What if it (only) takes a new worldview to free ourselves from the new normal?

Today I told another patient that in fact, there was no need to be so worried about the pandemic.  Used early, hydroxychloroquine worked very effectively as a treatment.

And again the first thing I heard was, “Isn’t that the drug Trump talked about?”

Why does what Trump said seem more germane to people than the SARS-CoV-2 virus being treatable?

I now have a retort:  “Even a stopped watch is right twice a day!”

But that is not really the point.  What remains shocking is that people have been so conditioned to fear the virus, that it is not even within the realm of possibility that there is light at the end of the tunnel.  Nor, to take an even greater leap of consciousness, are some people able to consider that, maybe, there didn’t have to be a tunnel.  We have all been holed up in an imaginary tunnel, immobilized by fear and then by emergency regulations issued by fiat.

For six months, many people have known that certain drugs were very effective against SARS-CoV-2, but somehow that information has not been allowed to trickle down.

If I ask someone to believe that there is a cheap, safe, available pill that you can get in a drugstore, which could immediately end the lockdowns, masks, and the rotten new normal, I am asking them to give up believing in the world as they know it, and enter the Twilight Zone. 

I am starting to think that it is considerably harder for many people to entertain a new worldview, than it is to accept the very rotten new normal.  

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John F. McGowan, Ph.D
John F. McGowan, Ph.D
2 years ago

Changing your world view is very difficult. Empirically, it seems to take at least six months and usually requires at least three independent pieces of evidence, preferably direct personal experiences. That would be on the low end. Some people don't seem to be able to change their world view even in the face of genuinely "overwhelming evidence," an overused cliche in science. It seems to get harder to change your worldview with age.

Your world view is tightly integrated with your sense of personal and group identity, who you trust. It is a social phenomenon, not just based on your own life experiences. Your world view includes beliefs derived from your social group — "tribe" — that in some cases can override your own direct experience and observations. Thus, people can believe COVID is substantially deadlier that it is even though they know no one who has died from it — or even had it. Obviously contradictory data and experience can be ignored due to a world view. It is not unusual behavior.

My presentation on "The World View Problem in Data Analysis:" https://tinyurl.com/y4q45spc

Regarding persuading your patients, I suggest trying having at least three independent pieces of data/evidence that can be verified by the patient. Personal experiences are probably stronger, consider asking them about personal experiences that grossly contradict the dominant COVID narrative, such as how many people they know who are sick or have died, and the characteristics of those people, as they likely will be old and sick anyway — prior to the COVID case.

In Northern California, there are housing construction projects going on with dozens of workers in close proximity working 40 hours a week (there is one across the street from where I live — for example) and people are being herded into giant stores such as Safeway which one would think would efficiently spread the disease. All of this is allowed while churches, bars, gyms, anywhere people can discuss issues without electronic surveillance are shut down or heavily discouraged.

Direct experiences that contradict the "narrative" are the most likely to penetrate the world view problem, but it is still very difficult — a really good solution does not exist as far as I can tell.

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In 1952, in the early stages of the Korean War, North Korea accused the United States of using biological weapons — a claim the US has always denied. Journalist and retired psychologist Jeffrey Kaye found a copy of a report by the International Scientific Commission on the issue, originally released in 1952. Its investigation concluded that the US used a number of biological weapons, including anthrax, plague, and cholera, and that the confessions of many captured American airmen provided confirmation.

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