As Covid-19 unfolds
I see a series of meta-epidemics around me.
First is the epidemic of fake news, half-baked ideas and information overload.
In such times it leaves me wondering what is really true and believable? Which nations are even trustworthy in reporting their numbers? Can they even, knowing how panicked people can get?
So we’re stuck in a world where ‘signal’ (or good quality information) is hard to discern while ideas go viral as forwards and videos
Second is me being locked in a game theory like situation with the rest of humanity.
Panic will mean us running out of stuff. But if some of us panic and stock up, many more might. So it’s edgy. Yesterday as another example, people did not just clap from their balconies. They came out on streets and clustered, putting everyone at risk.
This is the epidemic of non-consideration for others. It is maximising one’s own benefits at the cost of the collective.
A third is the epidemic of loneliness and violence of families. Stuck with each other, we have no choice but to face our lonliness and the structures of family which we may have conveniently avoided for this long. Both have positive sides (solitude and love from the family) and edges (feeling abandoned and experiencing cultural violence at home)
We are being pushed to face our own avoidance of dealing with fundamental issues that plague us and our lives, the human condition in general.
Even as the Covid situation heals (and I hope we will be able to act together to bring it there), these meta epidemics leave us with deeper, moral questions for ourselves
- What kind of an information ecology do we want to nurture? What platforms will enable that?
- How do we deal with ‘games’ that can degenerate into lose-lose? How do we transition to a different equilibrium, what some are beginning to call Game B?
- How do we redirect a lot more of our energies to deal with the fundamentals of being human? Our relationship with ourselves, with solitude, with each other and the violence that creeps in there?
These are questions that over the next few decades we will have to collectively reflect and evolve responses to these