German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (rhymes with “peachy”) said a lot of interesting things in his life. You’ve certainly heard some of them, even if you don’t know their origin… things like:

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

“When you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares back at you.”

Less commonly known, here are a couple of other quotes:

“Sometimes people don't want to hear the truth because they don't want their illusions destroyed.”

“Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”

Those latter two quotes are pretty relevant these days, in light of the ever-widening wedge between reason and insanity.

Interestingly, Nietzsche also said, “There are no facts, only interpretations.”

Here, Mr. Nietzsche and I may have to agree to disagree. Or perhaps he was thinking super-big-picture when he said that, as in when dealing with topics that don’t actually have factual basis. You can discuss things like the merits of democracies vs. benevolent dictatorships, thinking you have all the “facts”, and therefore your opinion, and only your opinion, is “correct”. I think that’s the sort of thing he had in mind, and with that, I don’t disagree. Philosophical “facts” are meant to be discussed and challenged.

But people who feel strongly about the “facts” that they’re defending will rarely change their minds, even when the facts are indisputable… and, for some reason, the less “factual” those facts really are, the more they’re stuck to those opinions. It’s like being right is a necessary part of their existence, and challenging that opinion is basically challenging that person’s right to exist. Go try have a rational discussion with a moon-landing-denier or flat-earther; I dare you. If someone is convinced that two plus two is anything other than four, you need to understand that mindset before challenging it. And in doing so, you might realize that you’re wasting your time.

Such is the mindset of the anti-vaxx, anti-mask, anti-lockdown crowd that’ll insist that “it’s a hoax”, “vaccines are poison”, “vaccines are crowd control”, “masks cause more damage than they prevent”, “things are going great”, “nothing to worry about” and so on. If you’re going to bother trying to engage in an intelligent conversation with any of that on the other side of it, you’ve been warned. I’m speaking from experience here.

A final quote from our friend Nietzsche:

“The snake which cannot cast its skin has to die. As well, the minds which are prevented from changing their opinions; they cease to be mind.”


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