A couple of years ago, Jack and I were travelling home from state athletics in Sydney discussing the possibility that Shady (our inner fear) might be more powerful than Sparky (our inner loving courage). I think the topic came about because one of the athletes Jack competed against was very ‘cocky’, meaning, he used his ego/pride to parade around in front of the other athletes on the starting line flexing his muscles and making noises trying to ‘psyche’ the others out (it worked!). It was a deep conversation in which we considered many of the Shady qualities in people that help them ‘succeed’ in life. Jack had some pretty good points supporting the argument that Shady was more powerful. I stubbornly, wouldn’t budge in my opinion, because I wasn’t ready to lose hope in Sparky. As a result of this conversation, I have observed myself, others and the way our society works continually pondering the answer to this question.

Recently, I lost any hope I had that Sparky was more powerful. The back story is I naively spent three months researching and writing an academic paper backed up with peer reviewed scientific evidence to clearly show (I thought) that the Pfizer mRNA vaccine for Under 18s was not safe or effective. I honestly thought “if I give this to ATAGI (Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation) they will retract their recommendation that children and young people should be vaccinated.”

Haha! What a ‘rooky’ mistake. Not one  of the dozens I emailed the paper to replied (well actually one did but only to tell me she didn’t work in that role anymore). I knew they received my emails because I got their direct email addresses off the security guards in the Department of Health building in Canberra. I think the security guards felt sorry for me as I was there one entire morning ringing people in the health dept who were in the building, but not one person would come down to speak to me in person or take a hard copy of my paper. I honestly thought that someone’s Sparky would tell them to read my paper, take into consideration the scientific evidence I presented to them and then  talk about it with their colleagues and the ATAGI Covid action group in charge of recommending (or not recommending) vaccinations. I have since learnt that the Chair of this committee, Nigel Crawford may have conflicts of interest with Murdoch media and pharmaceutical companies.

Since my rude awakening to the power of Shady in our health department and government I have been hanging out with ‘anti-vaxxers’ and ‘conspiracy theorists’ and attending ‘End the Mandates & Hands off our Kids” rallies in Coffs, Sydney and Canberra and when I tell any of these people my story, they look at me with pity and say something like “of course they are corrupt, they always have been, always will be, that’s how politics works, it’s all power and greed!”. The saddest part is I honestly believed good would prevail (because Sparky is more powerful), now I know the truth, Sparky is not more powerful than Shady!

After this realisation, I spent a lot of the past month on the low road lost in hopelessness and Shady thoughts like, ‘maybe I can’t make a difference!” After intermittent wallowing and a few Pit Stops I have realised that Shady is not more powerful than Sparky!

The truth is Sparky and Shady are the exact same force existing as polar opposites. One cannot be more powerful than the other because both of them are equal (an analogy would be a magnet – the positive and negative charges are both equally as powerful). What makes Shady appear more powerful than Sparky is that people act on (or with) this force and choose to use it more often because it is the ‘easy way’ to meet our human needs. Let’s go over our needs to make this explanation clear.

Humans need everything on Maslow’s hierarchy: physical stuff to stay alive; safety & security; love & belonging; self-worth & importance; and a sense of purpose. I also believe that Anthony Robbins is correct in his conclusion that humans need: certainty that we can gain pleasure and avoid pain; uncertainty/variety to give life a sense of adventure/newness; significance (similar to Maslow’s self-worth and importance); connection (similar to love & belonging); growth (learning and understanding); and contribution (similar to Maslow’s purpose).

To meet our human needs, we choose which of our forces we use. When we use our fear (which often brings instant gratification) our behaviour looks like ego/pride, greed, deceit, impatience, envy, gluttony, laziness and selfishness. When we chose our loving courageous force (which requires a lot more work, delayed gratification and trust that we will be okay) it looks like humility, charity, honesty, patience, gratitude, temperance, diligence and selflessness.

Therefore, the part of us which is the most powerful is actually our conscious self or personality (in Sparky and Shady speak) because that is the part of us that gets to choose which force we use.

