Originally posted on 10/16/2017
My best friend for several years was Christiane. She lived about 8 miles (ca. 13 km) away. We spent as much time together as we could. I loved her. She was fierce, charming, and stunning. And she was a few years older than me. She had a brown belt (Judo) and once put to route a group of four boys/men who were beating a little dog.
One of the many things we loved doing is taking her Beetle and speed up and down a road with many bumps. Like, really speed. We were young and reckless. We laughed a lot. It was a happy time and we were careless.
I will never forget how I had my first glass of Chianti (red wine) and got sick in the taxi. The taxi driver won't forget, either. It was a surprise sickness and it came unexpectedly. Christiane looked at me with sorrow in her eyes and asked: “Are you ok?” I looked at her, and we started to laugh until we thought our belly will explode.
The taxi driver didn't laugh. It was that night that I decided I would never become a taxi driver.
Note: Nothing is just black or just white. In the order to make a point, I will stick to “all black”.
One day, we met somebody at the roller park. We joked around and had a fun time. I had to leave at one point. Christiane went home with him to play SNES.
He raped her. She felt terrible, as was to be expected. My strong friend Christiane felt terrible and would have recovered.
But then her mother told her to go to the police.
I am not kidding you, every word of this article happened as it's written down. The police guy asked her, “Did you wear lipstick?” He asked her if she wore lipstick or a mini skirt. They kept asking her why she didn't fight back. The explanation that she felt like paralyzed was not accepted.
The police made her feel as if she were in the wrong.
She then went to see a psychiatrist. She felt worse and worse and weaker and weaker with each week that passed. I went to the psychiatrist and asked him why it is that my friend felt worse instead of better. He explained that he first has to “tear her apart” to then “rebuild her.”
Sadly, he was obviously not good at the “rebuilding” thing because it never happened.
She settled for a horrible, abusive, disgusting guy who sold to her that she needs protection and that he will keep her safe. She married him and got two kids. He was beating her.
Her self-image was destroyed. Being treated like garbage complied with her new self-image. In my opinion, not the rape but police, court and a highly incompetent psychiatrist destroyed her.
For years, I tried to love her like before, wait until she gets better, help her get better. Her new husband was good at isolating her. She stayed home most of the time. We slowly grew apart.
I visited her a few times, an unhappy wife with dark rings under her eyes. I never saw her careless again. Her loud laughter had become a faint smile with sad eyes. No, sad is not the right word. More like her eyes constantly said: “I'm sorry.”
It broke my heart to see her like that, but I had done everything in my little power and I moved on.
The policeman would act “politically correct” and not speak his mind.
Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein—when we learn about the horrible acts of violence and abuse, we are shocked. That's not what this article is about.
This article is about:
Frankfurt, Germany 1998
Perhaps you have wondered (or not because in America these things are more common) how I, as a Junior High school dropout, could ever get into highly qualified sales positions.
Let me tell you:
I was the assistant to the managing director of a Management Consulting company and tried my hardest to do an excellent job. For some reason, my boss never seemed satisfied with my work. When he first mentioned I should be “nicer”, I assumed that he meant that I refused to order flowers for his wife and made horrible coffee until he did it himself.
One day, he explained in more detail and I can still feel my honest surprise. How could this 30 years older married guy who knew I was in a relationship assume I would have any sexual interest in him?
I didn't know the game back then.
A few days later, I have been downgraded so “sales assistant” and he hired a new secretary. There was one full-time account manager, who was a really delightful man. And there was a washed-up old guy, discharged by IBM, who had been hired for his contacts. He didn't have a quota and got 10k monthly for doing nothing.
Well, that's not entirely true. One thing he did.
He was less subtle than the managing director. He told me straight that if I wouldn't be “fun”, he could cause trouble for me. I'm not really the type who's impressed by washed up, pathetic guys.
But there was a young consultant, Claudia, who was. One day, she came to the office looking like her nightmare. She was crying for hours when she told me that he successfully forced her to perform a sexual act on the washed up, old, disgusting guy.
