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2020 March - Toilet Paper and Criminalization of Opinion

Updated: Jan 25, 2021

Since the beginning of the year, I was very active physically. I started doing stepping for an hour every second day. We were also doing some salsa dancing after a pause of years. It showed results. Between January and July, I lost 10 Kilos - 1.5 stone. I've never walked as much as in 2020 in my life. I walked, and I walked, and then I walked some more. But the most significant factor that helped me lose weight was the fact that restaurants closed or became less friendly because of the virus.

Speaking of closed - in March, the virus went viral. It became a real thing. Companies closed, we were locked in our flats for weeks. I was in denial and thought that this was all temporary. I was working on a yoga mat.

At this point, I would like to thank my journaling habit for giving me an accurate record of what I did and when. I would lose all the precious memories of such a wonderful-terrible year if it weren't for all my Facebook posts and the Journals. Out of which, here, you can see how serious the virus looked to me back then. Great drawing skills, by the way!

Anyway, I broke my Mac and my Surface, and any other computer I have. People bought everything, including toilet paper and hand sanitizers. At that point, I had very little exposure to movies about pandemics. But it turns out that people were reacting as programmed by the movies. In the 1995 film "outbreak," as soon as Dustin Hoffman said, everyone bought toilet paper. Not really - I think they picked that by - - Will Smith's Legend. Coinmarketcap joked a day about "toilet paper coin." Fast forward to May, and I got us covered to be on the safe side! On the 30th of March, I even managed to get hand sanitizer, and I pronounced that things are getting better. If only I knew!

In March, I used the great opportunity to use my Physics degree to turn into an epidemiologist. Epidemiology uses simple physics models to provide some after the fact self-evident results. I started collecting and cleaning data and making some projections. I was making predictions, and they were turning wrong and then wrong and then some more. Then I look around, and I saw that everyone was wrong. All the scientists were wrong, and the media and the politicians. Data was crap and weaponized for political reasons.

Science is the process of discovering aspects of the truth. Whatever scientists discuss is not the truth, till the very end, when the discussion concludes. Media and Politicians turned to the scientists, but they didn't get the easy answers they could promote on budget. Then they looked themselves in the mirror, thinking about thinking, and they laughed. Then they looked at people. And they asked, "ok - what do you want to hear"? And then, with confidence, they gave people back their own opinion. How is that for some of the most lucrative and respected professions? People, Media, and Politicians got into the business of manufacturing reality.

It turns out that this virus operates on three levels. The first one is physical - dosage and proteins and antibodies. Nobody talks about this, because it's very technical. But this turned out to be the easiest for science to attack through vaccines. The second level is epidemiological. It's about spread social distancing and contact tracing. The battle at that level was always lost. That's because a) the virus is good, and b) because of the third level—the social.

This virus has terrific timing. It was and still is making a fool of everybody. It has three asymptomatic days - enough to spread - *just enough* to feed two parties with two opposing opinions. It kills *just enough* to make one country blame the other for bad handling, just before they get equally bad numbers. It has the perfect balance of killing through the economy and infection to keep democratic societies paralyzed and prolong its effect. The cherry on the top is that measures need extensive localization. For some cultures, "distance yourself" gets the message across. For some others, you need to say, "You are going to die. If you don't die, you will get sick. Then I will find you and make you pay million-dollar medical fees. If you don't get sick, I will have the army on the street and will make you pay a $5000 fee if you're out without reason. If you are not out, but you're in, I will monitor all your communications with friends and family, which, obviously, turned to social media. There I will write under whatever you say, exactly what I say, to make sure you don't confuse them with your opinion. Because this year your opinion is illegal unless it's what I say". This seems to communicate "distance yourself" for some other cultures.

Governments needed a villain to cover their inability to communicate with people ideas that weren't straightforward. Media was an easy target. Suddenly we were forced to believe that the semi-idiotic conspiracy theory genre of entertainment was a factor of viral spread. A funny minority of anti-vaccine people turned to a headline. The controlled media turned to propaganda for survival. Social media turned to censorship. But the most significant loss was the criminalization of thinking and opinion. Last year, you could say whatever you wanted online, and you would get two likes and a laugh. This year your friends would keep you accountable by reminding you that you aren't Fauci. Not that they trust Fauci, who likely stated everything and the exact opposite within weeks. But your credibility is even lower than his. So you should not have an opinion. Your friends tell you that it's allowed you to say whatever you like at the coffee shop to your, I guess, real friends. But Facebook and YouTube are the coffee shop, especially during the pandemic.

Leaders tell you that their mission is to serve. This year it was clearer than ever that the professional leader's only job is to remain a professional leader. Their first job is to serve themselves. When they've managed that, they might bother to serve people. Science, understanding, or even knowing what the hell you're talking about are irrelevant. The perfect timing of this virus exposed the cluelessness of every leader I encountered this year, with the bright exception of New Zealand, which of course, is permanently self-isolated.

By the way, I turned 38 - Happy Birthday to me. And that's March - Toilet Paper and Criminalization of Opinion. One-fourth of the year done. And we haven't seen anything yet!

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