If you could rewind to March of 2020, or even farther back that that, what would you change? If you could see what will be in the future, what dreams does your heart hold for future generations?
If I could go back in time I would want more humility, more listening, more discussion and more embracing of uncertainties and certainties**. It is true that we didn't know what we were facing; but, instead of admitting that, our leaders ramped up fear to paralyzing levels, in order to get people to do what they deemed necessary. What if we had leaders that said things like this, "Right now we're not sure about how deadly this is, how easily it spreads, how it spreads, and who is most at risk. We think it's best to be cautious while we learn more. To that end, we recommend the following (recommendations follow)."
And that is what they would have been - recommendations. Recommendations are a lot easier to reverse than mandates. Uncertainty is scary enough. Using models (that later prove to be completely inaccurate) to push fear levels sky high is never helpful. I would argue that it's immoral. Look at the more recent information and compare it to what we were told a few short months ago. NPR published an article on May 28th titled: Antibody Tests Point To Lower death Rate for the Coronavirus Than First Thought. The CDC has lowered it's estimates of the CFR for coronavirus to .4% for symptomatic cases. When you add in asymptomatic cases that number drops even further. But even the CDC numbers are now being fact checked now because it seems people don't want to believe it might not be as bad as we thought! (And might there be some egos involved that don't want to admit that they were wrong? Humility in the beginning allows for humility later on...)
The point is: we can argue about numbers all day long - no matter what your source, expert, study is - someone will have a counter source that supports their view. Additionally, there will always be new information, new studies, new statistics. We need to find something more constant to pin our decisions on.
Side note: Did you know that there is actually a book called "How To Lie With Statistics"? This description is fascinating: "There is terror in numbers," writes Darrell Huff in How to Lie with Statistics. And nowhere does this terror translate to blind acceptance of authority more than in the slippery world of averages, correlations, graphs, and trends. Huff sought to break through "the daze that follows the collision of statistics with the human mind" with this slim volume, first published in 1954. The book remains relevant as a wake-up call for people unaccustomed to examining the endless flow of numbers pouring from Wall Street, Madison Avenue, and everywhere else someone has an axe to grind, a point to prove, or a product to sell. "The secret language of statistics, so appealing in a fact-minded culture, is employed to sensationalize, inflate, confuse, and oversimplify," warns Huff.")
Sounds like an interesting read!
- What have we learned from this experience? What would we keep and what would we do differently?
- What does history tell us?
- Who was in control? Was anyone in control?
- What was most influential on each of us as individuals - what influenced your mental and emotional state, your actions and reactions?
- How will we use what we've learned from this experience in the future when faced with similar circumstances?
Here is one historical perspective on who controls the narratives and information flow to the public:
When thinking about "control" of public perception and reactions, the media is probably one of the most, if not THE most, influential entity. It seems like most people understand on an instinctive level the power of the media. But even though we "know" this is true on an intellectual level, most don't adjust their behaviors by choosing to disengage from the media, thereby weakening its power.
(Question for exploration: Who controls the media?)
I, myself, was in a state of constant searching in the early days of the lockdown. What was the truth? Were the steps we taking necessary? Were they RIGHT? It took a while for me to realize how much NOT tuning into mainstream news every day influenced my perspective. I have never watched mainstream news. I never liked it, never was drawn to it. I used to feel guilty about it, because I thought I was not being a "responsible citizen". Now I see that the opposite is true! How much more helpful for me to not get sucked into that vortex of fear and manipulation.
So how do we find sources of information that we trust? That is not a simple question to answer. I have actually become way more informed because of social media. I find people to follow that I trust. Why do I trust them? Because over time they prove themselves to be trustworthy. Some of the people I most admire from these past 2 months are those who actually changed their mind. I have seen people - scientists and friends - change their tune when faced with new information.
One thing you can be certain of: any mainstream media has a huge bias - whether they lean "left" or "right" - they have agendas and forces outside of "seeking the truth" that influence them.
When thinking about this idea of finding "truth" and knowing what is going on in the wider world, consider the following article (click on the picture, it links to the actual article):
How can that be? Consider the following sentiment that seemed to resonant with many people:
In the beginning of this post I said I wanted more embracing of uncertainties and CERTAINTIES.
"But what is certain in this uncertain world?" you ask.
I want a world where people realize the one thing for **CERTAIN** is that we are ALL going to die one day and that the only thing we really have is HOW we live TODAY.
What kind of world do you want?