Jul 7, 2022·edited Jul 7, 2022Liked by Charles Eisenstein

What puzzles me most is how many people stick to one firmly built set of belief concerning the pandemic and the vaccination. Once they have chosen side, it seems no new facts or personal experience seem to be able to affect them any more. Here is my story. I am a scientist by training (a geologist) and I have initially more or less trusted the official Covid narrative. I hated the lockdown measures and the masks from the very beginning though and thought that much of the restrictions were quite over the top. So my initial hope was that the vaccination would be the way out of the regime of Covid restrictions and therefore I was looking forward to become vaccinated. But then things started to change. I had quite a strong reaction to the second Moderna shot and my father became very ill from the Pfizer shot. He developed inflammation of the spine, temporary paralysis of the arms, and seizures about 10 days after the second Pfizer shot. He ended up 3 weeks in hospital and after that he had a chronic inflammation that could not be tamed again. He died 6 months later. I started reading alternative sources of information and what I read, together with my own experience, made me to reject ever getting a booster shot and never letting our 9 year old son getting this vaccine. Then I caught Covid in February this year and this was no more than a moderate flu. I had worse flu in the past. The way I caught it was also interesting. Our son got if from another child in elementary school. That child is the son of a medical doctor who is completely aligned with the official narrative. And of course that child was double vaccinated and wears the mask all the time. So in summary my personal experience was that these vaccinations are useless in stopping infection, had very bad side effects and the Covid infection was not that bad after all. Now I am a firm critic of the vaccinations and I rather leave my country with my family rather than giving in to any future mandatory Covid vaccination.

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It is going to take the vaccinated and unvaccinated, left and right, as many of us as possible, to excise from America the woke globalist dragon that has weaponized Science as the fuel for breathing fire. It wishes to enslave us all. It would require a bimonthly multibooster for every illness under the sun, to have access to the currency, to purchase the essentials to survive, like food, water and shelter. It would depopulate the earth to save the earth. It must be stopped.

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Jen's story moved me to tears-- my own family had a rocky journey as well, with both daughters getting vaccinated and my husband and I refusing to do so-- for all the reasons you cite here. But rather than fight, I promised not to criticize their choice if they would not criticize mine. Thank God, it worked. We are still a coherent and caring family. (Ironically, both daughters and their children (also adults) have had Covid even after vaccination. I forbear to say "I told you so.")

As a therapist, I talk with people on both sides of the divide. When they ask my opinion, I tell them: "I believe people should do what they feel is best." The reason I do that is because in my own fight against cancer, which began in 1983, I refused medical intervention. By 1985 I was whole and healthy again. That was 39 years ago. Cancer and the choice I made catalyzed and continue to inspire the work I do now. What I have learned in the years since is that our minds are incredibly powerful. If we believe that a vaccine will help us, it probably will-- mentally if in no other way-- and believing that may keep us healthy. If we believe that it will make us ill, that is very likely to happen. I believed that with Spirit's guidance, I would survive cancer-- and I did. A healthy diet, meditation, time in Nature, and faith were my medicines.

That is why I agree that if we can come together, we will heal ourselves and our world. The trick is to believe that it's possible.

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Charles I am grateful for your thoughtful analysis of our current collective dilemma: how do we continue to exist as genuine biological humans without destroying ourselves. I believe we are at one of those crucial evolutionary bottlenecks where, like it or not, we - to quote Pogo from the Vietnam War Era - “have met the enemy and the enemy is US.” But, I think you may have left out an important element in the story: “we” that is the vast majority of humanity, are NOT collectively responsible for the evils manifesting now. A tiny percentage of humans - IF they are in fact human by any definition - are responsible because they have 99.999% of the power and have made deliberate decisions that are, in fact evil and only have malign intentions towards us. THEY bear the preponderant responsibility for the suicidal predicament we are in because THEY are orchestrating it. When in war one must identify the enemy. THE ENEMY IS NOT, AS POGO MISTAKENLY SAID, “US.” The enemy of humanity is a non-human evil force, “powers and principalities” NOT some dark corner of our psyche, or original sin. These things - yes, Klaus Schwab and his minions including high-functioning autists like Yuval Noah Hariri, are NOT HUMAN. Utterly lacking remorse or empathy, they are dna psychopaths, demons, and evil. They are the enemy. This must be recognized and understood if we are to survive. We have caught an infection and it is called “psychopathy.” It must be destroyed utterly.