I blackmailed him and was ready to tell his wife. He left the company.
The managing director made me “Sales Manager” overnight. I received a 7 Million quota and the goal to establish a call center division in Germany. His new secretary was driving a brand-new BMW as a company car. He gave me the used Rover of a consultant he just fired. It was blue with a beige leather interior (ugh).
And he took her to business trips to Canada and other places.
It pays for women to be nice, doesn't it?
The managing director was already pressured from the UK headquarter at that time, and I was beneficial as cannon fodder.
Luckily, the UK headquarters had many great people who helped me a lot (and prospects and clients helped me too) so that I was actually able to sell projects. One of the management consultants sensed (or knew) about my suboptimal situation and brought me to another company who was selling data mining and BI projects.
There I had the best colleagues, clients, and boss anyone can imagine, great success, a wonderful time.
Why did I not tell anyone (besides my boyfriend?) the washed-up IBM guy story? Why did Claudia not tell the police?
The only betrayal in my 11-year otherwise wonderful relationship was when my ex-boyfriend said: “But nothing happened to you, and you won.”
Germany, 2006 – 2012
Some of you know that I left Germany after many years of extreme stalking by a psychopath. At the end, the German police told me that the methods used against me are typically not found in “private stalking” and that they will not be able to help me anytime soon.
They suggested I should move. The FBI guy (it was a giant story, the police handed the case to the German FBI) asked me to not use the internet and not go any place where anything could happen. As it happened everywhere, I am not even sure what he even recommended. That I stop taking part in life?
I asked him if he would tell a man whose car gets vandalized a few times that he has to park at the other end of the city.
A stalker is just a sick person. What did shock me is
I told myself: “Not all men are bad.” And that is the truth.
My life has been very busy until I relocated to the US, where I at first was isolated and lonely. I watched more movies than before.
I realized that it's not “just one sick man”.
Scenes passed in front of my eyes. The little Harvey scenes, scenes of jealousy, the doctor who counted my ribs, unwanted compliments, drama when I broke up with someone, the looks that made me uncomfortable, all the times I have to say “no”, what happened to friends.
You can't read 30 news articles without 3 articles of violence of a man against a woman. That's 10%. And, OMG, why are so many movies about male violence?
Obviously, if your brain filter is set to “seeing bad in men”, you will see a lot of that. We can set our brain filter to “seeing great men" and will see tons of that. Perhaps we should set it to “bad” first to create enough pain for change.
I did have great partners and great relationships. Few but great. I was always very choosy. That also means I was always aware I had to pick the good grapes out of a can of Harveys.
You would think I am too old now. That it stops because men prefer young women. At least, that's what I've been told but can not confirm. It last happened to me in 2017, and it never stopped before that.
Furthermore, one must understand that a man does not necessarily have to find a woman attractive to hit on her.
I worked with a senior and mentor, and when we went to a corporate training I was surprised that the famous man booked us one night longer than I thought was necessary.
Naively, I confirmed that the purpose of the extra night is to teach things and learn things. Awesome! I can learn from the best!
Nothing happened. He just tried it.
Just a little disgusting moment when someone you perceive as a senior and mentor tells you about his sexual preference, that he watches porn and his wife and him have an “open” relationship.
When he realized that - as for all of my life—it's not going to happen, he changed his flight and left a day early.
The sense of entitlement is generally stronger the more money and power a man has. At least in my personal experience. I met more decent car repair guys than wealthy guys in my life.
I've learned long ago to be able to still work with someone. The behavior does not disappoint me. It's too common for that. That's sad if you think about it. It implies a certain level of disillusionment.
I didn't tell anyone. What's there to tell, anyway? Nothing happened. It's ok to try, isn't it? I could tell you many little Harvey stories and so could all other women.
The little Harvey Weinstein moments are as common as a sock that miraculously vanishes in the washing machine.
