Was Covid a 'Quantum' Event?
To what extent is our crisis a 'nocebo' nightmare?
The highly respected British neurologist, Oliver Sacks, in his classic work, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, made an enigmatical observation concerning Tourette’s Syndrome and Muscular Dystrophy.
After treating a Tourette’s patient for the first time, he recalls the following:
The day after I saw Ray, it seemed to me that I noticed three Touretters in the street in downtown New York. I was confounded, for Tourette’s syndrome was said to be excessively rare. It had an incidence, I had read, of one in a million, yet I had apparently seen three examples in an hour. I was thrown into a turmoil of bewilderment and wonder: was it possible that I had been overlooking this all the time… A very similar situation happened with muscular dystrophy, which was never seen until Duchenne described it in the 1850s. By 1860, after his original description, many hundreds of cases had been recognized and described, so much so that Charcot said: ‘How come that a disease so common, so widespread, and so recognizable at a glance— a disease which has doubtless always existed—how come that it is only recognized now? Why did we need M. Duchenne to open our eyes?’)
When people started getting tested for covid after reporting symptoms like a runny nose and a sore throat, I recalled reading this passage.
If we had never labeled covid, how much of the pandemic would have simply passed us by?
I am no New Ager. I believe in a physical reality we all share. But at the same time, could it be possible that by creating a label for a disorder, or new categories of illness, we alter physical reality?
This may sound slightly insane, but really such an idea is just an extrapolation of the placebo and nocebo effects.
Most of us will know about the placebo effect - in which a patient responds positively to a dummy medicine, like saline or a sugar pill - but the nocebo effect is perhaps more relevant to covid.
A nocebo effect is just the opposite of the placebo effect. It is observable that often a patient who believes treatment will fail, helps to bring about that failure of treatment.
We tell the sick to keep fighting all the time, to hang in there, because we know that somehow mentally we can shape our physical reality.
Now, what happens if you tell a whole global population that a disease which really only statistically poses a high level of threat to the elderly and the frail and obese, is akin to the black plague? What happens if, contrary to all the evidence, you tell them their children will die and the bodies will pile up on the streets unless they forsake life for an undefined period?
What happens if you lock people up, isolate them, and tell them hospitals and churches and family members are mortal threats to them?
What happens if you tell them the very air they breathe - even when in the open - contains a miasma of virus?
Scientifically, and past empirical data confirms this, it is likely a great deal of people will suffer the nocebo effect and experience the virus in ways far deadlier and violently than they otherwise would have.
And this nocebo effect has been put on steroids by social media, with its images of crammed hospitals (often replicated over and over) and Chinese people dying in the streets, metaphorically becoming its own kind of virus; and by corporate media ratcheting up fear to drive clicks on their websites, by means of daily deaths counts and trying to pin viral deaths on political leaders. (Which politician got the blame for Spanish flu?)
We know that people vastly overestimate the dangers of covid.
Needing to go to the hospital for covid is rare - yet a recent US survey showed that a plurality of Democrat supporters (anti-Trump folk) believe that your chances are close to 50%. Were they not meant to be the rational, scientific types?
This news should shock you to the core. Democratic governments make decisions based on staying in power. And the voters in western societies are utterly misinformed regarding the true threat of covid.
Now hear this:
Anxiety and fear-related disorders are the second-leading co-morbidities associated with covid death, after obesity.
Fear and anxiety soaks your body with cortisol. For short periods, this gets your adrenaline pumping in order to respond to danger. Over long periods, this will suppress your immune system. (Lack of exercise only exacerbates the problem.)
In short, prolonged fear and the nocebo effect are proven ways to damage health. And this is what we have been living with for two years now.
You feel it on your face when you wear a mask, on your hands when the ethanol saps your skin’s moisture ten times a day, and when, completely falsely, you imagine unvaccinated people are a mortal threat to you.
Intriguingly, this medical phenomenon, of mentally participating within and influencing the physical world, has an eerie parallel in the discoveries of quantum physics.
Many of the greatest scientists of the quantum age have posited that consciousness, and not matter, or stuff, are at the heart of reality.
John Archibald Wheeler, pioneer of black-hole and worm-hole theory, famously suggested that the world requires an observer in order to exist. He called his theory ‘It-from-Bit’:
It from bit symbolizes the idea that every item of the physical world has at bottom — a very deep bottom, in most instances — an immaterial source and explanation; that which we call reality arises in the last analysis from the posing of yes-no questions and the registering of equipment-evoked responses; in short, that all things physical are information-theoretic in origin and that this is a participatory universe.
Max Planck, Nobel Prize Winner for Physics in 1918, stated:
I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.
