By David Hawke -- Of the five basic questions that must be asked to truly understand anything, those being who, what, when, where and why, it’s the answer to that last one that can really make or break a conversation.
All of science has been based on that one-word question of “why.” Curiosity has driven people to find an acceptable answer for their quest, and sometimes the apparent answer has led to the second most powerful question in the world… “why not?”
If “why” is asked in earnest curiosity yet the answer received is “Because, that’s the way it is” or “Because, I said so” then further questions are no doubt about to be rained upon the Omnipotent Leader who responded in such a pithy manner. Appropriate responses would either be a detailed explanation of the process as to how the decision was made, or the Omnipotent Leader admitting “I don’t know.”
I have noted that humans usually respond in one of three ways to “Because I said so.”
One response is to seek further clarification to the original question. This is what Omnipotent Leaders call “being annoying” and these ‘leaders’ will further muddy the waters of Understanding as they can’t possibly admit that they don’t know the correct answer… as that would make them look stupid, or Impotent.
The second option for responding to “because I said so” is acceptance. This is what Omnipotent Leaders are hoping for. Most people are far too busy, even desperate, to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads to further worry about the multitude of additional “whys” that should be asked. “Okay, if you say so” is the golden answer sought by certain politicians and other pretenders to the throne.
The third response is: “Oh ya? Oh ya? I don’t think so buddy!” This typically comes from the crowd of folks who have pumpkin mush for brains. However, even pumpkin mush has seeds of growth within it. Thoughts grow and energy is spent, albeit in weird directions: conspiracy theories are concocted, shallow but wide-spread support is gained, the anxiety of not getting a full answer in the first place is released with loud chanting, marching, and fists pumped in the air, and absurd rebellious actions are taken such as not wearing a face mask, not staying apart, and not washing their hands (that last one is a bit disgusting, really).
The trouble with our human society is that we often make up our minds on where we stand on an issue prior to all the information being presented. We think we don’t have the time to spare from eking a living to listen, yet again, to some Omnipotent Leader try to back-peddle and re-explain a complex situation. Our bad.
Like many of you, I am fed up with the endless reporting of COVID-19. Yeah, yeah, it’s bad out there, and I’m sure “somebody else” is on it, but I have other things to worry about. My bad. Indeed, perhaps I am acting like the proverbial ostrich sticking my head in the sand hoping that danger will pass me by.
This virus, this pandemic, is complex. And it takes a certain level of scientific intellect to really "get it." Omnipotent Leaders are scrambling to find a platform they can stand on to keep the masses of humanity listening to them, to find a way that makes them appear that they are indeed Omnipotent Leaders.
Unfortunately, some of these so-called leaders are using the confusion of COVID-19 as a screen, as a distraction, to carry out nefarious deals that otherwise would certainly demand a good answer as to “why?”
The permanent destruction of our natural environment for the short-term economic gain of a few, the re-writing, restructuring and watering down of long-standing and well-researched laws and guiding principles are the sad results of pandemic confusion.
So why do we, should we, care so much about COVID-19? Answer: Because it is a virus that spreads easily, quickly, and can affect just about everybody. It is a great “unknown” to our collective history, unprecedented as they say; tis better and safer to overreact than to ignore it.
So why do we have to wear a face mask? Answer: It’s not to prevent the virus from being sucked in by you, it’s to stop you from unwittingly spewing the virus out to others, because you can be carrying (and spreading) the virus and not have any symptoms. Surprise, you’re a carrier!
So why do we have to stay a hockey stick’s length away from each other? Answer: Because the virus travels within those micro-droplets that ride upon the hot air of our exhaled breath. These droplets have weight and will succumb to gravity after about five feet of free flight.
So why do we have to wash our hands so often? Answer: Because those falling infected breath droplets have landed on table tops, bannisters, cutlery, merchandise that others ahead of you have either handled or breathed over. Near constant hand washing with soap and water or using a good sanitizer will kill the unseen virus before you pick your nose, rub your eye or pull your lip.
So why do we have to stay inside for 28 days? Answer: Because the virus takes about 14 days to run its course; by providing a buffer of a week on either side of its known life span, there should be no way for the virus to find new hosts and it will die out. Or so the theory goes.
So why do we have to do all three (mask, wash, distance)? Answer: Allegorically, a soldier is provided with a rifle, sidearm, knife, helmet and body armor which collectively should protect him or her from harm; individually and alone none of the above could provide good protection. Therefore, we have face masks, sanitizing agents and the image of a swinging hockey stick that will collectively protect us from the virus enemy.
So why do you feel so much more enlightened about COVID-19? Answer: Because I said so.
Dave’s notebook: Best wishes to you and all of your family for a prosperous new year! It's going to take some effort to pull it off but we can indeed do it.
This week's column is not my usual nature-focused topic... however, its content does reflect upon natural events.
© 2020 David J. Hawke