Where do those socks go, can anyone tell me?
Are you a man reading this? Or a woman? Do you have kids? Either way. Would you teach your “little princess” to be elegant and pretty? To be a Lady?
What is “ladylike”? Do you see a slim silhouette in your mind of a pretty, elegant, soft-spoken woman with that certain level of sophistication and sexiness?
Would your girl play dress-up with her Barbie? Or with mom's cloth? Little princess loves to play dress-up. She wants to look just like mommy, and she has learned early on that pleasing people earns affection, compliments, approval.
Does a woman “know her place” or a lady? Or both? I am confused here.
Whatever you see. It is not a wild, strong, assertive, independent, aggressive creature.
Every girl learns at an early age that she has to be careful.
So basically: Be nice and pleasant and a bit submissive, do what men want but don't do what men want because it will make you a slut while it will make him a player.
You learn to walk, talk, read, write and to be careful of men. That's why you often don't perceive little Harvey moments as “wrong”. Unpleasant and disgusting, yes. But totally normal.
Not the man who looks for women in the dark is in the wrong, but the woman who goes out alone at night. (Was she wearing lipstick?)
You might want to believe that a lot has changed for the better. But has it really? Did we achieve fear of punishment and social judgment, or did the mindset change?
Perhaps, the answer lies in the question “Why do Weinstein, Cosby, and Co do these things?” Answer: Because they can.
Even with the threat of punishment, the numbers of hate crimes against women are alarmingly high.
The next time you read an article about the horrible amount of rape in India or how this or that country disrespects women, ask yourself:
“What would America look like in 2017 if all laws against harassment, violence and any form of abuse would be removed? And nothing a man could do would hurt his social status?”
Scary thought, right?
The little Harvey Weinstein is everywhere.
You, man, who is reading this article are different, aren't you? You were shocked when you heard the president's “locker room talk.”
Have you ever made that certain gestures to show your friends how much you appreciate the rack of a waitress?
Don't think she didn't notice it. We notice everything. We have just built protective walls. The building material is respect.
Not every man is a bad man. There are great men. The only problem is: For one great man, there is a shitty one, or two. And 8 that are “good” or “bad” depending on what is more opportune.
While the majority of men never act inappropriate, the issue with those who do is that they make a big impression. The one time you have a car accident is more prominent in your mind than the 200,000 times you did not.
The two times you got food poisoning from old mayonnaise will cross your mind more often than all the other times you did not. Your brain will try to warn you every time before you take a bite of your sandwich.
ADVERTISEMENT: If you have suffered from food poisoning and would like to enjoy your sandwiches again—emotional intelligence helps you to deal with painful experiences in a constructive way. It allows you to retrain your brain and enjoy your sandwich as if you'd never had been poisoned. (;
I understand that the role of men in society is difficult right now.
Women had to realize that taking care of the fire, looking pretty and raising kids doesn't cut it anymore. We adapted. Meat is available in every supermarket—we don't need hunters. We are educated and can earn our money. We don't need providers.
We might need protection, but statistics show that it's hard to say if we need it more when single or in a relationship.
We can't make kids alone. Right after the male “contribution”, if I am exaggerating, I could say: The baby requires the mother to grow until it sees the light of day and the first months after. It doesn't need his father (black/white, remember?)
I believe that women are (mentally) stronger and more independent (unless they're being oppressed.) And I believe that men require women more than the other way around.
I get how that can be scary when you come from a need-based view on relationships.
Perhaps the modern man should attempt to be wanted more than needed.
It's time to adapt, evolve and get over the fact that we don't need men. We're willing to love and want them in our lives.
Weinstein, Cosby, my experience, your experience ... You know what they say in London about rats: If you see one rat, you know you have a rat problem, and there are thousands more.
It's tiny. Others are much bigger.
But it was smaller. Compared to how little it was, it grew a lot.
Rather than size, perhaps we should admire who challenges their status quo.
