Mental Health and Rational Thinking in Unusual Times

“We have peered into a new world, and have seen that it is more mysterious and more complex than we had imagined. Still more mysteries of the universe remain hidden. Their discovery awaits the adventurous scientists of the future. I like it this way.”
—Vera Rubin

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Dear Family,

How does one sit with oneself during unusual times? How does one reconcile awareness of worldwide panic, anger at totalitarian potential, amazement at beauty and potential, frustration with our broken political and healthcare system, gratitude for the people who continue to work for positive change (and risk their lives) within that system, grief for the many, many people worldwide who are less fortunate, FEAR, and a desire to think rationally while behaving compassionately?

If one is me, one doesn’t do COVID 19 Reactionary Thinking very gracefully. As you may have noticed, I’ve been vacillating between a desire to sing songs and Think Nothing…and a mad seething anger at all the Wrong in the World.

Luckily, some people have been working on much more constructive philosophical approaches to the Corona Virus Pandemic. I HIGHLY very much recommend this very long, very insightful article. Despite it’s length, it calmed my nerves greatly, and gave me a lot of personal action steps, while validating everyone’s right to Free Thought.

Much appreciation to T. and M. for sending the link!

https://charleseisenstein.org/essays/the-coronation/

I would love to hear what you think.

A few other interesting articles (thanks, D., M., M., K., and R.!)

Scientists are working on tests to identify COVID antibodies, not just active infections: https://www.statnews.com/2020/03/27/serological-tests-reveal-immune-coro...

A growing database is now freely available of scientific papers relating to COVID 19: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/615367/coronavirus-24000-research-pap...

Thanks to Ken Danford, our family has discovered the “Crash Course U.S. History” series on YouTube, which is a gateway to thousands of other “Crash Course” episodes on all different topics. These are so super awesome! Hosted by John Green (of “A Fault in our Stars” and “Turtles All The Way Down” fame), the U.S. History series is providing an extremely relevant lens through which to view events of today, and it is wonderful to have some supplement to our history curriculum that doesn’t involve reading.

Whether you think that social distancing is our social responsibility, a rise of fascism, or a personal necessity, the reality is that it is a luxury that very few people in the world can participate in at all: https://qz.com/1822556/for-most-of-the-world-social-distancing-is-an-uni...

A very important question continues to be: what is the Case Fatality Ration for COVID? Researchers continue to try to figure this out, and the number continues to drop. Remember, CFR doesn’t describe contagion or total number of cases in a population compared with the flu, but it does allow for comparisons that are equally necessary: https://www.bbc.com/news/health-52056111 and https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMe2002387

Air pollution is temporarily lower over cities worldwide… https://edition.cnn.com/2020/03/27/europe/europe-pollution-decline-coron... .

…So shame on you, Mr. Trump and the EPA, for using national panic as an excuse to allow corporate polluters Pollute More. Why?Well, obviously…Coronavirus! https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/26/climate/epa-coronavirus-pollution-rul... and https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2020/03/24/us/politics/bc-us-virus-outb...

A tiny bit of shameless self-promotion: in February, I was in a local production of “Sister Act.” This show consisted of a fabulous cast and crew, super challenging harmonies and choreography, and So Much Fun! I played Sister Mary Martin Of Tours, and a video of our show was just posted on Youtube in case you’d like to take a look. You can tell which one is me, because I’m wearing a black and white habit and I have a few funny lines. :) https://youtu.be/exlYRaFEb5c

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Thanks for all your e-mails, and sending much love from the desert,
Sarabeth