Habitual fear and its impact on society.

Updated: May 14, 2020

Corona virus, or Covid-19 is creating fear within our culture. Fear, if not understood, can lead to drastic decision making without using our conscious brain. This could result in much more chaos than if we zoomed out and let our logical sides win out.

Let’s digress a bit. Fear isn’t an inherently bad thing. Fear can be a motivator and fear can inspire. Fear is a base emotion that our limbic system developed most likely before we had conscious thought.

Our habitual or programmed responses to fear however can be a bad thing. Over the course of our life we program what we learn as best ways to handle events that inspire fear. Those programs then turn on when events spike that emotion and we take action just like we subconsciously programmed ourselves to do. The fear program doesn’t analyze whether the reaction is best for you now. It just does what it did in the past.

Our logical brain, or prefrontal cortex, has the duty of processing new information and making changes. The unfortunate thing about this duo is the logical brain takes time to process where the emotional side just responds. This is great if running from what you think is a tiger, however not great when it turns out to be a house cat jumping off a pile of trash and you’re now running in the road.

Cultures program themselves just as people do. Culturally accepted norms dictate the way people act subconsciously just like with an individual. Raw emotions like fear or anger can rip across a culture the same way as it can tear through your mind.

Covid-19 is sparking this fear currently in our society. We have a choice, right now as a society, as to how we are going to respond to this stimulus. Here are the 3 options as I see them.

First option is we get over run by fear and make our decisions “sub-culturally.” Let me paint a picture of what happens in this scenario. As more tests become available we start to find out that Covid-19 is already running rampid in America. We start to shut down all non essentials. No mass gatherings, no travel, no schools.

The repercussions of this start to trickle down on EVERYTHING. People start to be fearful to go in public so commerce is slowed to a screeching halt. Trust for America’s Health (TFAH)’s March 2007 report “Pandemic Flu and Potential for U.S. Economic Recession” finds a severe pandemic flu outbreak could result in the second worst recession in the U.S. since World War II. The U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) could drop over 5.5 percent, leading to an estimated $683 billion loss. Those are 2007 numbers, imagine what they would be today 13 years and a booming economy later. Couple that with the fact that 78% of people live paycheck to paycheck and you can see where this could be a problem.

On top of financial issues you also have healthcare issues. Fear will push our healthcare system past the limits. We have done studies on possible pandemics. Here is an excerpt from one such study I found from the US national library of medicine. “Depending on the severity of the pandemic—whether it is moderate like the 1957 and 1968 strains, or severe like the 1918 strain—the federal plan projects the following: 45 million people in need of outpatient care; between 1 million and 10 million people in need of hospitalization; 130,000 to 1.5 million people in need of intensive care; 65,000 to 750,000 patients requiring mechanical ventilation; and deaths numbering from 200,000 to 2 million. In recent flu seasons, it has been reported that hospital emergency departments have reached their limits and that there is little room for a surge in patients in either emergency rooms or inpatient beds.”

Fear will drive people that are kind of ill to hospitals, taking up resources and time. Fear will shut down our economy as we know it. Fear will do its best to just get through today because hey, today we are alive to feel fear.

Second Option: We don’t take the threat seriously. In this scenario we say this is some political BS and we don’t do anything. We don’t cancel mass gatherings, we don’t restrict travel, and we don’t panic. Panic is for the weak and stupid.

In this option we don’t have the incredible financial impact, and people go about life more or less how it was. We have had scares like this before. Swine flu, mad cow disease, Ebola, avian flu, just to name a few. None of these came to fruition, why would this one be any different?

Instead of fear, ego drives these people. They are unconsciously incompetent of learning something new because they don’t believe that they can learn anything new. You don’t know what you don’t know.

The great thing about this ego way of thinking is that they are right most of the time. Life is much simpler when you already know enough. Information or awareness is the catalyst of change. Change is the force that your ego will fight 100% of the time.

While this non-action approach has worked in the past and possibly could this time, it will not work when the threat is reality. Here are some facts if you are interested in learning…

-Covid-19 has a higher fatality rate than the flu. Even higher now than the decimating spanish flu of 1918.

-Covid-19 is trending to be more contagious than the traditional flu because it’s transferrable days before signs of sickness.

-Covid-19 is a new virus. People do not have any immunity to it.

-The reproductive number – the number of secondary infections generated from one infected individual – is understood to be between 2 and 2.5 for COVID-19 virus, higher than for influenza

-Covid-19 has proven to be transferable when the carrier is A-symptomatic.

-Covid-19 is spread through respiratory secretions and contact. It can stay on surfaces possibly up to 9 days.

-Covid-19 has no vaccine

Are these facts enough to persuade you that this is a real threat? Is this Covid-19 just a political ploy to take our attention away from something else? Are you open to the possibility of this being a real threat?

If we do nothing and this is the real deal it will infect in the neighborhood of 80,000,000 people in the US alone. If the mortality rate stays where it is at 3% (which could go up or down) that would be 2,400,000 Americans dead.

If this is the real deal and you choose not to do anything, someone you know, maybe even someone close will die. Is that what you want to gamble because of your ego?

Third Option: Let the fear take positive shape to inspire action and let the ego dissolve. In this option the fear mongers and the egotistical “know it alls” both zoom out. They come to the realization that both sides of this game of life could crumble the society we know.

In this option, we listen to those who have spent their lives studying contagious diseases. If the consensus is to shut down all mass gatherings to prevent large scale outbreaks we suck it up. If the consensus of these learned individuals say that there is nothing to worry about then we continue on. We choose to read articles we perceive to be on both sides of the isle and we make informed decisions.

Neither Fear nor ego drives option three’s society. Logic and reason become the king. Our greatest gift as humans is conscious thought that we can articulate through words. Let’s lean on those smarter than us for the support and prepare our bodies and our cultures for battle. Whether it is covid-19 or not, this is a fight that will take place at some point in the near future.

So how can you become proactive? What can you do to be a good soldier in the upcoming fight against what we can’t see? The battle will be waged in your immune system. Just like our soldiers going to war need to be well taken care to fight to the best of their capabilities, so does your body. Here is a list of things that you can do right now to be a better soldier:

-Create a habit of hand washing

-Eat healthier to support immune health

-Stop all things that put pressure on your immune system (smoking, copious alcohol, etc)

-Strategic supplement to support immune health

-Actively listen to those who study this topic

-Make sure all information you spread passes the “smell test” before you spread it.

It is important to note that judgement in this war is not an effective tool in winning it. The judgement of those who have fear. The judgement of those not preparing. The judgement of yourself for feeling however it is that you feel about the situation. None of these judgements will help in the heat of battle. Coming together, with a general understanding that we all want the same things, is perhaps the single biggest thing we can do.

We may hail from different countries, but we have the same objectives. Nobody wants their Grandmother to die, nobody wants the economy to weaken, and certainly nobody wants to get sick. We can choose to be fearful of others or we can come together towards a common goal. As we debate this in culture it is important to note that what has gotten us this strong as a human race is our ability to group together, share knowledge, learn and grow. I don’t see why this challenge will be any different.

Does this resonate with you? If so, please share this with your social media.

Also, go to youtube/MyOdisee to learn how you can build a habit of handwashing. If you find yourself stuck in the fear of the situation? MyOdisee can help. Your response to fear is a habit that can be reprogrammed.


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