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Covid-19 and Stupidity

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By PRAVEEN CHANDHOK

We are witnessing unprecedented times as the situation in entire India is worsening due to the second wave of Covid-19. Nonetheless, most of us suffering from an ‘Optimism Bias’ do not give two hoots to prevailing circumstances.

We see people who are fed up with the restrains, lockdowns and curfews falsely believing and telling themselves that they won’t be affected as most of us overrate the probability of experiencing positive events and underrate the probability of experiencing negative events. Such assertions tend to put not only ourselves but also others at grave risks.

Not giving two hoots to reality is mainly because these mortal beings may have never seen or experienced any tragedy in their own family or circle of close ones.

It’s a state of denial which makes them believe that despite gloomy circumstances they are unlikely to experience any bad outcomes, granting themselves good certificates.

The key to biases is our utter disregard to the reality of living in a fool’s paradise believing to be excluded from the potential negative effects.

Albert Einstein once said: “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity.”
But what is much more widespread than the actual stupidity is those playing stupid, turning off their ears, not listening, not seeing.

The biases may sometimes help or work in normal situations, but in times of a Pandemic, it’s extremely dangerous! We start getting used to prevailing threats and we start underestimating it even more.

It is a plain and simple psychological trap, nothing else.

As the enemy is invisible hence we simply discount it and the biases are inflated when we are in the company of people with similar views. We all know that our perception of risks becomes erratic and faulty in presence of our peers…

Remember a quote from Joseph Stalin-
“A million deaths is a statistic. But one death is a tragedy”.

Every day, every moment we’re reading and hearing about the Pandemic taking a toll on people’s lives. Millions of lives succumbing to the Pandemic and we remain indifferent, but in case of a single death, we are emotionally attached to a name, a story, and a narrative. This is another psychological trap.

Therefore, what we all need to understand is that no matter how desperate, distressed or desolate we are, we still need to be cautious, careful, and extra vigilant. This is to fight the DEMON that is out there, staring at us while taking away precious lives.

We all are extremely precious to our family and friends…

We may be a mere statistic for others but the entire world for our family…

Stay safe and take all the precautions without fail.

Take timely treatment and do not comfort yourself by saying the symptoms are of flu, allergy, or change of weather. Many fatalities or serious conditions have happened due to sheer negligence in the initial days of showing symptoms.

Let us keep each other in our prayers. Collectively we have survived War. Poverty. Crime. Hunger and continuing this streak we shall fight this Pandemic too.

God bless us all.

(Praveen Chandhok is former President SJA Alumni Association 2015-
2017)