Out to dinner downtown in a nearly empty restaurant with a dear old friend last night. He disagrees strongly with my stance on masks. I was surprised, given that our world-views align almost 100% — until he told me why.
“I wear a mask in stores,” he said, “because some of those who wear masks are genuinely fearful of contagion of ‘the virus —’ and especially old people. You know as well as I do, the power of the placebo. That what they believe can determine their reality. So if the mask functions as a placebo for them, enabling their immune systems to be less compromised by fear in the presence of someone who is masked, then I’m not going to be the guy who makes them sick.”
He was surprised when I didn’t immediately agree with his argument, since I do know very well the power of the placebo.
Here’s a good article on the power of the placebo. Place particular attention to the author’s conclusions, both of which embrace a holistic understanding of the mind/body continuum.
An aside —
Yesterday, while dispiritedly returning the second (Chinese made) vacuum sealer (for preserving food) that we discovered was defective, I got in line behind a very young man, and only then noticed, once again, the big X’s taped 6 feet apart on the floor. I quickly and dramatically stepped back. He noticed, and said, “It’s okay, I’m not too worried about it.” I then looked up at his similarly unmasked face, and said, very directly: “It’s a psy-op.” He didn’t react to that (too scary? didn’t understand?), but responded, shrugging: “It’s similar to a bad flu. Just work on your immune system.”
That blew me away. A young man who gets it!
Further emboldened, I responded, “Isn’t it amazing how this Covid scene demonstrates how afraid people are of their own bodies?”
At this he laughed, startled. “YES!”
So there we were, two strangers, one young and one old, standing in line at the Target returns counter, having just discovered in less than one minute our total agreement on a ubiquitous, crucially important, and still under-the-radar matter.
Aftermath: I actually decided to order one more of the Food Saver VS1100 series over the internet. (There were no more at Target.) We’ll see. “Third time’s charm?” Or is it “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”
But then, Green Acres Village podmate Rebecca used her old reliable Food Saver machine for at least ten years. And she’s the one who determined the two I took home in sequence from Target today were each defective in different ways. Weird. And the box gives a Five Year Warranty! That these two vacuum sealers were defective, one after another, the only ones left on the shelf at Target, may just be a fluke. Rebecca wondered if these two were returned, and then put on the shelf again. (So I asked, and Target said no, they don’t restock this returned item). Alternatively, she wondered: “Was the company bought out?” To which I muttered, “By China?”
Such a typical Jupiter/Saturn/Pluto scenario. Difficulty . . .Defect. . .Delay. . . . Frustration . . . Repeat . . . Dig in, dig down, try to figure out, don’t give up . . . Determination (despite the odds?) . . .
Re: the vacuum sealer saga: One thing’s for sure: had I not had to stand in line at Target the second time I wouldn’t have met the young man with whom I was delighted to discover an, unfortunately, all-too-rare mutual perspective.
Back to the placebo argument as a reason for wearing a mask in stores.
My friend’s concern is empathic; he doesn’t want to further upset anyone already fearful, despite his agreement with me that the entire ongoing global drama is a massive social experiment designed to force compliance through continuously broadcasting fear via mainstream media and medical mafia.
His placebo argument brought me up short. (Something I always love! So good to be challenged!) But I told him I didn’t want to continue the conversation then; that I wanted to think on it.
After a good night’s sleep, here’s what I will say to him.
My concern is that it’s imperative to make a “statement” in public announcing that I will not go along with the fear-porn. For me, this truth-telling priority overrides the empathy I do feel for those who are fearful, and even whose whose fear might increase (and thus whose immune systems might further deteriorate) on seeing me without a mask.
This ethical impasse between me and my friend seems to be an example of the classic dichotomy between Love and Truth. Yet, to me, we are both loving and we both love truth! He wants to save people near him for the moment; I want to save us all with every action in public.
Or, we might see it as an example of the question: “Do the ends ever justify the means?” Is, for example, violence ever justified? This question feels particularly relevant now, in a presidential election year resurgence of BLM and socially engineered “race wars,” not to mention attempts to erode the 2nd Amendment right to “keep and bear arms” which is usually currently interpreted as for the purpose of protecting self, family, and property (cf. the couple in St. Louis).
And yet, of course, with the ethical question of ends and means (smaller and larger perspectives) it always depends on circumstances. “The devil is in the details.” My friend’s primary concern in this situation is for those near him in stores, now. Mine is wider in both space and time: I am concerned for all of us, as we go forward into the future.
Who is right? Is there a right and wrong?
Frankly, I personally am utterly driven by a sense that until more and more of us do make clear statements by either not wearing masks in public, or else finding a mask that will itself make a statement that provokes the public to think again about masking, that humans will continue to be led, not only muffled and masked, but effectively blindfolded, like innocent, trusting little lemmings, to jump off the cliff into the long-planned New World Order sea.