If I was a clever consultant I would simply wait out a trend and take advantage of it when the time is right. But somehow I feel that acting like a citizen is just as important, so this is what I think on the current situation in plain, yet conciliatory terms.
Allow me to put us generously into the same basket when stating that our generation has hardly lived through such uncertainty before. But let that rest for a second to realize how ignorant this statement already is. Since anybody who consciously lived through the fall of the Berlin wall (by which I mean the greater separation between ideological white and black hats) and happened to be “on the other side” – or possibly came to Europe as a fugitive, whether from Syria, Afghanistan or Africa – has faced totally different hardships and proved resilient to a far higher degree than we will hopefully ever have to (that said we obviously need to care more about the situation in their home countries, before their problems become entirely ours, but that is of course off topic).
In other words – only a relatively small part of the world lived in apparent harmony and prosperity for the last many decades. In the grand scheme of things it is only fair if we now have to put up a fight too. Let’s now assume that fighting Covid-19* goes beyond staying at home: do we fight in the first place or just accept the new status quo?
Startled as well as intrigued many of us now developed an interest in topics that seemed too far to ever interfere with our lives before. We look at the terminology used, try to find data, put them into context and in doing so differentiate again between trending news and the original materials.
Another change, at least in my life: I started appreciating friends for a different reason, as sounding board for all the concerns that crossed my mind, together reflecting on things in a way that platforms just do not lend themselves to. Noticing for instance, how much a stance can depend on personal exposure to the public health system. Whether your son has a weak heart or your daughter is employed as medical specialist in a big hospital is likely to define your thinking as much, correct that: more, than ideologies or set of data thrown at you.
I hence had an opportunity to broaden my narrow business horizon, sharpen my critical thinking and finally started to grasp what it means to understand people emotionally. Maybe some of this applies to you too.
I think that current events require every single one of us to develop his own assessment – and not just consume statements of others, whether they be coveted experts of the day or ruling politicians. For one, because our world may – and in some ways should – look different tomorrow and this is the time to define it. But also: how are we going to deal with SARS-CoV-3 and -4? Besides waiting for vaccinations, which is hardly a strategy in the first place.
I write this on a sunny spring weekend, after a long (unfortunately slow) run in a large park nearby. It was impossible to pass people who were not in debate. Let us take this debate to our communities, on- and offline. Let’s read up on things, by all means be respectful, but also stay critical and mindful of the various biases in communication.
Point in case: what is the general purpose of institutions now in focus? How have their spokeswomen and -men been educated and shaped? What assessments did they give in the past?
But let’s also be open to change our own minds. Struck by the sober analysis of John Ioannidis, epidemiologist and Co-Director at the Meta-research Institute at Stanford, originally published in late March** – as well as other independent thinkers before him – I probably represent a minority opinion regarding SARS-COV-2 as threat to humanity to begin with. The hardest bias to see through could indeed be our own though.
We certainly need consensus and in hindsight may have reason to be proud of it. But we also need to make use of our collective reason, and not panic collectively, to become more resilient as societies, who knows which challenges lie ahead of us.
*allowing myself to be imprecise. The virus is called SARS-CoV-2 and only the illness it causes in some of the cases Covid-19. Let’s go back to proper terminology once emotions settle and not keep talking about HIV as if it was AIDS.
**the original video was deleted by youtube (presumably due to a conflict between its content and the official WHO position). The link included therefor leads you to a channel I cannot actually vouch for and I trust you do not take offense. It is the content that matters to me. If you have not come across this interview yet, you may find these 62 minutes to be the very best, critical, yet balanced introduction to the entire topic.