On "the Vermin" and What to Do About It

A story about disease spreaders, Pfizer data, and massive love.

I am writing this with gratitude to my community. I am gasping for the perfect words to describe the beauty that came out of us in the thick of the past year and a half, and no words are big enough to fit the intensity of my feeling. The pressures that we faced brought out the love and the strength and the beauty that we didn’t even know we had! It is strange how meaningful and real every breath has become when staring in the face of a bulldozer…

Speaking of the bulldozer, things are a little bit grotesque. Here is a headline that grabbed my attention yesterday:

No fly list, eh? Frankly, I am far more appalled than scared. When this kind of dehumanizing rhetoric becomes acceptable and accepted, we are either one heartbeat away from the classic fascism that will eventually crush every single one of us—regardless of our v-n status—or one heartbeat away from a massive, massive spiritual miracle and coming together in an amazing way. Together, against the bully, with massive love.

In any case, it’s a “choiceless choice” for me because I cannot side with bullies, I simply can’t. Furthermore, my own life has taught me that siding with bullies in hopes of being spared is not a viable practical strategy because bullies usually come back and ask for more—and eventually they ask for something that you cannot give them—and then they crush you without mercy, like a bug. With bullies it’s a matter of time. So now is as good time as any to recognize the bullies for what they are and to proceed accordingly, with total clarity and without any fear. (See also this article about language that was used in Rwanda preceding the genocide.)

And just like the “disease spreaders” gruesome tale of the Nazi government was a gimmick, the “disease spreaders” narrative of today is a gimmick, too—and the goal is obviously to channel people’s fear and the feeling of uncertainty in a wrong direction, to divide us and render us defenseless, to break our spirits, to make us betray each other beyond repair, and to trick everyone in society into tacitly accepting the dehumanization of, let’s face it, perfectly healthy and innocent citizens who, even according to the CDC, transmit the thing at the same rate as the v-d.

[A tangent: Something dawned on me the other day when I was looking at Pfizer data (here, then go to page 12 of Supplementary Appendix) that got Berenson suspended from Twitter. The study showed that within six months of the beginning of the trial, 14 people died in the placebo arm, and 15 people died in the v-word arm. And so I thought, within the specific narrow logic of this document, without going outside of it and deep into the woods, both numbers are really small and thus statistically insignificant. And then I thought, wait, the numbers are really small, and that’s extremely statistically significant! Out of 40,000 some participants, 29 people passed away, in more or less equal amounts in both arms. And they attribute it to the miracle of the v-word?!!!! Could it be that maybe, whatever the pathogen is or isn’t, and however surreal the diagnostic methodology has been all this time, this pathogen is not likely to kill relatively healthy individuals, which incidentally happened to be the precise demographic that they selected for showing the success of their miracle v-word? I am sorry that’s a joke of a trial yet again.]

But let’s go ahead and dehumanize the unv-d! And once we successfully dehumanize one group and successfully defy the science in the process—and squash any dissent among the scientists and the doctors while we are at it—the sky is the limit as to who will be dehumanized next. (Meat eaters? Carriers of toxic masculinity? Small landlords? Those who refuse smart monitoring implants designed “for public good” to eliminate epidemics and crime? As I said, the sky is the limit.)

The goal of this S&M dance is the S&M dance itself—the more absurd the betterand it’s intended to erode any semblance of rationality, human rights, democracy, and most importantly, compassion and spiritual strength. See, people usually end up hating the ones they have let down. That feeling of disgust toward “the vermin” is usually just inverted disgust toward the inner coward and traitor. That’s how spirits are broken by the bullies—and this is a technique used by mobs and totalitarian governments throughout history.

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So now let’s talk about fanaticism and how you take a sweet, lovable child and turn that child into a raging fanatic—thick-headed, blood-thirsty, and reactive. Below is a piece I wrote about Homo Soveticus, a tragically dogmatic character from my Soviet childhood. (Only now, many years later, I realize how those people came to exist, and how much potential for love was flushed down the toilet in the process.)

Our society is so good at maiming children! It is so good at divorcing human beings from own souls and at replacing own inner compasses with a crowd of hungry ghosts.

That’s such a tragedy, really.

And, remarkably, it is this individual tragedy of maiming children that accounts for all the collective havoc in the world! Everything is done by individual people! And every act of mass religious—in the broader sense of it—dehumanization, every genocide, every victory march of an ideology over people’s heads would have been impossible without first turning large numbers of sweet, lovable, trusty children into anxious raging fanatics who forgot how to love.

And now we are in the middle of this mess, and what do we do?

The only method I have figured out as of this second is to zoom in on the inside and to make a very conscious choice and tell all the ghosts to f*ck off. And also—extremely important— make a conscious choice to not be wounded when other people’s ghosts charge at you. That is how a child who has been wronged becomes a warrior and a healer.

When your parents, your lovers, or your children start throwing tantrums, make an evaluation of whether it’s them or their ghost, and proceed accordingly.

If the ghosts are hosted by people close to you, and if people close to you make you feel like your soul is not real, and that your wondrous gift to the universe is nothing special—you make it a point to remember that love is primary, that people have been wounded for generations, that you have the power to give yourself the permission to shine your light at full strength, and with total trust, you pray for healing like your life depends on it, you pray from your heart of hearts, you pray to the skies and the oceans, you pray to the infinite depth of goodness, and you side with good things at all times.

And if they are strangers’ ghosts, then you figure out the best protections, and leave it to the universe to handle the ones who are currently possessed. You proactively protect yourself but reject the ghost of fear. You reject the reactive hatred and remain a powerful force for love.

May we all walk in wisdom and in courage.

May we breathe in love, together.

(And I am somehow really compelled to share two pieces of art by my friend Anaïs Tekerian. One is a song that I keep coming back to since it’s so reflective of our times, and the other one is a heart-wrenching performance piece she did with Kevork Mourad.)

(Thank you)