Just How Selfish are We?

How’s life? I hope I can help you find calm in these troubled times.

🤔 What I’ve been thinking of

Many people have fantasized about how an alien attack would help us humans finally move closer together and put our idiotic problems and wars aside to fight together.

Similarly, an optimist might think that we humans would develop some altruism and grandeur in these midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

I have my doubts, however, after seeing what has been happening in Germany: Numerous hospitals and doctor’s offices had their face masks, protective suits or disinfectants stolen. Closed cabinets were broken into and even delivery trucks with medicinal resupplies were robbed. As disinfectants are out of stock in drugstores and pharmacies, people seem to be prone to trade civility for a brutal egoism a la survival-of-the-fittest.

Every person with two brain cells should be aware that these medicinal items are needed most in clinics, instead of keeping a bathtub full of disinfectant for yourself (what would you even do with them? Or is it to sell it somebody else for a big profit? I don’t get it). Disinfectants and face masks are absolutely crucial for severely ill patients to protect themselves and to avoid that nurses, doctors and others get infected by COVID or other, more severe viruses and bacteria.

The clinics are pressing charges against the criminals and need to consider employing security personnel, which seems insane. All of this sounds like a post apocalyptic Zombie movie rather than a modern, evolved world.

The panic buying of a year’s supply of canned food or toilet paper is similarly egoistical (knowing fully well that others will find empty shelves after you), and this has been happening here for weeks, as well.

I’m aware that most people don’t behave like this. But still, this behavior makes me sad. In German, there’s a phrase to describe it: “Nach mir die Sintflut” (the deluge after me), i.e. people’s tendency to behave egoistically for their own gain, without much consideration for the (long-term, often horrible) disadvantages and damages that others might face. This applies to reckless pollution, selfish political decisions (more money for me at the expense of others), scamming people and many other things.

We seem to be capable of occasional altruism if everything goes smoothly – but once we sense we might be in danger, most of our civility and humanity seems to evaporate. Our (mostly overblown) fear of death seems to bring the worst out of us: Pure egoism, tribalism, racism, and the dehumanization of others.

In case you can’t understand the atrocities or Nazi Germany, the Soviet Gulags or any other terror regimes: This apparently inherent selfishness seems to trump altruism quite reliably if our own ass is on the line. Why risk my own ass if all I need is to do is snitch on my neighbor who hides Jews from deportation?

Even though most people don’t behave like this nowadays, 1% being assholes with this devil-may-care attitude can suffice for hell breaking lose for everybody).

I’m not sure if there’s a moral to this story, except that maybe we should have realistic expectations regarding our civility once things go south. And second we should be extremely grateful to everybody who continues doing what’s right even though the convenient thing would be to stop caring.

In any case, I’m insanely thankful for all doctors, nurses and everyday people who continue to help the victims, the weak, the ill, the oppressed every day while risking their own lives.

😴 What helped me find calm this week

Unintentional ASMR Picks:

Here’s some Unintentional ASMR that I think you’d enjoy (you can find them on my second channel):

  • In case you haven’t seen it, I’ve made a 1hr “ASMR Show” from bed, showing my picks of Unintentional and Intentional ASMR, and talking about how to overcome Corona-fear

Intentional ASMR Picks:

  • A new channel I discovered is Goodnight Moon. I like it because it’s unusual, a bit crazy, and a quite unique accent, like this “Strange Haircut
  • LottieLoves ASMR made a nice video tapping with longer nails on different objects
  • For your daily dose of relaxing Hair Wash / Shampoo videos, TingTing made a great one, once again
  • Gentle Whispering‘s new vid with different colored Glow sticks has surprisingly tingly sounds (plus she dyed her hair in rainbow colors)
  • Zeitgeists new video is excellent, as usual (guess the triggers)

I’ve added these videos to my “ASMR Favorites” Playlist“, again.

💜 What I enjoyed this week:

For me, music is the quickest and most reliable way to brighten my mood.

You might know these already, but I’ve been really enjoying watching those NPR mini-concerts (some of them many, many times) with beautiful artists such has Anderson .Paak, Jorja Smith, Tyler the Creator (female singers stole the show), Tom Misch, Mac Miller or Lianne LaHavas.

It’s just amazing to see people vibing together as a band, with real instruments, singing and playing cool funky melodies… (I’m not sure how the mixing/post-production can be so good, it sounds like studio recordings)