Since writing my paper and receiving no response from the government I have had a realisation that most of the population choose fear (Shady) because we are scared we will not be able to get our needs met if we choose loving courage (Sparky). I understand this now. I’d like to think that I choose Sparky all the time, but the truth is I do not. In the last month of ‘lost hope’ I have chosen Shady every time I have slept in and haven’t needed to, every time I have whinged and moaned about the corrupt government, every time I have walked past rubbish and not picked it up while walking the dog, and every time I have binged on junk food and Netflix. It is easy to choose fear and instant gratification when you lose hope!

Thankfully, my hope is back and I think I may have been partly right all along – Sparky could be more powerful than Shady simply because it feels better! Of course this only applies for those who have connected to Sparky and know what it feels like. (The analogy with the magnet would be that although negative and positive are equal forces, our conscious self is more attracted to the positive because we have past experiences of it being better!)

No matter how bad things get in your life if you have hope that your inner loving courage will help you – you will (eventually) choose to let it help you. For those who know about Sparky, when we get sick of doing Shady stuff and being on the low road we eventually try Sparky again simply because it meets our need for certainty, Certainty that we can avoid pain and get pleasure. Shady’s tactics for instant gratification (being angry, resentful, binging on junk food and Netflix and not getting anything productive done are incredibly unfulfilling!) That’s what happened in my case anyway – I chose to do what Sparky nudged me to do because although I lost hope in our government – I realise I did not lose hope in Sparky!

What now? Instead of giving up on the medical professionals who actually have the power and expertise to recommend the withdrawal of vaccines against Covid for our children and youth I am trying this new tact. If I keep going, I believe I will get somewhere.

Here’s my email to Dr Nigel Curtis from the Murdoch Childrens’ Research Institute. He wrote a review paper leaning towards ‘take care there are risks to vaccinating kids’ called ‘Should children be vaccinated against COVID-19’.

… hopefully he will choose Sparky and tell the media what he really thinks! If not, I will keep researching and sending emails because I believe in the power of choosing Sparky!


Hi Nigel,

I enjoyed the review paper ’Should children be vaccinated against COVID-19?’ on which you collaborated, and am sorry I didn’t find it sooner.

The review piece you and your colleagues wrote was thought provoking and well researched, and it has led me to assume that in the current COVID-19 climate you may be opposed to ATAGI’s recommendation that all children and youth be vaccinated at this time.

Considering the current situation in Australia with Omicron – may I ask where you stand on Pfizer mRNA vaccinations for under 18-year-olds? What about Pfizer vaccinations for Under 12s? Would you vaccinate your own children if they were in these age groups?

I ask because after researching and writing a paper on the subject – find attached below, I have to admit that I am an ‘anti-vaxxer’.

I am writing to see if you are willing to voice your opinion publicly on this matter as many of your peers are still recommending vaccination for children despite the almost non-existent benefits for the individual and the community and the possible risks of adverse events for the individual child or youth.

I find some of the ‘pro-vaxxers’ with medical expertise are not ‘weighing up the risks and benefits with caution and proceed(ing) with care.” (This quote was taken from the last sentence of the concluding remarks in your review).

One of your peers that comes to mind is Norman Swann from Coronacast. I notice you did an episode for ABC with him last year and I was impressed with your honest answers (backed up with evidence from your review). Norman however, didn’t give your opinion much attention, instead he seemed to want you to say that children need to be vaccinated. (Interestingly I want you to say the opposite!)

I understand you work under AHPRA guidelines and are paid with Murdoch funds, so I’m expecting no response from you at all. In your shoes I suspect almost all the population would do the same. I am writing this however as I do have a tiny glimmer of hope that your inner loving courageous voice would like to tell your truth and give your honest opinion regardless of the potential consequences.

I will not publish your response if you do reply because if you do believe children and youth do not need to be vaccinated and are willing to state this publicly then I’m sure you will find a more appropriate public platform on which you can share your personal opinion.

Thank you for taking the time to read my email.

I wish you all the best and thank you for your contribution to the health of Australian children.

Love Kathy