Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews

Fear of corona should be seen in a more positive light

Fear is greatly underrated.

Mental health is loosely taken as a situation of feeling good. Fear is roughly seen as an undesirable feeling. Although opponents of discomfort will be quick to agree that if you encounter a hungry tiger in the street and you don’t feel any fear, you may actually not be so sound of mind.

Still, who needs chronic fear and depression? We have a right to pursue happiness, the most-depressed nation on earth holds.

This all may greatly enable the coronavirus to spread more than ever.

The Spanish flu did not spread like that. That’s not just because now we have more international travel. The plague did not spread like that. And that’s not because they understood microbes better. To the contrary!

Blind panic was the mood of the day when the plague was the big killer. People stayed home, prayed a lot, took any hint of what would help very seriously. All motivated by a palpable fear of dying.

This is largely lacking now. The pandemic is seen by many as the fear of dying in traffic. Happens every day but it won’t happen to me. Denial.

Public knowledge of health also helps the virus. Once, physicians were feared as lofty gods. Obeying them could undo a death sentence. Now, everyone with Internet access is their own (and everyone else’s) doctor.

The virus takes a hike with the carefreeness, the nonchalance, the ‘if you’re happy/devout/healthy, it couldn’t happen to you’ attitude.

Also, we got used to it. The pandemic became wallpaper. We ignore it.

And of course, the Original Sin: Adam says: It was her, Eve says: No, him.

We need more fear. Not a paralyzing fear that leads to depression, suicide, or defeatism. But a fear that says: I see a tiger there–time to step back.

Fear can be a bad guide to action. Lack of common-sense fear can be fatal.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to two Dutch survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork, and holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam). He taught Re-evaluation Co-counseling, became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will.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 most influential teachers (chronologically) 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. * Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years, he wrote hasbara for the Dutch public. His fields of attention now are varied: Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (statistics), Politics (Israel, the US and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight Truth), 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), Ecology and Veganism. Sometimes he's misunderstood because he has such a wide vision that never fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what many love about him. Many of his posts relate to affairs from the news or the Torah Portion of the Week or are new insights that suddenly befell him. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, reassure the doubters but make the self-assured doubt more. He strives to bring a fresh perspective rather than bore you with the obvious. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds must be disputed. In short, his main political positions are: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, democracy, anti the fake peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, Science, Free Will, anti blaming-the-victim and for down-to-earth optimism. Read his blog how he attempts to bridge any discrepancies. He admits sometimes exaggerating 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. * 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. November 13, 2018, he published his 500th blog post with the ToI. 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 a peek outside of your cultural bubble. * NEW: To see other blog posts by him, his overspill blog you can reach by clicking on the Website icon next to his picture at the head of every post. There you may find precursors to later TOI blog posts, addition or corrections of published TOI blog posts, blog posts the TOI will not carry, and some thoughts that are too short to be a TOI blog post. Also, the TOI only allows for one blog post per blogger per 24 hours. Sometimes, he has more to say than that. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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