March 31, 2020

Nobody Knows Best - EP 7: We Live In A Society

It's too big to ignore now.


Hey, what's up everyone?

It's March 29th 2020, early afternoon here, and we're still on lockdown over here in Washington.

So last time, I kind of wanted to avoid talking about the coronavirus and the overall impact but at this point, so many things have happened since that last podcast that it feels weird to not mention it. And I think that the virus leads into a bunch of different topics.

I think the biggest thing that this whole situation shows is how...easy it is to forget how vulnerable we are as human beings. Especially when you don't have things like, knowledge about how to deal with it, or examples where it doesn't matter how rich or poor you are. There are people who are just getting sick. And it's times like these that force humanity to...come together, remember that we're all human, and to put aside all of our various differences, to stand in solidarity together. But I think the biggest thing that I'm noticing is, one, how people are dealing with this and there's the social aspect, the economics that are coming into play with this, but I want to go into one topic first, which is, when I was thinking about doing this project for this year, a lot of the motivation, which you can listen to episode one for more information, but I'm going to expand upon some of those things, that I saw in the last decade was that...I saw less and less people coming together. And what I mean by that is somewhere in that decade, and I could argue that the seeds were planted earlier, but somewhere in that decade, there was this shift in America where...

So I felt like in America what ended up happening is that rather than people assuming the best of people, people started assuming the worst. And, over the course of the last decade, what I found personally terrifying is that you had all of these groups and subcultures that were getting more and more extreme. And a lot of people want to talk about the ones that you see in the news. I don't need to explain what those groups are; you probably know what I'm talking about already. So there were a lot of people who are focused on the negative corners of the internet that were bubbling up in subculture but they weren't talking about the other end of the spectrum, because it was seen as "good", like being divisive for "good" was seeing as a great thing, but then what ended up happening is the bar for being a good person began to increase, and increase, and increase to the point was making me anxious. Because what ended up happening, and it sort of led to some other events in the latter half of the last decade, you'd have these subgroups that were so...incestuous and so isolated, that in order to "stay pure", I guess is the best way I can phrase it, there were more and more stringent requirements that were pushed in those groups and then pushed into mainstream culture that became this weird, artificial barometer to determine how much of a "good person" you were, to the point that no human being could uphold them.

Because we've all messed up. We've all done things that we regret, and to look at someone's mistakes in isolation and not their progress, or to trap someone in their previous best, which I brought up in the first episode, and hold them to that and not giving them the ability to expand beyond that, is dangerous, because it creates resentment and then it allows a situation where people who are isolated that way can find other people who are isolated and then reinforce that same behavior or in some cases even get radicalized. And then the result is anger, overall backlash, violence, and just general negative consequences.

And then you would think that when those negative consequences would start showing up, the response would be...something like, "Maybe I did something to contribute to this", like, "Where did I mess up to allow someone to be that hurt or that isolated to then be this hateful or filled with anger or have these views?"

That's all I thought the greater population would think. But the only thing it did was reinforce this assumption that they had all along, where those people are angry and doing wrong things, therefore to them, it justifies their behavior up to that point, and they don't see how their previous actions lead to that result. Which then created these very strict siloed corners of not only the internet, but also in real life and in overall interactions with people.

And, part of the motivating factor, again of me doing this, was to talk about that. To say that the idea that no one understands what "best" means anymore is important because if you forget what that means, then it becomes a lot easier to paint a person and not allow them to grow beyond your initial assumptions about them.

But even I could not have predicted in the Year of Our Lord, 2020, that of all years that I would be motivated to do this, and I would start to see the countershift of people being like, "You know what? Maybe this purity test, siloed way of thinking and interacting with people is too dangerous. Let's try and be more cordial with people."

Bam! A pandemic happens.

And now everyone remembers their vulnerabilities and their humanity and they want to cleave to people and socialize and treat other people well. But then on the other end of the spectrum, you have people who are scared and you see the fear as they try and go into stores and stock up on toilet paper, which I still don't understand. Like, I know I'm going with kinda of a serious train of thought, but why are you getting so much toilet paper? Like, I had... bought toilet paper in February just because it was that time to, and I'm still good on toilet paper. And yet, I saw so many people...just like overstocking on toilet paper, to the point where I'm like, even if you were a family of five, the amount of toilet paper that you are hoarding is absurd.

