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.