Don't Believe The Hype

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Don't believe the hype!

Part One:  We are Here

For the first time in a long time, the pace of our existence has changed. Many of the circumstances surrounding our recent collective experience are new; very few folks are still with us who would have had even conceptually similar experiences, most have passed on. Further, due to advancements in technology, similar past experiences are not really possible anymore; digital data and information delivery changed the old playing field completely and there is no going back. This new reality is the ignition and fuel for some very uneasy feelings being generated; newness is change and not a single aware human needs to be told that, in general, humans are not that keen on change. Abrupt change is next level altogether.

Uneasiness can be a pathway to the dark side (do I have to TM that?), a pathway that often opens the door directly to fear. Fear in turn so often leads to "Rome is the mob", bandwagon hopping, suspension of critical thinking to ensure our acceptance on said bandwagon(s) and other such gooey shenanigans, none of which are a best case living scenario for any of us, at least not us regular Shmoes and Shmoettes.

A viral outbreak is a bit primordial 'n primeval for us, a long history of not so great crapola occurring because of them doesn't help either. The idea itself is an emotional gut kicker as perceptions of an invisible-to-most 'creature' that recognizes very little in terms of boundary restrictions arise in the mind and just like that, the oft used defence shield of

"It's in Insert_Far_Away_Place_Name_Here, can't/won't happen here!"

is suddenly recognized as ineffective. This is worse than monsters in the closet from childhood; at least you could see some of those, cork 'em with a well placed pillow shot.

The age range of 15-64 seems to be a popular grouping with statistics recorders so I'll use it here too. For those in that group, among the most newsed and talked about viral activity that has/had direct experience impact on this age grouping are Asian/Hong Kong Flu (1957/58 - 1968/70), SARS, H1N1 (Swine Flu), MERS and Ebola. Viruses and their effects on humans have been with us since the get go. There are many recorded instances of outbreak from local level right up to global, some leaving pretty gross effects and mass death in their wakes, which also helps as hype fuel. With the exception of this shortlist, as a civilization we are disconnected from previous outbreaks, out of our time frame, something we learned about in school perhaps.

Although message boards, forums, comment sections and such were quite popular and well used in their respective days, what is termed as social media did not exist for a majority of the shortlist. In addition to this, and perhaps an even more important piece: the usage heights to which mobile fones have reached. Ebola and MERS were somewhat regional so their social perception impacts would have been limited leaving only H1N1 in 2009. Facebook was opened to everyone in 2006 so it was only 3yrs operating. Twitter also opened its virtual doors in 2006. Most other social media did not exist.

Today however, very different story. The ability to transmit vast amounts of information with relative ease is without precedent but even more importantly, the mind boggling amount of (potential) recipients of information is simply that, mind boggling. One can talk/type/yell until their heart is content and while often the original purpose to be sure, if no one is listening/hearing, then it is just a diary.

This directly results in a dizzying amount of information flying and flowing. Two immediate red flags: what 'n which information is based on fact, truth, versus that which is duck dung. Secondly, we musn't be like the cool starling. Their flock flying is for the birds as it were, not for humans. Trying to keep on top of all this information flow is beyond daunting for many, those many soon finding themselves overwhelmed and beginning accepting it at face value or perhaps tuning out altogether.

Switching gears for better results

Uneasiness can also have positive impact(s) on our lives when used in the right doses. Austrian econ thinking centres around this very thing as a base level motivator for human action: humans act in an effort to appease or replace that uneasiness. In other words, out with the old, in with the new 'cause the old wasn't comfortable any longer. Instead of fear and bandwagons, let's channel our uneasiness into positive change, most of which can be done, needs to be done, at the individual level.

Policy & Procedure (PnP) manuals are an incalculable asset to any business and there is no reason why a human couldn't benefit either.  A PnP set allows people to make consistent and positive choices for basic and often common situations. Our current experience at the civilization level is not common per se, but options that can be used to handle it are common. The term 'PnP no-think auto kick in' used below denotes situational responses that we don't have to think about or remember, standard operating procedures that we can use automatically for our benefit. A PnP manual remembers this stuff for us :)

Let's whip one up . . .

Flipping to the Pandemic Section which is located just before the chapter on TP use:

In Case of Pandemic:

Are humans dropping at rates similar to the proverbial flies?
  1. Yes. Close manual, grab beverage/bowl/snack and hold on for the ride, all the best to you and yours.
  2. No. The current mortality rate is enough though to warrant a state of heightened and on-alert awareness while also respecting the potentials of this pandemic instance, they could be quite severe indeed.
If this manual is still open, 'b' it is.

