Coping mechanisms

The party line can change a thousand times.
The believers still believe.

In question is how I, as William Tell, will deal with callers who lie and believe lies.

Related:  We are a diseased nation.

One after another, the right-wing hoaxes just keep coming.

The latest was shared to me on FB by the same high school classmate who also shared

She believed this next one, too.

Mike Huckabee got taken in.  The claim was that 350,000 U.S. service members will be dishonorably discharged for defying President Biden’s COVID vaccine mandate.

My Friend shared this video:

The FaceBook fact-check article is here:

US military is not dishonorably discharging 350,000 Covid-19 vaccine holdouts

The original article perpetrating the hoax is here:

National Security Alert: Act of War, Thousands of U.S. Special Forces and Combat Troops Discharged as Total Force ‘Vaccination’ Decimates Military Readiness

It’s a heck of a hunk of text.  What floored me was the sheer amount of work the author David DeGraw invested in the perpetration of that lie.

What’s at stake?

The following scenario is well known:  When someone holds a false belief, and you present the person with proof that it is false, she or he is most likely to reject the proof and re-assert the false belief with renewed fervor.  This is called “motivated reasoning.”

It is a lesson for me, that the outcome indicates more is at stake than just the one proposition.  There’s a lot of emotion behind it, and something is driving that.  Something unseen.

The recent post, “Science and the left wing and the right,” noted that social conservatives are basically fearful people, but find a sense of safety in the tenets of right-wing ideology.  I have not understood that second part, and frankly still don’t.  But the ramification is that when one attacks, or disproves, statements consistent with right-wing ideology, one destroys the underpinnings of that which enables such persons to feel safe.

That’s major.

In the end, for at least some of these people, lying and believing in lies is a coping mechanism, a way to escape the vagaries of day-to-day life.  No one likes uncertainty; but the post mentioned indicates that uncertainty troubles conservatives more than it does liberals.  Their ideology (However, again, this is no different from any other ideology and its adherents.) gives them propositions about which they can feel certain, when they feel little certainty about anything else in life.

Even if the propositions are false.

It is analogous to the fervor of David Wilcock’s true believers, who continue to hope in him even though the track record for his predictions is zero.  As mentioned in a previous post, the best comment I’ve seen on any of his advertisements is this:

It is analogous also to the fervor of the evangelical Christians who place all their hope in Jesus’ return and the world of unending bliss that they expect to follow.  In exactly the words of the college classmate from whom I sought comfort in the face of certain crises I was facing at the time, “Everything will be OK.  Jesus is coming soon.”  Speaking to the people of his own time, Paul at Romans 8:18 said essentially the same thing:  “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us.”  It is notable that the First Century in the Middle East was fraught with turmoil and associated hardships; and that the Christians of the time did face opposition to their religion.  Then as now, however, many evangelical Christians were and are prone to regard any hardship whatsoever as an attack — from “the Enemy” — on their faith.  Thus their hope in the idyllic future provides escape from the griefs associated with the untoward events of the here-and-now.

The evangelicals and Wilcock’s true believers have this in common:  they all hope in a coming Golden Age, whether that happens via Ascension or via Rapture.

Related:  The twisties
Related:  The New Age is a lot of hooey

My hope is built

The William Tell Show is supposed to be “a Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood for adults.”  If someone calls who believes such a hoax, what am I to do?  If I contradict the person, he or she may take offense and view The William Tell Show as an inhospitable place for that person personally and for conservatives in general.  This would defeat the whole purpose of the show.

A profound post from May 2018, “My hope is built,” discussed a like quandry involving people from the opposite end of the political spectrum.  I wound up posing the question:  “Just as I hope, they hope.  It’s hope either way.  Who am I to tell them to redirect their hope?”

Friday, November 5, 2021

OK, I give up.  There are more angles here than I will be able to sort out in the time available.  Points, in no particular order:

✓ 1 – Enjoy life
✓ 2 – Expressing myself vs. telling others to change their POV
✓ 3 – Serenity with the fact of their disease
✓ 4 – Coping mechanisms are not all created equal.
✓ 5 – On what is my hope built — now?
✓ 6 – Love is paramount.

At the time of that blog post, my hope was built on the freedom each and every person has to choose good things for oneself.  Today I would say instead that my hope rests on facts — What Is.  This can be directly contrasted with hope in ideology.

The paramount concern for William Tell is that he love each and every caller, no matter what.  If I express myself lovingly, meaning honestly, then I cannot help but share, or model, that my hope is built on What Is.  That is a different thing from telling others to redirect their hope.

Coping mechanisms are not all created equal.  Some may be called “adaptive” (prone to produce favorable results) and others “maladaptive” (prone to produce unfavorable results).  Gaslighting and drug addiction are examples of maladaptive coping mechanisms.  My own — focusing my attention on the present, focusing on the facts, accepting things I cannot change — may be adaptive, but they are coping mechanisms nonetheless.

The task, for me to transition from not-being William Tell into being him, is not about changing them, but changing me.  The immediate task for me is to become serene with the fact that these folks use this coping mechanism.  Now, it may be a disease; at the outset here above, I linked to the post, “We are a diseased nation.”  But does the fact of this disease need to distress me more than the fact of any other?  I am serene with the existence of diabetes, of drug addiction, of cancer.

A different tack entirely:  If I champion the slogan, “Enjoy life!” many things change.  This approach is wholly independent of ideology.  People who seek to enjoy life will, I believe, be naturally drawn toward the facts.  Anything that interferes with enjoying life needs to be discarded or dismissed, including those propositions or beliefs that justify ongoing fear and anger; which is exactly what most ideological lies do.  To seek to enjoy life, one will seek to attend to the positives, to what one wants as opposed to what one doesn’t want; to the facts and possibilities that please oneself.

It’s tantamount to choosing happiness, which is much of what I seek to do and encourage others to do.

It’s an option.

The hymn, “My hope is built on nothing less,” has been ringing through my mind for days, so I may as well include the lyrics here.  Here they are, as I remember them:

My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
no merit of my own I claim,
but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid rock, I stand;
all other ground is sinking sand,
all other ground is sinking sand.
When darkness veils his lovely face,
I rest on his unchanging grace;
in ev’ry high and stormy gale
my anchor holds within the veil. [Refrain]
His oath, his covenant, his blood
sustain me in the raging flood;
when all supports are washed away,
he then is all my hope and stay. [Refrain]
When he shall come with trumpet sound,
oh, may I then in him be found,
clothed in his righteousness alone,
redeemed to stand before the throne! [Refrain]

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