Viral Panic

In a world of uncertainty and unease, it feels surreal that the lives of those around us have changed so drastically. Each day, we are being “updated” with cases, number of deaths and the ages of each person infected. Each of these cases emerges mere hours apart and each government is catching up to the total cases, which catches up the anxiety and paranoia of each and every one of us. Its unhealthy to obsess over it, but our “eyes are glued to the screen” due to the abundance of information with analysis paralysis. The economy has impacted everyone with this, with numbers predicting millions of people losing their jobs as commercial and luxury transportation are grinding to an halt. The reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic is divided into two categories: one side exaggerates and catastrophizes the situation by spamming information that hasn’t been vetted, the other side doesn’t take it seriously because of illusions of grandeur that America has all the tools it needs to destroy the virus. Overall, the discourse between the two opposing entities has only delayed our perception and insight to the situation and left us unbalanced with our thoughts and behaviors. Many of the coping strategies are about as successful as the pandemic response by the US government, outdated and based on assumptions that problems occur gradually and not exponentially. This is because the data being provided has been abysmal.

Even with inconclusive data due to incompetence on many levels of bureaucracy, it was known that many things can go wrong at the same time. They underestimated the ability of a virus to spread so quickly, due in part to the trains, planes and automobiles and the illusion of progress being inherently good. But there’s another problem, mainly the assumptions of technology being an overall benefit while underreporting the side effect of catastrophes. Let me explain.

Technology is a machine, an extension of human organs (McLuhan) that provides an outlet outside the physical body and expresses new tools in the mental space of each environment we live under. In creating new technologies, we created new modes of thinking that we thought weren’t possible, new environments and changes within society appear suddenly and rapidly once our senses become attuned to the changes. Speed is important function behind this, rapidity in moving, going, traveling, proceeding, or performing; swiftness. What Speed does to us is an adrenaline rush, a continual surprise of hidden movement that we can only experience and not observe within ourselves. Anyone who has sprinted for sports or track knows that you can’t think and run at the same time, you just “go with the flow” and make it to the finish line.

A period of reflection and thinking about our assumptions makes people scared because it is uncharted territory that is beyond their control, which is a person’s cue to either pretend to cope with the changes or try to fight the system that perpetuates the social control. We try to give an explanation to phenomenon beyond our control with an introduction to Science as a concept. Investigation and Research were the priorities at start, they explained phenomenon with theories, analysis and skepticism that allowed a steady stream of new and interesting but then, devolved into accepting theories as facts until they came up with new facts.

Science, which is not so attached to ‘truth’ as once it was, but more to immediate ‘effectiveness’, is now drifting towards its decline, its civic fall from grace . . . . As a panic phenomenon – a fact concealed by the success of its devices and tools – contemporary science is losing itself in the very excessiveness of its alleged progress. Much as a strategic offensive can wear itself out by the scale of its tactical conquests, so techno-science is gradually wrecking the scholarly resources of all knowledge.” (The Information Bomb, Paul Vrillio, pg. 3)

Living in their own patchworks full of ivory towers, scientists and specialists are limited to their own devices and militaries across the world began experimenting their theories within zones of control and simulated exercises. A recent example of this was H-E-B, a supermarket supply chain that enacted emergency preparedness protocols that have been trained in simulations for a decade. Companies who obtain the most capital and have effective leadership will be flexible enough to adapt to a black swan, they will be able to adjust schedules and provide data of certain logistical needs. As for small business, airline and cruise line complexes, they depend on Just-In-Time delivery and travel which makes the grave assumption that the environment in which they operate will work nearly perfect every day. They sacrificed flexibility for the speed in delivery and that is built on another assumption that transportation will be heading to their FOB shipping point on time precisely, which requires accounting in assessing inventory costs. In a crisis like this, no one is going to have time to calculate the information since panic hoarders, COVID and a variety of other factors that take place under complexity.

But the most important aspect to consider is how this all ties into catastrophe. Crashes of cars, planes stock markets and computer and natural disasters have become more common than ever before. This is because were virtually aware of zones that are beyond our reach, were fed so much news on catastrophes that it is no longer possible to tell genuine accidents, simulated crash tests and acts of war apart. Some people will reach the conclusion that it’s theatrics and the puppet masters pulling the strings know what they’re doing. The problem here then is the lack of focus on speed shaping politics, not the other way around. Processing speed is a sort of protection racket that trades human spirits with the means of survival in return for external object that provides cost and benefits. Governments want to minimize potential threats of economic and political collapse and they do so by inflicting terror on the civilian population while claiming to protect them against themselves.

We will see the creation of a common feeling of insecurity that will lead to a new kind of consumption, the consumption of protection; the latter will progressively come to the fore and become the target of the whole merchandising system (. . .)The indivisible promotion of the need for security already composes a new composite portrait of the citizen – no longer the one who enriches the nation by consuming but the one who invests first and foremost in security, manages his own protection as best he can, and finally pays more to consume less.” (Speed and Politics, Paul Vrillio, pg.139)

COVID-19 is when behaviors change so drastically that some want to return to normalcy by any means necessary. The methods for reaching it include overarching federal government protocols or an insurgent revolt on everyday life . New opportunities will arise in decentralized DIY projects with difficult challenges ahead to the State, local and Federal levels in the hopes of combating the pandemic that is highly contagious but has a generally low death rate across the world as the fight between safety over responsibility continues. The good news is America always finds a way to reinvent itself in a time of crisis, turning from a nation-state back into rhizomatic networks (localism) that test out different avenues of approach when it comes to security, manufacturing, farming and community build-up. Problems will occur when Speed determines how weapons are created and how many people get killed, but it doesn’t have to always be this way. Learning how to be self-aware is the first start, know your thoughts before you speak them. Once you know how human behavior is predictable in panicked situations, its when SHTF, preparing meals, construction and other projects will reshape families and communities across the country to be more self-reliant as time goes along. In a way of speeding up Kubler- Ross loop faster when necessary will teach you how to control yourself. It will take time and mistakes will be made, but the horizon will look brighter if you took the time to setup the plans for the future.

Saer96 is a part time insurgent, part time book reader, part time clearner.

One Comment Add yours

  1. muunyayo says:

    Reblogged this on Muunyayo.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s