The Sum of Our Fears…
As I mentally wander through the days between essays I am constantly on the lookout for things that interest me and hopefully you. I will jot down a note or a thought to come back to later. The latest list fills several dozen Post-its.
I could address conspiracy theories, emergency equipment shortages, food supply chain screwups et al but a quick review of all things journalistic says I would have little to add to the fray. I am amazed at how many “experts” have popped up and how so many are contradictory to one another. I think we can call that grasping at straws.
Looking to myself I keep coming back to this thing called fear. In limited communication with my fellow men and women it is the thing I am most curious about. This varies greatly based on age and I guess personality.
Fear is good if rational and dangerous if irrational. We size up a situation and decide if it is safe or not, or at least if it is worth taking the risk. Do I walk the long way around or do I run across six lanes of I 95 to get home quicker? That’s rational fear. Some of us even like the thrill of challenging the odds and the resulting adrenaline rush. Good for you.
Irrational is a fear of something that does not exist or its possibility is so remote that it is of little actual consequence. You are afraid of rhinos. Cool, but how many times in your life will you run into a rhino wherever you call home.
The key to understanding all this is knowledge. You determine a set of facts, lay them out in columns for and against and make a rational decision to avoid or deal with it. Sometimes facts are increasingly hard to find.
It seems one of the great fears of life is groundlessness, a life careening out of control. We crave some sort of order and predictability. If there is indeed a danger, there is some sort of time frame during which you will have to endure discomfort. Ergo the perceived relief today that life may in some respects get back to normal. But does it?
Our world seems hell bent on taking all the uncertainties out of life. We have come up with predicted scenarios where you can fall off a bike, spend too much time in the sun, hedge your portfolio, eat poorly…yadda, yadda, and we will fix it. 150 ounces of prevention. I am not saying this is wrong but we have also become somewhat obsessive.
Constant fear is plain and simply bad. Adrenalin is nice once in awhile but constant stress can rip your insides to shreds. As we proceed down the COVID highway we actually get used to it. We figure out ways to deal with it. The numbers blur and we become numb to the gory photos. There is a sense of contentment in that in some strange way we are getting back the control over our lives that we crave so much. We are making do.
The ultimate fear and maybe what drives all of this is that of death. Preserving one’s mortality is a worthwhile cause but to what extent? Prior to Wuhan we waxed eloquently about the possibility of living to 150. We will do anything and everything to continue on, but what is that life like?
I enjoy a cocktail and an occasional cigar. TTG, don’t you realize you are shortening your lifespan by up to 3 years? Yes I do and I have decided the prospect of living to even 90 in a hermetically sealed and totally nutritious state sucks. I will not be profligate but I am going to have some fun. Do I really want my grandkids to look lovingly at me while I am somewhat comatose and drooling? Spare me. I am just not that afraid.
We were convinced we had a perfect world. The world of AI and self driving cars have made our dreams come true. We wanted everything delivered to our door in two hours but now we yearn to go to a store. We have Skype, Zoom and FaceTime to facilitate our interactions but it does not come anywhere near pressing the flesh. I want you to respect my space but it would be fabulous to give you a hug. Be careful what you wish for.
Whether it is addressing fear or our daily routine we have to take a look at our lives. Somewhere we will be getting back to normal whatever that might be in the future. There is a marvelous outcome that could occur, but I am not sure it is in us.
9/11 shook us to our core. We looked around at the wasteland and took stock. We went to church and flew Old Glory from every eave and parapet and windshield. We were one but it was so fleeting. We created barriers as moats and the TSA, however imperfect, gave us a sense of security. Then we retreated for the most part to our old ways. Happy Day Were Here Again.
We have been hit once more. A super terrorist microorganism has brought the entire world to its knees. Guards in PPE gear will replace airport security as they search our bodies instead of our luggage. Thermal imaging will be the new body scanners. They will pull you out of line for further screening and questioning. All in the hopes of making people feel safe.
I don’t have a particular fear of all this. Respect yes, fear no. I am not particularly heroic but I also do not consider myself a wimp. Maybe it is my age but maybe those years have brought me just a touch of wisdom. Think of the bullets we all have dodged. We are incredibly lucky to have gotten this far. So many never did.
Enjoy life even if isolated. Call a friend or write a note. Read a book or listen to music. Life as we knew it will come back in some form. Maybe that is what I am afraid of .
Ted The Great
I have done a bit of research on the figures of 30%-80% of people on ventilators dying. We just don’t know and anecdotal evidence should not be considered scientific.
South Korea has been very successful in preventing the spread of COVID19. People on the streets, subways and stores pass through thermal imaging to determine if they have a fever. They then get further testing. This type of monitoring would never be allowed in the US. Should it?
Herd immunity. If a large percentage of people in a city or state have antibodies against Corona, from prior infection, then the virus is less likely to spread. This is why antibody testing is the theory of the moment.
There is no cure for the Corona virus. It is hoped that therapeutic treatment as exists now with AIDS will help people live with it.
There is a distinct possibility that a tech at the Wuhan center for virus research contracted the COVID 19 sometime on November and then spread to others. This would disprove the conspiracy theory as well s the “Wet Market” but make China complicit in hiding the knowledge of such a contagion.