Proportion and Scale: Reset

I was finally able to attend a service of worship in person recently. We were very few, widely spaced, following all the current rules, and I needed it. After some recent events, I had gotten mentally wrapped around the axle dealing with a problem that was my responsibility but outside of my control at that point. (Said problem has been resolved since then.)

My problem was a matter of scale. Everything has been shrinking since mid-March, to the point where if it wasn’t Day Job, household, or virus-news-of-the-day, it was almost impossible to get good information or to maintain a healthy sense of perspective. It happened so gradually that I didn’t realize how bad it had become.

Part of the problem is that the national media, even the alternative sources, have been locked onto the Wuhan fever and ignoring everything else in the world. When a damaging earthquake in Salt Lake City gets twenty seconds and/or one paragraph on the day of the event, and then nothing ever again (unless you hang out on geology sites), something’s odd. Floods, range fires, terror attacks against a maternity hospital, power shifts in Europe . . . Nothing is worthy of notice unless the Wuhan fever is involved in some way. Pardon the pun, but that’s not healthy for the people consuming the information.

The preoccupation with deaths is also not good for maintaining perspective. As I’ve written before, it’s hard to keep in mind that unless people 1. have health problems to begin with, 2. are older than 65-70, or 3. are just really unfortunate, they get a little sick, or not sick at all. 99% survival rate or better, based on the ever-changing numbers. That’s not the first rounds of the Black Death, or the early rounds of smallpox, or virgin soil epidemics in the Americas. But no, the media focus on deaths, or make it seem as if recoveries are rare and unusual. (Now, granted, anything that makes a person sick enough that they have to go on a ventilator is bad news, and ventilators themselves can be bad news for some patients. That’s true for viral pneumonia, influenza, or anything else. If you want scary numbers, look up the child mortality rate for Influenza B this past year. Nasty bug.)

So it is easy to lose perspective. People are physically confined, even in places like Texas where we could get out of the house and shop or roam neighborhoods and make home improvements. Churches and temples closed, removing easy access to one major perspective-adjuster. The news media focus on the virus and nothing else. Local and state governments? Ditto.

The world goes on. That’s not what the media are selling, not what governments are selling in many cases. There are much, much bigger things than Wuhan fever. China is nibbling chunks off of India again. Russia is doing whatever Russia does. Iran . . . yeah. Typhoons drown thousands and force millions to flee their homes. Latin America has its own problems, locust swarms are causing misery in parts of Africa and south Asia. Babies are born, kids learn to read, couples fall in love, wildflowers bloom, and we run the risk of losing sight of that.

Part of me really wonders if, all political affiliations aside, so many in the media no longer believe in a traditional religious faith that they truly can’t see the forest for the current-events trees. They don’t learn history, they don’t understand math (they’re not alone there), and they have nothing else to ground them in the larger, longer view of things. This world is all that there is. Their immediate surroundings and friends and family are all that is. If that is threatened, all is threatened, forever and ever, because there IS nothing else in their view.

Western civilization survived the Black Death (although the religious bureaucracy and trust in the Church as an institution took a beating. Faith remained.) It survived the Thirty Years War. In the US, it survived WWI and WWII. Wuhan fever should be a challenge, especially now that we’ve seen how quickly certain groups want to strip civil liberties, and how fast some people are willing to give them up. It’s not the end of the world. The “new normal” should be a reclamation of powers loaned to governments at all levels, and a ferocious determination not to let our liberties be trod upon in the future.

And stop calling SARS-2, Wuhan fever, the Winnie-the-Pooh flu, Kung Pao Sicken or whatever “the novel corona virus.” The novelty wore off in March, if not sooner.

24 thoughts on “Proportion and Scale: Reset

  1. The panicdemic must continue until after the election in November. Then, if the Democrat succeeds in cheating enough to win, the plague will suddenly cease and desist. If, on the other hand, Orange Man Bad! somehow wins (despite everything the media can do), then we can expect two more years of hate and fear. I mean the flu epidemic that is on par with 2017-18, and not as bad as 1997-98. But it is always Current Year, and there was no before-time.

