Let us begin here, in what is the source of ancient & eternal wisdom: you will die. Unless you pin your hopes on some manner of transhuman excess or singularity, you were born so you will die. And, barring a level of scientific and technical revolution even more profound & world shaking than effective birth control, you will in almost all certainty experience a diminishment of faculties leading up to your death. I wish you what I wish all living beings: a good death. Which is to say, a passing free of suffering after a long life soaked in meaning, feeling loved and known and seen in your time, to be grieved and missed and have your proper share of tears.
Depending on how you act during covid pandemic/endemic, you might make it more likely you’ll die sooner than you otherwise could have, or with more intense hobbling, or with greater suffering. It’s also possible that you’ll make it more likely for others to do the same.
We haven’t had anything like this in living memory; AIDS was probably the closest save that it was changed by the cultural messaging around homosexuality and it effected only some scant venues of human interaction (sex and blood) vs breath and closeness which effects everything humans do with one another.
It is a good time to be an anarchist, or if I allow myself a deep cut an ‘anarch.’ It’s a good time to short sell institutions, disregard the notion that some form of cavalry coming to save the day. It’s a good time to be able to make your own assessments and decide on your own course of action. The emperor is wearing no clothes and for a good long while he mentioned that you shouldn’t be wearing masks (probably to try and prevent panic buying around N95s). There’s probably a similar level of Straussian ‘noble lie’ around many effective treatments of covid, all in an attempt to shunt everything towards vaccines.
It is worrisome to me watching my friends succumb –repeatadly– to fear-paralysis. It is no way to live, not knowing what to do beyond shaming others who appear to be making different choices.
There are so many tools that are neglected, unsure. We’ve lived safe lives (most of my peers much moreso than most of our ancestors) and the fact that we have an effective predator of human lives leaves people unsure. Those who came before were better at thinking in bets I suspect, trying to navigate a world where we are both predator and prey, where we need things in order to live but also danger abounds.
I think the best thing my overly intellectual friends could do is utilize the website ‘microcovid’ and give themselves a risk budget; which can be updated as we get more or less information (ie, what we think about background cases, or updating based on how effective we learn vaccines are). Gamifiying gives agency and choice without having to re-legislate over and over again every decision, every desire. In the same we we only have so much money, a person can decide the only have so much covid risk and they get to spend or squander it as they see fit.
But whatever you do, seek agency for yourself and your people. Don’t rely on the powers that be to help, or even be forthright and honest about the best course of action for you. At best they are incompetent-slow, wrapped in a tangle of flailing bureaucracy that offers sometimes absurd bio-security theater… at worst they are pursuing ends that aren’t in your best interest & lying all the while. It’s probably safe to assume it’s mostly the former with a dash of the latter to keep things spicy and to act accordingly.