Friday, August 6, 2021


“Homo Narrativus”


Our species’ present name, “Homo sapiens” (“Wise Hominid”), is more than a little misleading. “Homo narrativus” (“Hominid of Narrative”) is dramatically more appropriate.

We are the hominid that perceives and engages the world through narrative. Please let me explain.

I once saw a presentation where 10 playing cards were flashed on a screen for a fraction of a second, one at a time. The presenter told the audience to raise their hands if they could identify the cards. During the first round, no one could ID any of the cards.

The cards were then each flashed again for a slightly longer fraction of a second. Now, a couple of people raised their hands for 8 of the cards. But nobody could ID the other 2.

The cards were then each flashed again for an even slightly longer fraction of a second. Now, most people raised their hands for 8 of the cards. Still, nobody could ID the other 2.

Once again, the cards were each flashed for an even slightly longer fraction of a second. Now, everyone raised their hands for 8 of the cards. But still, nobody could ID the remaining 2 cards.

So the presenter flashed each of those two remaining cards over again, for slightly longer times. After a couple of extra rounds, still nobody could ID those 2 cards.

The presenter stopped here. And he asked, can anybody tell me absolutely anything about either of these 2 cards? Nobody could. Everyone in the room was looking around at each other wondering “what is going on?”

Finally, on the next round for those two cards, slightly longer, a few people laughed. They got it.

The two cards that were so hard to see were cards that “don’t exist”. A 3 of Red Spades. A Jack of Black Hearts.

The craziest thing in this situation was that absolutely nobody in the room could say anything about either card. For the 3 of Red Spades, nobody knew it was a 3. Nobody knew it was Red. Nobody knew it was a Spade. We literally could not see it at all. The same was true for the Jack.

This was after a couple of rounds of longer exposures after everyone had easily identified the other 8 cards.

We all had a narrative in our minds. There are 52 cards. In four suits. Two suits, Hearts and Diamonds, are red. The other two suits, Spades and Clubs, are black. Each suit has an Ace thru 10 and three face cards….

The reality of those 2 cards we experienced that day, however, did not fit our narrative. So we literally were blind to them. We had to experience them for much longer than we did the normal cards for us to begin to see them at all.

This is why it is so crucial for us rename ourselves Homo narrativus. For two huge reasons:

1) Renaming ourselves will help us admit to ourselves we perceive and engage reality through narrative - that narratives frame our perceptual field. That's mostly good, and is why it evolved. Narratives allow us to make sense of what otherwise would be overwhelming amounts of chaotic information. 

2) The "shadow" side of this, unfortunately, is that we are blind at first to anything that doesn't fit our narrative. Anything that doesn't fit our narrative is literally Non-Sense. We usually won't sense it until we run into it.

Renaming ourselves "Homo narrativus" will therefore help remind us to regularly question our narratives so that we can catch our inevitable blind spots before we run headlong into disaster and tragedy.

The famous scientist Richard Feynman captured this so well when he said in regards to science:
“Learn from science that you must doubt the experts. As a matter of fact, I can also define science another way: science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.

When someone says that science teaches such and such, he is using the word incorrectly. Science doesn’t teach it. Experience teaches it. If they say to you that science has shown such and such, you might ask ‘How does science show it – how did the scientists find out – how, what, where?’

Not science has shown, but this experiment, this effect, has shown. And you have as much right as anyone else, upon hearing about the experiments (but we must listen to all the evidence), to judge whether a reusable conclusion has been arrived at.”
"Experts" frame their perceptual field through narrative too. They also have blind spots that can only be overcome through actual experience. Like everyone else, they too can fall into the trap of only engaging what their narrative already "knows". Thus they won't get to run into their own blind spots.


We modern human's lives are different than our ancestors in so many ways, but one of the biggest is the extent to which we affect, and are affected by, so much that is beyond the horizon of our lived experience. If nothing else, simply because of trade - by the incredible reach of what we produce and consume. 

