The news earns me a living, but I don’t live the news. When not at work I try to limit my news viewing if I want to enjoy living. If I don’t restrict my news consumption, my life will be spent in constant fear.
Illegal immigrants are coming to rob and kill us. Muslims will kill us. Russia China and North Korea will kill us. Police will kill us. Blacks will kill us. Whites will kill us. Mexicans will kill us. The coronavirus will kill us.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t be cautious and safe, especially when it comes to the coronavirus and all the other fears but use common sense.
According to Lewis & Clark College President Barry Glassner, one of the country’s leading sociologists and author of “The Culture of Fear” as reported in Rolling Stone magazine, “Most Americans are living in the safest place at the safest time in human history.”
Around the world, household wealth, education and longevity are on the rise while violent crime and extreme poverty are down. Our air is the cleanest it’s been in more than a decade, and for the most part our water supply is safe.
Because, according to Glassner, “We are living in the most fearmongering time in human history. And the main reason for this is that there’s a lot of power and money available to individuals and organizations who can perpetuate these fears.”
If we are in the safest of times, why are we more fearful than ever?
Glassner offered this answer: “For mass media, insurance companies, Big Pharma, advocacy groups and politicians, your fear is worth billions and your fear is easy to manipulate. We’re wired to respond to it above everything else.”
Andrew Hubermn, a Stanford neurobiology professor who runs a lab studying fear, said, “The more we learn about the brain, the more we learn it’s not something that’s supposed to make you happy all the time. Its primary job is to keep us alive, which is why it’s so easy to flip people into fear all the time.”
I know we have to be extra safe with wearing masks and social distancing during this pandemic, but we’ve been in safety hyper mode for a long while before.
We don’t even let our kids venture down the block or stray too far from our sight. When I was a kid, we were allowed to roam wherever we wanted as long as we were home before dark. We ate green apples, had dirt-clod fights, played in tunnels, rode bikes all over town and survived.
When the city had trucks spraying a kerosene mist for mosquitoes in the summer and kids would run and play in the fumes, parents watched calmly from the porch. We survived that too.
We survived all the boogeymen, real or imagined, through common sense and courage.
That common sense and courage are needed today. We are a strong people. We are survivors. We survived the worst times in history and we’re here to win another battle.