The lead up to the The Voice Referendum has been an absolute shitshow. Disinformation has been rife in the conservative No campaign – including in the official referendum booklet.
It can be so tiring and disheartening to witness bad faith arguments and blatant disinformation, especially when all Australian citizens have a very important choice to make.
The term ‘apophenia’ was first used to describe the phenomenon whereby normal stimuli is imbued with abnormal significance by individuals in the earliest stages of psychosis. However, more recently, the term ‘apophenia’ has come to refer to an individual’s tendency to make meaningful connections between unrelated stimuli, regardless of whether or not they are experiencing psychosis.
Earlier this year I was talking to an acquaintance who had mixed feelings about trans people undertaking hormone therapy or gender-affirming surgery. He did not consider himself to be transphobic because he didn’t have an issue with people identifying with whatever gender they wanted. The thing that elicited an emotional response for him was the idea of trans people dramatically changing their bodies in a way that is not “natural”. There is a specific cognitive bias at play here called the appeal to nature fallacy. I think it is an important fallacy to understand because at worst it leads to phenomena such as transphobia, homophobia, anti-vaccination advocacy, and at best, it leads to people paying a shit tonne of money for unregulated supplements or products that are marketed as “100% natural.”
A few weeks ago, on a plane home from Sydney, I was reading Irvin Yalom’s book, Existential Psychotherapy. Every now and again, I noticed the guy next to me glancing at the chapter title at the top of each page: Meaninglessness. I got the impression he was slightly worried about me, but I actually feel increasingly enlivened by the exploration of meaning and meaninglessness.
A recent episode of the Conspirituality podcast called, ‘Elena Brower could Stop Selling doTERRA,’ is a brilliant investigative report on Brower’s toxic mash-up of girl boss life coaching, yoga courses, and Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) schemes. However, the podcast also paints a picture that’s far bigger than Elena Brower. Matthew Remski elucidates the trend of these schemes being sold under the guise of, “a pseudo-feminism that pretends to uplift women while actually spiritualising the worst aspects of predatory capitalism.”
I've been seeing the 'govern me harder, daddy' meme going around recently and apparently, it's bothering me enough to do some meme analysis. There is nothing innately wrong with submitting to an authority outside of one’s self. It can be incredibly relieving to acknowledge that we don’t have specialist knowledge in certain areas and to choose to trust the people who do.
I've had a kink about wanting to be a good girl for my whole life. I just didn't know it was a deep erotic desire. I thought I actually wanted to be good. Most of us are constantly disappointing our ID and superego by wanting to be bad, trying to be good but never being good enough. There is a lot of sexual tension in that struggle.
In the realm of masculine/feminine embodiment and polarity, there are a few trends that I find particularly troubling. One such trend is the spiritual influencers, who despite their token disclaimers, clearly believe that women should be more ‘feminine,’ and men should be more ‘masculine.’ It’s no wonder they have no idea how to include non-binary and trans people into their work – because what they are offering is spiritualised gender essentialism.
In the $5 festival program, there is a long list of workshops. A lot of the workshops have the word ‘quantum’ in the title. Too many. I decide, perhaps somewhat cynically, that this hippie festival is a consumerist hellscape. There is nothing counterculture about it. Instead, it is bustling with wealthy white, white-collar workers who have ditched their suits in favour of a tie-dyed shirt. A quick and easy way to keep the moral ambiguity of their pay checks at bay, at least for the weekend. This whole festival is a bit like that – a superficial costume change. It’s not really changing or challenging anything. It’s just capitalism in hemp clothing.
Where does the just-world fallacy come from? The world is less terrifying if we believe that bad things only happen to people who deserve it, because that means we hold the power to keep ourselves safe and above water. Our brains tell us, there’s no need to worry because we would never put ourselves in the situations that lead to poverty, sickness, or abuse. The belief that we can always influence the world in predictable ways creates a false yet comforting sense of safety. By the same token, it can also foster feelings of superiority. If we believe that misfortune is avoidable, then the people experiencing misfortune must have a poor sense of judgement, they must have done something wrong, or have some kind of flaw in their character. This is, of course, the root of victim-blaming.