A long time ago when the light was still deciding who got in and who doesn't, yellow was in trouble.
Light took a liking for green, so green got in.
Yellow was sad and silently awaited its turn.
Light wasn't too thrilled about blue either. Blue took a seat next to yellow, and together they cried. They asked green repeatedly to share the light with them. Green refused.
Green had everything, but it wanted more, more, more!
"Blue," yellow said, "if I slide into you or you slide into me, we can create our own green." Blue thought about it for a moment. It liked the idea.
Meanwhile, yellow called green, and after repeated pleas, condescending green granted a short audience.
"Green," said yellow. "Blue and I are going to mix. We'll create our own green."
Green got yellow in the face and apologized for the "misunderstanding."
Yellow got lemons.
Green got limes.
Today (02/19) we’re back in the Paris climate agreement. As the second largest offender (after China with way more citizens), this is significant news for the world!
Biden promised to re-enter the agreement on his first day in office - and he did. The 30-day wait period has ended today, and we’re back in!
According to President Biden, America will become a leading nation in the fight against global warming. He appointed John Kerry as the special representative for the White House. Biden declares fighting global warming a top priority.
USA second largest offender after China
Under trump, the US left the agreement back on November. Read HERE.
The war for attention is real, and it's brutal. Players who think they control the game are played by bigger players. And for what? For ad revenue.
Companies like facebook, Google, & Co don't care what they have to do to maximise profit. If we spend more time on their sites (increasing our exposure to advertisements and the data these companies sell to data brokers) when we're sad, they'll make us sad.
If we interact more with advertisements when we're angry, they'll make us angry.
They know everything about us, what makes us tick and every insecurity, and they will use this knowledge to present us with offers. With no concern for our well-being, mental health or happiness.
I mention this in several of my articles, for instance, when I talk about the danger of social media for our mirror neurons, how social media makes us lonely, why negativity sells but is a two-sided sword, and so on.
But the reason for this quick post is that in his daily newsletter, Seth Godin put it in words better than I ever could. If you're not subscribed to his newsletter...why not?
A few additional ideas about what you can do to amplify possibility:
Now, let's hear it from the master, Seth Godin:
In 2015, 197 Nations of the world agreed to keep global warming well below 1.5 °C, aiming for 2.0 °C, including the United States. As the second largest offender our involvement in greenhouse gas emission reduction is crucial.
We’re the only of 200 countries to back off. What’s the impact? Why did we do that? What does our exit on November 4th mean? Can we just re-enter the agreement? Will this Friday be a true #FridaysForFuture?
Pure coincidence. A nation can declare their withdrawal three years after signing the contract at the earliest with a one-year notice. trump did so a year ago. Unless he planned for it, it is pure coincidence.
After China, we’re the nation with the highest CO2 emissions. China did not sign the agreement. The US and China account for over 40% of greenhouse gas emissions, making it difficult for the remaining countries to achieve their goal without US (pun intended.) There’s always the risk that other countries might drop out too. However, so far there’s no indication that might happen. Also, nearly 4000 states, cities, universities and corporations declared “We are still in.” Independent of who will become the next President of the United States, the climate friendly trend from the past ten years will continue. Problematic is that trump removed at least 70 environmental and climate protection regulations. The full list is linked at the bottom.
His two major motives are his belief that global warning is a hoax invented by China, and signaling to his supporters he’s protecting US workers (summarized in his legendary Tweet.)
He said he would do so on the first day on the job. There’s no sign he wouldn’t take climate protection and international collaboration seriously. The formality of writing a letter to UN secretary-general António Guterres is the simple part. The difficult part is putting policies into action that show how we want to achieve the greenhouse gas reduction goal.
If the second largest offender (re)joins the pact, it’s a huge win for the world. However, even with the US on board, we all have to do much better to reach our goal. Re-entering the Paris Climate agreement would be a first and important step.
