• ArguingWAristotleTiff
    3.9k
    I realize this is a longer article so please scroll on past if you have no interest in how our current reality is changing some of us. For those who wish, I will drop this here and see if anyone can relate.

    Your brain is working overtime to keep you safe right now. It has adjusted to a whole new reality and learned in a relatively short amount of time that what was once benign is now dangerous. For many people, these new fear associations are so strong they can even be triggered when the threat isn’t imminent. Has your stomach clenched during a concert scene in a movie? Or did looking at pictures of the Rose Garden Supreme Court nomination ceremony make you recoil? That’s your brain’s learned fear response in action.
    A fear of crowds isn’t inherent — most of us didn’t have this response to large groups of people pre-Covid-19. So, how did we develop this new anxiety so quickly?
    Over the past seven months, the country has taken part in a giant fear-conditioning experiment. We have learned that crowds are a high-risk situation for contracting Covid-19, so we don’t go to places with crowds anymore (most of us, anyway). Not only that, we have developed a physiological fear response (sweaty palms, knotted stomach, shallow breathing) triggered by this new conditioned stimulus. Pavlov would be so proud.
    Fear conditioning is when you learn that a previously neutral stimulus (a crowd) predicts a dangerous or unpleasant situation (a deadly disease). Eventually, the neutral stimulus starts to trigger the fear response on its own, even when the dreaded outcome isn’t possible, like when you view a crowd scene on TV. You can’t catch Covid-19 from a movie filmed in 1989, but the association is so strong that your brain produces a fear response anyway when you watch the New Year’s Eve party scenes in When Harry Met Sally for the 17th time (or maybe that’s just me).
    The classic fear-conditioning experiment is giving mice a brief electric shock right after a sound is played. Initially, the mice freeze in response to the shock (their natural reaction), but soon they start to freeze in response to the sound, even before they’ve been shocked. The mice have learned that the sound predicts the shock, and their fear response kicks in early. In the final stage of the experiment, the mice continue to freeze in response to the sound, even when no shock comes. The fear conditioning is complete.
    Fear conditioning is one of our most deep-rooted forms of learning, because it helps us to avoid — and therefore survive — potentially dangerous situations. It sits at the intersection of emotion and memory, controlled in the brain by the amygdala and hippocampus, which are involved in processing fear and memories, respectively. The two brain regions work together to learn, contextualize, and remember new situations that are potentially dangerous and warrant a fear response.
    If you experience the previously neutral stimulus (a crowd or a noise) enough times without the scary event (Covid-19 or an electric shock) following, the conditioned fear response will start to decay. You’ll stop reacting to the situation as if it’s dangerous, and the connection in your brain will weaken. This means that eventually, when the risk is over, you will be able to go to a concert and not have a panic attack. But that’ll probably be a while.
    This made me think of optimism bias
    What about the people (like some in our government) who have also heard that crowds increase the risk of catching Covid-19 but go to large events with lots of other people anyway? They likely are experiencing something called optimism bias: “Sure, the coronavirus has infected more than 7 million Americans and killed over 200,000 of them, but it won’t infect me. I’m special.”
    For an Elemental article I wrote in August about how our brains process risk, I spoke with David Ropeik, author of the book How Risky Is It, Really? Why Our Fears Don’t Always Match the Facts. He says:
    When we take a risk, we engage in something that’s called optimism bias. That is, it won’t go as bad for me as it will for somebody else. And we use that all the time to do all sorts of risky things — drunk driving, jaywalking, speeding, going out in the sun without protection for our skin, you name it — so that we can do stuff that’s risky. That’s the rationalization tool used for taking risks. “It won’t go as bad for me as somebody else.”
    Unfortunately, wishful thinking doesn’t work on the novel coronavirus. But distance and masks do.
    Try this to snap yourself back to reality
    Starting to feel your fear conditioning wear off or your optimism bias slip in? Think of the most horrific outcome of what would happen if you caught the coronavirus, or read a few stories by people who have lost a loved one to Covid-19 or have been scarily ill themselves. Seriously. Evocative stories or images drive home how great the risk really is and can shake you out of your apathy or denial.
    A colleague recently recounted her own terrifying and drawn-out experience with the virus this spring. She writes:
    The terror of being on the early end of a not-well-understood disease, of being at the mercy of a never-ending array of bizarre and worrisome symptoms, of feeling like there was no one who could help, of feeling better only to feel worse again, of being rushed to the hospital in an ambulance, of my four-year-old asking me, “Mommy, can you please keep your eyes open?” was too much to bear.
    Keep that in mind the next time you think about going to a football game or a political fundraising event.

    I think I've always had an optimistic bias.
    sheps labeled me as an eternal utopia seeker.
    I'd like to think I am trying to live the love out of life :flower:
    But at this moment in time I am too scared to participate if others don't wish to as well.
    I make no political statement about it, I just slip out the back. My absence should be enough said. Until someone has lived one hour on the receiving end of not being able to be with your loved one in their absolute hour of need?
    Save it.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.6k
    For many people, these new fear associations are so strong they can even be triggered when the threat isn’t imminent.ArguingWAristotleTiff

    I really believe that most people are not actually in fear of covid-19. They practise physical distancing measures as a moral responsibility to protect those within our society who might be negatively affected by the disease. The odds are quite low that I will be one of those who die from the disease, so I do not fear the disease whatsoever. This attitude is expressed in your examples of risk taking. People take risks without fear.

