Thursday, May 21, 2020

Here’s a thought …

… COVID-19 shows we're more risk averse than post-World War II Americans.

Fundamental attitudes can change in a nation over half a century, and the very different responses to this year’s coronavirus epidemic and the influenzas of 50 and 60 years ago suggests that people today are much more risk averse, much more willing to undergo massive inconvenience and disruption to avoid marginal increases in fatal risk.
In August 2017, after spending a night in the ER, a doctor came and told me I had a life-threatening  condition and needed immediate surgery. My reaction was that I had none. He could just as well have told me it was cloudy out and there could be showers in the afternoon. Even I was surprised by my utter lack of affect, though obviously any feelings about the matter would have been beside the point. And i was certainly spared the worry. I just let the doctors get on with it and here I am. I don’t think any grand conclusion can be drawn from this. I may just be a borderline sociopath.

1 comment:

  1. Everyone is borderline in that sense. My reaction after coming to, from flatlining in the ER, was that the dozen people trying to keep me alive, cared so much, that they should relax, just do their jobs, that if I die, I die. It's just that they cared, and I was going through a fairly typical psychological reaction -- one that seems to prepare us for inevitable death.

    On the other hand, the Hong Kong flu added 34,000 excess deaths. Something maybe we should not have accepted at that time -- to let it find its herd immunity among us, a depressive acceptance of being powerless in the face of a killer, a self-created propaganda line. We treated it as a "normal" flu, accepting the idea that some of us would die. It happens, hey. And maybe we were powerless. Or maybe we bought the propaganda lines to quickly.

    This isn't to say that we did not shy away from people with symptoms, or firmly told someone to cover their mouth, goddammit. Those were the borderline sociopaths, the ones who thought they were above covering their coughs and wearing masks, who would go out in public knowing they were sickening others, maybe even killing them.

    Same thing, many people die from being stupid or borderline sociopathic in other ways, adding to the terrible toll of death by auto accident. Crazy drivers keep pedestrians off the roads. My 98-year-old neighbor, before she died, stopped walking to the local grocery store, because people were speeding on a local road.

    The ones who go out and walk, like you and me, put ourselves at high risk of the killer careless drivers, who want the roads for their tomfoolery and daredevil emotional release, even it it kills people. I would know. I got hit by a truck a few years ago, and he was not even a crazy driver. How much of this do we accept?

    With this pandemic, we knew early that it was a killer, many times that of the Hong Kong flu, and now we are living the sufety of that. It mostly kills before the killer carrier is aware that he caught the virus. Indeed, with all the care that localities have insisted upon, on walking about safely, with safe distances, with masks, just as there are killer drivers breaking road laws, there have been killer pedestrians.

    There's now been more than one case of a killer covidiot going to church. And now studies are showing that singing sends the virus out longer. The standard safe distances dont apply in a church that is singing.

    A recently aired real life crime program featured a husband who killed two wives and a set of his children over time. He thought he was special in the way he could compartmentalize. This made it easy for him to push his wife off a cliff, when the marriage started going rocky downhill. In relating this, it was eerily like he was relating a special skill he had, suddenly so distant from his wife, like a pilot dropping a bomb, not witnessing the pain up close, the love and caring that is normal.