Pandemic rumors and information overload make separating fact from fancy difficult, putting people's health and lives at risk.
- An "infodemic" describes a dangerous time when an overload of information makes evaluating that information difficult.
- A new study found that pandemic rumors and conspiracies lead to people mistrusting governments and health agencies, leading to hundreds of avoidable deaths.
- Experts recommend that health agencies track misinformation, while individuals take steps to protect themselves from the infodemic.
The dark side of the information age<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzU1NzYwMi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxNjE3MzY3Nn0.0HveQP16MbMkj9HXE8miohSHXETOak7oFDtBdXtE7lM/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C400%2C0%2C256&height=700" id="60d48" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9085c1a7d5b3f81344c3002acdf1df68" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
A South Korean church became a viral hotspot after church officials sprayed a salt water "cure" in congregants mouths, without disinfecting the nozzle between uses.
The cure for bad information is good<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="e0tfZ3YB" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="601aa46855087a4dfcf02a67a160e0c4"> <div id="botr_e0tfZ3YB_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/e0tfZ3YB-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/e0tfZ3YB-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/e0tfZ3YB-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div> <p><strong></strong><strong></strong>That doesn't mean we are defenseless. The best cure for rumors, stigma, and conspiracy theories is good, evidence-based information. We just have to know how to recognize it when we find it. Unfortunately, that's difficult in the center of the infodemic vortex.</p><p>"Information overload is incredibly anxiety-provoking—which is true even when the information is accurate," Jaimie Meyer, a Yale Medicine infectious diseases specialist, <a href="https://www.yalemedicine.org/stories/covid-19-infodemic/" target="_blank">told Yale Medicine</a>. "But here, if people get the wrong information from unreliable sources, we may have more trouble slowing the spread of the virus. And we can't afford to get this wrong."</p><p>In their study, the researchers concluded that governments and health agencies should study the patterns of pandemic rumors, track the misinformation, and develop communication strategies to circumvent these messages. </p><p>In the Yale Medicine article, Meyer provides advice for helping individuals deal with information overload. She recommends looking at data and graphs carefully, considering how individual studies connect with established facts, and considering the whole story (not just the eye-catching headline). </p><p>When it comes to garnering information from social media, proceed with caution.</p><p>"Everything looks the same on Twitter," Meyer said. "When you have a tweet from Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Association of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, next to a tweet that says the opposite thing from a celebrity or some random person—and they all appear similar, you have to weigh the credibility of your sources." </p><p>She recommends following health agencies like <a href="https://twitter.com/who?lang=en" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer dofollow">the WHO</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/CDCgov?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer dofollow">the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention</a>, and your local and state health agencies. When you come across a pandemic rumor or something that seems suspect, you can double-check it against these authoritative sources, such as the WHO's <a href="https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer dofollow">COVID-19 mythbusters page</a>. And if you find yourself stressing out over the news and your social media feed, <a href="https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/mental-health-activities-coronavirus-lockdown" target="_self" rel="dofollow">take a mental break</a>.</p><p>We all would like a return to some form of normalcy, but that return will not emanate from a miracle cure. It will be a slow, steady course of handwashing, social distancing, and learning to navigate the infodemic.</p>
A good apology can do great things. A bad one can cause trouble. Know the difference.
- No one likes to admit they were wrong, but we still have social norms that suggest we all do it from time to time.
- A well done apology can show respect, build trust, save relationships, and maintain your self-esteem.
- Saying "I'm sorry you feel that way" does not count.