    However, statistics show that some people have died, and will die from the virus. So I feel morally responsible to take these relatively simple measures, distancing and mask wearing, to do my part to help those unknown people who inevitably will be negatively affected. This is quite simply a matter of will power. Are you capable of preventing yourself from doing what comes naturally from instinct, and long standing habits and desires, for the sake of protecting others?

    Therefore I think your portrayal of "fear conditioning" is a misrepresentation. We learned thousands of years ago, that moral responsibility is not based in fear. That idea was left behind in the Old Testament, the fear of God. The New Testament displays the new learned reality, that moral responsibility is based in love for others.
  • Merkwurdichliebe
    1.6k


    The fear conditioning (in this case) goes beyond the potential dangers of covid. Myriad people are wearing masks and observing social distancing &c., simply to avoid persecution from strangers who have gone all in on pandemic panic. And, if not for that reason, they do it simply to be allowed into public places so they can buy food and other necessities for living. We are facing a classic mode of oppression that utilizes fear mongering in order to stimulate predictable behaviors.
    It originates with fear (in this case, covid) and establishes new societal mores, and these alien social expectations inevitably incite a new fear (of being persecuted or excluded) in those who have not bought into the hysteria. In this way, everyone is made to play along, and in the end we create a brave new world together.
  • unenlightened
    5.2k
    Myriad people are wearing masks and observing social distancing &c., simply to avoid persecution from strangers who have gone all in on pandemic panic.Merkwurdichliebe

    I wear pants for the same reason. Damn fascist prudes infringing my right to hang loose!
  • Baden
    10.9k


    I bet you wear a seatbelt too, scaredey cat.
  • Baden
    10.9k
    Seriously though, the seatbelt oppression needs to stop. If we don't have the right to fly through windscreens, what's the point in living?
  • Merkwurdichliebe
    1.6k
    I wear pants for the same reason. Damn fascist prudes infringing my right to hang loose!unenlightened

    What about those beloved cultural icons like Bugs Bunny and Winnie the Pooh, who aren't required to wear pants, what kind of message are we sending to the kids...Hang loose brah!
  • Merkwurdichliebe
    1.6k
    Seriously though, the seatbelt oppression needs to stop. If we don't have the right to fly through windscreens, what's the point in living?Baden

    It really is the coolest way to fly
  • Baden
    10.9k


    I prefer a cocktail of regenerone, steroids, and bleach myself. But each to his own.
  • 180 Proof
    2k
    I wear pants for the same reason. Damn fascist prudes infringing my right to hang loose!unenlightened
    :rofl:

    I prefer a cocktail of regenerone, steroids, and bleach myself. But each to his own.Baden
    :lol:
  • ssu
    3.3k
    It really is the coolest way to flyMerkwurdichliebe
    And then the evil car manufacturers in cahoots with the fascist governments will put airbags, collision avoidance systems and automatic rescue service call systems in your car. And that's just the reality now, tomorrow if you want to kill yourself by driving off a cliff, the car will perhaps drive automatically you to see a shrink. The horror, the horror...
  • Merkwurdichliebe
    1.6k


    I agree about bleach, it gives everything that minty scorched freshness. I like it in my coffee.
  • Merkwurdichliebe
    1.6k
    And that's just the reality now, tomorrow if you want to kill yourself by driving off a cliff, the car will perhaps drive automatically you to see a shrink. The horror, the horror...ssu

    Right! They are removing all the fun from vehicular mayhem. I'm really gonna miss the old chaos, but the new gods are calling for "safety for all". Right?
  • ssu
    3.3k
    Right! They are removing all the fun from vehicular mayhem. I'm really gonna miss the old chaos, but the new gods are calling for "safety for all". Right?Merkwurdichliebe

    I remember from the university a professor of economic history, that only had and bought cars that were older than mid-1970's. The reason was that in cars before that time he could repair everything himself, but after the mid-70's they start to have so much electronics that he could not do it himself.

    If we extrapolate how things are now going, I assume doing anything else than fueling the car, filling windshield viper liquid and washing the car, the car manufacturer will sue you for "hacking" the car and making it unsafe for use. But they surely they will be more easy to use and correct your driving errors even more than now.

    Yes, the dumbing down of the consumer by making things easy and automatic also benefits the manufacturer: just think about a car from the 1920's (or typical computer from 1980's). How many present car owners would be totally clueless and have extreme difficulties of starting and driving an antique car? Many actually would hurt themselves in the process as just to starting the thing or putting on the lights can end up in disaster.

