A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine being administered. Photo: AFP via RNZ
Nothing at the moment can be more emotionally charged than our personal decisions and feelings around Covid-19, vaccination, vax passports, and our faith and trust in government and institutions, writes Thomas Tarurongo Wynne.
Spend a day in the Land Court and you may come to better
understand that no decision we make is made without emotion.
And if you want to see raw emotion and decisions woven
together, look not inside the court but look instead as it empties out and
families that have found themselves on the wrong side of a judge’s decision.
Often the feelings on that decision spill out with
emotionally charged words that are not worth repeating, because both of those
families strongly believe they have done their research, that they have proof
that they are right.
Our land decisions are driven by research, as we gather
facts to support our argument, and sometimes pay and employ people to do that
research, and to fight in a court room for us.
The money and time we invest in land decisions should clearly
point to the emotion and deep feeling we invest in that decision and to be
right. A decision often based on trust, trust of the process, trust in justice,
trust in the courts, and trust in our information.
There is not a single decision we can make without trust.
Trust is that sense that everything is as it says it is,
that the information is trustworthy, that the people telling me that
information are trustworthy, and that my decision is trustworthy, because in
the end we have to trust that we are making the right decision.
Should the source or information be found to be
untrustworthy, we then find ourselves having to reconsider that decision.
Emotion is so interwoven in our decision making when we get
it wrong that we don’t say, ‘damn, that information wasn’t accurate’; instead
we often find ourselves saying, ‘in my gut I knew it was wrong’, or ‘I should
have listened to that intuitive voice that said yes, or no’.
That gut feeling or inner voice is not based on fact, but
more that deep and emotional connection to trust and whatever it is that we put
our trust in.
So can I say it again, no decision you make in life is free
In fact we often regret those decisions where emotion was
left at the door or where emotion was the only thing we welcomed in.
Nothing at the moment can be more emotionally charged than
our personal decisions and feelings around Covid-19, vaccination, vax
passports, and our faith and trust in government and institutions.
If you want to see a discussion go down the abusive rabbit
hole, then talk about vaccination and you will see a heated emotional response
like no other.
And for the record, I am double vaccinated, I have a healthy
scepticism of institutions, I work for government, and have been awake since my
Mum told me to fetch the kikau broom.
So when I say misinformation, I’m not talking about
information about a vaccine, government or even Covid-19.
Instead it is the misinformation of our shared humanity and
about how we should treat each other, especially when we strongly disagree.
Because we will disagree, and disagreement is a necessary part of any
discussion and learning.
We are however misinformed if we choose to stop listening,
misinformed if we stop caring, and misinformed if we think it’s ok to attack
people from the privacy of our keyboards.
History is littered with too many examples of when humanity
decided either because of race, religion, gender, politics or ideas, that our
fellow man could be treated as less than human, and I worry about the spread of
this virus of hate than I do an actual virus.
Sometimes I feel like my own faith has been hijacked by
insensitivity, injected with conspiracies and vaccinated against any kind of
compassion – especially for those He said, were our neighbours and to love them
as we would want for ourselves.
Love for each other however is not found at the end of my
decisions, is not found in the echo chambers with those we agree with, or in
the comfortable room of agreement.
Instead it is found in the uncomfortable room of
disagreement, when we are faced with those that despise us or our ideas, or
simply with those who look and think differently to us.
And can we still find the grace to seek out what we have in
common? That for me continues to be a daily challenge and at times I have made
good decisions and other times it’s been disastrous.
Maybe it’s a challenge for us all, especially in the times
we now live in and the battle for our attention, information, our decisions,
our health, our bodies, and our faith, and more importantly, whatever or
whomever we trust and believe in.