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My wife turned into a completely different person. I live with her, but I feel like she’s gone to another world.

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A company employee in western Japan. He says his wife, a full‐time homemaker, has gotten hooked on YouTube videos about conspiracy theories, and her views were affected as she watched them everyday. She refuses to wear a mask, get vaccinated and claims everything about COVID is a lie.

© Yomiuri Shimbun

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

47 Comments

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Some Japanese have tendency to go too an extreme on stuff

6 ( +17 / -11 )

His wife tuned on him? Poor guy!

3 ( +9 / -6 )

"...videos about conspiracy theories..."

'Insanity' is in the perception of the beholder. Since most of our worldviews now come to us through media, 'sanity' seems to depend largely upon the 'sponsor'. Some would say that the entirety of "Human Reality' is insane in a World whose operational foundation is 'threat', and in which large masses of Humans desire and celebrate damage and misfortune in other large masses of Humans. How would one know 'sanity' if it bit them in the nose? In this case, Okasan has tuned into different 'sponsors' who are selling opinions different from Otosan's and he is not dealing well with the difference since he seems to consider his opinion more 'sane' as sold to him by the sponsors of HIS media.

But no term has become more useful to the propagandist than the term "conspiracy theory" which will shut down thought in the average person as soon as it's uttered and is used to hide all sorts of behaviors that the user may wish to deny. And the Voice of Authority has become weak among us of late due to its many abuses which we discover or are revealed daily. What to do?

If he truly loves his wife, he will accommodate her beliefs and hope that he can convince her back to his version of 'sanity'. But, if her 'opinion' is more important to him than her worth as a person or wife, he and her have my condolences for the pain that is certainly in their futures. Good luck, my Sir, nothing about this place is easy.

-8 ( +8 / -16 )

I have a friend (well, ex friend) who went the same way. I understand some people being concerned about having an injection, especially with all the unscientific posts that are on social media but the hard core anti-vaccine "followers" are in a cult. Covid-19 will be much less an issue in 3 years, my fear is these cultists will have moved on to some new crazy claims.

10 ( +19 / -9 )

Antivaxers exist everywhere, my sister in law is one. Argument is pointless. Best just leave them alone, their numbers diminish every day.

13 ( +22 / -9 )

I have a friend that while am amazing woman, she believes in all these crazy theories (London Olympics opening was a rehearsal/prophecy to COVID-19, etc.). She's constantly posting anything she finds online and believes more people should be joining Q-anon Japan.

Have some family members who hate the left. They hate how apparently the left wants you to shut-up and say nothing that might hurt them (a different opinion). Ironically, dare you point out anything Trump did wrong. Or how their whole anti-masks, anti-vaccines and anti anything Covid is all political (a different opinion). Lo and behold, they don't want to hear it, get super defensive and argue every point with "but liberals yada yada yada." They're also constantly looking for conspiracy theories and live in FL state.

I learned is better just to act like I'm listening and change topics asap.

7 ( +15 / -8 )

Conspiracy theorists tend to be among the least employable in our society, but she should try to find some part-time work.

-1 ( +11 / -12 )

The problems of claims of American election frauds Qanon and misinformation spread online by covid anti-vaxxers.

-1 ( +9 / -10 )

Some Japanese have tendency to go too an extreme on stuff

let me fix that for you -

Some people have tendency to go too an extreme on stuff

9 ( +18 / -9 )

She refuses to wear a mask, get vaccinated and claims everything about COVID is a lie.

Yeah, and? She's pretty much on the right track. I'd love to meet her...

There is a lot of crap both online and on the MSM.

She is probably complaining about her husband: He's always wearing a mask, always urging everyone to get vaccinated, and he believes everything he hears on TV...

-17 ( +10 / -27 )

'Insanity' is in the perception of the beholder. Since most of our worldviews now come to us through media, 'sanity' seems to depend largely upon the 'sponsor'.