Therefore, we are unable to experience so many of the affects that come from our own blind spots. Those affects are literally happening beyond our horizon. We don't get to "run into them".

Theoretically, that's one of the main reasons why we have "News". So that someone else can go over there beyond the horizon of our lived experience and bring back perceptions of what we are affecting, and what is affecting us - what we otherwise wouldn't get to experience personally.

But the modern media, the "News", are in the same predicament as the rest of us. They frame their perceptual fields through narrative - to make sense of the infinite amount of chaotic information out there beyond the horizon. Otherwise it too would be Non-Sense.

So the modern media are, in effect, our culture’s narrative managers. And just like us, they too have blind spots.

Unfortunately, trade has all kinds of repercussions other than just creating the need for News. Trade also creates all kinds of concentrations of influence. (I am consciously using the word "influence", and not "power" here).

With any concentration of influence, however, come conflicts of interest. 

Let's put all of this together. Human perception is framed through narrative, with its forthcoming blind spots. Trade creates a need for News, which is also framed through narrative, also with its forthcoming blind spots. But trade also creates massive conflicts of interest.

If we are going to be modern humans with Trade - with all of our affects on, and affects from, the world beyond our lived experience, then we will always have News. The News will always have blind spots. And the News will always have conflicts of interest. That is simply part and parcel of the trade.

So it is especially and precisely when those who are, as we say, "presently in power" (our governmental authorities) and the News both increase their consensus so intensely, so vociferously, that we must stop, give pause, and deeply question their narrative.


Please remember that our narrative managers sold us a narrative that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Iraq did not. Yet, enough Americans believed that manufactured narrative to blindly allow our country to invade a sovereign nation. I do pray that we as a country can sit with that more deeply some day. 

Now, our narrative managers are selling us a narrative that the Delta variant is going to get us all, and that our only option is to force everyone to get a vaccine utilizing novel technology that has had no long-term testing. They are recommending employers to force Covid vaccinations. They are recommending that businesses require proof of vaccination for entry. Our government is on the cusp of forcing vaccinations among all of our military personnel, those who have volunteered to risk their lives to defend our country – those, ironically, who are not free to refuse an order by simply getting another job.


Do you remember months ago (I write this on August 5th, 2021) when our narrative managers were all screaming about the Delta variant starting to spike in India? It was one of the first countries to have a surge of Covid cases of the Delta variant.

Our narrative managers sold us a narrative that India would descend into a medical hell, and that this was a window into our own future if everybody here in the US didn’t hurry up and get vaccinated.

Now, our narrative managers don’t seem to talk as much about India any more. I was curious as to why. I did a little research:

India had a total of 25,388 deaths from Covid during July 2021.

This was down dramatically from 120,770 deaths from Covid during May 2021.

Covid-related deaths in India in July would be equivalent to 6,347 deaths in one month in the US (because the US Population is ¼ of India’s).
Multiply that by 12 months to get the equivalent annual US deaths if an equivalent level of ongoing medical harm was happening here in America – and that would total 76,164 deaths.

Of course, no one can minimize the tragedy of that many deaths. But I urge us to take this number into context. This is roughly the number of Americans that die each and every year from drug overdoses.

You might say, “but Covid creates all kind of medical harm besides just death”. 

But, of course, the same is also true for drug addiction. Not all of the medical harm from drug addiction comes solely from fatal drug overdoses.

You might say, "well that must prove that India did an incredible job of rolling out the Covid vaccines."

However, as I quoted the famous scientist Richard Feynman earlier, and I’m paraphrasing just a little bit here - 'Don’t listen to what the "Science" has shown, listen to what the experiment, the effect, the experience has shown.'

By the very END of July 2021, the month for which I just gave data, India was just then reaching 25% of it’s population having at least one dose of vaccine. 

India rapidly and dramatically reduced their mortality rate BEFORE they significantly raised their vaccination rate!

