🌋Alarm is appropriate, the volcano is erupting🔥
"Choking on the dirt and sand, Your former glories and all the stories..."
The shaming of people who care and are cautious is manipulative in nature.
People respond to crisis with alarm — which leads people to take appropriate actions. Humans are generally actually good about reacting appropriately to disasters — it’s the elites who succumb to what disaster researchers call “elite panic” and behave counter-productively, putting a higher priority on controlling people over controlling the problem.
There are countless stories of people escaping disasters and other calamities because they were “alarmists” — and also wrenching stories about people perishing because they did not or could not take timely action in a crisis.
The the story of Pompeii is riveting. One may be led to think initially that the people frozen in place by the volcano were merely caught unaware. But only about 2,000 people out of around 20,000 actually stayed behind in Pompeii to get pyroclasted into a grim posterity. The vast majority were alarmists who fled the city — in abject fear of the volcano… and escaped in time and therefore lived out the rest of their lives.
What led that minority to stay behind? Normalcy bias? Propaganda? I wonder if perhaps elites convinced some essential workers that they needed to stay behind and keep the economy going. Perhaps some felt they had no other good option and just hoped for the best. We will never know the exact stories. But we’re seeing ours play out. Somehow those people were convinced staying behind was okay.
What we don’t ask in retrospect, notice, is why did people flee? We know why and we understand they were right to do so. We also don’t ridicule them for having been scared into leaving Pompeii - possibly with fear mongering?
There are people with reasons to lie to us and to manipulate people, and they don’t care about our well-being. They simply want to keep the economic status quo, or are working on behalf of people who prioritize that. Butts in seats downtown for the economy or commercial real estate. Whatever be the case.
Those people have an agenda to stop people from reacting in a particular way — so they shame alarm like it’s something bad, because they know alarm works. So they harshly criticize the use of signals for alarm, as if they are bad, in an attempt to undermine this useful tactic that can lead to us helping each other — loving one another — in this disaster.
Are fire alarms bad? Are ambulance sirens bad? All these things can “instill fear” quote unquote. How about the traffic videos you hear about people having to watch in classes when they’re at risk of losing their drivers license? How about the training for being at a nuclear power plant or working with welding or working with infectious diseases like ebola? Are those “fear mongering” or is that okay - when the danger is real?
The danger is real now. There’s no shortage of verifiable proof of risk.
Alarm is appropriate in a catastrophe. It’s what gets us to do the right things to solve problems and make things better. When the neighborhood is burning down, you don’t say shut off the sirens and let’s go into the burning house and calmly center ourselves in meditation among the flames. You put the fire out.
The billionaire Jeff Bezos, someone who can literally afford any security expert on earth, employs for his own safety, the guy who wrote a book praising fear and its usefulness to us as a survival signal. Makes you think, right?
And alarm just might be the only thing to work against normalcy bias - which is the unfortunate tendency in the human brain to believe things can’t change or won’t. People default to a normal because it’s easy, it becomes a default. A call to action with some fear can save people by alerting them with… an alarm!
But there are others who don’t want anybody taking precautions because they want them to keep doing the things they’ve always done so they don’t rock the boat, even as the boat sinks, or the cruise ship experiences an outbreak.
When I get the sense I’m being made to feel awkward, or shamed for taking precautions, or for speaking out for caution — I think of the molten bodies and how if it were me, my cohorts and I would be better off attempting to flee from that particular city before it’s dust — and flee SHAMELESSLY.