Saying you’re sorry, it’s not just for Canadians anymore!<p>According to psychotherapist and author <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-compassion-chronicles/202006/why-we-need-apologize" target="_blank">Dr. Beverly Engel</a>, an apology does more than just express politeness; it is "an important social ritual, a way of showing respect and empathy for the wronged person or persons."</p><p> When you've harmed someone, a genuine, well-given apology demonstrates that you care about them, validates their emotions, allows you to take responsibility for your actions, rebuilds trust, and prevents the further deterioration of relationships. It can also help you avoid the shame and guilt of wronging someone from eating away at your self-esteem.<br> <br> As Dr. Engel explains, "Apologizing to another person is one of the healthiest, most positive actions we can ever take—for ourselves, the other person, and the relationship.<strong></strong></p><p>Plenty of experts agree with her. Wellness coach <a href="https://www.verywellmind.com/elizabeth-scott-m-s-3144382" target="_blank">Elizabeth Scott</a> argues that apologies let other people know that you understand what you did was wrong and helps everyone <a href="https://www.verywellmind.com/the-importance-of-apologizing-3144986#:~:text=Apologies%20re%2Destablish%20dignity%20for,comfortable%20with%20each%20other%20again." target="_blank">move forward after a conflict</a>. Dr. Denise Cummins highlights the <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/good-thinking/201304/are-you-big-enough-apologize" target="_blank">affirmation of humanity</a> present in apologies and points to data showing that the negative consequences of apologizing are often <a href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100602121158.htm" target="_blank">overstated</a>.</p><p>Professor <a href="http://www.middlebury.edu/academics/ps/faculty/node/25611" target="_blank">Allison Stanger </a>of Middlebury College agrees and reminds us in her <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FgWw4KHpiA" target="_blank">Big Think interview</a> that a good apology creates suitable environments for learning and that needing to apologize for something doesn't make you a bad person:<br> </p><p><em>"Human beings have blind spots. They have implicit biases. This doesn't mean you're a bad person. We all have them. And I think it's an illusion to think we can eradicate them from human beings. And this relates to civil discourse because it's important that people be allowed to think out loud and make mistakes because, particularly in diverse work environments, diverse college classrooms, people are going to come from different backgrounds, and they will say things that may offend someone. And there, I think it's extraordinarily important that we tell our students, that this may happen, but it's immensely important that if you offend someone inadvertently that you apologize and say 'That was not my intention.' And then hopefully we can move on. </em></p><p><em>In my classroom, I do this, I say, I want you to speak freely. I don't want you to censor yourself. But if anybody feels offended, they should speak up because that's not a good classroom environment, and we apologize, and we move on. And I think this is a really simple truth that apologizing and moving on is a real foundation for moving forward."</em></p>
How should I apologize? Is saying “I’m sorry you feel that way,” enough?<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="CPuEDXrz" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="30b01d19ea5107b651781281920e978d"> <div id="botr_CPuEDXrz_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/CPuEDXrz-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/CPuEDXrz-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/CPuEDXrz-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div> <p>A proper apology should express your understanding that you've done something wrong. Telling someone "I'm sorry you feel that way" if they do indeed have a legitimate grievance is not merely an inadequate apology, but it is also patronizing. Furthermore, it is <a href="https://freakonomics.com/podcast/apologies/" target="_blank">an ineffective way to apologize</a>. You should also beware of over apologizing; it can have <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2019/04/16/saying-im-sorry-can-make-people-think-poorly-of-you-research-heres-what-successful-people-do-instead.html" target="_blank">negative effects too</a>. Try only to make an apology when the situation calls for one.</p><p> <br> As Rutgers professor <a href="https://sociology.rutgers.edu/people/faculty/menu-ii/147-cerulo-karen-a" target="_blank">Karen A. Cerulo</a> explained in an interview with <a href="https://freakonomics.com/podcast/apologies/" target="_blank">Freakonomics</a>, an effective apology has several elements:</p><p>"Number one: don't wait. Forget your ego, forget the advice of your handlers. Unless you're involved in a legal situation, where you're advised not to speak, you should make an apology right away. Second, don't apologize for what people thought. In other words, we've often heard people say, 'I'm sorry that people misunderstood me; I'm sorry that people misinterpreted or misread my actions.' Apologize for what you did — not for what other people might have thought about it."<br><br>The third and fourth elements, according to Cerulo, are to not provide context as a way of explaining away your behavior, and to identify victims up front so that you can express remorse and make restitution when possible. <em></em></p><p><a href="https://www.vassar.edu/faculty/beho/" target="_blank">Dr. Ben Ho,</a> an associate professor of economics at Vasser College, adds that people often want to see an apology that costs something. This cost doesn't have to be financial, though it can be, but can come in the form of admitting your incompetence in making the previous error or promising to do better in the future.</p><p>The results of a weak apology on the people you're apologizing to are easy to imagine. Try to recall how you felt the last time you saw somebody apologizing for getting caught rather than for what they did. It neither satisfies the offended party nor paves the way for personal growth on the part of the person who did something wrong. On an individual level, we all know the feeling of getting an insincere apology from somebody who promptly went back to the behaviors that they just "apologized" for; it reduces your respect for them and makes you feel rotten. <em></em></p><p>On the other hand, a sufficient apology can achieve great things. It can heal the harmed, change how we view somebody who did us wrong, create opportunities for forgiveness and growth, save relationships, and help us do better in the <a href="https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/forgiveness_the_impacts_of_an_apology#:~:text=By%20apologizing%20and%20taking%20responsibility,deep%20sense%20of%20self%2Drespect." target="_blank">future</a>. <br> <br> While the most effective apologies often incur a cost to our status or require us to be better in the future, these can often be minor compared to the benefits of a proper apology. </p><p>So, go ahead, apologize a little more often for the things worth apologizing for- but be sure you mean it. </p>
Neo's superhuman powers were only inside of The Matrix. The outside world offered a different reality.
