Have noticed people acting strangely, or being total dickheads today? Like, even more than is usual for a Monday? Well, unless you’re a an astronomer, and star gazer, or one of those New Age dipshits, you probably weren’t aware that tomorrow is the full moon. Like me, you live in the modern world. You have a computer or mobile device of some kind. You have a calendar. You have something by which to tell the time. If you’re a fisherman or a seaman (lol), you have sophisticated equipment to track your bearing. You needn’t rely on celestial objects to inform your understanding of everyday life. So, barring a specific professional need, a hobby, or extreme credulity, your relationship with the heavens is passive. You take it for granted. If I hadn’t just mentioned it, you wouldn’t have been able to tell me when the full moon was coming up, unless you happened to gaze up into the night sky recently.
Your emotions are not effected by the moon and its phases.
You see, those aforementioned gullible retards really do believe that the fool moon has a profound effect on their emotions, or their chakras, or the electromagnetic field of their aura, or whatever silly nonsense they insist rules their lives. The believe it completely and fully, the way I believe that some day, more than one hundred people a week will visit this site, and that more that 5% of them will not actually immediately move on when they see what it is. And like my belief, theirs is faulty, based more on wishful thing than on any kind of empirical evidence.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not a hard-line skeptic. I am very open to fringy ideas. I just try not to take them too seriously. Not everyone is prepared to do that, and so you have a significant number of people who legitimately belief that angels watch over them, crystals can cure them, and the full moon can temporarily alter their personalities and bring bad luck.
The thing is, they’re right. Sort of. You see, there’s this thing called the placebo effect. It’s most commonly used in medical terms, to indicate a patients tendency to heal more readily, recover more quickly, or discover that their pain or discomfort has magically vanished, after taking some sort of remedy that actually has no active medical properties whatsoever. The brain has an amazing ability to kick our healing into high gear through simple belief. Don’t mistake this as the “power of positive thinking”, although being calm and centered through practices like meditation do tend to make you better at handling stress, lowering the amount of cortisol in your body. This seems to be more of a strong belief triggering brain chemistry to alter slightly.
Another way to look at it might be to say, “You weren’t really sick, but you were convinced you were, so symptoms manifested, and the fake cure made those symptoms go away.” It is very, very important to note that the placebo effect is ultimately a change in perception; the sensation of pain decreases, symptoms abate or become less severe. It doesn’t actually CURE anything. If you have cancer, placebo won’t make it go away. But it might make it easier to bear.
This same sort of mechanic seems to work in terms of what is often termed, “a self-fulfilling prophecy,” and that brings me to the meat of a little hypothesis that I’ve dreamed up. Okay, today is Monday, right? You woke up, resentful of the fact that you couldn’t sleep in, that the weekend is too damn short, that you didn’t get done all the stuff you’d planned on getting done because you were a lazy shit and you watched TV all weekend instead. You’re in a pissy mood. The cat took a dump on the floor and in your stumbling, groggy, eye-booger half-blindness, you stepped right in it with your bare foot. Traffic sucks. You have five voicemails and two dozen important emails at work, and a huge meeting. Today sucks.
Now the rest of your day is going to suck, too, because you’ve convinced yourself that the whole day is fucked (when in reality, it was only those few moments that sucked). For the rest of the day, you are fixated on primarily noticing the negative, and disregarding the positive. Textbook confirmation bias.
So if you’re acutely aware of the fact that the full moon is on Tuesday, and you’re inclined to believe that it’s going to fuck your shit up, then it will. You’re going to notice how shitty everyone is acting. You’re going notice all the little fumbles that you probably make most days, and rather than attribute them to simple human foibles, you’re going to convince yourself that you are “off kilter” due to the effects of the full moon. You are going to see everything through full-moon-tinted glasses, and all it’s going to do is solidify your convictions.
And it’s going to make you nasty and defensive for the few days before and after.
There’s a saying: misery loves company. Well, that’s more than a clever bit of folk wisdom, it actually seems to have some factual basis to it. People tend to remember bad things more than they do good things. A negative review of a product or service will stick with you, and influence your decision, much more than a positive review. And when somebody is spewing negativity, it tends to be infectious. You’re going to start being negative, too.
So, like a cascade, the full moon believers, who have noticed people who are naturally shitty pretty much all the time, are also acting shitty, which makes you act shitty. Everything feels weird. Oddball things keep happening. The energy around you is tense and nervous and confused. Inevitably, somebody says, “It must be the full moon!” And you Google it, and lo and behold, so it is!
You don’t really believe it, but you kind of do, in that moment, because something has to explain it, right? Well, it turns out, you believe it just enough to spread that meme onward. The idiots’ beliefs are reinforced. The average person who doesn’t think much about it sort of agrees in an amused and detached way. The skeptics just shrug and say, “People are just assholes. All they need is an excuse to act that way.” Everybody hates everybody, and everybody, in their own way, is right.