Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews -- For those who like their news and truths frank and sharp

An epidemic of great lengths means we need an increase in mild fears

Why did the Spanish flu stop in two years and the corona pandemic not?

A small boy once said: “I’m superman—I’m not scared of anything!” I told him of something bigger. When you’re scared but act for good anyway.

Advocates for happiness would have it that fear is something negative. So, Fear of Heaven must be rejected as psychological primitiveness. Freedom should mean freedom from all fear. But, is that right? I don’t think so.

Let’s be mildly scared to do certain things. Mocking someone innocent. Laughing at others dying. Thinking that we’re perfect or invincible.

Should we be scared to death all the time? No, we shouldn’t. I understand Jewish trust in G^d like this. First, we do all to protect life in reasonable measure or a little more. And then, we give it over to G^d. We did our piece—please do Your end of the bargain. Prayers yes, worries no.

But, what’s the problem with having too little fear? Well, we won’t hesitate to do things that we would regret soon. We won’t recognize danger. Self-confidence is not the same as recklessness.

In the Netherlands, avian flu could easily jump to enough people creating a fair chance that in one of them a mutation develops that can jump from human to human. A pandemic that dwarfs the corona pandemic, but then: made in Holland. But, twee weeks ago, no one was worried, and no prevention was taken. Stop the presses! Just now, the Dutch parliament ordered the government to prepare and organize vaccination of all birds.

I see two main reasons why, after more than two years, corona is still infecting people massively.

1. We live in giant cities, as never before. We will not leave our Towers of Babylon, but it explains why this pandemic comes in wave after wave. This could be one explanation why the pandemic toll in Africa is a bit less. But then, if we insist to live so close, we should have some awe for viruses and cover our airways a bit more and huddle a bit less.

2. We’re not scared at all. Not like in the time of the Black Plague. Lockdowns were not needed. People stayed home, are you kidding? But we are modern and want our freedom. In China, streets, city quarters, whole cities are put on lockdown at a moment’s notice. Any day, workers don’t know if they’d be locked up at work for weeks. So, they commute with a survival package (water, food, toothbrush). Of course, we don’t want to give up on our democracy. But, if we had enough sense of fear, we would be willing to sacrifice the discomfort of not gathering and of wearing facemasks, even when not obligated. Be smart; fear a little.

Too much fear is a bad idea. That makes us panic or numb. No, just a little.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, previously a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He often makes his readers laugh, mad, or assume he's nuts—close to perfect blogging. As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. He doesn't believe that people observe and think in a vacuum. He, therefore, wanted a broad bio that readers interested can track a bit what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and educations contribute to his visions. * This year, he will prioritize getting his unpublished books published rather than just blog posts. Next year, he hopes to focus on activism against human extinction. To find less-recent posts on a subject XXX among his over 1500 archived ones, go to the right-top corner of a Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". One can find a second, wilder blog, to which one may subscribe, here: or by clicking on the globe icon next to his picture on top. * Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. However, if you think those are his absolute top priorities, you might end up disappointed. His first loyalty is to the truth. He will try to stay within the limits of democratic and Jewish law, but he won't lie to support opinions or people when don't deserve that. (Yet, we all make honest mistakes, which is just fine and does not justify losing support.) He admits that he sometimes exaggerates to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * Sometimes he's misunderstood because his wide and diverse field of vision seldomly fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what some love about him. He has written a lot about Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (including basic statistics), Politics (Israel, the US, and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight reality), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA+, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), the Climate Crisis, Ecology and Veganism, Affairs from the news, or the Torah Portion of the Week, or new insights that suddenly befell him. * Chronologically, his most influential teachers are his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim, Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. This short list doesn't mean to disrespect others who taught him a lot or a little. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, and disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. He aims to bring a fresh perspective rather than harp on the obvious and familiar. When he can, he loves to write encyclopedic overviews. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds should be disputed. In short, his main political positions are among others: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, anti those who abuse democratic liberties, anti the fake ME peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, pro-Science, pro-Free Will, anti-blaming-the-victim, and for down-to-earth, classical optimism, and happiness. Read his blog on how he attempts to bridge any tensions between those ideas or fields. * He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to his parents who were Dutch-Jewish Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork. He grew up a humble listener. It took him decades to become a speaker too, and decades more to admit to being a genius. But his humility was his to keep. And so was his honesty. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. He hopes to bring new things and not just preach to the choir. * He holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam) – is half a doctor. He practices Re-evaluation Co-counseling since 1977, is not an official teacher anymore, and became a friendly, powerful therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years, he was active in hasbara to the Dutch-speaking public. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second-generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having an original peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
Related Topics
Related Posts