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The schism between the vaxxed and unvaxxed, and doubters and accepters reflects an internal schism and a schism that lies at the heart of humanity. We are all doubter and accepters. We all contain the elements of loyalty and independence. Human nature is designed to be comprised of yin and yang, confidence and doubt, trust and suspicion. Duality is bred in the bone. The challenge is not to deny that duality and remain in a place of dynamic doubt.

But if we are to adopt a humanistic stance, there can be no room for condemnation, devaluation, and vilification. There can only be room for understanding, and improving our communication skills. In the forum of ideas, those who can not maintain respect for others, fail to respect themselves too. Not playing by the rules disqualifies you from participation in the exchange of ideas. Much as we condemn those who condemn others, we should learn not to condemn them for their condemnation but understand them and set limits on them. Or else we become like them. These abusers are deluded, in that they have denied their own dual nature and have embraced a monistic view of the world and themselves. The challenge is to gently get them to see the errors of their own thinking, while simultaneously being open to learning our own mistaken understandings. The spirit of charity, empathy and humanity will enable a conversation to take place (sometimes, but only with those who are not too emotionally activated) but judgment will snuff out any hope for enlightenment. Indeed, some are so deep into denial that they are unreachable. In this case, the default system should always be respect, because respect comes from love and love is the life force that sustains all that is important. It resonates with the spirit that makes our world a wonderful place.

It's opposite can only lead to a dark place. As has always the case, the essential problem humans face is what to do with our anger? How do we keep it from dividing us internally from our own loving nature? How do we keep it from hurting others? How do we transform it into something positive so it doesn't corrode us inside with resentment? I believe there is no resolution to this. It is an eternal question, a koan, which like sailing a ship on a windy sea, requires constant adjustment and adaptation to the vicissitudes of the natural world. It is the game of life, and alas, we all play it badly at times. We are in a constant struggle against our own human weaknesses to become better people. There will always be room for improvement.

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Jul 7, 2022·edited Jul 7, 2022

This series is fast becoming a medicament to my heart ❤️ ! When I see a new essay in my inbox I become enlivened, enthusiastic, and hopeful! You have captured the essential sentiment of so many of us who’ve found ourselves lonely, ostracized, and maligned, Charles! As we work through our bafflement, bewilderment, befuddlement, many of us are just scratching our heads…?!

I haven’t judged harshly one single friend, family member, nor loved one for their decision to accept the official state remedy for this dreaded virus?! Yet, I’m continually ostracized and banished from friend groups and full access to society, simply for my insistence on body autonomy; coincidentally, a current topic of heated debate!

I don’t know if it’s worth noting that I haven’t had so much as a sniffle in over 2-years, and I counted one ☝🏽 cold in 15-years! As someone who has survived pharmaceutical injury (Cipro) resulting in life-threatening ischemic colitis and sepsis, with a subsequent ‘Crohn’s’ diagnosis, I’ve had this autoimmune disorder described to me by Dr. Cowan (yes, THAT Dr. Cowan!) as “hypervigilant” immune response. Meaning, an immune system can work too well and, in my case, become exquisitely intolerant of toxicity, particularly petrochemical and synthetic drugs. It also explains why I don’t get colds and flus. When the pandemic hit, I knew I’d be fine. My fear of the virus was, on a scale of 1-10, at threat level zero. It has remained at zero, even as I’ve been exposed to active cases.