  2. Over 100K Americans have died due to Orange Man Bad’s incompetence and denial.Enough said.

    • Because Trump mind-controlled New York politicians into deliberately infecting nursing homes?

      Truly a dastardly villain of otherworldly power.
      You should quake in fear.

      • Not only could President Trump mind control the New York pols, but the New Jersey and Pennsylvania ones as well. Governors Cuomo, Murphy, and Wolfe were just mind-controlled puppets, perpetrating their atrocities because– Nah, I can’t go farther, even sarcastically.

        Well over half of America’s COVID-19 deaths come from NY, NJ, and PA, and the vast majority of those come from nursing homes. The same nursing homes their governors forced COVID-19 patients into. It may not have been on the scale of the Holodomor, the Holocaust, or the Killing Fields, but it was an atrocity all the same. Cuomo, Murphy, and Wolfe should be languishing behind bars, or hanging from lampposts, not governing American states.

        • The Left are condemning Trump for NOT BEING what they claim he is.

          IE The President can not force the State & Local government to do something thus the Left wants Trump to be a Dictator while claiming that Trump is a Dictator.

          Of course, the Left and the News Media were into “Let’s Hug A Chinese Person” when the first news of the China Flu got started.

          IE Any concern about the China Flu was Just Hatred Of Foreigners. 😡

          So any action that Trump could have legally done before the News Media started the Panic would have been condemned.

        • It’s also peculiar how Wolfe’s family business, which is supposed to be in a blind trust, was exempted from closure while other similar businesses were all closed.

          Well, no time like the present to return him to the private sector and then impose the correct fines and penalties.

          • We really, really need to return to old fashioned honest graft. I’m not being sarcastic. There’s something to be said for crookedness that at least produces positive results. Non-crookedness is much better, but open graft openly acknowledged and channeled properly has a few benefits.

      • I realize Mark’s idiocy only deserves mockery, but…

        I’m kind of intrigued as to a President that warned about the virus during the State of the Union speech, and limited entry to the country from infected areas before the threat was aknowledged can be blamed for “denial”.

        He *did* deny the worst-case scenarios being bandied about of millions dead.
        But since he was proven right, I’m not exactly sure how that’s supposed to be a bad thing.

        As to incompetence, the above clearly shows he was on top of the situation and being proactive when the disease was a samizdat rumor.
        Then he coordinated industry retooling to supply hundreds of thousands of respirators on short notice.
        And saw that the public was kept informed as knowledge developed.

        Now, the number of deaths is well below the best-case scenario.
        And you blame it on Trump?
        Seriously, WTF is wrong with you?

    • I’m taking Mark’s comment as a concise summation of the media/Twitterati view of this past four months, not as a statement of fact. I could be wrong.

      Edited to add: I’m also assuming sarcasm until proven otherwise.

    • And the US has horrible healthcare (which people from around the world come to use) and locking people up will prevent the spread (stop looking at actual numbers you h8er.)

  3. The media believe in a traditional faith, one rooted in the whisper that “you shall be like gods are.” The unspoken cost of default is showing, on their souls as collateral for worldly gains. Eternal damnation and punishment is yet another change in scale.

  4. “This, too, shall pass”. In spite of the best efforts of the media to focus attention on the Wuhan coronavirus and portray Trump as Satan, the father of lies and author of all evil, things will get better. Just watch, in six months when the panic has died, people are going back to work and play, and the economy has rebounded, the media will be downplaying the whole thing and trying to pretend it never happened. Squirrel! and they be haring off after some new cause celebre. I advocate ignoring the media and staying grounded.

  5. History teaches us what is truly unprecedented, which is history delenda est for the Left. My current list of ‘unprecedented’ includes the flowering of mathematics in the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries, just half a century after an Italian mathematician invented the plus, minus, and equal signs. (Not kidding, and I’ll hunt up the inventor’s name if someone wants.)

  6. Work on what you, yourself, can control. Don’t focus on the news and blathering… As for Mark, he’s truly drunk the kool aid… Faith will survive as it always has, as a function of PERSONAL belief, which is not something that the media can control.

