Dear New Age Friend,
I’ve just noticed that, next to all your comments, Facebook helpfully said we had ’18 mutual friends’, which means we’re no longer ‘friends’, which I guess means you’ve unfriended me. Boo.
Was it something I said? Was it that post where I showed how psychics use cold reading to guess things about people? Was it the one where I explained how ouija boards work? Oh, I know. It was the one where you said that we “create our own reality”, and I asked you if people who get terminal illnesses have somehow created their own reality.
Why did I comment? Well, let’s face it — I’m kind of annoying. If someone says something wrong on the Internet, I like to get in there and set things straight, like that ever works.
But there’s more. Deception pisses me off. I saw that you were getting tricked by phony psychics, buying “inspirational” books by screwy swamis, relying on astrology and numerology to guide your life. You’re getting cheated, and I hated to see that happen to you. I think I was hoping that if I gave good information, something would happen and you’d start thinking a little more critically. Guess not.
Our exchanges fell into a predictable pattern. You’d never address my comments directly, but instead you’d post some quote by Osho in new-age passive-aggressive style, like:
“The day you think you know, your death has happened – because now there will be no wonder and no joy and no surprise. Now you will live a dead life.”
Or you’d bristle at my ‘tone’, which is another way of ignoring someone’s argument.
Or else you’d say that it was wrong to talk sense and reason because I wasn’t “respecting” everyone’s points of view. It’s a funny thing about respect: People whose views are the most tenuous seem to demand most vociferously that those views be respected. What you didn’t seem to realise was that not all points of view deserve respect. Ideas deserve respect in proportion to the amount of evidence that supports them. As for me, I don’t want my views to be respected. Slash away! If they’re wrong, I’ll change them, and I’ll thank you for helping me.
You insisted that it was important to keep an open mind, and it is — when the facts aren’t available. When they are, it makes no sense to “keep an open mind” — that’s like choosing between information and ignorance. It’s true that we need to stay open to new facts, but you weren’t even open to the facts we have.
Admittedly, you played nicer than your friends. They’re the ones who put “science” in quotes. I’ve noticed that they got nastier the more money they appeared to be making off of new age woo. When science didn’t support their views, they acted as though all of science itself was wrong instead of them. They are really dishonest people, and you should have nothing to do with them.
Maybe I pushed you too hard. I wasn’t relentless, and I didn’t comment on everything you posted, but I did try to give good information. I’m an educator — that’s what I do. When I thought you were credulous, I tried to be grounded. When you spread woo-woo, I suggested that there might be another explanation. I guess I intruded too much on your idea of a world where anything was possible, and where mysteries are supposed to stay mysterious.