It’s definitely worth noting that Dr. Cowan has single-handedly been responsible for the majority of my recovery from my near-death experience, and indeed helped guide me through not only a reversal of symptoms, but some of the best digestive health I’ve ever experienced! I’m certainly not interested in compromising my vitality to risky experimental biotech! That is my right. If others choose options that suit their situation, that’s not my business. We all have our unique experiences.

Godspeed Charles, and thank you 🙏🏽 !!

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Charles, Thanks for continuing to write into the Space in Between Stories. I have been thinking very similar things as the folks you quote who have lost all hope. I see absolutely nothing that I've been taught, that I've witnessed in my lifetime, that I have to live through day to day, that gives me any hope, or makes me feel that we have taken any concrete steps toward moving beyond Girarding scapegoating. Everything I've learned I've had to unlearn, and most of what I do these days is try to sit still and breathe and wait and observe, and when someone asserts some kind of truth, patiently unravel it and let it sit there, neither true no untrue, just an assertion that someone has made. "Well, clearly, this is a sign of hope," is just as untrue as "Clearly, this is a sign of the evildoers." This latest essay of yours make me think of the life of Jesus. I have strong Christian affiliations, but I don't self-identify as Christian. But, this essay and the study you've made of Girardian tendencies in society, to me, speaks directly to the wisdom and foolishness of the cross. The cross is a symbol of violence of the state against an individual. It was not originally a symbol of personal, individual salvation. Jesus knew exactly what he was doing when he offered his own body, in complete love, against state violence and mass hysteria. I see absolutely no sign that Christianity today is anything other than poorly disguised patriarchy or feel-good carnival tickets to heaven; and yet, I still find huge power in the symbol of the cross. We are supposed to take up our own crosses and follow in the path. And, we have to do it completely devoid of hope, because there will be no visible signs. Yet, as Wendell Berry says, the shape of our hope is exactly the shape of our despair. The hope comes only through the fact that, as you have written, our hearts know better, despite no outward visible evidence.

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A tough call. I personally believe that the daughter in your example is "wrong" (ignorant, not up on the facts), but in her thinking she's protecting her child. It's impossible to see her as the "bad guy", no matter how wrong she might be. Her mother is dying. If I were the mother, I know what my choice would be. Every case is unique. Can we imagine a world in which everyone knows the best thing to do? I don't think so. The hysteria around covid (IMHO) is totally unfounded, yet we live in a culture that accepts it. Can we "educate" the masses, make them able to see the "truth", for that matter, is it truth? I think so, but that's me. Most people don't have Charles's ability to evaluate information, something he often fails to realize. It's a sad state that we live in. I know very bright people who want everyone vaccinated, because their fear outweighs their reasoning ability.

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I read some of the comments and I do think you presented a balanced debate . I was vaccinated and yet was not supportive of mandates , especially as we progressed to a more endemicity . I work with disabled adults and my son is also disabled therefore any “ fence “ no matter how small was important to apply . However observation of the virus and its effect on society at large did not confirm for me the validlity of any kind of mandate . Since having the vaccination I have had COViD but it’s severity only lasting 24 hours , this is vital for me as my son has a pacemaker in his heart and is prone to pneumonia . I wonder if anyone else presented with these choices would have done differently . My previous job as a soldier required me to have a range of vaccinations that the general public never have , I felt it was the same as regards my personal life that I get vaccinated . Infection is not prevented however my son also got covid and thank god it didn’t extend to severe disease . My needs are met and I would not think the research convinces me that universal application was necessary . However the data never stands still and I continue to read more of the studies that arise now with bigger populations . I remain flexible yet not to the point where I could support mandates or young children receiving the vaccine .

However I’ve tried to reach out to the unvaccinated to maintain friendships and relationships and in fact I’ve been marginalised truly and fully . Even to the point where this week I got into a dicscussion with a guy at local fruit store who turned away from me and called me be of “ them” .