So, experience in India shows that vaccinating every individual in a country is clearly not the one and only way to handle Covid. This fact alone is more than enough to have us stop, take a pause, and question the narrative that our government agencies and mainstream media are selling us. Thank you very much India.

So how did India so rapidly and so dramatically reduce Covid mortality?

Why are our narrative managers not even asking this question?
Why have we not been asking this question?

Perhaps most importantly, if the News you trust - the ones who warned so loudly months ago that India proved that we all had to hurry up and get vaccinated; the ones who demonized anyone daring to think twice about taking a vaccine using novel technology that has had no long-term testing - if the News you trust is not attempting to explain now how their narrative doesn't fit the actual experience on the ground in India at all, well then maybe it's time to question their narrative. 

Maybe it's time to look elsewhere for News on Covid-19.


I’m going to tell another short personal story about the centrality of narratives to our humanity, and then I’m going to wrap this up. Thanks for hanging in there. I know this is a long post. Please take your time with it. Breathe. It’s going to be OK. Or it won’t.


A couple of years ago, I was driving home late at night on the freeway after being with my mom in the hospital. It was dark, rainy and foggy. I was driving my recently purchased Chevy Volt, so I was fortunately high-mileage-ing it – I had taken my foot off the gas to coast over a mountain pass on my way home.

I say fortunately, because all of a sudden, at the very top of the pass, all of those huge concrete barricades that usually separate the opposing lanes of traffic were all directly in front of me! In a neat line perpendicular to the road! There were no flashing lights. There were no brightly colored “Detour” signs. There were no brake lights from cars ahead to warn me.

I slammed on my brakes and was able to stop just in time to keep from slamming into the concrete wall crossing the freeway.

I had absolutely no narrative to make any sense of this. I started looking around as best as I could, which wasn’t very well due to the darkness, rain and fog. I could just barely make out the top of the canopy of a huge oak tree that was laying on its side just on the other side of the concrete barricade.

I thought for a split second “maybe that’s why they put up this barricade, to keep us from running into this tree that fell over” - before I realized that this made no sense.

There were no warning signs. But this is a freeway for goodness sake! The whole point of a freeway is unimpeded flow. The only times you’re on a freeway where there isn’t unimpeded flow, there are bright and colorful signs and/ or lights.

I began to think, did I somehow zone out while driving home and take an unintended exit, and I’m no longer on the main freeway? But that didn’t make sense, because there are only a few freeway exits from the hospital and all of them immediately “T” into a stop sign. That’s clearly not where I was.

Admittedly, I began to wonder if I had somehow mysteriously popped into a parallel universe. I’m not sure whether I had ever believed or cared about parallel universes before. But in that moment, it felt more credible than anything else.

And that’s when it happened. Everything began to fall away for me. I mean everything. In the dark, rain and fog, without any narrative, I had no idea where I was. I no longer trusted my senses. I had no idea who I was.

Thank goodness, at that point, something deep inside me welled up, and said very clearly “GET OUT!!!”

Enough wits came back to me to then realize that yes, I needed to move. So I backed up a bit, steered right, and drove slowly parallel to the barricades. I got to a small concrete curb directly in front of me. I worried that my low-riding car might get hung up on the curb. Should I back up and drive out the way I had come? In order to get around the curb?

But thankfully, I heard within another “GET OUT!!!”, so I quickly drove over the curb – just barely in time to hear a very loud screeching noise and look up in my rear-view mirror to see a car which had already slammed on its brakes, slide sideways at high speed into the concrete barrier right behind me.

At exactly that moment, my entire rear windshield was covered in mud. I could no longer see anything behind me.

I was still extremely disoriented and confused. I thought for a second that I should get out and try to help. But then I heard another “GET OUT!!!”