- The "red pill" came into prominence as a way to break free of mental slavery in the 1999 movie, "The Matrix."
- In a new essay, Julian Walker points out Neo's powers only worked inside of the simulation—reality is a different story.
- The red vs blue pill question is a pop culture phenomenon, often used in questionable circumstances.
Keanu Reeves stars in "The Matrix"
1999 Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow Film.<p>In the Bhagavad Gita, the archer Arjuna experiences an existential crisis while on the battlefield. He's tasked to kill his friends and cousins in what he believes to be a useless war. Krishna tells him to man up. As the world's most famous bowman, Arjuna's duty is death. The godhead, revealing his terrible form to the stunned archer, says he creates and destroys life like a man puts on and removes clothing. </p><p>Designed to honor class and duty in Indian society, the message is clear enough: All men die, often while being churned through the mechanism of war. Arjuna draws his bow and becomes the hero—temporarily; he too dies before achieving the crown. Only his brother, Yudhisthira, reaches the door of Swarga Loka.</p><p>We cheer when Neo downloads Taekwondo, Kempo, and even Drunken Boxing, yet what Morpheus reveals is much more pedestrian—and much more powerful. As Walker writes, "The grim reality he wakes up to is sackcloth clothes on emaciated and frightened human bodies, in an industrial wasteland."</p><p>Neo is all-powerful inside of the Matrix, much like keyboard conspiracists in the safety of subreddits. As much time as some spend there, however, it's not reality. "The signifier of the red pill," Walker concludes, "has the content of whatever is projected upon it in terms of the person's perspective." When you wall yourself off from oppositional thought—as we used to call it, debate—the red pill becomes whatever you want it to be. </p><p>We won't shelter at home forever, though Big Tech makes it easy to shelter inside of your mind, at least until the archer comes for you. Interestingly, Arjuna didn't reach heaven because of his pride. He murdered his cousins and friends but could never overcome himself. He was, as Morpheus warned Neo, a slave in a system much bigger than he would ever be. There is no escape, only courage. Arjuna never reconciled that fact. </p><p>Neo recognized that knowledge gained inside of the Matrix has to be brought back to the real world—a world, today, <a href="https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6" target="_blank">marked</a> by the hundred-thousandth American death due to the novel coronavirus. The red pill opened his eyes to destruction and decay in society. Neo vowed to open the eyes of his peers upon his return. Strangely, he didn't promise them more cars. <br></p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
If you're right all the time, you're probably doing something wrong.
- One of the potential dangers of being a successful leader is that the people around you stop challenging your decisions, no matter how bad or wrong they may be.
- Asserting dominance and establishing negative consequences for those who challenge your authority (such as firing or reprimanding offenders) only exacerbates the problem and adds to the toxic culture of unchecked power.
- Astronaut Garrett Reisman argues that while it's natural to want to be told that you're smart and right, it's important that good leaders cultivate a work environment where their team isn't afraid to speak up.
How can you give and receive more productive feedback? Form a psychological contract with a trusted partner.
- Feedback is a gift, says business psychologist Dr Melanie Katzman. Giving or receiving feedback can be a formal part of our jobs, but in Dr Katzman's assessment, we often don't go far enough with feedback.
- Katzman suggests creating a psychological contract with a partner who you respect and trust. In that contract, you agree to exchange extremely honest feedback by mutual consent in a safe and trusting way.
- In this video, she lays out the rules for such a contract and how you can embark on one. This kind of feedback is not advised without a clear contract as people can feel you are going out of bounds. So be clear, be mutual, and then be extremely candid.