I’m not completely beaten however in my outlook, to me it’s vital love and friendship rise above these binaries . My research is extensive and my searches are in BMJ and also Lancet and pub med . I extend beyond this to embrace the qualitative with the empirical . This has led me to believe that lockdowns are unesscessaty and ineffective and harmful to society . Masks are not effective or ineffective but they have variable application and really personal choice , it’s rather relative than an absolute . How do we get together ? Well the one thing we must admit is even though our information is wide and varied it all comes from the same little digital boxes . We need to suspect the origin of this always as manipulation and mass hypnosis is based on “ my phone is always right “! - is it ???

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I understand & empathize with the experiences of being ostracized by vaccination status. I was censored from participating in a celebration of her life when my mother died. I traveled 5. 5 hours, attended the small, family graveside service & was told not to attend the get-together at my sister's home following the funeral. About 40 people in her neighborhood were there. I tested negative before the funeral. I asked how many had tested recently for me to be excluded? Didn't matter to them because all were allegedly vaccinated. Didn't bother arguing this illogic. My sister & her husband showed no compassion for how I felt & they were suffering the same loss. According to them, my choice not to be vaccinated (true) & they were responsible for providing safety for the guests. Again I said I just tested negative. So, it was more about punishing than it was safety.

I was all alone, devastated by my mother's death & excluded from any comfort while my sister was surrounded by family & friends. Hurt a lot & still does. Hard to accept this coldness from my sister.

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Until we really understand that we are part of an organism called Gaia and are totally interconnected and interdependent upon it for our wellbeing and even our very life and take actions from that gnosis, we will continue to destroy ourselves and the planet. Pandemania is a symptom of the much larger disease called separation.

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Sorry Charles, but it seems like you live in a different universe than me.

Any coercion, hatred and discrimination in those regards was and is entirely one-sided.

None of us mask or vaccine refusers ever demanded that a masked or vaccinated person does the same.

We might mock them for it on the basis of our usually much deeper research, but we never ever argued for taking away their choices, only they did and do this with ours.

And not just despite the ever more visible ineffectiveness, harm and ridiculousness of them, but seemingly most often even more so as the fact that their choices have been terrible becomes more visible. I said from the start that my red line is a vaxx mandate, that I want nothing to do anymore with anyone who ever was in favour of it. I have extended my disgust and contempt to everyone who participated and tolerated the ensuing discrimination- probably also because I would originally not have deemed that discrimination and its tolerance possible in today's world and by my circle of 'progressive' 'professionals'.

If, as and when people seriously apologize for their complicity, I might half-heartedly be able to forgive them and do 'business' with them again, but I will never forget and will still hold a much revised and lower opinion of them- you can't change (my) human nature here, declarations that 'everything will then be fine again between us' are imho just deluded and phoney.

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Jul 7, 2022·edited Jul 7, 2022

If I was not feeling so desperate, I would have waited for Part 2 to comment! Thank you Charles especially for the last bit here.

I strive to not judge and categorize. I've maintained that the best way to relate to another person (any sentient being!) is to treat them as themselves, not generalize, not lump into any bigger more abstract group in which they do not belong. So far in my life I accrued plenty of evidence that being specific is the best way (and that includes being a Chinese Medicine practitioner - I have clinical evidence that when I treat the patient this way, they react/benefit in proportion.)

What I would like to discuss and address is the coercion of masks, distancing, even injecting medication into one's body. Many readers have commented that they understand both sides. What I do not understand and do not accept on a soul level is the coercion. One of the biggest fallacies I know of is when one person (or a group) decides they know better, they decide for others what is best for others. No one knows what's better for me than me. I repeat this to my patients. It helps me to hear these words spoken aloud.

On occasion, when I went a bit further by asking them direct questions, I've had patients decide to not return. A voice tells me that they are afraid to go there. Something about taking responsibility and really examining oneself is terrifying to them. But planting the seed is a positive act - at least I sincerely hope so. I really think there's no other quest more important than to find out who we truly are.

