Fear Is The Mind-Killer

I wasn’t going to write about COVID-19. Really. There are enough hot takes out there without my adding to the clutter. But I’ve seen a shift in the last few days that bothers me, and I need to say something.

Any Action Is Not Necessarily Better Than No Action

I’m seeing some good things out there, some actions – mostly by local government – that make sense and are clearly well-considered and taken with the greater good in mind. But I’m also starting to see ‘take sensible precautions’ turn into ‘shun your fellow man or you’ll surely die.’ COVID-19 is serious, no doubt, but it’s not a virus apocalypse. It’s far more fatal than the regular flu, but it’s not nearly as fatal as you’d think from the news.

You’re Probably Going To Get Infected

I’ve seen estimates from epidemiologists that over half the US population will likely get infected by COVID-19. The social distancing we’re doing now is to keep the infection curve low, so the problem cases – pneumonia, mostly – don’t pile up in emergency rooms and clog the medical system. If you think you’re going to dodge the virus by keeping away from everyone, you’re wrong. When things re-open, as they have to, infections will continue, and if you don’t have it now, you’re likely to get it later.

Operate From A Position Of Strength

The shift I noticed in the first point – to shun all human contact – is not only counter to everything we know that makes us human, it is also a shift from a position of strength – take sensible precautions – to a position of fear – that guy over there is likely to get me killed. When you operate from a position of fear, you’ve already lost. When you’re afraid, nothing you do is a positive effort, it’s all a negative reaction. I’m seeing that now with people who were scoffing at social distancing now taking to the opposite extreme, making it social isolation. Which is bad. Don’t do that.

Listen To Frank Herbert

Here’s where I show my nerd cred: you should learn and remember the Litany Against Fear, from the Bene Gesserit of Dune.

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

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