Statement of the WMO (World Meteorological Organization) below:https://public.wmo.int/en/our-mandate/climate/wmo-statement-state-of-global-climate
Environment roll-back list:https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/climate/trump-environment-rollbacks-list.html
Will this Friday be a true #FridaysforFuture?
Your guess is as good as mine. As of today, 11/05 they're still counting. I'm positive, though.
And if you're wondering what the small things are that each of us can do, I made a video for you.
Small things are not small after all.
I'll post simple tips to reduce your carbon footstep in the next hour.
The number of Corona infections is rising, and it’s partly related to psychology. Why are we reckless in times of a crisis?
Risk vs Danger - are they the same?
Why security increases our risk
Faster, harder, louder (personal story)
Why we take unnecessary risks
Recklessness in times of Corona
We use the terms danger and risk synonymously, and that’s confusing as they are different things. For instance, a lion is a danger. Approaching the lion is a risk that increases the closer we get. It’s less of a risk to approach a lion in a cage - but that doesn’t decrease the danger of the lion.
So we can control risk, but not absolutely.
How we perceive risk has to do with our perspective. That leads to under- or overestimating risks and different assessments. Our culture and social environment also play a part in forming our fears. For instance, someone who is living in a war zone has other fears than someone who lives in a peaceful country. The risk assessment for something simple, such as leaving your house and crossing the street is different.
Different assessments of risks lead to different behavior and actions
People love security. They long for the one form of security that doesn’t exist: absolute security. The paradoxical is that we stop being careful when we get used to feeling secure. Our life becomes more dangerous when we feel secure.
That’s when we get reckless and take unnecessary risks. We look for kicks and something that makes us feel alive.
Organized life, job, chores, responsibilities. Complying to please and avoid trouble. Routine. Same ole routine.
Since ancient times, people did things that are a little harmful. We do things knowing they’re not good for us. We go to bed too late, drink too much, eat junk food until we’re diabetic and don’t stop eating sugar once we are… some people love extreme sports and others attend super spreader events without a mask.
Maybe you can relate: When I was 20 or even 30, I knew what death is on a conceptual level. Meaning I knew that people die, but I didn’t really understand it. Whether it was speeding on the highway or ignoring well-meant advice: I felt immortal. Or that this disease and that misfortune could not happen to me.
For instance, I refused to wear a seat belt and (in Germany where on some sections of highways there’s no speed limit (YES!)) I thought nothing bad could happen to me. When one day a car hit me from the side so severely that the door and cabin were “on” me, I crashed into the windshield so hard it cracked. Some of my hair got stuck in the cracks. The Alfa Romeo Giulia was a write-off and I? I had a small bruise and a tiny scratch on the forehead.
We had a saying, back in German, that drunk people and children have an angel watching over them.
That’s total nonsense. So are other stupid sayings such as "a plane could crash on my head."
Does that mean we are inconsiderate, selfish people? Why are we doing things we know are risky or not good for us?
Several factors play into this:
Danger and risks are surrounding us. If we'd constantly look at every risk and assumed everything bad could happen to us, we would become depressive and paralyzed by fear.
You probably know a few people yourself who achieve little because they fear risks and consider every potential problem and worst-case-scenario in their decision-making process and action plans. In our Project Empathy Training, we refer to them as "Doublecheckers."
As always, moderation is key. A little paranoia aids us in achieving our goals, while too much of it hinders us and can even render us unlivable.
The brain reward system (BRA) is a group of neural structures responsible for positive emotions such as joy, euphoria, ecstasy, associative learning, and our desire and craving for quick rewards.
The brain releases dopamine, especially generously for survival-related things like eating and drinking. Rising the dopamine level is the brain’s way to teach us a behaviour was important and we should repeat it.
These ancient instincts don’t get updated and they don’t take into account the amount of chemicals and harmful ingredients and that our calorie requirement has changed since our days as hunter-gatherers.
On a side note: Diet begins in the brain. I’ll add some resources at the end of this article and there's a free training HERE.
