What would a narcissistic civilization be without a narcissistic virus? COVID-19, the new variant of coronavirus, a close cousin of SARS, may well be the answer.
Finally, a narcissistic virus. The latest by the authoritative science journal, New Scientist, is that COVID-19, the coronavirus, kills 0.7% of those infected.
Flip this statement and you discover that 99.3% of people infected with coronavirus recover and survive.
At this stage, 140,000 people had been infected and only a little over 5,000 people had died.
And this is your cue for a collective gasp. Only 5,000 people?
This is a very narcissistic statement. Where is your empathy?
Well, it may be unfortunate, but that's precisely how we calculate the virulence of a disease in medicine. It's called case fatality rate. 5,000 people died. That's a small number. All of them have been above the age of 50 and with pre-existing conditions known as comorbidities. They had heart disease, they had diabetes, metabolic disorder.
Compare this pretty harmless virus to the flu. Flu virus in the same period decimated 30,000 people killed 30,000 people in the United States alone.
The measures adopted by governments, communities and individuals the world over are far more dangerous and detrimental than this virus or any other virus can ever be.
Let's compare this virus to a few others.
Why do we have this mass psychosis, mass global hysteria, unmitigated panic? What people in the 19th century used to call mass delusion. Why this reaction?
The only comparable reaction I can think of happened a few centuries ago, 14th century to be precise, when a minor bacteria caused the bubonic plague. The bubonic plague came later to be known as a black death because it had killed off one third to one half the population of Europe.
Now there's a reason for panic. The Spanish flu fast forward four centuries. The Spanish flu in 1918, 1920 killed between 50 million, yes you heard correctly, 50 million, five zero million and 100 million within two years all over the world by the way. It was a pandemic. People were dying like flies. So many of them that the authorities stopped counting but that's why we don't know the exact figure. AIDS only five decades ago infected 45 million people and millions died before any treatment was found.
And then a few years ago there was swine flu. Remember swine flu? It infected 61 million Americans and killed 12,000 of them and globally it relegated 600,000 to the afterlife.
And then there was SARS in 2002, 2004. SARS had a case fatality rate which was 10 times to 15 times higher than COVID-19, the current hapless coronavirus.
Yet in all these pandemics, and I'm old enough to remember quite a few, there was no hint of panic. There was no hysterical self-regulation, no government imposed a quarantine, there were no travel restrictions.
So what gives? Why now? What on earth has happened to us?
I think the answer is an affluent confluence of four factors.
Number one, ignorance. Functional illiteracy is at an all-time high. The education system had all but crumbled. People don't know how to read. People don't want to read. People play video games. They watch girls peeling bananas on Instagram or cats jumping off hot tin roofs on YouTube. That's what people do nowadays.
They forgot the art and craft and skill of reading and learning. They also resistant to learning because they know everything. They're grandiose.
Number two, social media. Fake news, rank nonsense and conspiracy theories are the only pseudo-intellectual diet of most people. There are 2.6 billion people on social media.
And then there's distrust of authority. People distrust the government. They don't believe experts. They don't listen to doctors. They suspect pharmaceutical companies, laboratories and universities. They attribute conspiracy theories to politicians and the media.
Instead, people rely on uninformed word of mouth, usually from the next door neighbor, on charlatans, on scammers and con artists whose trashy wares are pervade on YouTube and other such online unmitigated garbage dumps known as platforms.
Take for example the fact that washing hands is good, but masks face masks actually increase the risk of contracting the virus by trapping the virus behind the mask.
And yet, 99% of the advice online by self-styled experts and so on, and of course by your next door neighbor, is to wear a mask, which herds of people do.
The sheeple. You can see them all around you wearing masks, complacent and happy in their self-protecting measures.
And of course, how can we not mention narcissism? This is the age of narcissism. It's a narcissistic civilization, thus becoming psychopathic.
Infatuation with one's self leads to extreme risk aversion. We're trying to avoid any and all risks.
We apply inordinate measures of pampering self-medication and self-protection. We treat ourselves with kid gloves. We are such a treasure. We are so amazing, so unique.
There are giants inside us. We can do anything we want. Didn't you listen to online coaches and other gurus? They've been telling you this for decades.
People consider their existence to be cosmically significant. They value themselves as unprecedentedly unique. Their lives are treasured and worthy of the utmost efforts in self-preservation.
Self-love, malignant self-love.
And this is what we are facing today. And this is the source of the panic and the mass hysteria.
And let's hope we survive. Not the virus, but ourselves.