JUXTAPOSITION OF TWO WORLDS
Sitting this morning in a restaurant called “the Eatin’ Place” in a small town in southern Missouri about 15 miles from my new home on the edge of the Ozarks Wilderness. Waiting for my breakfast, I switch on my iPhone and begin to read Mark Siegmund’s MENSA Weekly Brainwave: It’s a link to an article from Quanta Magazine about research being done by a Swiss neuroscientist: “Mitochondria May Hold Keys to Anxiety and Mental Health”. About half-way through, I wonder aloud: “How do they assess the level of anxiety and mental health of a laboratory rat?” Some eyebrows raise. I go back to finish reading. Then, my mind turns to the mathematics of the interface of discrete quantized physical reality and continuous consciousness, as it often does.
My hearing is not as good as it used to be, making it easier to think when there is noisy chatter going on around me. But a few phrases and sentences leak through and penetrate. “Nothin’ but politics!” … “Damned Communists trying t’ruin our country!”…”The rabbits ate my lettuce and chewed on the cabbages!” “A lot more people die from other things, and nobody cares!”… “The deer ate more of my peaches than I did!”
It is the breakfast-time rush, and not a single person here has a mask on, and people are sitting six in a booth, and the chairs around most tables are occupied. Up until a week or so ago, there were no known cases of COVID-19 in the county, also zero in all surrounding counties. Tests were shipped in from the state capital to the local hospitals, and now there are 16 positive tests in the county. Most of them asymptomatic. The general attitude here is summed up in the following statement: “People die from the flu every year. What’s the big deal?”
Of course, this is an out-of-the-way place; that’s one of the reasons I moved here, but people who live in Southern Missouri do travel. I know a grandmother of a farm family, e.g., who goes to Europe, on different cruises, etc., just about every year. And people from other states and countries do come to visit, or at least pass through.
So one has to pause and ask: How much is the pandemic fear exaggerated and promoted by the catastrophe-loving media? How much is the fear and panic being used by those who want to destroy the peace and prosperity of America?