If the beliefs run completely contrary to what can be objectively proved (for example with science) then the media is completely irrelevant. If what a person wants to believe depends on a hidden conspiracy for which this person can provide absolutely no proof of it happening there is nothing wrong with calling this a conspiracy theory. Specially if the person refuses to accept any and all kinds of evidence the conspiracy is false or that it makes no sense in the real life.

If he truly loves his wife, he will accommodate her beliefs and hope that he can convince her back to his version of 'sanity'.

Without knowing the specifics this can be terrible advice, "accommodating" dangerous beliefs sometimes result in deeply negative consequences for anybody involved, sometimes it is better to get outside help or even cut out a relationship that became toxic so the number of victims is reduced.

Yeah, and? She's pretty much on the right track. I'd love to meet her...

Except that all those things can be proved wrong. Wanting those things to be true is a completely invalid argument to say they are right. That usually leads to people only listening to those that repeatedly say false information and believe everything they say, even when it is easy to find out irrefutable proof they are lying.

3 ( +15 / -12 )

If this guy said that to someone at Yomuiri Shimbun about his own wife, I am assuming that he is convinced that he is right and he is not willing to consider that she might be right about some things.

What I would recommend to him is Rule #9 from Jordan Peterson's 12 Rules for Life:

“Assume That The Person You Are Listening To Might Know Something You Don’t. What does this mean? How should you behave so that you believe the other person knows something you don’t? In essence, Jordan Peterson’s Rule 9 instructs you to go into every conversation believing that you have something to learn. Let the other person talk. Don’t just spend your time waiting to respond – actually listen."

-7 ( +9 / -16 )

Assume That The Person You Are Listening To Might Know Something You Don’t.

And you do that by assuming the person whose opinion you are reading knows nothing more than you do (about his own wife) and you do not even to consider the possibility he is actually right? That is a very clear way to completely contradict what you just said.

2 ( +12 / -10 )

I won't wear a mask, get jabbed with a product that if you suffer damage from the shot, the drug maker can't be sued, and what you are told about covid IS mostly lies either. Any wonder that many front line nurses and doctors refuse the jab. It's because they know what is the real truth.

-11 ( +9 / -20 )

The wife is a textbook example of the behavioral tendency of our species to dwell more in fantasy than reality. It's just how a stressed and frightened human brain will (mal)function when confronted by the harsh reality of existence and mortality. Were it otherwise, the "BIG LIE" and the myriad memes plied by manipulative politicians and the usual suspects would be unable to find a host in the gray matter of millions of "believers".

0 ( +9 / -9 )

*Jordan Peterson’s Rule 9 instructs you to go into every conversation believing that you have something to learn.*

There is also the idea of keeping an open mind, but not so much that your brain falls out.

There is some benefit in listening to crackpots like flat-earthers as it can challenge you to come up with well marshaled reasons as to why the earth is roughly spherical. I remember reading about an academic who refused to debate Holocaust deniers as he saw them as sick individuals, but I believe exposing these people in public is a better approach.

Any wonder that many front line nurses and doctors refuse the jab. It's because they know what is the real truth.

Many?

The vast majority of doctors and nurses in most countries are vaccinated.

Is the real truth being hidden from them? Are they too stupid to see it?

9 ( +16 / -7 )

Facebook makes money off such people.

8 ( +14 / -6 )

Smart woman, she's definitely a keeper, the guy complaining about her doesn't deserve her.

-12 ( +5 / -17 )

Jimizo....

The vast majority of doctors and nurses in most countries are vaccinated.

In Japan it was over 98% a few weeks ago.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

the guy complaining about her doesn't deserve her.

True. Nobody does.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

The vast majority of doctors and nurses in most countries are vaccinated.

In Japan it was over 98% a few weeks ago.

Someone will be along shortly to tell us these numbers are fake.

