S3 E38 — Sliding on a Super Slippery Slope to 2nd or 3rd Cousins

While the horoscope I stole from you today or yesterday probably isn’t of the Super Simplifier variety on that slippery slope to becoming a True Believer, it may be its second or third cousin. It’s all relative if you get my drift. Even more so.

“5”  Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980): You, like the other animals, respond and adapt to your environment. The people, things and routines that rule your days have a stronger effect than willpower. Changing your lifestyle is what changes your habits.  Aries

Hi and welcome to Saturday’s Episode 38 in Season 3 of  My Paradoxically Normal Year” on this 1st day of May in the spring of 2021 — which is a three-year examination of how bits of wisdom changed during the “normal” pre-pandemic year and then in the pandemic year, and now months after.

The Tau of Steves: What You Don’t Know Could Fill a Book

Table of Contents

Previously from Season Three, the Paradoxically Normal Year

S3 E37Tell Me More Lies I Can Believe In; S3 E36Placebo, Meaningful Coincidence or Just Feeling Lucky; S3 E35This Ain’t No Zemblanity

Related from Season Two, The Pandemic Year

S2 E38What Should You Do If You Stumble Across Loaded Information?; S2 E37How Deep is the Chasm? What Do We Do?; S2 E36Turning Lemons into Margaritas; S2 E35Was this Pandemic Year a 1-Off or New Way of Life?

Related from Season One, The Normal Year

S1 E38Day 38 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E37Day 37 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E36Day 36 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E35Day 35 of My 1-Year Experiment


I’m your host, a Steve, who feels lucky for having you join us. Is it just clean fun? And entertainment, like the Comics Page of Los Angeles Times’ print edition warns?  Or does following your own horoscope grease that proverbially slippery slope to conspiracy theories and insurrections?  Wait, that itself sounds like a conspiracy theory, right?

Slippery slope or not, you and I are back at Report’s Conclusion Section of The One-Year Natural Experiment which previously explored why Super Simplification is a potential reason for why so many people fall for “Lies you can believe in.”

While the horoscope I stole from you today or yesterday probably isn’t “of the Super Simplifier variety” on that slippery slope to becoming a True Believer, it may be its second or third cousin. 

It’s all relative if you get my drift.

Even more so. 


Today’s 24 hour mediascape feeds us bewildering information and misinformation.  Who has time for tracking down the truth behind chem trails when our jobs and way of life are at risk from artificial intelligence and machine learning?

Instead it’s only human to search for an idea or single neat equation to explain all the complex novelties like 5-G speeds and mRNA vaccines so we can focus on the tasks we need to complete by the end of the day.

And then along comes conspiracy theories. 

How Does It Work?  

Too much stress can trigger delusions, according to Kurt Andersen, and engaging in fantasy can provide relief from stress and loneliness. 

      • We know that religion flourishes more in societies where people frequently feel in economic jeopardy. 
      • And, we also know that belief in conspiracy theories flourishes among people who feel bad about themselves and powerless to improve their lives. 
      • So becoming knowledgeable about all the circulating secret plots gives true believing, super simplifiers a huge jolt of what power feels like. They’re in the in crowd, feeling good with a growing sense of belonging.

Andersen is the first to admit that his explanation in fact appears to be “… condescending, but it is also true that the least educated are almost twice as likely as the most educated to be highly predisposed to believing conspiracies.”

What’s The Harm? 

A conspiracy theory can be revised and refined and further confirmed, but it probably can’t ever be disproved to a true believer’s satisfaction.

      • Misinformation, disinformation and more lies in circulation! 
      • Their beliefs, like religious faith, are unfalsifiable by facts. 
      • Conspiracy constellations, is what Andersen calls them. 

Here’s an example, 

“He no longer recognized the world in which he lived. Fake news now carries as much weight as real news.  A data constellation, describing what amounted to a collection of seemingly random and disparate data points or factoids that conspiracy theorists were encouraged to analyze and connect in meaningful ways to create possible ‘constellations.’”

Secret Plots 

It may seem counterintuitive, but the more fantastic the better. 

“Fantastical conspiracy theories tend to imagine secret plots of colossal scale, duration, and power. Appealing to true believers a paranoid style seems to resonate the best given their conviction that an exclusive monolithic structure has imposed a purposeful pattern on otherwise unpredictable events.”

“Skepticism,” Andersen explains “after all, is an antonym for credulity. But when both are robust and overheated, they can fuse into conspiracy-mindedness. (M)ix epic individualism with extreme religion; mix show business with everything else; let all that steep and simmer for a few centuries; run it through the anything-goes 1960s and the Internet age; reality and fantasy are weirdly and dangerously blurred and commingled.”

Whew, and that’s how we got here.  To the here and now.  


To today’s Holiday Tau. Other than a growing frustration because Zahnny’s Tau didn’t measure up to anything worth mentioning, is it worth going to jail for stealing Tau from any of the other Steves?  Looks like it.

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

Whoa, now I remember why we designated you our Patron Saint!  If we could sum up the conclusion section of my 1-year natural experiment your Holiday Tau is my candidate.

“5”  Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980): You, like the other animals, respond and adapt to your environment. The people, things and routines that rule your days have a stronger effect than willpower. Changing your lifestyle is what changes your habits.  Aries 

Other than banning Alex Jones and ex-President Trump from platforms like Twitter, how do you do that? 

“4”  Steve Winwood, 71; Stevie Wonder, 69; Stephen Colbert, 56: “One approach to the problem at hand is to starve it out. Don’t give it the fuel that your attention so readily provides. Ignore, neglect and shun the thing until it goes away.” Taurus

Hey Coach Kerr, if your Holiday Tau suggests those new places are social media groups, will your TauBit of wisdom be wise?  Or am I missing your point metaphorically?

“4”  Steve Kerr, 54: “The places that used to energize you have gone stale or no longer exist. In these weird times, ‘new environments’ can be taken as a metaphor. Go out in search of that very alive feeling.  Libra

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll 

    • @KnowLabs suite of digital magazines jumps from 8003 to 8088 organically grown followers




    • I enjoy any of the Harry Bosch detective books in the series authored by Michael Connelly.  “A Darkness More Than Night,” described “A strange constricting feeling filled his gut. He didn’t believe in coincidences… (It) was a coincidence that even a believer in coincidence would have a difficult time accepting.”So much for detectives, tying up loose ends, relying on their hunches and reordering data, information and witness first hand accounts. 
    • Or, in “Black Box,” Connelly’s latest Harry Bosch adventure he writes, “But Bosch stayed positive.  He’d gotten lucky with Pistol Pete and the serial number.  There was no reason to think it wouldn’t hold.”  Of course, Harry had a run in with his newer Lieutenant a page or two later … “So much for his luck holding… he felt that more than his luck suddenly ebbing away.  His momentum and positive attitude were eroding. It suddenly felt like it was getting dark out.” 
    • “Future Shock” by Alvin Toffler, a classic I feel which still holds up. As the pace of change quickens we experience self-doubt, anxiety and fear.  We become tense and tire easily, until we are overwhelmed, face-to-face with a crisis situation. Without a clear grasp of relevant reality or beginning with clearly defined values and priorities, we feel a deepening sense of confusion and uncertainty. Our intellectual bewilderment leads to disorientation at the level of personal values. Decision stress results from acceleration, novelty and diversity conflicts. Acceleration pressures us to make quick decisions. Novelty increases the difficulty and length of time while diversity intensifies the anxiety with an increase in the number of options and the amount of information needed to process.  The result is a slower reaction time.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by: Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate


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