Scenario #1

Are you tired ATM? If so, go on, beat it, off to Snoozeland. Even with 'time is of the essence' as a motivating factor, doing anything mentally and physically relaxing often results in the train of thought stopping at Snoozeville Junction, so it's not even worth trying. Further, mental mechanix are much harder for a tired mind. Please return later and enjoy your shut eye! :)

If not, please select Scenario #2.

Scenario #2

#1) Clear the noise, all of it. No phone, no TV, no computer. The only exception being if one of these devices are required to play music, see optional Step #2.

#2)  Music is helpful for many but try to avoid any that causes you to concentrate on it, especially in the form of an audio-book or podcast. Music that one is very familiar with worx best IMHO as it does not require concentration and/or focus to benefit from it.

#3)  Grab your favourite comfort beverage, small amounts if alcohol or state of mind altering. [This author recognizes the bummerness here as, due to the stimulant effects of caffeine, coffee, the second life blood of the human race, must be included on the small amounts list.]

#4)  Find and/or get to your happy place, either the physical location or the mental image of it. If the latter, be sure the physical location is at least comfortable for you. Happy place mental images are tough to conjure while jiggin' on Lego blocks for example.

#5)  Clear the noise, round two. The only focusing now is as little as you can do. Hang out here for a wee while, at least until your mental landscape is as flat as you can make it. [This author recognizes the bummerness here too: as a chronic over-thinker, a no focus state is extremely difficult to achieve. Focus is an integral part of a human's ability to complete tasks. The problem is when the focus wanders all over pursuing avenues of thinking that are not really relevant to the topic at hand. Hmm, I remember reading somewhere long time ago what the difference was between an avenue, street, road, etc. Should look that up again. Most avenues would not be anything other than asphalt or concrete I would think. I'll have to check sometime what volume differences are between using each one for road building. I would think concrete but just a guess. "pursuing roadways of thinking" or "pursuing streets of thinking" doesn't sound right, perhaps that's why the term avenue was chosen to be commonly used in this manner. Avenues are not narrow either so that fits the intended mental image I suppose. I wonder what other…oh yeah, sorry, I digress…]

#6)  Righto, calm, cool and collected, let's take a look at this thing from as close to a strictly observational perspective as we can, emotion be gone!

A) What is the problem? A viral pandemic, with the virus in question being a newbie on scene, no vaccine or in-depth research.

a1) give-way-32603_120.png
PnP no-think auto kick in: pandemic designation. Viruses have limited transmission abilities in that they require a host to survive. 96H seems to be somewhat of a top end 'life expectancy' for a virus outside a host but that means they can be picked up from many sources. Time to switch mode then to personal symptom watch, washing hands regularly 'n well and avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with hands, popular body ingress points used by the virus gang.

For most illness/disease among the human species, it's the infant/very young and elderly groups that have non developed or impaired abilities to fight off viral infection. Prudent then to limit contact, outside an immediate family (but consideration warranted here too depending on health circumstances), with these two groups of peeps to avoid putting them in harm's way. Personal symptom watch is important as well, don't want to "tag, you're it" others if avoidable, nor can an individual help any others if they are not taking care of themselves. Close contact among humans can propagate a virus with increased ease so it's also prudent at this point, and only short term, to avoid any optional social gatherings that include larger groups of people who in turn are connected to wider social circles.

a2) smiley-681575_120.jpg
Spend some time familiarizing ourselves with what is actually going on and not just the narrative that's being presented. Try as hard as possible to avoid political soundbites and short news pieces as information sources. Instead look for information provided as directly as possible from the medical community and from those in it whose credentials are pertinent to the situation and verifiable should you choose to follow them up to check. Viral pandemics are the purview of health sciences, period, so information input that is used to formulate perception and decision making should to be sourced from this community only.

This helps in keeping things in perspective.

