People encountering the 2020-21 pandemic restrictions may have ‘entered a time warp’, with distortion of familiar values, especially money and time. Finding a way back through unfamiliar financial terrain could be important.
Covid has created uncertainty and anxiety for many people. They have abandoned, slowed or deferred usual activities. There has been a timeout, allowing relaxation from stressful routines but restrictions may have brought complacency and slack inactivity. With insufficient stimuli, time may have dragged.
Without the usual referent of work days and social meetings, personal time may have become disoriented. Personal goals, such as exercising, dieting, studying, writing, may have been abandoned. Social activities may have been stopped. Some people may have enjoyed their freedom but others may have become relatively inactive.
Deadlines that structured activity, such as grocery shopping, may be cast in a new mould. Spending habits may have been limited by the money supply and when that changes, activities such as clothes shopping, may stop. Many people have adopted emptier more relaxed time schedules.
Reduced consumption may cause money to accumulate and new activities become possible, such as shopping online, investment in home appliances, furniture, autos or moving house. Acquisitions can seem more momentous during pandemic restriction, because although money is cheaply available, there can be fewer than usual investment opportunities and at higher prices. Time horizons are pushed back by restriction delays and low interest rates may stimulate big item spending. Costs of delaying are tolerable and borrowing over longer periods accepted.
Recovery of participation in high risk activities, such as travel and audience events, may be tentative, with empirical results revealing any remaining hazard. To recover, individuals may set goals to revert to previous activities, or they may want to continue elements of their restricted lifestyle. Resetting of goals with new time and money constraints could bring a more purposeful lifestyle.
Sufficient personal time is available for careful planning.
Conscious resetting of living parameters affected by pandemic restrictions could enable a brave new start, with goals for relationships, employment, residence, motoring, holidays, health, exercise, diet and education. These could provide structure for taking up the reins of a life that may have been partially surrendered in a previous treadmill-like existence. Pandemic restrictions may have brought new experiences that are wanted to continue. There could be a new awareness of the uncertainty of living, a need for patience and a new sense of owning personal time.
My writing about personal time is at https://martinknox.com
People want to avoid risk of infection and they avoid crowds, cancel travel, distance socially and mask up on public transport. To be safer, they want others to do the same and expect governments to regulate it.
Following this path, free living and going happily where you want disappear. Living is transformed to a shambling half-existence, withdrawn from nature and without clean air. Such risk aversion weakens a person’s immune system with stress, anger, anxiety, depression and learned helplessness. These de-activate the immune response.
The increased risk of infection offsets the risk reduction sought by limiting transmission. Conversely, although social pursuits can cause transmission, they boost morale and promote robust good health, by fending off infections.
Reduced transmission possibilities and strengthening of immune response can both be pursued independently, but can act opposed or together to maintain physical, mental and spiritual good health, as for example by going to work or playing team sport.
Health should not be sacrificed to limit disease transmission.
In summary, infection risk can be reduced by limiting transmission possibilities and by building up immune responses. Public restrictions may be significantly counter-productive and should be withdrawn at the earliest opportunity of good population immunity.
My other writing about Covid-19 is at: https://martinknox.com
Risk of catching COVID-19 while going to work is like driving on a public road. You could die, but with observation and caution, it is safe enough and not worth worrying about a homicidal driver.
Probability of transmission to you of COVID-19 virus particles, from infectious persons, has opaque and complex processes too difficult for you to quantify your chances of infection. If you are a risk adverse person, isolation is a logical response to minimise exposure. But you may be expected to go to work, need to earn, or want not to cringe because learned helplessness is bad for your health.
Nietzsche advocated personal fulfilment by taking risks without consideration for others, as taken up by Hitler and Stalin. A propensity for cavalier response to danger resides in your brain’s amygdala, especially if you are male and under 30 years. If you only have yourself to think about, without consequences for your family, friends and colleagues, or for people who you might unknowingly infect, it is easier to face the risk and forget potential consequences.
Simone De Beauvoir wanted the individual to seek their own existential freedom by respecting others’ freedoms. You could risk going out to free yourself but only after anticipating your responsibilities to others if you became infected.
When your calculations would include medical consequences for yourself and for those you care about, you might fear the worst and prefer isolation. If going to work would have consequences for the business and for your employer, you might remember that all business is inherently risky and the terms of your employment require you to sacrifice freedoms. A utilitarian would expect your decision to go to work to be of practical use to you, such as by earning, rather than to exercise freedom.
Analysis of expected risks can clarify the best course of action to take. There could be clear and present danger from going out, but with insufficient likelihood of incurring costs that would exceed the value of certain benefits you expect.
Because employers and employees have different interests, governments may step in with guidance. They may decide responsibly who to lockdown and who to go to work. They may give financial support. Economy-wide, the amount of relief to be paid by the community could be staggering. The contributions of those who take personal risks may be insufficient to ensure economic survival of a community supporting those who avoid risk. Private risk may not be covered by public indemnity. An individual’s best protection is to be forewarned and free to choose what risks they will or will not take.
Different animal communities have evolved sharing between age groups of different responses to external threats. Elderly individuals commonly oppose attacks with their deaths.
Termites live in mounds and can be invaded by other termites or encounter infections. There are castes that perform different tasks for the community: queens and drones for reproduction; soldiers for defence; water carriers; workers. Generally, younger individuals do lower risk tasks, protected in underground chambers, feeding larvae and tending fungi gardens, where wood is digested in some species.
Older individuals are not as effective at nurturing larvae or nest maintenance and work outside defending against foreign species in high risk situations. Their mandibles have worn with age and cannot be sharpened by moulting. They carry toxic swollen pouches in their abdomens, like backpacks, holding copper-containing blue crystals. When attacked they explode and the enemy is showered with toxic chemical excrement. After grooming to remove harmful organisms, they cannibalise cadavers, unless they are infectious and buried.