George Soros, Bill Gates, the deep state, the MSM, big pharma, the people who stole the US election might be involved somewhere along the way.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

I think there are some who are uncomfortable with ignorance and uncertainty. And so they perhaps don't like getting information that isn't clear cut.

Bertrand Russel once said, "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts."

So there will be those more inclined to believe the words of fools and fanatics than those of wiser people.

(But I could be wrong.)

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Just start sending her newer, more interesting conspiracy theories every week. (The ones about aliens or the ones about underground tunnels filled with troops are best.) That will keep her home reading, where she won’t get infected, and some of the aliens are friendly, in any case.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

She knows the truth.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

his wife, a full‐time homemaker

Colour me surprised.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Poor guy. Divroce on the horizon I would think.

BTW since Jordan Peterson got roped into this topic (somehow):

Writing on Twitter, the controversial professor told his followers he didn’t have enough antibodies to prevent reinfection, necessitating a good old dose of the vaccine.

While he has never expressed mistrust in vaccinations or claimed that coronavirus is not real, his politics are part of a right-wing political playbook that often involves anti-vax views.

Unfortunately although a lot of what Peterson talks about is interesting his writing is easily co-opted by 'other causes'.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

She knows the truth.

How to embarrass your husband in front of his colleagues.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

"...and her views were affected as she watched them everyday." [sic]

'Every day' is TWO WORDS: every, and day...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

3RENSHOToday  07:30 pm JST

"...and her views were affected as she watched them everyday." [sic]

'Every day' is TWO WORDS: every, and day...

The last sentence in the article needs work, too.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Sorry.. when I said the vaccination rate for doctors and nurses in Japan was 98% that should be the figure for Tokyo.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Once you become a believer in the conspiracy theory, people shut out reality and nothing anyone can say to them will change their mind because they "know" the truth. We are the ones who are deceived.

If I were this guy, I would try to avoid the subject with his wife and encourage her to find other ways to keep busy. Youtube will suck you in and keep feeding you more of the same stuff you are listening to. Pretty soon you are in really deep over your head and it's hard to dig your way back to daylight.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Another story hinting that it would be great if governments censored the internet. Now there's a thing. With regard to Salaryman X. He should get a divorce and escape before she gets worse.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Rob, Raw Beer,

You both should copy & read the story below, 2 parents, anti-vaccer's that died within 2weeks of each other leaving 5 kinds behind......sheer lunacy, dangerous lunatics at that

https://www.krem.com/article/news/health/coronavirus/unvaccinated-parents-5-kids-die-regret-not-getting-vaccine-last-words/65-9e2da979-c911-446b-8d39-c655795e33ac

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Being ignorant is something Japanese, should not aspire to be,

3 ( +5 / -2 )

If I was forced to spend my life vacuuming, dusting and cleaning all day, every day, on marital lockdown, I'd probably go a bit mad too. I've always considered bored housewives to be a good thing - a valuable resource, like rare earth metals, but now my eyes have been opened. With so much time on their hands, they may become stir crazy and lose touch with reality.

This situation will happily resolve itself when she gets to the hardcore feminist channels that encourage women to fight against the oppressive patriarchy one husband at a time, bumping them off for the insurance and hitting the host bars for some PAYG fun with younger guys.

Salarymen - best get your affairs in order before go to sleep at night.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

That quite differs from case to case. There’s also already a significant number of former conspiracy theories that after a few months or years have now become mainstream points of view and official policy. Not always the few outsiders are crazy, sometimes also the big majority instead is.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

For people wanting to read the full article :

https://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0007886648

Some people should stop drunk posting, I know it is Saturday night but still ...

6 ( +6 / -0 )

"...and claims everything about COVID is a lie."

