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Deadly Gamble – Virus Edition

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Exploring what people believe about the virus situation and how it does or doesn’t relate their own behavior and why they seem to propagate to others what they do.

I am surrounded by people who have all kinds of beliefs about what is going on with the current virus situation. Some guys keep watching and posting every piece of corona-virus related news. Some do less of that but expect the virus will brush us all (but not necessarily kill) anyway and there is nothing that will stop it (or because people are too stupid to stop it). Majority seem to believe it’s not a big deal at all. Which is fine, too – for a BELIEF.

But what isn’t fine is insisting people should just keep living carefree as they did so far, not preparing for cases in which things do go bad. And in all truth – it doesn’t look like the most active news posters even cared to prepare themselves for the worst – even though trough the glowy screen you might have the impression that they now live in a bunker and wave their fist towards the satellites every 15 minutes (they don’t).

My belief: it will get solved somehow before it fatally reaches anyone I know.

Now, you might want to argue that this is the wrong and risky belief to hold at this point, and it will get me and others killed. Trust me, I get it. But here’s the thing: what I believe what will eventually become of this situation has no effect on how I behave or what I propagate to those who listen.

Exploring Belief

My belief about this issue might have a lot to do with my personal life experience so far – I have never had any brushes with global pandemics or other crises. And consider that this is the case for most people alive today – they haven’t had such a situation in which a big warning was given and then the thing hits exactly as they were warned about. But most of us have had big warnings given and then nothing came of it. Or something big came without there ever having been a single warning about it. All good? All good.

Now, let me repeat again – having such a belief does not make me behave as if the opposite isn’t a real threat. Having that belief doesn’t make me propagate to people they should just keep living their lives as they do.

Deadly Gamble

Experts going on TV doing the exact opposite – belief or scientific facts, schmilifs or smacts, they come parrot some data as if they know exactly what it meant, means and will mean, and then insist people should not worry about it at all, there’s no need to panic, just go ahead and keep living your lives. Experts come online and post their expert estimates and special prognosis and scientific models and mathematical calculations, and based on predicting the fucking past, they say shit like, “look, no need to panic. Just keep doing what you were doing.”

Although the word “bets” and “balance” aren’t in the official picture, what they do is GAMBLING. Broadcasting what they estimate to be the most likely outcome in the grand scheme of things. So, I say – regardless of what you believe about how this virus situation will resolve – what you want to avoid is not the opposite belief – but you want to avoid gambling with it. This isn’t a fucking horse race.

I don’t care about guessing it right or wrong, whether my belief is stupid or irrational or too rational or misinformed – I don’t care – and I don’t care about your belief either. I care about the survival of me and mine. And I never had to believe the worst expected case to happen in order to prepare myself – why need it change now?

Here I suggest – the key to convince people to prepare themselves and theirs for the worst isn’t trying to change what they believe or know or expect of the virus. Changing a belief is impossible to do. No matter how many updates and data you throw at them, they will have some nicely packaged belief-backing argument to throw right back at you. The key is might be showing the way to how to not participate in a deadly gamble. That will, in this case, mean simply avoiding going to places, doing some things; and maybe getting some inexpensive food and water in case there should be a lockdown.

Scaled UP is Scarier

In the personal and household domain the risk-clipping is inexpensive and personal. But when it comes to things like going to work or international flights, conventions with thousands of people, long-planned holidays to exotic places – things get a little murky. Especially when the things have already been payed for. When the armed forces of said countries have not come out to tell all the folks to go back home, things are a little less uncertain about fatal risk right now than they usual – and not to your favor – nobody seems to give a shit.

How can you stop people from going after what they already planned and payed for?

It certainly doesn’t work with mere broadcasting of recommended “precautionary measures.” No matter how much it is plastered on TV and radio and billboards – there’s always some individual who will go to work despite being sick, coughing and sniveling and sneezing. Oh it’s nothing, just a cold. Which, I assume, we say because we don’t want to miss out on work because oh me oh my, what will my employer think of me? I can’t drop the ball now! I have to earn my promotion and tough it out! Or another who takes a fucking plane to Italy even when it was on the news just last day how the number of infections grew like an explosion.

On the other hand – broadcasting this stuff not as a recommendation, but as something compulsory – unlikely to have any better effects. People might even go a little crazy when threatened about guaranteed over TV. So to get people to stop moving in an up-scaled world that is not clusters of villages but cities in which even neighbors don’t know each other – this won’t happen over propaganda, newspapers, TV/Radio or social media;

Maybe only when they see the tanks and soldiers or police with scary weaponry patrolling outside. Only then people will be persuaded to think, “oh, it must be pretty serious then.”

PS Canned food is tastier than expected. New problem: how to stop me from eating away my doomsday stash.


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