I drove forward. Finally the barricade to my left ended and I was able to drive around it and the oak tree and down the shoulder back onto the freeway. Almost immediately a large fleet of emergency vehicles with their sirens and lights blaring came up the other side of the freeway from the town below.

I learned later that a huge landslide had happened at the pass. That a large mass of mountain had slid over the freeway and knocked all of those concrete barricades perpendicular into my lane. The concrete curb I had encountered separated the three lanes of traffic on my side of the freeway from the two truck lanes where truckers pull off to the right to stop and read the warning signs about the steep grade below.

I had simply been the first driver going my direction to come across the landslide.

It turns out there was a car full of people that had been travelling the other direction that were actually caught in the landslide and that had fortunately been able to call 911.

That night, I lacked a narrative to make sense of what was happening to me. I had no idea where I was. I had no idea what anything was. And it almost killed me.

Maybe something about that also saved my life. I don’t know. Maybe both are true.


I want to share a very worthwhile distillation of the two primary narratives about Covid-19 that I came across recently. These aren't the only narratives about Covid out there, but they do predominate.

I saw this post July 27th on the internet news aggregator site “The Automatic Earth”. It was a post called “A Tale of Two Narratives”, actually a re-print from a comment from one of the site's regular readers.

It is certainly worth re-printing here in this post about “Homo narrativus”, the hominid of narrative:
The Mainstream Narrative
– It is not known where Covid 19 originated but the most likely origin is the transmission from an animal to humans
– Covid 19 has killed 600K people in the US
– Trump botched the Covid 19 response costing many lives
– Many deaths were preventable if we’d tested, masked, tracked and locked down better
– Vaccines are good and have eradicated polio, measles, whooping cough and other diseases
– Vaccines against Covid 19 are safe and effective and have saved many lives with only minor, acceptable adverse reactions
– There are no effective treatments for Covid 19 besides the vaccines
– Covid is spread by droplets and aerosols from infected people, both symptomatic and asymptomatic, and can be spread through momentary casual contact both indoors and outdoors
– Children and young adults are at risk from Covid 19 and can spread the disease and should take the same precautions and measures as adults
– We need to do whatever it takes to defeat Covid 19 including frequent testing, mass vaccination, continued lockdowns and wearing masks
– The best information comes from the CDC, FDA and NIH
– The mainstream media warns us of the dangers of Covid 19 but unfortunately many do not take these warnings seriously
– As usual, conspiracy theorists and nut-jobs abound
– Anti-vaxxers are against all vaccines and now also against the Covid 19 vaccines
– Anti-vaxxers have believed phony information disseminated by scurrilous, right wing charlatans
– These people cost many lives and are the reason Covid still spreads and mutates
– They are responsible for continued lockdowns and the further decimation of the economy
– They are selfish, evil and anti-science
– The Covid 19 response is all about trying to get us back to normal as quickly as possible

The Counter Narrative
– Covid 19 was most likely created in a lab in China or the US
– Covid 19 kills people but far fewer than the official count
– Almost all officials in government have botched the Covid 19 response, costing many lives
– Most deaths were preventable if we had investigated and deployed early treatments including vitamin D, zinc, hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin
– Vaccines are good and have eradicated polio, measles, whooping cough and other diseases
– The Covid 19 vaccines however are not actually vaccines but gene therapy and have not been adequately tested
– The Covid 19 vaccines have serious side effects including death and other as yet unknown consequences which are not being investigated and are suppressed by the media
– We need to defeat Covid 19 and the best way to do this is through early outpatient treatment with known, effective drugs and known drug protocols for hospitalized patients
– Covid 19 is primarily spread by aerosols from symptomatic and pre-symptomatic people, mostly in indoor situations with poor ventilation where peoples spend a long time together
– Children and young adults are at low risk from Covid 19 and need take fewer precautions and measures but should be treated with drug protocols if infected
– Masks, distancing and lockdowns are mostly ineffective
– The best information comes from front line doctors who actually treat patients and experienced researchers who have no financial interest in big pharma
– The CDC, FDA and NIH are largely compromised because of their association with and funding by drug companies
– The mainstream media is also compromised by their association with big pharma and the government
– The truth about Covid 19 is suppressed and labeled conspiracy theory in order to support the mainstream narrative
– People who insist that the vaccines are the only way to fight Covid 19 have believed lies told to them by the MSM from big pharma and a corrupt medical establishment
– The vaccine narrative has cost many lives and ineffective vaccines are responsible for the continued spread and mutation of Covid 19
– The fallacious mainstream narrative is responsible for all lock downs and the decimation of the economy
– The people who push the mainstream narrative are evil and anti-science; The people who believe this narrative are naive, dogmatic and anti-science
– The Covid 19 response is all about money, power and control