If the beliefs run completely contrary to what can be objectively proved (for example with science)

'Science'. That 'thing' that so many quote but so few understand at all. The first thing to understand is that science is not a 'thing'. It's an activity, a verb, a 'doing' that reveals 'things'. We call those 'things' knowledge, not 'science'. Sadly, many who breathlessly assert 'believe the science' have no idea what the actual knowledge is that is necessary to deeply understand whatever the point is. They are able to quote all sorts of 'things' insisting that they understand what they are asserting, and usually assert whatever their personal Authorities are asserting. They always speak of Human 'objectivity' as though such a thing actually exists without any idea of the variability in thought that exists among actual 'scientists', those who daily dig in the deep mines of our ignorance.

And even as the 'popular voice' retracts or blithely ignores what it has said yesterday regarding, say, vaccine efficacy, so changes the script of the pseudoscienntist to fit the new dialogue without a moment of self-reflection or recollection of what they asserted yesterday. And, regarding the COVID virus, 'scientists' still are lacking the ability which is foremost in the goal of science, to PREDICT what will come next. Our current knowledge is clearly still inadequate.

But, one characteristic of the wouldbe 'voice of science' is that, if someone challenges anything they say, they take it personally and target that person even if what they then say is idiotic and full of "may" and "might" and nonsense. The scientist describes, often loquaciously because there are always many variables. The wouldbe asserts, quotes others, insists on their own credibility, and condemns, sometimes viciously, those who actually pay attention to the details and can see the underlying 'doubt' which must always be acknowledged in what we think we know and is the most important part of the 'scientific tradition'. They, the wouldbe, are the 'true believers', the 'holier than thou', who, like so many others with 'religion', have no idea what the scriptures actually say.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

There’s also already a significant number of former conspiracy theories that after a few months or years have now become mainstream points of view and official policy.

About COVID? no, not really.

'Science'. That 'thing' that so many quote but so few understand at all. The first thing to understand is that science is not a 'thing'. It's an activity, a verb, a 'doing' that reveals 'things'.

Activities, methods, are still "things", there is nothing wrong with thinking that. And it is very easy to know what the "science says" since most scientific institutions make an effort to disseminate the knowledge achieved by doing science, it is part of the methods. If the "personal authorities" mean every institution of the world then the one that don't know what science is about is the one trying to misrepresent that consensus as if it were coming from any single source.

Nothing was retracted about vaccine efficacy, it simply changed as predicted when new variants appeared, something that anybody actually reading scientific publications knew could happen since more than a year ago, long before the variants became predominant. Scientists have been able to predict very nicely a lot of things, from which measures are the most effective to what activities would increase transmission, one thing is that no scientific knowledge is perfect, another completely different is to say it is not the best answer we have.

The whole argument is based on false premises, that if something is not perfectly studied it is as likely to be false as true, that there is no scientific consensus, that people can't know what science actually concludes, that no predictions have actually been made, etc.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Nothing was retracted about vaccine efficacy

Except the waning, and the limited effect on viral load, and risks of adverse events, with some countries ban certain vacccines, and the very limited effect on reducing cases, and...

'Science'. That 'thing' that so many quote but so few understand at all. The first thing to understand is that science is not a 'thing'. It's an activity, a verb, a 'doing' that reveals 'things'. We call those 'things' knowledge, not 'science'. Sadly, many who breathlessly assert 'believe the science' have no idea what the actual knowledge is that is necessary to deeply understand whatever the point is

Very well said. Unfortunately, many who constantly bring up "science" treat it as some dogma set in stone that cannot be challenged or debated.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Except the waning, and the limited effect on viral load, and risks of adverse events, with some countries ban certain vacccines, and the very limited effect on reducing cases, and...

No, none of those things are a retraction, misrepresenting things is a too obvious attempt to disinform.

Adverse effects in very limited cases are included in the information of the vaccines from the beginning, vaccines have NOT been banned, decrease of efficacy on newer variants was predicted since before those variants were even present. etc.

Very well said. Unfortunately, many who constantly bring up "science" treat it as some dogma set in stone that cannot be challenged or debated.

