It is no longer news that COVID19 is trapping every walk of our lives, fields of studies and even policymaking. Countries need to cough out money outside their budget because human lives are at stake.
However, we ought to ask ourselves, – what is the ratio of true danger of COVID19 in proportion to the fearmongering and major media-induced anxiety?
Desh Subba, a prominent Fearism thinker, has once said “life is conducted, directed and controlled by fear”.
Traditionally people have always perceived fear as a negative emotion to be avoided. It is worth mentioning, however, that if not for the fear and the drive for self-preservation, humanity would not have made it out of the cave period, – probably having been eaten by lions or other pre-historic predators.
Equally, in modern times, – the fear of missing out on an opportunity, of failing to realize one’s full potential or to be simply left without a roof over one’s head is motivating each and every one of us to receive education, learn critical skills, earn money and be generally successful in our life.
Now that we have established fear is an actual generator of progress, it is worth noting how fear is shaping a current pandemics discussion and which response would be the most appropriate.
According to Walter Bradford Cannon fear generally produces 3 types of response:
In this article I will outline what each of these responses would look like in modern circumstances, give examples of actors or countries adopting each response and recommend a winning reaction to the COVID fear factor.
Leadership is everything. As a Fearism scholar who knows that, life is conducted, directed and controlled by fear, it is worthy to note that leaders determine how life is been directed, conducted and controlled through policy making. This is evident in the case of COVID19. Those leaders who quickly shut down their boarders when no case was recorded in their country made use of the Fight and Flight responds. Most leaders were so afraid that they took preventive measures without recording a single case. One of these leaders is Peter Mutharika the president of Malawi who declared it a nation disaster. As a result, he shut down everything.
According to Sahara Reporters, The Aso Rock Clinic (a clinic at the presidential villa in Nigeria) gulped N9.17bn in four years. Using the analysis of budgetary allocations in the last four years, they pointed out that N3.94 billion, N3.87 billion, N331.70 million and N1.03 billion were allocated in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 respectively, for the operations of the State House Medical Centre. However, during the wake of COVID19, the wife of the Nigerian President publicly assert that there is no single syringe at the Aso Rock Villa which is supposed to be the No. 1 Clinic in the country.
In light of the rampant corruption in the healthcare sectors of numerous countries, fear of COVID19 and following epidemics might finally help in shaping the health system for good.
It is truism that most political leaders, ranging from the president, the senators, low chamber (house of representative members), governors and some of the state house of assembly members do not receive medical treatments in the country. They often go outside their country for treatments. Since everywhere is shutdown with no option of traveling out for treatment, they might have no option than work with the resource at their disposal in making the health system better for both the rich and poor.
Moreover, fear of real danger might finally displace the fear of imaginary and mythical. Fear of going to hell or disobeying or neglecting God has been a problem and as such led to the spread of COVID19. This form of fear is a product of faith without reasoning. This was evident in South Korea (where the center of the outbreak is Shincheonji Church of Jesus, an eccentric religious group based in Daegu. More than half of South Korea’s coronavirus cases are linked to Shincheonji members, and more 9,000 members are in quarantine) and Iran (where Journalist Masih Alinejad showed a shocking footage about Iranians tempting fate by licking the doors and a burial mound at the Fatima Masumeh Shrine in Qom, the epicenter of the Islamic Republic’s COVID-19 outbreak).
This pandemic as a result of fear of death will help in balancing faith and reason, and as such reduce still widespread religious fanaticism and bring the world closer to science and objective reality.
Life is the primary thing every human being strives to preserve. It is worthy to note that, no life transcends the other since each person has an existential purpose to fulfil and value to create. Thus, the best way to respond to COVID19 is to carefully protect life at all costs by being properly motivated by our fear(s).
The F3 system is critical to our survival. It matters little whether F3 system is being caused by real danger or fearmongering around the virus. Some people are seeing the whole pandemics as a scam, others as a laboratory war but no matter how you evaluate it, – no one wants to die. And people are uniting in their worldwide responses to this global crisis.
Scientists and biotech experts are working hard to prevent the spread (fight). We avoid going to the crowd by adhering to self-isolation (flight). Or, your mind goes blank on hearing the news without doing anything new or fruitful (freeze).
As we have seen from a previous example of religious fanatics, freezing is not only useless but also a dangerous and counterproductive way of response.
Fear is the greatest motivator in the world, and the fear of death is the biggest impetus to any kind of political and societal change.
COVID19 came into the world of radical inequality becoming a major equalizer. COVID19 targets both the rich and poor, good and bad, old and young. Owing to this powerful effect of the fear of the unknown, it is imperative that the world becomes more united and humane.
After all, life is all we’ve got. And the fear of losing it knows no race, class or border.