The Coronavirus has instilled abject fear in the populus. Facts and figures be damned, this is the Big One. I am not denigrating the seriousness of the situation but marveling at our immediate submission to the direst of forecasts. Is this just our nature or a fool’s journey?
One immediately goes to the flight or fight response. Hearkening back to the caveman we have an instinctive desire to survive. We size up the situation and figure if we want to slay this beast for dinner or become his. If we are the hunter gatherer we have to worry about the wife and kids also. The majority of the time we probably run. But why?
As in the above situation we have to assess it and take action in a relatively short period of time or face some dire consequences. There is not a lot of leeway. I have to swerve my car or crash. I can’t go through the snake pit but go around it. But there a number of times where you have to just sit down and take measure.
Covid 19 started rearing its ugly head two months ago. Our first reaction is,well China is a long ways away. Then it starts crawling or running as the case may be, closer and closer to us. Now we have cases in the US. Yikes! I thought we were invulnerable. Now the mad dash for masks and foods etc. Are we being foolhardy or prudent?
We get ourselves pretty worked up. The government should be doing something. Shut down the schools. Cancel air travel. It might be a human response but is it rational? Last year there were 5 million cases of flu throughout the world and approximately 600,000 died from it. We have known about this for years. Is that a cause for denial of the threat or is this different?
Inherent in all of this is information to make some sort of rational decision. If you look around there is a fair amount of doom and gloom. Our Information Age has made us privy to the latest but I daresay susceptible to half truths, rumors and innuendo. All to get the story out there first. Fear is such a visceral response, it is easy to get people going.
Ebola was going to wipe out entire nations. We couldn’t imagine anything more contagious. Yet all of our preparations had a twofold effect. It scared the crap out of people but it also made us vigilant. We took necessary steps to create isolation and a vaccine. Isn’t that what we are doing now? Sorry TTG, this time is different. What about SARS and hurricanes and stock markets? Let’s face it. Fears sells. It is a fine line between warning people and paralyzing them.
It got me thinking about the whole fear thing itself. It is intrinsic to our nature so as to keep us safe. It is in a way healthy. But when it turns to sheer panic it becomes obsessive and irrational. Basic to all this is the right info. What is the source? Are they reputable? Odds, forecasts and projections are at best educated guesses.
Take the stock market. The Dow plunges 5% in one fell swoop. You get that pit in your stomach as you watch it dive. Not just one day but several days. You search in vain for rationale. Turn on CNBC. Let’s listen to the latest pundits. Does this dude know what he is talking about when he says don’t panic? Or how about the guy that says the sky is falling? What is a guy to do?
I am afraid of heights. About five years ago I jumped out of an airplane. Huh? My daughter gave me the ride for my 70th birthday. I checked out the provider of said insanity. I knew the odds. I also took great comfort in the fact that a lot of other people were doing it that day. Ship of fools? I watched the preparation which I thought more than adequate. Let’s go.
As we soared to 17,000 feet into the clear Colorado sky, I had a strange sense of tranquility. I was joined at the hip with Sean who was my tandem partner. It felt good to know that he had already jumped five times that day. We stood in the open door and then we were off. It was a feeling of euphoria and resignation because there was nothing I could possibly do to turn back. I just enjoyed the ride.
It taught me a lot about fears. I learned all I could and set things in motion. As far as Covid 19 I am assessing it as a danger but not insurmountable. The chances of catching it are remote and by whatever I steps I take I can improve my chances of dodging the bullet. Sure things might get out of hand but there are certain things I cannot control. Ditto hurricanes, tsunamis and locusts. Do your best and live your life.
It brings me to simple conclusion. No matter what goes on in my life it has nothing to do with the occurrence itself but how I react to it. The world hasn’t changed. The sun comes up and goes down. The world can be incredibly beautiful or a torture chamber. You are the one that controls that. No one else. Don’t worry. Be Happy!
Ted The Great
Most Common Fears: Acrophobia(heights, Claustrophobia( small confined spaces) Aracnophobia(spiders), Ophidiophobia(snakes),Agoraphobia(fear of being alone.
Two of the great fears of achieving our goals are fear of failure and ironically fear of succeeding. Both lead to procrastination.
A phobia is an overwhelming, irrational, and persistent fear that leads to avoiding the object or situation. It can be a fear of a specific thing or of a social setting. These lead to anxiety disorders which affect around 40 million Americans.
We love forecasts, predictions, forewarnings, fortunetelling et al. We want to know what is coming but there is very little chance of that.