My grandmother stuck her head in the sand. By choice.
Just a note that this is stream of consciousness typing with next to no editing.
While the choices made by society (both individual people and government) has in most ways “forced” us into this condition of near total physical isolation for over 700 days, we are doing this isolation by choice. Technically. Obviously.
The world is particularly and “extra” unsafe for us. But it is inherently unsafe for everyone else too whether or not they choose to know or believe it, or have come across the information about the disease they are subjecting themselves to.
Many people we know are more vulnerable than our household is, and they are going out to do things we are choosing not to. They, in the cases we know, have access to the information we do. The risks have been mentioned, and they choose to not look further into it to learn more and instead discredit without looking at any further information. It’s much easier to stick their head in the sand.
My grandmother actually chose to stick her head in the sand. She said it. She owned it. She stated she preferred to stick her head in the sand, because life was easier that way. If she didn’t know certain things, she would be happier. A family friend is doing it, because it’s important “to just be happy, to do happy things.” My brother does the same thing, head in the sand, also by choice so no habits need to be changed (which is probably true of most people doing this).
Sure, it’s a choice to be ignorant. You can’t force feed information acquisition, analysis, or retention. Avoiding information doesn’t necessarily make life easier though. For example, the syndromes that you can end up with thanks to covid will make life a lot more difficult for you, if that becomes your reality. If you kill someone you love by infecting them, that might make life more difficult too. You will be forced to change habits, to not be as happy, and the list goes on.
But hey, maybe you’ll be one of the lucky ones! Stick your head in the sand, and maybe not win that particular shit-lottery. Maybe, hopefully, perhaps.
I am completely the opposite. I am comforted by more knowledge. The more knowledge I collect, the better I feel. It’s probably a control thing. Sure, I like control. Even though I know there are so many (most things?) I cannot control in life, the more I know is just little bits of added control in a chaotic world. I feel a bit better, a bit safer. I know things that can help me avoid the shit-lottery as much as I can possibly try to avoid “winning” it.
Knowledge is power? Well, in some small partial way, perhaps some power. It doesn’t feel like it, as my knowledge doesn’t provide any meaningful influence in fighting for change (yet). But, I have a baller mask and badass goggles and only plan to leave my place in an emergency – but using them isn’t a guarantee. But I’ll take what I can in chaos. I have a good understanding of my real risk due to that acquired knowledge, and can do some things to keep me safer as a result.
Knowledge is also stress, stress that must be dealt with and mitigated – and that’s what people like my brother and grandmother don’t want to deal with in the first place. Even though they could. There’s a lot I’m doing to mitigate stress from acquired knowledge. Which was also acquired knowledge! Imagine that.
But I don’t want to deal with the chaos of not knowing. The stress of not knowing is even greater, for me. And that is where personality profiles are so fascinating. That is why we see such division in the world, and it all comes down to facts, logic, data mixed with personality of what people do in regard to those things.
There are those who don’t even want to deal with the idea that they could get long covid that destroys the life they had. That they could be spreading disease to someone who dies. That they might not be able to follow their rigid, precious routines if they did the responsible thing.
That they might need to change a habit or make a sacrifice in their lifestyle. And so much in life and our fucked up world can be boiled down to this one thing.
Of course, there are also those who get drawn in by and ride the misinformation train. The ones who seek comfort by finding the excuse for their bad habits so they don’t have to feel shame or whatever other uncomfortable truth they can’t handle.
“People love excuses for their bad habits.” I learnt/heard that one in nutrition school and the vegan community.
There is always an excuse, heightened by social media and in part due to capitalism and keeping that money train on the tracks. We can see one of many examples in nutrition. Take nearly any topic about health, and there will be nutrition studies that support and refute that topic. There are certainly good and bad studies, quality wise, so we can make judgements based on that, which will take you closer to the truth. But with the internet/media, that gets tossed out and the study title and abstract will form the article headline. And suddenly chocolate is a health food, labels and marketing gets adjusted, and sugar gets a free pass in your diet again.
Want an excuse to not eat plants? Beans have lectins you know (never mind they get removed when you cook them), and plants have feelings (never mind the study was about how they respond to cues and don’t have a central nervous system). Or the one I love the most “I don’t need to do anything until the government does something.” OK, go drive that Hummer three blocks to buy your bagged milk at the corner store. Oh wait, you tell people to reduce their carbon consumption for everything except their diet because cheese is tasty? Right.
So keep eating that processed junk food, including plants and beans, you just got a free ticket to ignore the real reasons behind the movements and dismiss them based on reading a headline or mangling logic to fit a habit. I can feel my zero to two readers clicking away right aboooouuuuttt… now. ;)
It’s always the same, no matter what comes along. No matter the movement. Climate, animal rights, pandemics. You name it. But now it almost becomes easier as data and information is reduced to headlines, sound clips, a TikTok. As attention spans diminish and the glut of information and expansion of who gets to share it en masse makes so much of it meaningless.
And yes, I include myself in that. Here I am, typing stream of consciousness into a device – and who am I? I am no one to you. I am no one to most people. And my faceless thoughts are quite literally worthless.
All I know is that I can feel comfortable that I over analyze most things. Because I find comfort in knowing as much as I can from all sides on a single issue before making a decision about what to do with that information. I believe that the world would be a bit better off if most people did more of that. You know… not get their science only from memes or comments on Facebook. Dig into why those memes are there, and who is creating them. See if there’s any solid, reliable data behind any of it (not data from an open database anyone can contribute to freely, but an actual controlled and well-designed/executed study… say… that was then analyzed by experts in that very specific field). And then look at the other side. Then look at another side. Then see if there are any more sides. And look at the background, credentials, and everything else of all those sides. Then see what others in that specific field are saying about it in laypeople terms.
Or at least find someone who is reliably looking at the field in general, and listen to them and the other field-specific people who keep that person in check.
Sticking your head in the sand is a big part of what is making this world a real messy and universally region-nonspecific shithole place right now.