In order to know thyself, should we learn about others? It is prudent to increase the sample size above one for any scientific investigation. But, in my case, I may be focusing too much on others as part of a grand avoidance strategy to not deal with my own problems…
CHECKLIST V1 (updated V3 tool)
Subject Neo and Subject Astra
1. Is the individual 100% certain and proud that their ideology is True to the point where they never express doubt and others think they may have a superiority complex?
– Neo yes / Astra no
2. Does the individual’s ideology monopolise a big chunk of their time, money, effort, conversation, future goals?
– Neo yes / Astra yes
3. Does the individual deny the possibility of their own brain’s fallibility when it comes to their ideology?
– Neo yes / Astra no
4. Is the whole Universe viewed in 2 shades by the individual? All good or all evil? Speaks in lots of absolutes?
– Neo yes and getting more and more misanthropic / Astra no
5. Does the individual have a less than fully justified persecution complex about their ideology?
– Neo yes / Astra no
6. Has the ideology clearly caused the individual or others close to them harm in the past but they deny that the ideology was the cause? (Harm could be physical, emotional, financial, relationships)
– Neo it’s complicated as past trauma may have been the trigger / Astra no
7. Have others with the same ideology harmed themselves or others?
– Neo yes: self-immolaters / Astra no
8. Is there denial or downplay that others with the same ideology have caused harm and denial or downplay that there are victims?
– Neo yes: self-immolaters! / Astra no
9. Does the individual react unpredictably, irrationally, emotionally, negatively and with obvious motivated reasoning when confronted with contradicting evidence and opinions or even with more moderate versions of their ideology?
– Neo yes: lots of sweary abuse! / Astra no
10. Is it impossible to make light jokes about the individual’s ideology without negative reaction? / Does the individual misunderstand humour from outside the ideology?
– Neo yes and maintains the importance of austerity / Astra no
11. Does the individual throw the rule-book out during debates about their ideology and play dirty in order to win?
– Neo yes: calling me “spiritual garbage” / Astra no
12. Can the individual not imagine what it would be like to have a different ideology and can’t be at least somewhat accepting of a different ‘path’?
– Neo yes and he’s on a path to destruction / Astra no
13. Is the individual part of a group devoted to the ideology with a charismatic leader or leaders that have somewhat closed themselves off to the outside world and others consider to be at least somewhat like a cult?
– Neo yes: Terrance McKenna / Astra not really
14. Does the individual glorify the people that share his ideology while demonising people with views that even only slightly differ?
– Neo sometimes, but at this point he’s demonising even his friends with a similar World View so he’s alienating himself more and more which is ironic from someone who believes he communicates telepathically with aliens / Astra no
15. Does the individual’s ideology involve unique jargon not used by others with a similar ideology?
– Neo yes and lots of annoyingly elaborate diagrams / Astra no
16. Does the content that the individual consumes about their ideology read like propaganda with obvious flawed logic and exaggeration?
– Neo yes: you’d think that his ETs would be a bit more sophisticated! / Astra yes but it’s benign
17. Does the individual believe there is a constant sense of crisis about the world that could be fixed by more people believing in the ideology or at least not opposing it?
– Neo yes: he wants a Noah style great flood to destroy all the people he demonises / Astra no
18. Is the ideology not backed by any scientific evidence?
– Neo yes-ish: Universe could be a simulation but the scientific jury is out / Astra yes-ish
19. Has an elaborate alternative paradigm been created that tries to ‘prove’ the ideology? Are there simple narrative structures as part of the ideology like hero quests and Star Wars ‘freedom fighter’ Rebel Alliance vs very powerful and evil Empire? Are complexities, nuances, randomness and the messiness of reality ignored or explained by the ideology?
– Neo yes / Astra half-half
20. Does the individual want to tell the world about their ideology and thinks that all will eventually be ‘awakened’ and ‘believe’ too or be punished for not ‘believing’?
– Neo yes: when he’s not in complete misanthropic moods / Astra no not punished for disbelief
21. Is there the assertion that in the future the individual’s beliefs will be vindicated somehow, like the end times or scientific ‘proof’?
– Neo yes / Astra yes
Neo: 19 points therefore way above extremism threshold
Astra: 4 points therefore way below extremism threshold
|The new Holden Astra|
As a ‘benign believer’, dealing with Astra should not be problematic as long as one is a skeptic or moderate and not an a-hole absolutist denier. Do not preach against or demean the subject’s ideology; just have friendly conversation discussing the many ways the human mind can interpret the Universe. The subject likes to engage in humorous banter too which is always great immunization against extremism!
Dealing with Neo is problematic. Proceed with caution and warn others if the subject’s behaviour may harm others. It is hard to describe the subject as anything other than a harmful extremist. Try to build some kind of rapport without humouring his ideology too much and without making him think of you as an extremist from the ‘other side’. Using humour is fraught with danger and no jokes should be made about the subject’s ideology. Do not publicly shame him. He needs professional help especially for his suicidal ideations.
Neo did indeed become problematic and he is still on my Facebook blocked list. I have been considering unblocking him, but he continues to strongly abuse even his supporters that share his fringe World-Views. I deeply worry about his future and really wish that he could get the professional mental health support that he needs; if that’s possible.