And you see all these people, like, grabbing all these items like Revelations is going to happen or something. And...the pettiness and the pushing and the shoving and...part of me is curious about like some of those people. Because given the area that I'm in, and the coasts in general, I would not be surprised if a lot of the people who contributed to the behavior that I'm talking about last, uh, in the last decade, were the same ones who threw that all away, and decided to think about their own survival instead of how they could best serve their communities or even their inner circles.

Like I remember, it was a little bit...I don't remember if it was before or after the last episode I recorded. I think it was after, and I had to go pick up something from the store; like a really small thing.

So I was like, "Okay, well...I'll go out really quick and I know that the item will most likely be there and I can just be in and out."

And just the things I saw, in my maybe half an hour of being outside, where people were speeding like crazy. And then I get into the parking lot of like the store I was going to, and then I turn into the parking lot area and the store is like on the left, and I'm rolling up slowly to look for like a good place to park. And then someone in this huge SUV, and I don't remember what the brand of it was but it was a very expensive looking SUV, like this lady just shoves out doesn't even look; just goes in the middle of the road as like I'm pulling up like actually going the speed limit. And then as I see her just appear in front of me, like, I brake. And then she looks at me, like I'm the one who did something wrong. And then finishes her turn and spins off and she's like halfway in the road already. And then I have to think, like, what, what...what emergency do you have?

Because if you were like...let's say you were like a restaurant worker, or someone in the grocery store, or like a working class person, and you saw all this stuff happening and you didn't understand, like, how the virus could spread or what was going on, I can understand someone at that level being afraid and trying to like gather and hunker down. But if I were to hazard a guess...that lady either herself or their partner, or maybe even both of them, at least, most likely make six figures or higher, at least. And yet, she's so panicked that she would just go in the middle of the road, not even care of there's traffic there, and then look at the person that she was going to collide into, like an enemy in that moment, instead of being like, "Oh, wait a minute, let me calm down. I probably have a good portion of money in my bank account, and I probably could work from home, and I'm not going to have to worry about not having a job and worrying about where rent came from."

That realization in that moment did not happen. It was just as primal and rooted in like, this animalistic humanity that we're supposedly beyond.

But if there's one thing I hope that this situation does is I hope that people remember doesn't matter how rich or poor you are. It doesn't matter what job you're working at, or the friends that you have, or all like this nonsense.

When survival comes into play, we're all the same.

And I personally feel that in times of crisis, like, you really get to see people. The mask comes off, all the platitudes go away, all of the wokeness goes away.

I actually saw a funny tweet, where someone was like, "Huh, it's interesting that now that the coronavirus is blowing up that all of the woke children of woke parents aren't saying anything anymore."

And I found that funny because now they aren't bored. Now there's something dangerous that's adding the excitement that they were trying to create by doing these platitudes. Like now, something important enough came up that really put things into perspective and my hope, that once this is figured out and things go back to normal, and we get a vaccine, and this is treatable, that this lesson sticks with people. That this isn't a once a decade thing, where we get some solidarity, after people get used to dealing with like this quarantine and some of the isolation related things in terms of being able to interact with people and work and stuff like that, I hope that people appreciate other people. And, it's kind of funny that I'm speaking about that, because as far as me personally and how this whole situation has affected me, for the most part, it hasn't changed that many things. Like all the work that I do, I can do from home, I am relatively self sufficient, and while it would be easy for me to spin as a point of pride, it really has to deal with how I grew up, and being very self-aware of who I am in my thoughts and my own problems, right?

Because I also think, and this is also very important, that this is probably the first time for a lot of people where they have to sit with their own thoughts.

And because they have to sit with their own thoughts for the first time, they're maybe...finding out some uncomfortable things about themselves, or realizing things that they pushed to the back of their minds because maybe they were working 10-12 hours on the job. And they had their heads filled with like work tasks and stuff. And they could keep themselves so busy that they never had to really sit down, because maybe they do their 10 to 12 hours, and the amount of time they had to spend with themselves in their own place was so small that they could put away all of the negative thoughts and the inner conflicts that they have within themselves. And...I feel empathy for them.

