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14 Jan Written by  Kimberly Ward

Conversations with a Fool

Have you ever had to listen to someone talking, but in your mind you’re thinking “Oh my God, you’re so wrong!”? I have. You patiently listen and nod whilst this person speaks at length about an issue you know very well to be quite the opposite of what they’re claiming it to be, but you keep quiet and let them talk, and when they finish you say “well, that’s an interesting angle to see it from.” And you leave it at that. Because sometimes there’s no need to correct a fool.

Sometimes you just have to rein in your righteous anger and let things be, because trying to enlighten someone who is so sure they have it right when they don’t is tiring and will probably backfire on you. Because for some people, their ignorance is like a blanket they’ve wrapped securely around themselves for years, and you trying to make them see sense is like forcefully wrestling the blanket off them: you’ll just both end up struggling, he/she will win and you’ll both end up angry and upset.

So it’s best to leave their security blanket for them and walk on by. Maybe, you hope, someone stronger than you with more patience will one day school them on the truth. But oh well, it’s not your problem.

This scenario happened to me recently with an acquaintance who was adamant that US President Barack Obama was planning to implant micro-chips into the palms and foreheads of Americans as part of the New World Order spoken about in Revelations in the Bible, which is itself part of the anti-Christ’s plan to take over the world. The Mark of the Beast. Obama was an instrument of the devil who will use innocent Americans to fulfill his aims, in the guise of providing universal healthcare and business interactions. And if you don’t have this mark of the beast, you won’t be able to trade or receive healthcare.

The woman went on describing these things to me with a zeal that overtakes the misinformed when they find one nugget of colourful information that they seize on as fact, spending zero time researching the matter fully or assessing the information on a logical level.

For instance, if there was an iota of truth in such claims about Obama, wouldn’t CNN and other news outlets be all over the issue 24/7? Wouldn’t doctors and human rights defenders be lining up to decry these huge medical invasions? Wouldn’t Americans – led by livid Republicans – be protesting all over the streets about the injustice of the impending mandatory invasive operations?

The truth is the more you read the more you tend to remain diplomatically on the fence about certain things, because you’ve heard from both sides and are circumspect enough to know that there are some things you cannot discount.

As she spoke, my eyes glazed over. I could not believe I was talking to ‘one of those people,’ you know, the ones who probably also believe in aliens, ghosts and the like: a mix of religious zealots and conspiracy theorists.  It’s not like I don’t believe in aliens and ghosts; I believe we can never say for sure that there aren’t any, but I won’t whole-heartedly leap into trying to prove their existence. Some things are better left alone, and other things are just unknowable.

Some conversations leave you laughing internally; others leave you fuming; whilst others leave you physically exhausted at the thought that there are people out there who are so massively under-informed.

Dog