If you spend extended time reading media discussion of science, these thoughts would surprise you. The media-complex does not like to dwell on anything which runs contrary to strict materialism and Darwinism - even though the greatest mathematical minds have strongly disputed this view.
At bottom, the quantum world of randomness and of objects popping in and out of existence, tells us that there is no neutral observer of the universe. When we observe, we participate in reality, and that space-time is not some blank slate but a field of connections.
Consciousness bring particles and waves into a world in which we live and perceive real things.
This idea of a primal consciousness is what the ancient thinker, Heraclitus, called the ‘Logos’, a primordial fire, a common word, a shared discourse which accounts for all existence and gives everything life: “Listening not to me but to the Word it is wise to agree that all things are one,” he wrote, noting also that the world is “ever-living fire”.
Christians would come to identify this Logos with the Son of God, and the Gospel of John would begin by identifying Jesus Christ as the Logos that was in the beginning, that was with God in the beginning, and that was God in the beginning, taking on flesh to participate with the world in a new way in the womb of Mary.
Intriguingly, early Christians would describe the likes of Heraclitus as proto-Christians because of their relationship with ‘Logos’. Justin Martyr, writing to the Roman Emperor in the 2nd century, defending the rationality of his faith, would write:
We have been taught that Christ is the first-born of God, and we have declared above that He is the Word (in Greek Logos) of whom every race of men were partakers; and those who lived reasonably (according to Logos) are Christians, even though they have been thought atheists; as, among the Greeks, Socrates and Heraclitus, and men like them...
Heraclitus, like Justin Martyr, would point out that it is possible to become disconnected from the Logos, to reject the Logos, to not live reasonably:
Of this Word’s being forever do men prove to be uncomprehending, both before they hear and once they have heard it. For although all things happen according to this Word they are like the unexperienced… Other men are unaware of what they do when they are awake, just as they are forgetful of what they do when they are asleep.
When you live unreasonably, reality tends to bite back.
People living as though they were asleep are apt to stumble into major traps and pitfalls, repeat the worst mistakes of history, and allow themselves to enter into a nightmare unthinkingly.
If I had told you two years ago, we would be coercing people to cover their faces, stay in their homes, get untested jabs that do not prevent spread, for a disease which nobody disputes has around a 1 in a 1000 mortality rate, would you have believed me?
Would you believe me if I told you that we would all agree to doing this, despite there being no evidence it helps at all, whilst clearly knowing we would be increasing poverty, unemployment and disrupting crucial educational and healthcare services?
This is a world rejecting Logos.
This is a world reeling in the despair of nocebo, participating and creating a modern nightmare.
You may respond, of course the deaths were not a nocebo effect, we suffered from a pandemic!
But I am haunted by this image:
The figures behind this graph are official government figures from Britain.
As you can see, 2020 was the 12th least deadly year in British history.
I do not dispute covid exists. It is not simply all in our heads.
But how much of that relatively small bar extension in 2020 was made up of nocebo deaths?
How much of our current dystopia is simply a narrative, a narrative which seeps into our bodies, robbing them of life and vigour, a narrative that is not reasonable, but rather shaped and formed in the depths of nightmare?
More importantly, how do we begin to wake up?
Many of my like-minded friends believe that the truth will win, that justice and rationality will find a way.
I believe that too - but the timeline can be much longer than you think.
A teenaged Russian experiencing the Bolshevik Revolution would probably not have lived to see the spell broken - when the irrationality of communism finally broke the system apart. And then he faced the chaos of ‘shock therapy’ and looting by the oligarchs (during which period deaths of despair skyrocketed).
Do not be complacent - there is no historical reason to believe that nightmares cannot extend into decades.
As I keep saying, all we can do is acquit ourselves like men and women with courage, live in such a way that we do not look back on this time with regrets, knowing that we did nothing, did not even utter a word, but simply took the path of least resistance, because we wanted to travel, because we wanted to be polite, as our future freedoms were swallowed up by an irrational regime.
I remember an Australian rolling her eyes when discussing ‘civil liberties’ and those who defended them against covid measures.
That eye-roll is the casual shrugging off of a desire to be fully alive, of a desire to shoulder the burden that is risk and freedom.
For those still sceptical of my pessimism, think carefully about the tyranny of mandated vaccines and vaccine passports. It is impossible to dispute the vaccines do nothing to stop spread, making such policing deeply irrational - a Big Lie. When you show your QR code you will be complicit in a monstrous lie. Think on this.
If you live according to a lie, if slowly you allow yourself to become convinced by government propaganda, there will eventually be no ‘you’ left, and you will face the fate of Winston Smith:
He gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark moustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.