The Corona Virus pandemic has swooped down on the human race like a tornado onto a small Midwestern trailer park. Its impact has been sudden, uncontrollable, devastating, life-changing, and fear inducing. The entire human race has reacted.
Animal scientists don’t fully understand how fear is instantly communicated through a herd of horses or exactly how a swarm of bees or a flock of birds occurs. But the energy of fear is a powerful force that moves entire populations of animals and insects.
The human being is, after all, an animal. We respond to danger in much the same way as a herd of horses. When the lead mare senses sudden danger, she flees without thinking. Instinct causes the other horses in the herd to instantly pick up her fear and flee with her without even knowing why. This is a stampede.
A Human Stampede
Probably for the first time in history, we have just experienced a slow-motion stampede ripple through the human race. Such a global reaction would have been impossible before the invention of the internet, the cell phone, and social media. This technology, invented yesterday for all practical purposes, enables the entire human race to communicate across the globe almost instantly. Fear can now shoot across our herd just like through a herd of horses. Because we have never experienced such a phenomenon, we are all dumbfounded.
During the first ten seconds of an equine stampede the initial shock of fear energy begins to dissipate with the activity of flight. After the first impulsive burst of fear runs through the herd, each horse begins to search for the actual danger that he’s fleeing and gradually slows his flight and separates slightly from the other horses. Rather quickly, the herd stops running and settles down into a sort of thoughtful graze. As the shock of fear subsides, each horse begins to assess the danger that his instinct drove him to flee from. This is Mother Nature’s way.
The Human Response
The first ten seconds of our Corona Virus stampede has now passed. Our initial fear flight emptied grocer’s shelves of all available toilet paper and bottled water. We are now entering into the thoughtful graze phase. Each one of us is separating from the herd and assessing the danger we might be in. This is Mother Nature’s way and nothing to be afraid of.
If we don’t resist, like the horse, we can now stop reacting and start rationalizing. We can take a breath and assess the nature and degree of the danger we fear. Then our natural problem-solving minds will design appropriate measures to minimize the risk. The assessment we will all go through should look something like:
• What exactly am I afraid of?
• Do I have the facts?
• How can I start responding rather than reacting?
• What is today’s danger, as opposed to the danger I’m imagining in the future?
• How can I minimize today’s danger?
• Are we all in this together?
• How can I help myself by helping others?
Winston Churchill defined history as “One damn thing after another”. If history teaches us anything - This too shall pass.