We know we get a pat on the head if we work long hours, even though we know it’s not good for us. For approval, we’re willing to do risky things to stand out. And also the opposite: For fitting in with a group, we might change our behavior. Or we let someone talk us into having a drink when we don’t want to.
We’re more likely to give up responsibility and let someone (or the herd) lead us when we’re part of a group. We imitate the leader, even if he has a questionable opinion or leads us to doing something we would not normally do. You probably heard “it’s infectious,” and you can read why that is the case in this article: THE POWER OF MIRROR NEURONS.
Most of us are too optimistic regarding disease. We think we'll never get certain diseases and bad things will mostly happen to others. It's a delusion, but a healthy one.
Having confident expectations and a positive outlook keeps us happy and also physically and mentally fit. However, we overestimate the amount of control we have over our destiny. With a pandemic, this can lead to dangerous mistakes.
Failure to assess the risk
"I'll be lucky" is a risky mindset. The problematic part is that people who do not assess the risk correctly, also risk the lives of others.
About 42% of people believe they won't get COVID-19. I read fluctuating numbers regarding the amount of people who find the protective measures over the top. Let's say 30% to be on the safe side.
Personal experience vs statistics
Personal experience beats data every time. We're self-isolating, social distancing, and wearing masks for a long time and some of us did not have a severe COVID-19 case in their tribe/family.
Because many of us have not experienced the danger of the virus personally, we lose the sense of risk. Articles and statistics don't seem to change that.
Difficulty to see our friends as risks
Besides our healthy but delusional optimism regarding disease, our emotional problem is to see our friend, teacher, the person in need as danger.
On an emotional level we feel "That friend I know for so long that doesn't show any symptoms will not infect me."
Leaders send false messages
In some countries with populist leaders, people receive false information. In America, we're still being told (as if a virus would be a matter of politics rather than policies and as if a virus cares if you believe in it or not) Corona isn't as bad as the other party makes you believe.
Remember what we said earlier about the cultural aspect of fears and the herd effect.
Honestly, I am surprised that knowingly risking other people's lives is still legal. It should not be legal.
Have a look at the development of infection rates before and after some of trump's super-spreader events on USA TODAY.
There's a saying, and that's my...
Positive illusions and well-being revisited: Separating fact from fiction.
When the message of trump’s COVID-19 infection spread, many were gloating or leaving malicious comments on social media platforms. In my recent article (how Corona shapes society), I stated that pandemics are levelers. They don’t care about propaganda.
Are we evil people? Did trump victimize himself with his obsession to downplay the danger and not show “weakness”? Is it allowed to feel joy when another person is sick? What is wrong with us?
In this article, you will learn how we make moral judgements and why some people gloat over the misfortune of another individual.
I’ll throw in some random thoughts before I get to the topic:
Why trump might not like his diagnosis
Now, we’re not looking at this from a political point of view. From a political point of view, trump could probably use his illness to his advantage, if he’s up on his feet in no time. Even if he gets gravely ill, he can use it as a narrative in the spectacle he made of the US government.
We’re looking at the fact that many people are gloating about trump’s diagnosis and what it says about us.
A rationalization would be that some people see his illness as the only way to get through to people who still refuse wearing masks and taking precautions.
It all comes down to how the brain makes moral judgements.
When the brain makes moral judgements, it takes the intention of a person into account.
I made a video for you to explain what I mean:
It’s human nature to feel offended if another person willingly and knowingly either harms us or accepts that we might get harmed or even die for ulterior motives.
We would feel differently, if trump hadn’t known how dangerous COVID-19 is.
Another factor is anger. When we’re helpless and cannot change a harmful situation a third-party forces upon us, anger turns to hatred. While it’s understandable, we should still try to remove these negative feelings ASAP.
We’re emotional creatures and might even think it’s Karma. Calm down, everyone. It’s not Karma, it’s a virus and simple mathematics. By rejecting precautions and being around people who follow your lead, you increase the likelihood of getting sick exponentially.
