I’ve known you forever. When I bring up some story about when I was born you like to joke, saying, “I know, I was there.” I was such an ugly baby. You loved me anyway. People wouldn’t even pretend to say “what a cute baby” because it would’ve been so obviously a lie. Instead they would put their hand on their chest and say, “My, what an ugly little baby.” You took it in stride and good humor. You raised me (and three other little monsters, though angels compared to me) by yourself and set a great example while doing it.
You’ve forgiven me for the unspeakable things I’ve done, and never brought them up again. This is a sign of true forgiveness, and thus you taught me how to forgive; although sometimes I’m still not very good at it. You taught me how to apply deodorant and brush my teeth, and although I think it’s a bother, everyone else appreciates it. You taught me that “just because you think something, that doesn’t make it so” and that “once you’ve grown up and learned about something, you have to give others a chance to do so as well.” With these phrases you sowed the seeds of humility and introduced me to critical thinking.
I’m now thirty-two years old and have spent more than eighteen of the last twenty-one years incarcerated. You’ve been my moral guide and rock of reason through a life in which I desperately needed it. You never let me be in here “alone.” I haven’t forgotten.
Several years ago I began noticing that my “rock of reason” is perhaps not as rational as I once thought. For a long time, I shrugged off and even encouraged your passing comments and wild tales about implausible events. Now I’ve grown concerned.
I thought you were just having a bit of fun online, and maybe it started out that way. I’ve been away from the internet for so long I didn’t even know that internet hysteria was a thing. But your current worldview and encirclement of online friends is taking the mom I remember as an independently minded, careful, inquisitive, skeptical, strong, and hardworking woman. I think what might have started out as you flirting with irrationality has become a full-blown love affair. Hear me out, because your irrational beliefs sound alarming when you hear them all at once rather than spread out piecemeal over several years of conversations.
Mom, I’m going to love you no matter what, but I want to be able to discuss critical thinking and rational inquiry with you.
You think the disappearance of the Malaysian flight in 2014 was a conspiracy to murder four Asian men who were on that flight so that some Rockefeller guru could gain proprietary rights to a patent they were in collusion on. You told me that airplanes didn’t crash into the Twin Towers on 9/11; what people saw were holograms. The buildings were brought to ruin by explosives that had been secretly planted there by government agents. You deny climate change and believe what “they” aren’t showing us is the rapid growth of polar ice caps “on the other side.” Mom, climate change is real, it is anthropogenic, and many lines of independent evidence support this view.
You believe vaccines cause autism. You think the government puts copious amounts of fluoride—which you think they get by scraping the interiors of nuclear silos—in our drinking water to poison the masses. You think you can make (and have made) contrails (you call them chemtrails) disappear with your mind. You think this is a necessary pastime because they are poisonous mind control tools used by the alien elites to keep us their secret slaves.
You think humans used to have twenty-four helices in our DNA, but aliens brought us down to two to keep us in blind servitude. You think “junk DNA” is proof of this reduction. You think an elite group of shape-shifting bourgeois aliens run Earth and much more of the universe. You think Pizzagate is real and the benefits of statins are not. When Hillary Clinton took a temporary leave of absence from the 2016 presidential campaign because she got sick, you said you had it on “very good authority” that she was dead. You now think she’s on house arrest because she’s implicated (perhaps the ring leader) in a gigantic worldwide child molesting ring and her former campaign manager is on the lam because he’s also implicated in this charade. You think that you have been reincarnated over a half dozen times, and that your soul has been unable to “move on” to other places because none of our souls are able to do so until we use this life to figure out how. You’re friends with a psychic medium who you think can communicate with our dead relatives, and you think seeing some moving light in your room is evidence of this (it’s not; it’s called the “autokinetic effect”).
It seems to me that you believe, hook, line, and sinker, every single internet conspiracy that you happen across, and are willing to defend these often wildly incredible and ridiculous claims with what you think is inside knowledge of what’s really going on. Any suggestion that what you think you know may not be the truth is immediately refuted as if you are in some exclusive group of hidebound frontrunners who are “in the know.” Apparently these “truthers” have exclusive access to knowledge and information the rest of us don’t because the alien-run media suppresses it all, but the aliens haven’t caught onto the truthers’ modes of exposing them or are powerless to stop it. You told me David Wilcock knows almost everything about the alien agenda (sorry Jim Mars) but the aliens are unable to shut him up because “he has bodyguards.”
There doesn’t seem to be a moment wasted on critical thought to any claim one of your fellow truthers tells you about. You take what these internet conspiracy theorists say into greater consideration than any rational thing I ever say, and I can’t even get you to read a single book that may shed some light on your worldview. You said you don’t like James Randi “because he’s always debunking things” and you think David Icke is “far smarter than Carl Sagan was.”
I’ve cried three times in the last fifteen years. Once when I got sentenced to forty-five years in prison. Once when our friend Susan died. And once when the children of Sandy Hook Elementary were slaughtered by a lunatic with a machine gun. To think you believe that the parents of these children are perpetuating a hoax about the horrific death of their children is completely heartbreaking. I’m concerned because you are not irrational or unintelligent. Far from it, you are guided by an intellectual and inquisitive nature, but what I’ve been seeing in you as of late is really unhealthy thinking. You are exceedingly misinformed and your beliefs have become far removed from reality. I miss the person you were. I miss the person who made sure that what she believed was true before telling anyone else about it. I miss the mom that always said what later turned out to be true—if only I’d listened (eyes rolled). I got my inquisitive faculties from you. I approach the world and its fantastic claims critically following the example I learned from you. I appreciate it.
I like to think that deep down you know these conspiracies you believe in are just for fun, but I haven’t seen any evidence of this. Thanks to you, I like to base my assumptions on available evidence, and only then am I willing to accept something, albeit often only provisionally. I would like to see you spend some time understanding what the opposition has to say. I promise you it is quite a bit more fulfilling than pseudoscience and fringe propaganda. The real world is marvelous enough without having to create these supercilious worlds of conspiracies and secret alien slave planets.
Mom, I’m going to love you no matter what, and if I have to roll my eyes and listen to you rant on about “twin flames” and transcendence, from now on that’s what I’m going to do. But I don’t want to. I want to invite you into my world, just as thirty-two years ago you invited me into yours. I want to bring us back to conversations about genuine phenomena and real-world mysteries. I want to be able to discuss critical thinking and rational inquiry with you. It may feel good to be a part of a selected group of people who are “in the know,” but I sure hope you wouldn’t bet my life on any of the wild things you believe to be true. If you wouldn’t bet my life on it then you haven’t done your research, and if you haven’t done your research, there’s no good reason to perpetuate inane internet gossip.
A constructive anti-establishment paradigm accompanied by activity that helps correct injustice is as healthy as it is noble, so long as it is evidence-based. In general, I don’t like the government either, but I don’t have to think Donald Trump is a robot to speak about his policy failures or talk about areas of government that I think need improvement.
Just because you think you’re in the know doesn’t mean you are. I love you, mom. We should talk soon.