quite like biology. More than that, it is statistically much more likely that China had not done it. There’s no certainty but statistics does count for something.

Now, while both the first and second case is possible, the first one is much more satisfying. There is something in us that wants to pin the guilt on the big, bad, monstrous foreigner, especially one with morals as dubious as China’s.

“Fine,” I said, “let’s get into it then. What are the arguments?”

“China is a powerful economy. An ideological juggernaut hell-bent on brainwashing the entire species into speaking Chinese and getting a Mao Zedong haircut!”

While the above may conceivably be true, it says nothing about the origins of the virus. Non-sequitur. It does not follow. It would be like saying that, because the Nazis were killers, they must be at fault for all killings to have ever occurred.

“I read about an educated virologist, an eminent person, who claimed China was the mastermind behind the current crisis!”

Immediately, I used the godlike powers of Google to dig up other virologists who made no such claims. For every authority, there’s a rival authority.

“How can you even know your virologists are any good?”

“Excellent, appropriate question! Have you asked yourself the same?”

They didn’t.

Then I was accused of trying to vindicate China and profess my adoration for the Great Leader and the glorious communist party. That’s the headache nowadays. Everything’s literal. No room for nuance. You’re either with us, or against.

Seeing how I couldn’t argue unreason with reason, I decided to switch tactics and stuck out my tongue.

It at least alleviated the tension.

Carol Marine's Painting a Day: Two tongues
Painting by Carole Marine

Now, my point is merely this: don’t rush. Consider many perspectives without immediately choosing a side. Some topics are too complicated for quick judgment. The origins of the coronavirus, the existence of aliens, the harmfulness of 5G technology, secret societies running the world, global economic power dynamics…complicated, complex topics that have more theories than I did pimples back in high school.

Don’t give in to the urge to choose camp until you exhaust all ability to doubt and be skeptical. If a particular question has five theories, hold them all in your mind at once. Compare one to the other, see where they succeed and where they fail. Some of them will be similar, other diametrically opposed. It will be difficult to choose what to believe.


Don’t choose.

In the words of Scott F. Fitzgerald, “the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”
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