What Are Your Heretical Beliefs?

Anti-vaxxers aren't always idiots and your cat isn't your friend

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The statue from Rodin's "The Thinker" with his head buried in his hands

created in Midjourney

I lost a few subscribers this week because of my post on the pros of drug use. I said people should educate themselves, and that people should talk about their positive drug experiences, legal or otherwise. Hardly controversial, and yet controversial.

I knew I would lose subscribers, but in the scheme of things it was only a few drops from my bucket. That speaks well of you and your openness to new ideas.

The people who left weren’t doing me any favours by being subscribers anyway, because they weren’t going to do the one thing I ask of my readers. Yes dear reader, you didn’t think this was about you did you? No, it’s all about me, and what you can do for me.

Which is what precisely?

A skeptical reader sent me a note after my article went live, saying that I had raised his curiosity and he would be digging deeper into the issues around the War on Drugs. In doing so, he perfectly demonstrated what I’m looking for in my readers and in my friends.

He is willing to think.

Not cling blindly to beliefs. Not listen to authority without questioning. But to actually think.

I like to write. My primary purpose in writing is to clarify my own thinking and to create a repository for what amounts to wisdom in my world. Writing things down helps me remember.

But the second reason I write is to connect with all of you out there. To believe that I’m saying something of value to a larger audience. I want to believe that there is an ocean of people out there who can think for themselves and like to have an occasional poke to get them thinking in a new direction.

I have a friend who is an anti-vaxxer. When I found out, I was quite upset. He couldn’t understand why I was upset, what difference did it make to me if he didn’t get the vaccine? I told him, “I don’t care if you get the vaccine, I just don’t want to be friends with an idiot.”

That led to a fascinating conversation as he explained to me his logic in being an anti-vaxxer. He had already gotten COVID by the time the vaccines came out, and he felt he had some sort of immunity. He also thought there was some non-zero probability that the vaccine could have a long term negative consequence.

The small known positive he’d get by taking the vaccine didn’t outweigh the potentially large unknown negative of taking the vaccine.

I still disagreed with him, but I couldn’t fault his logic. There’s no question the vaccine did have adverse outcomes for some people. The statistics made it clear to me that everyone should take the vaccine, but I get his logic. He was thinking.

He was thinking of only his own benefit, and not that of society, and I still fault him for that, but baby steps.

When I was thinking about writing my essay on drug positivity, I briefly considered not publishing it. Why deliberately antagonize some portion of my audience? But then I considered that drug positivity is one of my heretical beliefs and I LOVE heresy.

For example, I also believe privacy concerns are bullshit, that MAGA supporters are people too, and cats are aliens testing the gullibility of the “owners” who think they’re the ones in charge.

I think what makes us interesting as humans is what we believe to be true that would get us sanctioned if everyone found out. Our heretical thoughts.

When people who are willing to think, decide to think something heretical, they are almost always correct. In fact, a defining characteristic of terrible ideas is that once upon a time, nearly everyone believed them.

And then came along a heretic.

Maybe there’s only one God? Maybe we get sick because of tiny things we can’t see? Maybe it isn’t turtles all the way down?

Think for yourselves. I’m not here to give advice, I’m just trying to start a conversation.

Advice is simple.

Want to lose weight? Eat less, exercise more.

Want to have more money? Spend less than you make, invest in index funds, pay off your credit cards in full every month.

Want inner peace? Stop wanting things and embrace the now. There is no good or bad, everything just is. Stop asking why.

I’m not in the advice business, I’m in the thinking business. Thank you for sticking with me. I promise to disagree with you about many things and give you lots to think about.

What are your heretical beliefs?

  1. Tim Ferriss’ podcast where I first heard articulated the value of heresy.

  2. My post on drugs being for smart people.

I write so I can connect with my readers. You can reach me by responding to this email, by commenting on my website, or by responding to the poll below.

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