I definitely feel like...we're also going to get a lot of children out of this. And there's also going to be a lot of unfortunate circumstances with couples who have to deal with each other on a day to day basis now. And I hope that for most of people it goes the best it could, because I've heard some other more sad things about that, but I won't get into that now.

I don't know if the fact that I'm dealing with this so well, is a good thing or not when I see, even now, how much people are freaking out about it and how it's changing things because it's one thing if my perspective was only based on what I saw on the internet, because that's gonna be skewed. But I'm definitely seeing how it's affecting the local community here.

And I'm really concerned about the local restaurants and stuff too. I even know like some new businesses that, uh, opened recently in this area, and then all this stuff happened and I'm like, "Oh, boy, they they just opened in a new building. They had to go through all that paperwork, getting the security deposit, putting that rent down, at most likely already at a loss, and then they're being forced to shut down because the governor is saying, "Hey, you're not an essential business so you're gonna have to eat this one."

And I know that there's some "legislation" that's supposedly supposed to help people and local restaurants and things like that but...without getting too much into the politics of things, my skepticism could not be higher. And it was very clear who the government cares more about, but I'm not gonna go into that too much. I don't want to get too mad about the decisions made there.

But I'm really concerned about them. And I've been trying to every once in a while pick up things. In fact, I have to go make a run later today to...get groceries and pack up on some food and stuff.

And I've occasionally like ordered from DoorDash and Grubhub. Not even because I do that, not really much of these days, but because I want to give local business something while they're suffering. But then I can also imagine that deliveries are still down because a lot of people are probably concerned that if you have a delivery person, they're going to multiple homes. Even if the restaurant is doing its job properly, that their food would give them an increased chance of getting the virus. And it doesn't help that even now details around it and how it spreads and the behavior of it are still changing. There are some people are saying masks do a great deal in reducing it there are people saying master useless, there are people who are saying it's an airborne virus, there's other people who are saying that it's airborne, but it's only airborne in the sense that it's droplets that are spat out by people that then land on surfaces. Like there's so much mixed information in that space of confusion, where there's nothing sturdy that people can rely on for sure considering how novel this is, it makes people more and more superstitious. Especially if you're in a situation where you're compromised in some way or you live with someone who may be compromised. So I totally get people not trusting delivery, but then I have to think, how are those businesses gonna survive? And I don't want to be too cynical, but what I hope doesn't happen is all those local businesses shut down or get on the verge of it, and then some big corporate entity buys them and then ruins them in the pursuit of more profit as if they're not profitable enough. So the best thing I can do is support where I can. Fortunately, I am...not compromised in any way, in terms of immunity, obviously, I still need to be cautious and also if you're young and for some reason listening to this, don't be like the people who are on the beaches or who were still like playing sports outside. Like the information that's coming out now is it may have skewed older initially but there are plenty of young and athletic people getting really, really sick as well. And even if that wasn't the case, you're still being a carrier for people who could be more vulnerable than you.

So, all I can say is...take care. I'm still gonna be doing stuff here.

But I want to close with this before I end this episode; to a point I was making earlier.

I had a plan for this year and doing this, and many other things that are going on in my own personal life and other irons in the fire. And I had this idea in my mind so planned out and then this happened. And while I'm fine, fortunately, it still did change a lot of things. And it's indirectly humbling because it still made me realize at the end of the day, I can only do my best. And as long as I'm doing my best and I'm willing to improve my best, even when situations come or when plans shift, or when situations like this occur, rather than feeling like I'm failing, or that this is inescapable, or going into that dark place, I can say, "As long as I continue to do my best, then that's okay."

Like that's good enough.

I hope that as parents are beginning to homeschool their children, potentially do digital courses and have to help them with that, as a lot of couples are going to get more intimate they may have inanticipated, as all of these various realignments happen, that somewhere in there, we can hold on to the hope that if everyone does their best, truly their best, and don't try and pretend that they're better than anyone else, that they don't pretend that they have all the answers. And instead, embrace life and people like a long term journey that's gonna have ups and downs, then maybe, just maybe, we can get through this being stronger, and remembering where our priorities are.

So wherever you are, whether it's no one listening to this or however many people are across the world, just remember that.

So, stay safe, stay healthy, and I'll talk to you another time.