I do not want to live in isolation, I do not want to voluntarily separate myself from society. I try to interact with people and I still behave according to HIPAA - each person's medical information is their private information. The only problem develops when others think I am a disease carrier even though I am healthy. And that I have to prove that I am healthy with a medical test. How did we get there so fast? Never in history has healthy people harmed others by transmitting a disease! This is simply a fact, an observation which has never been proven otherwise.

We are dangerously close to being discriminated on every level of society due to our medical history. What will be that world like? Before my imagination goes down that dark hole, I look forward to your comments.

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I continue to be simply blown away by your ability to paint truth with such compassion and hope. "Especially at this time when vaccination clearly offers no protection against getting Covid, the ostracism of the unvaccinated draws from something beyond mere fear of catching a disease. The vaccine is a badge of in-group inclusion, the sanctifying ritual by which one is recognized as fully human. Historically, this is no anomaly. Many cultures require some kind of ritual to be accepted as a full member of the tribe. Refusing the ritual renders one into an unperson.

Today, leading institutions have hijacked that ritualistic impulse toward ends of profit and power. Within families too, vaccination and other symbols of conformity become tools of dominance and abuse."

These 2 paragraphs sum up what I believe is the root cause - the lack of meaningful ritual in a society that yearns so deeply for it, it will accept any substitute for inclusion into a group. In every indigenous culture, initiation was a time of facing death so you could see what you were made of, and if you survived initiation, you came back to the tribe with an unshakeable sense of who you were at your core. Many of us have self-initiated over and over again, but without the wisdom of the elders, those initiations can cost us with PTSD, a sense of being crazy, not fitting in, etc.

You personify the absolute best of elder wisdom at a time when we most need it. If we could see this pandemania as an initiation, perhaps we could learn something about ourselves that needs to be faced - out inability to accept information that disagrees with our invested beliefs; our need to see the world in victim/victimizer paradigms; our refusal to look at cause and effect; our intense reluctance to believe we might be just hypnotized enough to be pawns in a game we are completely unaware of......the list goes on. 2020 was extremely hard for me, I lost 95% of my community. I did my work for over a year and came out with a peace and joy unfelt previously. One person at a time, I am gathering with my tribe and choosing to put my energy into the things I can control - making every effort to be kinder, creating beauty with Nature and my neighborhood and sharing what I can with those who have less. The awakening is here, and I see more and more people shaking the scales from their eyes and suddenly finding themselves living in a world of such awe and wonder that we can't help but join hands and celebrate.

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"Pandemania has shown us that we have not yet evolved in consciousness beyond our ancient scapegoating patterns. That revelation is a precious opportunity. How can we consciously turn away from what we do not see? Now we see it."

A thoughtful post. However your underlying assumptions about humans and evolution don't register as true for me. There is a bigger piece to this story - behind the scenes, on a grand scale, cosmic even - and that is that we don't have only a human source on this planet. A non-human source has been here and has infiltrated our civilizations at the highest levels and is behind this reality show of manufactured crises, intent on depopulation and controlling the remaining by turning them into transhumans. Those in the vaxx camp are effectively prisoners of war, whose minds have been captured. Why some of us were alert to this attempted global take over and others not, is a larger question. However once this non-human source is gone - and it will go - we will discover again what it is to be human. We haven't been outside the effects of this other presence for a long long time. Humanity is on the rise. Sadly there will be far fewer of us, by the time this other source loses its grip. My two cents.

Thank you.

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I fear we are cementing a bifurcation in place here on Earth. I don't see two sides to Jen's story, I see existence in separate realities. There are those who firmly believe the injection will stymie transmission, there are those who firmly believe the injection will create negative efficacy with potential toxicity, and then many still in between either still undecided or apathetic. That last group has a big range to it, the spectrum in between, and that is the group I have the most hope for in breaking this historical pattern of scapegoating and dehumanization. I'm not trying to separate everyone even further here into categories, just an observation: how can one be expected to break a pattern if these deeply held convictions can dwell in comfortable echo chambers?

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