- Beings (human included) are highly sensitive to threats. Therefore,
- Danger seizes our attention. We can’t turn away: from the proverbial train wreck. The fire. The predatory leader. 911 – in both senses of those three numbers. We fundamentally fear for our safety – from nature and from others. We’re vulnerable to being triggered.
- Media literally lives – thrives or dies – on holding (y)our attention.
- The culture “war” grabs our eyeballs and the fear-sensitive areas of our brains. It is now largely based on two things: Fear and Us/Them. Reagan was a hero because he fought them. Obama…a hero because he stands for us. Trump grew because the left FEARED him, and because the right FEARED them.
The media offers what the fearful part of our brains can’t help but attend to.
We are beings, and we are way more drawn biologically, neurologically, to pay attention to what threatens us, than what uplifts and delights us. What if we celebrated two big things? What if you celebrated – I do, here and now – two big things:
- Warp speed is working. Science is incredible. Managerial organization is amazing. Voluntary cooperation to mask up works. You and your mother and your grandfather are going to get vaccinated! We are going to get back to a new and freer and more social, safe, and vibrant way of living. Halleluiah! (Yeh, yeh, don’t let up. That’s good counsel from the fear brain!)
- Our government will approve funding today that will immediately improve the well-being of millions of Americans. They won’t be Ds or Rs, they’ll be human beings. The relief package will keep hundreds of thousands of human beings in apartments . . . and tens of thousands of landlords able to pay their banks and thousands of banks able to lend money and pay their shareholders. The funding will help get the vaccine out, will feed hungry children, will provide unemployment relief to workers, will help schools open safer…
Do not fear! That money is not leaving the economy. Much will be spent – and thus create demand for jobs. Those who don’t need it so immediately (young gig workers, for instance) will invest it.
Mind you, it’s HUGE, i.e., we are borrowing for our future. We – rich or poor, now or later – will have to pay for it. But we don’t have to have a fear attack about that: when you borrowed for your mortgage or for college, your fear brain was sending warning signals. But you also – and primarily – celebrated, confident that you would learn, grow and earn.
As the last point on which I invite your celebration and pride. Congress and the President have tilted this relief very heavily towards those who have been most displaced, most threatened, most burdened by the combined attack of the pandemic and the economic downturn. I am proud to be in a country that is showing its heart and care in this moment.
Neither CNN nor FOX nor those to the right and left of them will sell a lot of shows on this happy news. But to hell with that. It’s a proud day to be an American, to build some hope, show some compassion, and
Lead with our best self!