The Coronavirus — Containing Pandemic Fear
In 1952 the United States government released a civil defense film entitled Duck and Cover. Aimed at teaching school children how to survive an atomic bomb attack, the film’s hero, Bert the Turtle, found safety in his turtle shell while the narrator scared the snot out of kids with terrifying descriptions of what ‘the bomb’ could do to you.
Mimicking Bert, the kids were taught to duck under their desks and tightly cover their head and neck with their hands, so that if they weren’t immediately blown to bits, they might at least minimize the radiation burns and hopefully not go blind.
Thusly, a whole generation of Americans were conditioned to have an instantaneous Pavlovian response whenever their teachers, at any moment, suddenly yelled, ‘Drop!’
Just remember. The flash of an atomic bomb can come at any time, no matter where you may be! –Duck and Cover
When the drill was over they could then carry on with the innocence of being children… until the next drill, that is. Baby Boomers today can still you tell how terrifying and traumatic these experiences were.
The Cold War era marked the beginning of mass media being used a tool for trauma-based conditioning and government-worship indoctrination. Fast forward to today and you can see the influence that the ever-present fear of imminent doom has had on our culture, our health, our national priorities, and even our economy. Stress is the number one proxy killer today, war and security are the top-priorities of the state, the military industrial complex is the chief benefactor of our tax dollars, and the national media profits handsomely from disaster news.
The Coronavirus Fear Pandemic
Watching ongoing developments of the coronavirus outbreak is China is a bit of an emotional body slam, and I have a strong sense that pandemic fear is already pushing its way deep into the general public, well ahead of the arrival of the actual virus.
For someone like myself who’s been paying attention to this sort of thing for a couple of decades now, the coronavirus story in particular is one of the most fear-inducing narratives you could conjure up because it has all of the hallmarks of terror.
Consider how this single story alone combines…
- the fear of personal and/or mass death
- the fear of extreme government authoritarianism
- the fear of an engineered bioweapon being unleashed
- the fear of severe restriction or loss of liberty
- the fear of military enforced quarantines or lockdowns
- the fear of a serious economic disruption
- the fear of societal breakdown and social chaos
- the fear of suffering through starvation or a disruption in supply
- the fear of extreme information censorship
- the fear of forced or mandatory vaccination
- the fear of a global depopulation program being activated
- the fear of an invisible, mutating enemy
- the fear of a long-term crisis
- and the fearful unpredictability of nature vs. man
That’s a lot to sit with, and realistically, not a single one of these potential fears can yet be ruled out, as it is too early to tell how this will unfold and whom it will directly effect. And so the fear is spreading… unless we can contain it.
Fear is a messed up and dangerous thing. It shuts down the processes of the mind that make rational and compassionate thinking possible, triggering people to do the craziest, riskiest and most unstable and unreasonable things imaginable. This is why fear is the cheapest and quickest way to influence and control people, and why tyrants must always maintain a monopoly on violence. If you want someone to do your bidding, just frighten them into thinking they have no other choice. It works every time.
But this is also why it is highly illogical to allow fear to control you.
The majority of fear that most people experience during their entire lifetimes happens only inside of their head. That is, fear is a state of mind generated and perpetuated by the imagination. Fear itself is not real, it is merely an emotion generated by mental illusions. False. Evidence. Appearing. Real.
Modern media is exceptionally talented at combining images, narration, stats and facts, sound effects, lighting, motion graphics, etc, to activate a particular vibration within the imagination. Just like calming music or binaural beats can induce a peaceful, meditative mental state, news media can create the fear agitation, whether a threat is real or only perceived to be real. If that perception holds within your mind, though, the mission is accomplished, and worry and anxiety ensue, followed by the deterioration of your health.
We humans are creatures of narrative, meaning our actions and experiences are motivated and directed by the stories we tell ourselves or believe in. But nobody has the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Everything you hear, see or read is just someone’s incomplete understanding of the picture… not the whole picture.
In today’s age, there are a thousand and one news and information outlets all creating narratives vying for the same thing, your attention. Each of them remain loyal to their own agendas, creating versions of events that aim to recruit people into their audience or belief. Everyone is interpreting, regurgitating, relaying, repeating, manipulating and spinning information.
The truth today is literally whatever anyone wants it to be. Perception is a choice; therefore, to be fearful is also a choice.