  7. Last winter’s cold hasn’t quite killed all of us yet, but I’m sure it will come through for us this June.

    *rolls 3d6 trying to get a 60 or higher*

  8. “…it was almost impossible to get good information or to maintain a healthy sense of perspective. It happened so gradually that I didn’t realize how bad it had become.”

    Ah, perspective. Now that hit’s home. I’ve been having thoughts lately of a very negative nature (nothing too worrying, just a general blah that I can’t seem to shake) and I think I’ve started to connect some dots re the seeming non-stop negative coverage of the tragedy that wasn’t, and everything that goes along with it. Even in an open state like Georgia, we’ve felt the oppression as it’s broadcast everywhere and all the time. We can go to the store or the park, but it still feels like things are shut down, if that makes any sense. Hard to describe. And it was so gradual that I didn’t notice until a friend started free-associating and it all sounded so familiar. I won’t give “them” enough credit to have actually orchestrated this melancholy, but it sure feels real to me.

    • In Oregon we’ve had “lockdown light”, but just because the boot is suede rather than polished leather, doesn’t mean it’s not there. See the salon owner who had OSHA, Child Protective Service complaints (dropped when she started speaking out–the lawsuit promises to be glorious) and Oregon Health all on her case.

      Now it’s the churches who are having to fight to get something resembling fairness–that’s now in Federal court; too many of the judges in the OR Supreme court were appointed by our dear beloved governor: Tzarina Kate Brown, the Despicable.

    • Tullamore, it gets in the air. By that I mean that once enough people start getting uncomfortable or down, then even if things are relatively open or mild, the public mood shifts to concern, fear, worry. A constant background drumbeat of something wears you down. I’ve observed similar during droughts out here. Even though you and I have water, the constant dryness and hard, brassy skies make everyone slightly depressed. Add in constant warnings about fire danger and unending pleas to go easy on the water, to cut back on irrigation, to not run the tap when you brush your teeth (which has never made sense to me, but anyway), and after ten dry months, everyone’s on edge, all the time.

  9. I don’t watch television or listen to news radio except when I need the traffic reports. My social needs are quite low (not zero). Most of my news is liked off Instapundit (and yes, Glenn Reynolds says not to do that, but he doesn’t give a good alternative). So I’m not quite so badly affected. But yeah, ((insert Sarah Hoyt’s opinions)).

  10. In California, they suggested, “providing pre-packed communion items on chairs prior to service.” Clueless.

    • Yes. I’ve seen pre-packaged Eucharistic items in a military chaplain’s kit, so that he could provide his Catholic soldiers with what they needed even though he was Protestant, but that’s a very, very different situation.

      • In case anybody ever has to know this —

        In Catholic or Orthodox circles, the basic concept is that once the bread/wine are consecrated, it’s actually Jesus present there, not bread/wine. So not just everybody can confect the Sacrament (has to be a Catholic/Orthodox priest), but various people can be designated to deliver it (almost always has to be someone Catholic/Orthodox, with special handling rules). Unless you are a priest, you can’t give yourself Communion.

        Other Christian groups differ A LOT on what Communion is, who can do it or deliver it, how long you can keep it around, how long Jesus is present and in what way, how to handle it, how important it is, how often you need it, etc. This kind of stuff is important and picky, because it cuts straight to the theology and beliefs of a Christian group. If one size fit all, we’d already be all in the same churches, or never have broken up in the first place.

        And I certainly didn’t elect my governor to be Pope, or any health directors to be ministers.

        So yeah… I don’t know what military chaplains carry, these days. I guess anyone could keep pre-consecrated Communion hosts in a special gold pyx as a carrying utensil, but I have to say I’d need to know ahead of time about how a Protestant would be authorized to carry it or give it to me. But a lot of Catholics act as chaplain assistants, so that they can act as “extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion”, and carry consecrated hosts to the sick or the isolated.

        But yeah, that’s why there’s an Archdiocese in the US that’s just for military chaplains — because really, it’s a lot easier if Catholics dig up priests to do all the stuff Catholics need. A lot of smaller religious groups have the same problems, because they need to get anyone from their group who serves to get adequate pastoral care.

        But all chaplains have to know a huge amount about other religions, about how far they can properly serve people not of their religion, and about people in general and human needs.

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