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September 08, 2005

Scaring ourselves into crouching inactivity

Jackie Ashley in the Guardian warns that we are scaring ourselves into crouching inactivity.

Avian flu... seems organisationally impossible to stop; at least, unless birds change their ways and stop flying about the globe. The mutation of viruses and the routes of infection provided by modern life have caused scientists to warn about global pandemics for years.

And of course it's not just avian flu: it's terrorism, the global warming probably at the root of Katrina, and a host of other threats. They all seem even scarier because we're told we have to wait, as passively as patients awaiting the anesthetic, for whatever is in store for us.

This passivity is both a cause of alienation and a reflection of it: We feel out of control of our lives already, and then these threats only exacerbate the problem. We wait for "them" to produce the vaccine, or not. We wait for the news report that announces the pandemic; but maybe the pandemic's already under way in China or Vietnam, and we're going to be deceived first and killed second.

Small steps: Talking to the neighbours, to the Health & Safety Committee at work, to the union executive, to the employers' associations. Building up a reasonable stock of emergency supplies. And laughing a lot. It's hard to crouch when you're laughing.

Posted by dymaxion at September 8, 2005 12:43 PM

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