Unfortunately, in the US, the two narratives noted above have mostly (but not perfectly) been drawn down the lines of the two primary political parties. The “Blue Tribe” has mostly been sold the “Mainstream” narrative. Some parts of the “Red Tribe” have evolved the “Counter” narrative.

In a nation as politically divided as we are, this is most unfortunate. For the sake of clarity here, I will say that I mostly see the two tribes as caught up in a bizarre 5th dimensional game of “Good Cop, Bad Cop” (each assuming that their party is the "good cop" and the opposing political party is the "bad cop") that is destroying the fabric of our culture - at a crucial time when our civilization is already beginning to come apart at the seams because we are, in essence, caught dazed and confused in the dark, rainy fog while up against a concrete barrier perpendicular to our long-standing path of travel. 

In other words, I overall refuse to take sides. I know plenty of amazing, beautiful people on both sides of the political divide, and I mostly want everyone to get over the distracting game of “Good Cop, Bad Cop” as soon as possible. I believe that there are very important matters at hand that need addressing that are getting lost in the feud. In particular, the concrete barriers perpendicular to our path of travel. But I'll leave that for other posts.

That said, I’m not pretending our species as a whole can deepen into the space-time of nothingness and as a whole receive some deeper message to help us “GET OUT!!!” of our present and unfolding predicaments. I’m not even pretending that our species can or should live without narrative. Quite the contrary.

What I do believe is that we can, at the very least, re-name ourselves Homo narrativus – the hominid of narrative.
We can admit that we perceive and engage the world through narrative.
We can regularly choose to look for our blind spots and question our narratives.

We can remember that, in the past, when our most powerful narrative managers were the most vociferous, this was a sign for us to pay extra close attention – a sign that we needed to stop, take a pause, and question the narrative.
We can remember that disasters often happen when we miss those signs, and stumble blindly ahead.


Why are our “Mainstream” narrative managers not exploring how India so successfully reduced their fatality rate before the effects of the vaccines could possibly have played a significant role? While they simultaneously push the vaccines so aggressively, demonizing anyone who dares to think twice about them?!!!

How did India so rapidly and so dramatically reduce their Covid mortality before they had any significant vaccination rates?
Can we do the same here in the US?

I don’t personally know for sure the answer to those questions about India. But I do have some clues.


My guess is that a higher percentage of folks who believe the “Counter” narrative have a better idea how to answer those questions than those who believe the “Mainstream” narrative. That’s my guess. Maybe neither narrative helps us see the experience for what it is.


My final question is this:

Do we really want to force all of the folks that have signed their lives over to our military to take a vaccination utilizing novel technology to which NOBODY knows the long-term effects? To force the very folks who literally can’t refuse to take an order?

That is a betrayal of trust with our own soldiers that our country may not survive.

And since that position is being so strongly advocated by the “Blue Tribe” right now, by those who so believe the “Mainstream” narrative noted above, I will make this request right here very specifically to all of you who ascribe to that narrative:

Stop.
Take a pause.
Question the narrative.
See if you can answer the question about India.
See if those that hold the Counter Narrative, or other narratives, might have some clues about India.