Think of it this way: If you say it’s Karma that trump and some of his entourage fell sick, then it could also be Karma that hundreds of thousands of Americans died because we elected him/didn’t care for people who felt left out when there was still time.
Secretly assessing the chances of policies that save lives doesn’t make you a bad person. If your aunt died from COVID-19 after one of trump’s super spreader events and you’re angry, it’s understandable.
However, there’s a line between wishing someone dead and secretly not feeling as sympathetic as we feel we should. If you go to social media and post a heartfelt death wish against someone, you might have become as big of a monster as the one you’re fighting.
There’s no good reason for gloating about the misfortune of someone else.
With over 200K dead and over 7 million infected, we could just remember trump’s statement: “Elections have consequences.”
“When they go low, we go high”, is my favorite Michelle Obama quote.
I could tell you my initial thought when the news broke, but I would not write it down. No matter if you felt sadness, compassion, gloating joy or something else: It was your unintended, emotional reaction. Most importantly, it was private. We can share every last thought publicly, but we don’t have to.
And if you're struggling with negative feelings such as anger or anxiety, check out my PROJECT INNER PEACE!
We’re amid a conflict that forces us to to find a balance between isolation and staying safe. Washing our hands, wearing masks and keeping a distance has become our new normal. Corona also changes how we interact with each other, how we love, and how we live.
Epidemics have always transformed society, whether it was the pest, cholera, HIV or polio. Epidemics are levelers. On a granular level, that is not true as having health insurance might make or break your survival in case you get sick and your living/working conditions might increase or decrease the amount of exposure.
The Corona pandemic changes all aspects of our lives.
We take precautions to avoid getting sick, and that changes our social interactions. Isolation takes a toll on us and creates challenges. For instance, how do you explain to your young children they can’t play with their friends?
Let’s look at challenges and opportunities as every crisis comes with opportunity.
It’s not the first time an epidemic changes society and forced people to take precautions, and it’s not the last time.
In 1918, the Spanish Flu terrified and killed people. American soldiers brought it to Europe, where it spread quickly towards the end of World War I.
The Spanish flu caused more deaths than World War I.
As a precaution, people wore face masks. They cleaned roads regularly and avoided overcrowded trams.
Success crowned the cautionary measures. After two years, the Spanish flu disappeared.
New viruses appeared:
These are just a few examples. Every new epidemic calls for extra measures. In many regions of Asia, face masks are already the norm and part of everyday life.
It’s not too long ago that polio terrified people. Then came HIV, Ebola, smallpox.
HIV caused about 30 Million deaths and divided society because the biggest risk groups were minorities, such as gay people and drug addicts.
Modern medicine made vast advances, and never in the history of mankind has it been easier to share information. And misinformation, which is the biggest source of the deadly division our society is struggling with today.
Back when HIV first appeared, a few ideologists wanted to isolate HIV-positive patients.
Some parasites can control the brains of their hosts. So can false beliefs.
Besides false beliefs, a problem with bacteria is that it’s invisible. And then there’s an incubation phase and some carriers do not experience any symptoms.
However, as long as there’s no cure, precautions to prevent the disease from spreading are the only option we have.
Social distancing, closed bars, cancelled events and businesses - there’s emptiness at many places formerly filled with liveliness and closeness.
After a long phase of opening up and nearly borderless possibilities, our world is getting smaller. Strict border controls, travel bans, fewer parties, travelling became a chore…
Financial hardship and insecurity is a factor that makes travelling yet more unattractive for some families.
We need closeness and connectedness. Being locked in our apartments and houses is exhausting, not just for people who live alone. Many depressive people are getting worse. If you’re feeling down, I recommend you take advantage of the offers on my primary site: AC
Epidemics are times of executive power. Justice departments, parliaments, can all take a break. What matters now are administration and regulators.
Leaders who take action will improve their reputation and standing.
