Hubris

Photo by Yaroslav Danylchenko on Pexels.com

My husband was a banker by profession and he was quite good at what he did. He had all sorts of customers who did everything from plumbing to exterminating. He use to joke with them that if he needed to unclog a sink or get rid of bugs he would call one of them and in turn they should allow him to help take care of their financial needs. In other words, it is a good idea to rely on experts when we have a particular problem. 

Long ago I gathered with several of my aunts and uncles to learn how a psychiatrist intended to treat my mother’s bipolar disorder. He outlined a plan which I proceeded to tear apart point by  point. Eventually my Uncle William intervened and asked me why I thought I knew more than the man who had been trained to deal with mental illness. He suggested that we at least try the therapies that the doctor had suggested. I deferred to my uncle’s wisdom and the doctor’s expertise.

When Covid-19 first came to our attention the medical community pointed out that it was a novel coronavirus and that they were still determining how it worked and how to deal with it. They adjusted their advice as they learned more and more about the best therapies. One thing that never really changed was their insistence that we were in the midst of a worldwide pandemic with very serious consequences. They asked us to take precautions for our own sakes and those of others around us. Eventually they knew enough to recommend that we all wear masks, avoid crowds, and keep a distance of about six feet from others. They were especially concerned about anyone who had preexisting health conditions and the older population.

For some reason there was a push back from a rather large segment of society. There were many who downplayed the severity of the virus and even suggested that it was a hoax. Some folks played a game of Russian roulette and when they did not contract Covid-19 they became more and more convinced that they were invincible. They began to flaunt all of the rules and even go so far as to poke fun at anyone who chose to be cautious. Their hubris made it more and more difficult for the more circumspect citizens to join them in public gatherings because of the uncertainty of everyone’s actual state of health.

I might go on and on about unwarranted incidents of careless behavior. I know of a woman who was ridiculed for wearing a mask to the office where she worked. I am privy to the comments of a man who railed against the people of Colorado for being mask Nazis. I know of a young high school student who induced laughter from one of her teachers and most of her classmates because she expressed concerns about the safety of face to face schooling. 

We all know someone who has caught the virus. Many of us know someone who died from the virus. Most recently it appeared that my aunt might die from the virus. Covid-19 is still on the prowl for hosts and it cares little about who that person may be. It is simply doing what viruses do, but we don’t have to surrender to it by throwing caution to the wind and taking unnecessary risks. 

I tend to believe that I would be relatively unfettered by the virus but in reality I have no way of knowing how it will affect me. It would be sinfully cavalier for me to simply take my chances and let fate decide. I have a husband who meets many of the criteria for having a dire case if the virus takes residence in his body. It would be incredibly selfish of me to risk getting sick and passing Covid-19 on to anyone else. I have an adult responsibility to be more cautious as do all of us.

Love of our fellow humans should be our motivation and impetus for following the guidelines. I hate wearing a mask. I feel as though I am suffocating under a blanket when I wear one. It makes me anxious and yet I try to calm myself, breathe naturally and rather quickly my body adjusts to the strangeness of having my mouth and nostrils covered. It ends up not being so bad after all and knowing that I am helping in a cause for all of humanity makes it feel like the right thing to do.

Hubris has undone both historical and fictional characters from the beginning of time. We must not think that we can fly too close to the sun. It is important to heed the wisdom of those who have knowledge that is not ours. Listen to the science and stay safe.