The coronavirus story is an exceptional opportunity to see how fear is virally transmitted through information and perpetuated inside the imagination of the individual. Even if in the future the virus shows up on your doorstep, the reality of that experience will be far different from the original story about it created in your mind, but your story about it will determine how it actually affects you.
And because fear is stress-inducing, and stress attacks the physical body, weakening the immune system, it is essential to recognize that you have the choice to view this and every crisis in your life with or without fear. In this case, because we are talking about contracting a viral illness, choosing to confront this event fearlessly could literally save your life.
How to Be Free from Fear
There really is a lot out there on this subject already, but at its core, this is a spiritual concern, with the principle question being, do you have inner peace, or do you not?
There are many paths toward inner peace, including meditation, prayer, transformational experiences, faith in God or a higher power, and so on. Some think inner peace is in prepping for every possible contingency, or by planning to shuttle themselves off to an isolated, remote location or bunker when the stuff hits the fan, but not everyone has the same means, opportunities, or even desires.
Without question, though, allowing the mind to indulge in fear is a forfeiture of inner peace. And a dangerous one when facing a pandemic virus.
A fascinating way to comprehend the connection between the emotional state of fear and the physical body is to pay attention to your body, mind and feelings while consuming information. How do different stories make you feel?
As an example, read the following quotes, and observe what your imagination does with the info, while noting how your body feels. Pay attention to your breathing, to the tension in your shoulders, to any contractions in your abdomen, and to any feeling of rushing adrenaline or elevated cortisol.
“Mathematically speaking, this means that if every person in the greater metropolitan Los Angeles area is exposed, we would expect 1.4 million fatalities in Los Angeles alone…”
“HOLY MOTHER OF GOD—the new coronavirus is a 3.8!!!… How bad is that reproductive R0 value? It is thermonuclear pandemic level bad—never seen an actual virality coefficient outside of Twitter in my entire career. I’m not exaggerating.”
(I’ve chosen to not provide links to the sources here, on the grounds that the purpose of this exercise is not to condemn any particular source, but to offer a demonstration of how information affects physiology.)
Were you able to get a sense of the connection here and how stress can come from the ether and enter your actual physical body? Did your mind begin creating stories about what these words mean to you personally, providing visions of catastrophe and doom?
The human mind is the most creative and the most destructive force in existence, but we really don’t fully understand how it works to create the world we live in. And most of us have little to no understanding of how to control it.
As I’ve grown older I’ve noticed that I am very sensitive to the vibration of information as it’s coming to me, and also that negative information stays with me, lodging deep within my subconscious mind, subtly coloring my outlook and mood, negatively impacting the quality of my life. In short, the accumulation of fear-based narratives is highly corrosive to inner peace.
I’ve also become aware that fear seems to be unable to cohabit with compassion or empathy, and vice versa. That when I feel the grip of fear enter my mind and I notice my imagination beginning to produce stories of doom and fantasies of possible personal suffering, I can instantly shut all that down by shifting my attention to the well-being of others. This seems to engage compassion and radically shift my perspective on anything that is stoking fear within my mind.
In the case of the coronavirus, when I activate empathy I see how this story is already affecting so many other people, and I feel for them instead of thinking only about myself. I consider friends of mine who work in the ER and could perhaps be on the front lines someday if something like this ever does get serious in my town, and how much different their choices will be than mine. I think of my elderly friends and how much more prone they would be to a pandemic illness and how much more frightening that must be for them. In doing so it washes away my fear.
So, yeah, the fear pandemic is real, but the fear doesn’t have to be. And in a situation like a global pandemic where fear can literally make you physically more susceptible to events, the awareness of just how much control we have over fear is a powerful and necessary medicine.
Read more articles by Dylan Charles.
Dylan Charles is the editor of Waking Times and host of The Battered Souls Podcast, both dedicated to ideas of personal transformation, societal awakening, and planetary renewal. His personal journey is deeply inspired by shamanic plant medicines and the arts of Kung Fu, Qi Gong and Yoga. After seven years of living in Costa Rica, he now lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains, where he practices Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and enjoys spending time with family. He has written hundreds of articles, reaching and inspiring millions of people around the world.
This article (The Coronavirus – Containing Pandemic Fear) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Dylan Charles and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement.