Nobody knows what’s going on!

Are you confused about where we stand, when things will go back to normal and what that “normal” will even look like? I know I am.

🤔 What I’ve been thinking about

Maybe you’ve been aware of this all along. But for many of us, realizing just how clueless everyone is about everything has been a little shocking.

I grew up believing our “elites” like politicians, doctors or journalists pretty much have everything figured out and know what they’re doing (they’re old, smart and experienced, after all). Looking back on the last months with “the Virus” in our lives, it has become pretty obvious that our decision-makers and experts are remarkably clueless. I’m not saying managing this pandemic is an easy task, it’s a new virus after all, and many politicians did a really good job.

But the uncertainty and ambiguity that still persists is quite anxiety-provoking, to be honest. Or am I the only one who feels this way?

This comedy sketch that I’ve seen on reddit summarized it best, I think (watch it, it’s funny:)

Sometimes, a parody can be more effective at capturing what’s going on than serious journalism. The part about “masks are useless, but you must also wear them” was pretty spot on, as well as “… we are only testing those that are almost dead to determine that’s what they will die of.”

It’s pretty scary, realizing that the smartest specialists and research teams can’t make a sound prediction on what this thing is and what the world will look like in one year. You’ve probably heard of politicians downplaying the danger, claiming it’s all a hoax, or spewing dangerous advice about injecting bleach or other nonesense. The virologists and medical experts are also remarkably divided on what this virus is or how to best fight it (do we need to go for herd immunity? Is “flattening the curve” the only viable strategy? How contagious and deadly is this thing?)

I think many of us are somewhat calm because of our Normalcy Bias, which reportedly about 70% of us resort to in disasters: We just assume things will return to normal, that things will turn out fine (after all, this has generally been true so far in our lives). Consequently, we underestimate the likelihood of a disaster (“it won’t hit me”) and its potential adverse effects. I guess from an evolutionary standpoint, this cognitive bias is useful, because we don’t fall into despair and continue living our lives during wartimes and other catastrophies.

You could also say this realization that nobody knows what’s going on is a good thing. We stop assuming that our “elites” know it all, that our politicians, news broadcasters, journalists or even doctors are infallible. Most of the time, they’re only winging it.

We just have to learn to deal with this ambiguity. Life is messy, it’s confusing, there’s rarely a correct “black and white” answer.

Just beware of people who claim they’re different in that they have a simple answer to complex problems: Self-proclaimed experts who say they know how and when the virus can be beat. Stock analysts who say they know exactly when stocks bounce back and how the economy is going to recover. Politicians who claim they have the one solution to the world’s problems. These are usually narcissistic people who want power and admiration, or who noticed they can make money from sounding smart and talking with conviction.

😴 What helped me find calm this week

Intentional ASMR Picks:

Here’s some ASMR that I thought you’d enjoy:

Unintentional ASMR Picks:

❕ By the way: You might have noticed my smaller Unintentional ASMR Channel has disappeared. I’ve had an issue with two videos being blocked, hence I started over with a new one. Here is the link (it’d be amazing if you subscribed!)