Challenging scientific information with actual data is normal, every day part of the science, what is obviously not valid is to "challenge" it with false, misleading information because lying about something brings no advancement whatsoever to the discussion. Actual scientists discuss science without problem, people that instead try to deceive with things easy to demonstrate as false are not actually interested in improving anything, just "defend" mistaken beliefs.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Once you become a believer in the conspiracy theory, people shut out reality and nothing anyone can say to them will change their mind because they "know" the truth. We are the ones who are deceived.

One could also say:

Once you become a believer in the mainstream narrative, people shut out reality and nothing anyone can say to them will change their mind because they "know" the truth. We are the ones who are deceived.

In other words, how do you know you are on the side of "the truth"?

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

"...about conspiracy theories..."

One of the saddest facts about how many people use 'words', which are our most vital 'tools' and the greatest invention after indoor plumbing in all of Human history, is without any thought whatsoever as to what the words really mean in the general context of our lives. For example, "conspiracy theory". That is, the idea that a hypothesis asserted by more than one individual is a 'conspiracy' and a completely nonsensical use of the word 'theory'. If we want to examine 'conspiracy', we have only to examine the FBI who consistently punish people for 'conspiracy' but, when suspecting a criminal conspiracy, would be unhappy to have it branded a 'conspiracy theory' when, in fact, that is exactly what such a 'suspicion' is.

But the phrase 'conspiracy theory' is a carefully crafted propagandistic tool for instantly closing the doors of the average mind and branding anyone who would assert such a thing as 'crazy'. It's akin to waving a hand and saying to these minds "These are not the [truths] you're looking for". Often there follows a list of absurdities with the issue to be denied implanted somewhere in the middle and 'association' provides the lock. For example, the idea that 9/11 did not occur as 'officially' reported in a list between Bigfoot and a Flat Earth which we see routinely.

When one sees the term 'conspiracy theory', be aware that the speaker is either easily deluded or is trying to delude. Better to judge simply in probabilities as one has experienced them and the effect of the declared 'conspiracy theory', if true, upon the speaker.

And it is very easy to know what the "science says"...

Could only be said by someone who has never DONE anything which might be considered 'science'. Working in research is one of the more excruciating labors which a Human can undertake, but it is easier depending upon how obsessive-compulsive one's personality may naturally be because, whether OC or not, it is an absolutely necessary ingredient and, the less OC one is, the more GRIT and endurance they need to voluntarily produce in their personality.

And, all knowledge that is uncovered occurs in a 'context' which one must understand because the 'implications' of the knowledge often exceed the 'facts' revealed. And the implications in the context are what is called 'intuition' when one judges not by single facts but by the global perception that builds over time and experience and how those facts fit in and/or modify it. But, generally for the public, what 'science says' is often a third hand rendition given by 'interpreters' and characterized by its simplicity and lack of depth and usually begins, "Scientists say..." and consists mostly of assertions.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

In other words, how do you know you are on the side of "the truth"?

That is easy, you follow the method that can change the conclusions with enough clear, valid evidence, which is science.

If you change your opinion according to valid evidence professionally analyzed by the best experts and it coincides with the scientific consensus (as in every institution dedicated to that field in the world) it is terribly obvious that you are much more likely to be correct.

If you on the other hand have beliefs that contradict this consensus in almost everything, and instead of following the opinion of all those institutions goes in the opposite way, having to get "support" from people that have been continuously found lying (and "coincidentally" all those beliefs are always for your convenience) then you are most likely wrong.

That is, the idea that a hypothesis asserted by more than one individual is a 'conspiracy' and a completely nonsensical use of the word 'theory'.

If your "personal definitions" are based on disregarding the common meaning of the words as everybody use them, and qualify as nonsensical explanations that demonstrate you are wrong, without taking even the effort to actually disprove those explanations then you are one of those people that use words wrong.