While government may try to claim glory in these instances, for the most part we are simply witnessing other PnP manuals being followed and executed by other individual humans. I would wager that any govt involvement is limited to the manual authors having to follow some rules & regulations crafted by someone, somewhere. The bulk will have been locally or corporately created and authored by those in roles of responsibility for staff and product, often manager level and above. The best manual is written with as much input as possible from those actually working in the department(s), teams and plants that will be affected by it and are expected to adhere to it. They are essentially very detailed playbooks that should be used for broad decision making purposes thereby freeing up resources to deal with the many specific, exceptional and individual issues that will creep, it's humanity afterall :)
B) result-3236285_120.jpg
What are some of the possible outcomes? Aside from a breakdown in what we refer to as 'law & order', the most important consideration in our current society is breakdown of supply lines. This encompasses not only the farm 'n factory to outlet lines but also the supply line to our own pantries. If one can't get out, doesn't matter if the store is stocked and open, alternate plans will have to be made, plans which may not even be possible to make.

b1) This manual does not intend to scold, not its place, but does feel it's important from a factual reminder perspective to state "always be prepared", a lesson this author knows well but don't follow well 'cause he's a fool. A pandemic is only one of a gazillion things that can affect individuals or groups of humans with or without notice. Some are a bonus, others, like a viral pandemic, not so much.

Given this reality, individual humans, working singly or together (family for example) really need an "I'm Prepared for This Shit" kit, true story.

Suggestions include two weeks worth of food. This could encompass whatever is in the fridge ATM if close enough to a week's worth plus an additional week, or a two week standalone prep kit. This kit exists to provide a 'think-free' quick response solution to a short term problem also meaning the food choices for the vittle stash will be completely different than from a day to day perspective. Canned foods/veg/sauces, large water bottles (18L if possible), pasta, dried fruits and vegetables, options are quite vast really. A freezer provides more options as well, but it must be kept in mind that power outages are not uncommon. Modern technology also provides for the ordering and delivery of materials including products specifically designed for stashery, freeze dried meal packs for example, stuff in the closet and bob's yer uncle. The two week time-frame is also good for non food items that are a requirement in the home. Note to the cartload TP purchasers: wanna waste the prep budget on 20 years worth of TP, knock yourself out, but it's not necessary and a diversion of resources (money in this case) that could be better used elsewhere.

PnP no-think auto kick in: review what items are on hand and proceed to replenish as soon as possible.
C) What are the financial impacts of the event on me? This area also requires consideration as acquiring the supplies mentioned previously may have a strong connection to financial changes. Unfortunately it is often too late at this stage to radically compensate for externally induced stressors like a job layoff/loss and things may indeed get rough and scary but with any luck, family, friends and 3rd party groups can band together to assist those in need. Humans are like that despite what the media would have us believe. Going forward, learning experience, and when things stabilize for an individual, they can work at putting together an emergency financial nest egg. This doesn't have to be pirate treasure levels but at least enough to pay for necessities short term. In addition, it's important to keep in mind that for the most part, we have our labour to trade for other goods and services, including within the family/friend groups and not necessarily 'employment' or a job as we commonly think of them.
D) PnP no-think auto kick in: a reminder memo that when the dust settles a wee bit, begin to consider other areas in life where one is dependant on some central authority and/or service for a product or service. How will I be impacted should something abrupt happen? Am I prepared to live with this impact? If not, what can I do to change the impact or at least mitigate it as best as possible? There are three in this area that stand out as excellent examples. They are common, important and thankfully have an ever growing list of replacement options. This threesome is energy, water and waste handling/disposal. All three have the option of being self-sufficient or well on the way to it. Self sufficiency in any or all mean interruptions in central supply are an inconvenience at worst but really a ho hum for the most part. Expanding this line of thinking to food production and storage is the icing on the proverbial cake.
E) After following these procedures, look again on the situation as it is presented by media and keyboard clackers on the Internet. I would wager that for many it now takes on a much more 'meh' look 'n feel. While others are still running around with covered heads trying to protect from their perceived sky fall, 'others' including (and often lead by) politicians, we can sit back, concerned, aware, informed, but most importantly, relaxed and ready to tackle the next issue to come along. Notable caveat: if pizza becomes entirely unavailable, homemade or produced, all bets are off! :)

Deep breaths, let the hype go.
Deep breaths, let the hype go.
Deep breaths, let the hype go.

Let's keep our collective eyes on the short term prize, focused unwaveringly on the stablization of our immediate respective environments. This includes not falling victim to HypeNation ruled by the PanicPalace. Beware the sources who hype up the new buzz term 'social distancing'; while prudent in the immediate now, humans require close contact and touch to be the best they can be.

There is a bigger picture part that must be explored but unless one has relative stability in their life or the lives of those close to them, bigger picture views tend to become foggy and less urgent leading to history repeating itself over and over…much like we're seeing today, this instance just being on a larger scale.

Interestingly, the band's name and this song title together take on a new irony these days as hype is indeed a public enemy, both in the broad sense and the individual level as well; bit of a symbiotic self-feeding relationship there perhaps.


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