What can we learn from this crisis? Now, I want you to think really hard about this!
We’re all fairly intelligent human beings. We have the ability to sift through information to uncover facts. Or do we? Let’s look at these crises:
911 What did we learn? Attacking the economy physically doesn’t weaken the US, it brings us together! We learned that access to a cockpit should be restricted–to keep the bad guys from taking over the plane. Right? Um, nope. We learned that Nobody can be trusted because granny might have explosive material in her shoes. We learned that everyone from the Middle East is a terrorist. We learned that the best response to a bad situation is to fix blame and yell at each other.
Hurricanes What essential things did we learn? The barrier islands are necessary to mitigate the effects of a hurricane. That building and developing businesses on land below sea level in an area plagued by hurricanes is not a good idea. Nope. We learned that FEMA is useless and should be defunded. That as long as you have money and means, hurricanes are not devastating and if you don’t have money and means, it’s your own fault.
CoViD-19 We learned that we are resilient and resourceful people who can show remarkable innovation. We learned that we need procedures and protocols in place to deal with infectious diseases at a moment’s notice. We learned that the factual information will come from a central source. NO? We learned that when attacked, we have to stock up on toilet paper and ammunition. We learned that our total economic salvation is dependent on a $1200 check that not everyone deserves, and if we’re getting $1200, rich people are getting $1.7 million. We’ve learned creative uses for toilet brushes and hair dryers. (EW!)
See? Dumb! Panicky! and Dangerous! Our first instinct is not to solve the problem but to find someone to blame and get revenge. Our first instinct is to think that someone we trust with our best interests at heart is most likely going to lie to us. We learned that the infringement of our rights to freedom to pursue happiness means that it is our RIGHT to go and infect everyone around us and be infected because it’s ok to thin the herd.
I do not believe that the fatalities will make that much of a difference in the general health of our society. I also think that as long as you have to work in close quarters, your chances of infection are significantly higher than those people sitting on their couches watching NETFLIX. Thinning the herd is basically leaving the strong and healthy and eliminating the old, sick, or weak. This disease doesn’t seem to work like that. It is just as deadly on healthy young people.
I also believe that we have been surprised at how much money we spend on convenience such as eating out, and social activities like pub crawling, movies, concerts, rallies, races… I know that normally we spend upwards of $1000/month on things we do not do now. The $600 my husband withdrew from his paycheck nearly 2 months ago has dwindled down to $400. And last December, that same $600 would have been gone after 2 weeks!
We have had over 200 years to develop our culture’s responses to a crisis. Things we’ve grown to expect–
- Those in charge will “protect” us by giving us incomplete or false information.
- There will be no central repository of clear, factual information.
- The communication will be skewed and sensationalized based on whatever bias is going to attract the most advertising.
- Our government will spend most of its time trying to fix blame because it’s politics, and the main focus in politics is not to serve the people the political body represents but to ensure no loss of power.
- We can expect large corporations to take advantage of shortages by seeing to the bottom line, not by responding to a crisis to reduce the effects on the health and well-being of their customers.
- We would be surprised if confidence men and women DIDN’T take advantage of the panic and separate people from their money.
- We would be shocked to find we DIDN’T need extra security on our internet communications due to photo/meeting bombing.
And, true to form, we will learn the wrong lessons and make the wrong adjustments and jump to the wrong conclusions.
Because people are dumb, panicky, and dangerous animals.
What each of us should do is this:
- Come up with a list of things you like about how we’re now living, and things you don’t like.
- Think about how you could integrate the things you like into your new world after quarantine. (Pants would probably still be required for any activity outside the house, but other than that…) Do you prefer working at home? Do you want to spend more time with your family? Do you like the money you save by self-entertaining?
- Think about how you could improve the things you don’t like in your current circumstances so that you would not have to deal with them post quarantine. If you hate masks but you want to keep yourself isolated from airborne diseases, could you find a fashion alternative like a niqab? The banks might make you remove it when you went into their lobbies…
- Talk about this with the people in your household. WRITE IT DOWN and look at it daily. Now is the time to start establishing these patterns of behavior so when the quarantine is lifted, it would seem like second nature.
- Remember that our old habits led us into this situation where COVID-19 could take hold and spread so quickly. We need new habits.
After the walls come down, we need to act on our plans and not just fall back into the same behavior patterns that got us into this mess. We need to learn the right lessons! Whom do you want to idolize now? Which people really are essential in our lives? Do we need all that we want? Have our priorities shifted? What kinds of activities do you now consider essential? Have you now been exposed to something that makes life more awesome? I would not be averse now to join a Toastmasters online club several thousand miles away rather than limiting myself to the clubs in my immediate area. I know how to do mass meetings and can now get all of our family together. I will hug the stuffing out of them when I meet them personally, and up until lately, I didn’t like hugging much.
Let us learn the RIGHT lessons, and then apply them!