    If people don't believe me, just watch this instructional clip about driving the Model T Ford. 9 minutes:

  • Merkwurdichliebe
    1.6k
    Yes, the dumbing down of the consumer by making things easy and automatic also benefits the manufacturer:ssu

    Consumers are about as dumb as it comes, hard to believe they can be dumbed down even further.
    I would say Apple has mastered that strategy better than any other corporation.
  • tim wood
    5.5k
    Until someone has lived one hour on the receiving end of not being able to be with your loved one in their absolute hour of need?
    Save it.
    ArguingWAristotleTiff

    I buy this. Covid-19 is serious and dangerous. At the same time a lot of things are serious and dangerous. I have in mind here the several millions of Typhoid-Mary wannabes in our country (USA) too ignorant to understand the arithmetic of epidemics, too stupid to appreciate the danger their ignorance puts them and everyone else in, and too self-centered with compensating for their tiny wieners to care about anything or anyone else. These fools are the truly dangerous.
  • ssu
    3.3k
    Consumers are about as dumb as it comes, hard to believe they can be dumbed down even further.
    I would say Apple has mastered that strategy better than any other corporation.
    Merkwurdichliebe
    Even if this is going a bit off topic, I agree.

    Although they still have buttons and ports, to make it difficult... uh, call that back:

    Apple is said to be planning a major change in the top-end 2021 iPhone model. If predictions made by noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo are to be believed the Cupertino, California-based company is planning to kill the Lightning port in the highest-end 2021 iPhone model. By ditching the Lightning port, Apple will make the iPhone completely free of ports as it is only port present in the iPhone models right now after the company stopped including the 3.5mm audio jack after iPhone 6S.

    nokia.jpg
  • frank
    5.4k

    Explain this: a famous climate change denier was finally banned from YouTube for COVID19 denial.

    Climate change is a bigger problem, though. ?
  • Punshhh
    2.1k
    A hot topic, I suppose. Also social media is starting to ban more.

    The pandemic is coming back with a vengeance in the UK, a number of towns and cities in the north of the country have over 600, or 700 confirmed cases per 100,000 of their population. It is now spreading south across the country like a wave. Track and trace is barely working and the hospitals in the north are at full Covid capacity. I've heard that similar spikes are happening across Europe now, with Spain and France quite bad.
  • frank
    5.4k
    I recently talked to a travelling nurse who was in NY when it was really bad. She showed us pictures of a hallway turned into an ICU. She said all sorts of basic medicines werent available and unmonitored patients would be found dead and be toted out to refrigerated trucks in the back. As she spoke, I thought: she's got to be traumatized, but she doesnt seem to be. Then I realized that she was repeating herself and going on and on about details. I think that was probably medicine for her: to talk about it.

    Where I am, it's speculated that we've had so many cases that we now have some herd immunity at around 20% post infection. Not full blown herd immunity, but along with masks and social distancing it's acting like it.

    Apparently it's upticking in NY again. :sad:

    Hope the UK will level out soon. I'm taking vitamins D and C per Dr Fauci.
  • ssu
    3.3k

    I have no idea how American net corporations make their own regulations, obviously using an army of hilariously overpaid woke lawyers teamed with woke pr-managers alongside other managers and executives creating the most hypocrite and virtue signaling mess of inconsistent guidelines which then can be interpreted whatever way some woke employee of the corporation wants...or by myriad algorithms.

    Here in Finland they have already cut back the times restaurants and pubs are open and the administration is thinking of tougher measures, but not going into lock-down again (at this time). Public gatherings beyond 20 people are not advised.
  • Punshhh
    2.1k
    Its feeling more serious this time. Many nurses and doctors are still exhausted from the first wave. They were already over worked before Covid, often working up to 5 twelve hour shifts per week, while on low pay.

    There is real worry about the economy, a lot of businesses which scraped through last time are going to go to the wall and government support is less and patchy. The government really doesn't want to go to a national lockdown, because it will probably bankrupt the country, but they may have to within a few weeks.

    Many areas in the north have been locked down more today, as there is a lot of bad feeling and distrust about the way the privelidged south is forgetting about the north. The voters in the north who leant their vote to Johnson are very angry now.

    Fortunately I am in a low risk area with low population density, with plenty of work. But it's difficult to avoid some worry.
  • frank
    5.4k
    The economic strain makes everything worse. Is it hitting areas that were spared in the summer? That's how it is here.
  • Punshhh
    2.1k
    Yes, although there is a demographic pattern. The population's that were hit first time round had people often travelling abroad and bringing it back, also the cities which these people travelled to. Now we have populations who don't travel abroad much (Indian subcontinent excepted), but live in high density and socialise in homes. Also the student population between 18-30 years has been a strong driver through the pub and bar industry and halls of residence.
  • frank
    5.4k
    It's exactly the same way here.
  • Tzeentch
    835
    A certain amount of people owe a certain amount of other people an apology.

    https://www.who.int/bulletin/online_first/BLT.20.265892.pdf
  • Benkei
    3.5k
    I suspect an unhealthy amount of confirmation bias coming up, but I'll bite: What do you think this proves?
  • Tzeentch
    835
    Single studies don't prove. They make plausible. And what this makes plausible is that the infection fatality rate of covid-19 is only a fraction of the estimates which were used to plunge the world into a full-blown panic.
  • Tzeentch
    835
    And if you want to talk about confirmation bias I would suggest a long look in the mirror first.
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