Other leaders try to play the severity of the pandemic down. The reason might be that making sure of people’s survival is the very responsible of a country’s leaders. However, when there’s insecurity and the masses are dying, a government looses their basic legitimacy.
This could be why some leaders, such as Boris Johnson, trump, Jair Bolsonaro tried to minimize and downplay the true extent of danger.
The Corona pandemic exposed weaknesses in our society, our social systems, politics and even ourselves. For instance, one reason the pandemic hit us seemingly unprepared is that out of greed warnings by experts have been ignored.
Even Bill Gates warned about a situation like this back in 2015 (and ever since):
Conspiracy theorists and far-right groups thanked him by making him the subject of ridiculously abstruse ideas. Another lesson we might learn from Corona is that we NEED to invest more in education. Education of young people, old people - all people.
It is time to cut the cable and stop watching those “drama” YouTubers that kill our brain cells faster than an acid trip with their irrelevancies. And “The Housewives of Jon Doe town” that numb us down harder than a punch on the head.
We must leave our "social" media world of anonymity and pseudonyms and take a stance.
Isolation is not only a problem for singles, but also families. The number of homicides and violent conflicts is on the rise. Many couples are not used to spending that much time together, and financial problems make the situation even more tense for many.
Casual dating has mostly become an artifact of the past. We meet fewer people and treat the ones we do meet with more care.
Every medal has two sides, and every crisis provides growth potential.
Many people expect that in a few weeks from now everything will go back to normal.
Some experts estimate it will take years to go back to “normal” I do not expect that to be the case. As of today, we do not even have a reliable date for when a vaccine will become available.
Just like since HIV our normal has changed, it will change again.
The death toll is horrible, but things could have been worse. The virus could have been even worse. Hopefully, we’ll not go back to “business as usual”, but prepare for the next pandemic.
People are adaptable creatures of habit. We’ll get used to the new normal quickly.
An epidemic is an incredible opportunity to become more grateful. For our freedom, our family, our friends.
During this crisis, uncountable fellow humans supported others. They give their money, time, care, and love to help others. The wave of altruism is heart-warming.
Greed and selfishness are the ugliest features of people and societies. Many people realize now that they are following the wrong gods. This crisis provides an opportunity for them to become less selfish and to understand that maximising profits isn't the only thing that matters.
If we discover we’re someone we can’t stand being alone with, it’s an excellent time to become someone we like to be alone with if need be.
I used to write about digital vs real connection, but I think I can skip that topic as this crisis reminded us on how much we need real human connectedness and closeness.
We rethink our values and have a newfound respect for each other. We paused on our (attempted) race to the top as it's now about life and death. While Corona is not comparable to the Black Death, it's still about life and death. Status and power lose their importance to respect, dignity and decency.
I mentioned earlier that Corona is a leveler. No matter who you are, we share the same experience and will get through this together.
Some jobs might go away, new jobs will appear. Some companies will keep their work-from-home positions. Perhaps corporate offices will become something like status symbols.
It could be the end of business travel as we know it (but that's pure speculation.)
We might see a new norm around respect and trust, and coworkers might become even closer.
For those who were longing to make a change they deemed too risky, might be a good time to go for their dream.
Should we discover that our elected leaders did not address the crisis competently, we can make a change.
We could consider, at least in democracies, to elect people with expert knowledge and/or the willingness and ability to consult experts in areas where they are not.
Also, we might push for more fairness, social justice, and demand that our new beliefs turn into policy.
Corona exposed weaknesses in our system that we can address and as a result become a stronger, fairer society.
A pandemic can be a catalyst for change. We're in a phase of insecurity and are more aware of the importance of our infrastructural, economical, intellectual, and social resources. For instance, the importance and value of nurses, doctors, truckers, and shop assistants for a functioning system.
Crisis is part of live.
People are supportive creatures by nature. And evolution does its thing. Let’s enjoy the ride and be as helpful of a creature as we can during our short time on earth.