Given the plethora of posts extolling the virtues of wearing a face mask to protect both self and others during our journey with COVID-19 I humbly invite you to ponder the art of divide and conquer.
At the moment wearing a mask in western cultures is an act of self-determination. Eastern cultures (given ancient cultural, social and political norms) witness a surge in a social norm — mask wearing.
At what point is a simple action (such as wearing a mask) used to manipulate other actions?
First social norms pressure me to wear a mask to protect others. It’s the right thing to do after all? Right? Science approves mask wearing based on tangible statistics.
Ironically — ask a seasoned statistician this question, “Can the same set of statistics be used to validate as well as invalidate the same question?” A truthful stats-savvy soul will answer — YES — to this question. Statistics are subject to interpretation(s). What interpretations will you deem correct based on WHAT? Feelings? History books document (with due diligence) the results of feelings-based decisions. Feelings also drive the sunrise or sunset of social norms.
Next social norms pressure me to treat non-mask wearers different.
Next social norms shape political visions. Political pundits craft laws to make me wear a mask AS WELL AS REPORT non-mask wearers.
Next mask-wearing laws swell prisons, debts (fines, et. al.). One fine might just put me out on the street!
Next we discover how divide and conquer helps only those who seek to DIVIDE! (History documents the results of divide and conquer if you take the time to read history books.)
So — when you see me NOT wearing a mask — recall the German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller’s words:
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.
After pondering Niemöller’s words also remember those who diligently do their absolute best to contain contagions . . .
- wear masks
- don gloves, gowns, shields
- wash hands for at least 20 seconds or more
- social distance themselves appropriately
. . . still die from said contagions.
See someone who’s NOT wearing a mask? Ask yourself, “Will I ever know all the reasons why this person chooses NOT to wear a mask?” Hint! If you think you’ll ever know anyone well enough to answer YES — think again. There’s ALWAYS more unknown than known — captured in Einstein’s words, “The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.”
Now more than ever before acts of compassion will unite us to evolve (versus dissolve into another cycle of divide and conquer). Your choice to wear (or not wear) a mask is a personal choice. To judge another soul for their choices fertilizes fear. Fear is a hammer. Hammering fear to pound a belief someone is better than or less-than — begins another cycle of divide and conquer.
Time to conquer fear. Yes?