If for example any of your beliefs depends on an impossible conspiracy for which you have absolutely no proof, it is much easier to try to disqualify the term (even if completely valid) than accept your belief is one. Without arguments to prove your belief have any merit being in denial becomes the only exit.

Could only be said by someone who has never DONE anything which might be considered 'science'.

There are plenty of sites supported by scientists and scientific institutions that explain this, pretending for people to believe a nameless person on the internet can know better about science than those well recognized scientists is not realistic, they are simply astronomically more likely to be right about their field.

Your mistake is thinking that producing science and consulting science is the same thing, that is nonsense. An elementary school kid can easily find what is the scientific position about anything, from the function of the hearth to the best measures to contain the spreading of infectious diseases, all without ever producing any scientific data on his own. Disseminating the knowledge is a very important part of being a scientist, and that is why so many work so hard to make the information available. You may depend totally on invalid sources, but people commonly can do much better by going directly to the scientific studies, or if they are difficult to the professional institutions that originate and spread this knowledge, without ever having to depend at all on social or mass media for any of it, it is actually very easy.

This of course proves completely wrong the people that try to misrepresent science as some kind of chaotic enterprise where no conclusion is common and no consensus is ever possible, but it is still true.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

"...but I feel like she’s gone to another world."

Your mistake is thinking that producing science and consulting science is the same thing, that is nonsense.

No. Understanding what 'science' IS and understanding how the word is abused by those who would try to appear wise or who would falsely disabuse is all that was explored.

All of those "If"s seem to begin incoherent presumptions which make no sense. They seem to say that one should simply believe whatever they hear as long as one has 'faith' in they who are asserting.

Perhaps one is not familiar with the normal practice that, if important results are reported, several other labs will attempt to successfully duplicate the work before it is ever accepted into 'theory'. It is not rare for those results to not be able to be duplicated. Scientists do not 'trust' scientists and we always doubt even the most basic explanations because this Universe never fails to have 'variables' which will confound every theory over time.

In fact, the fall of a major theory is celebrated because we have got it wrong and new doors into a greater perception of this place will undoubtedly be opening. One of the most basic things a scientist learns is how primitive we really are and how complex this Universe may well be just by what we can see we don't know, and don't have a clue how much we can not yet see at all. For example, when an average person looks at a tree, all they see is a 'tree', not an entire world of Life and some of whose most important parts are not even visible but lie underground and unknown to the eye or the mind. But, study a tree, and one will see there just the beginning of that complexity and just in that tree one will never come to the end of it...

What have we got wrong now and we surely must? Only the future knows...science is driven by doubt and trial and error, not 'faith'. And of examples of things which we only barely understand, the Human immune system is at the top of the list and the dynamics of herd immune adaptation even less.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Science has been abused by politicians and bureacrats such as Fauci and others.

They say "follow science", but in fact their position is anti-scientific. An example of an antiscientific troll here is virusrex.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

No. Understanding what 'science' IS and understanding how the word is abused by those who would try to appear wise or who would falsely disabuse is all that was explored.

Who would you say abuses the science? those that can link to primary sources and the professional opinion of scientific institutions to defend their points? or those that require hidden impossible conspiracies for which no evidence is ever presented? If you can discredit an opinion using science then it is completely valid to do it, even if that discredited opinion is something you also like to believe.

If you have something easily verifiable (COVID is dangerous, mask and vaccines work, etc.) that is enough to contradict someone saying the opposite, replication will help after that to confirm or make more precise the infromation, but even without it having any kind of data already defeats an opposing opinion based on no data at all.

The example on the article is clearly about a person believing things against the conclusions of science (as a collective activity) and it is based on countless studies that suppor those conclusions. If anything trying to say this is not scientific or lacks replication is precisely trying to abuse the science.

You want to celebrate that the person being described in the article is right and the whole scientific community in the world is wrong? sure, but for that you need scientific data, without it she is still completely wrong and the scientists and doctors still right.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

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