If it turns out that the News you trust is actually untrustworthy, then look elsewhere. 
Remember, Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction.

In this post, there is a clue as to one alternative place you could look for Covid News that is intelligent and big picture.


P.S. It’s probably also a good idea to keep a close eye on Israel too. Israel was one of the first countries to vaccinate the majority of its population. How is that working out? Is there any evidence of ADE beginning to happen? What is ADE?


Thanks for your time and attention.

Here's where I got the India statistics:
I got total death # from April 30th, 2021 and May 31st, 2021 and calculated the difference to get total death # for May.
I got total death # from June 30th, 2021 and July 31st, 2021 and calculated the difference to get total death # for July.

India's vaccination rate I got from August 5th, 2021 on https://geographicinsights.iq.harvard.edu/IndiaVaccine
I didn't know how to get the information from just July 31st, 2021, so I used the real-time data on August 5th. 

6 comments:

  1. Thank you for this unique and well considered blogpost. You have been a catalyst for new thought for me.

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  2. Good read, now to ponder. Thanks Chris
    Oso

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  3. Thanks, Chris, for this thoughtful post. The crises we face certainly do require us to consider our narratives and what we hear from news sources and each other.
    The Front Line Covid-19 Critical Care site (https://covid19criticalcare.com/) has been gathering data worldwide on lifesaving protocols for prevention and treatment of Covid-19 since the beginning. Their data suggests that ivermectin came into widespread use around the peak of the India cases and they fell rapidly after that. I've been using their early treatment and outpatient protocol and so far so good.

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  4. “Perhaps no one has yet been truthful enough about what 'truthfulness' is.”

    ― Friedrich Nietzsche

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  5. Thank you Honky for your commitment to revealing the man behind the curtain, or in this can the men behind the narratives. Look! Nothing up my sleeves. I might use another example besides the Iraqi War, since the Red team was making the calls then, the Blue team will likely not take ownership of this, just like they blame the Red team now for the China Virus. Maybe just a reminder that Andrew Jackson was on the Blue Team. Jackson was a gambler, a wealthy slaveholder, and a racist Indian fighter who murdered an opponent in a duel. For much of his life, including his time as president, Andrew Jackson callously broke the law. In campaigns to steal Creek and Cherokee land in Georgia and Alabama he allegedly ordered his forces to massacre women and children. Jackson illegally declared martial law in New Orleans during the War of 1812, invaded Spanish Florida without authorization; executed British citizens who resisted his authority; removed federal deposits from the Bank of the United States precipitating a major depression; and refused to obey a Supreme Court ruling favoring Native Americans in Worcester v. Georgia. Jackson’s two most lasting “achievements” as President were his veto of a law renewing the charter for a national bank, causing economic disruption for a decade, and the 1830 Indian Removal Act, driving indigenous people off of their lands east of the Mississippi River. A one-word summary of the Jackson presidency: Contemptible. Anyways, thanks for your insights and invitation to Question the Narratives which to me is also good science. We can learn from Galileo accused of heracy for stating that the earth revolved around the sun instead of the other way around around to the Catholic Church. Galaleo spent the rest of his life in in-house arrest. 300 years later the church admitted it's mistake. Yeah, my prayer is that both sides can admit to having blind spots so we can end this polarization and find ways to unify. Unification is the only answer in my mind. Polarization ends in another Civil War where no one wins and yes we have much bigger fish to fry on this planet and we are wasting precious time being distracted by these narratives while Rome is burning. We will be lucky if we have a livable planet in 50-years. No vaccine is going to quench our thirst when the drinkable water is gone. No vaccine is going to fuel our cells, when all the nutrients are gone in our food and the soil. No vaccine is going to save us from radiation poisoning. No vaccine is going to save us when all the frogs, mosquitos, bees, fish, birds and trees are dead.

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Thanks for reading a Clueless Honky. Feel free to leave constructive feedback.