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Long Term Plans in an Epidemic

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Do you struggle with long term plans and goal setting as well?

To me right now, every day feels the same. I have trouble thinking about ever having a nice vacation again, or what my live will look like in 2021. It seems there isn't real progress or a clear indication where things might go. 

I was just wondering whether you feel that ways as well sometimes?

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I only have troubles with short-term plans and goals, like getting my research projects re-started (which may have to wait for the cure), or a trip to Sardinia, again awaiting a cure (and permission to enter the zone). The three long-term issues are death, collapse of civilization, and Great Depression style collapse of the economy. I always do everything I can to avoid death, I doubt that we’re headed for a stone-age retreat, and that just leaves economic collapse. I have thought of some doomsday prepping like buying gold, rifles, and a backhoe (to hollow out the hill to stash my mountain of canned goods), but things are not dire enough for that course of action by a long shot. For the record, I was wrong about toilet paper, so there were a couple of panicky months there. Since I am retired, I don’t think about the elephant in the room for many people, namely what to do for a living in case your job is or has recently been illegal. Because I expect the hammer to come down on business again, I don’t have any sage advice for those working in what are deemed non-essential businesses.

The little-discussed matter underlying your question is the assumption that this is a special case. It is clearly a special case, in the political sense – it is an extraordinary “emergency” like WWII or The Black Death. But how special is it from an objective scientific perspective? This past season, we had an estimated up to 56,000,000 cases of the flu, compared to just over 3,000,000 covid cases. Although covid is in the aggregate (i.e. summing up as of today) “more fatal”, please note that covid deaths plummeted starting around the beginning of May – we’ve learned better how to treat it. There is no discussion of current mortality rates. I don’t discount the problem of non-death long-term hospitalization problems, but these are not the kind of scientific facts that are addressed by those pushing the “extraordinary emergency” agenda. I take covid seriously, I dispute the claim that this is the end of the world as we know it.

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It sounds like you're really asking about how to keep a good headspace day to day. Good luck! I've had little success myself, but maybe this exercise of articulating my own perspectives will help...

Short term, I expect economic contraction, though not severe nor acute. Any major threat to our current economic structure – by, say, a large business failure or a mass change in economic activity by many individuals – will be countered by government economic fuckery. Thus, no one will wind up feeling any major hurt one way or another, and so everyone will more or less continue as-is, with the current jobs setup, longish-term business plans, personal activities, and life planning (albeit vague and short term). Also, the entire world participated in this lunacy, so no single country will likely have any kind of new advantage over any other country, and all will continue more or less as had been.

Long term, I will be changing my plans, though it's not yet clear in what ways. In 5 years, where will the world economies have settled, and will my professional expectations/plans/goals need to be adjusted? How will people generally reflect back on this series of events, and will that reflection make clear to me what kinds of opportunities I should expect from humanity during my ~40 remaining years of life? In that vein, instead of greater prevalence of government mandates and a populace willing to comply at every turn, will other trends actually prove to garner more attention from people, such as the mass unwillingness to think to the point of desiring to "cancel" those who do? The former would say worse about humanity than I'd thought before 2020, and the latter would say better. If the latter, will the response happen in time for the remaining culture of older, more civilized people to care to do anything about it? Will the tiny portion of the younger populace who care about ideas gain a foothold in civilization? Based on most of the younger generations' response to 2020, it seems humanity will inevitably continue to degenerate... Or, is it actually that youth, and humanity broadly, are short-term thinkers, always led only by those extremely rare and courageous individuals, and right now the short-term thinking is just amplified by a 24/7 internet world stage? Does culture matter that much in the end, or just very specific ideas, only needing to be held loosely by most people?

Edited by JASKN
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