Watching the unfolding horror of Covid Delta in NSW has been a roller coaster for us all. Throughout the month I felt compelled to write about the massive class bias embedded in almost everything to do with Covid, but especially in NSW, but as the roller coaster ride rattles on I feel more compelled to urge people to embrace the universal experience of uncertainty.

First to class. What an apocryphal story the NSW outbreak has been. The new variant arrives with special rich people who still travel abroad, then they give it to their limo driver on the way from the airport to Bondi. The NSW government simply can’t imagine locking down the good burgers of the wealthy eastern suburbs so the virus is allowed to spread to western and south western Sydney. Bingo, once it hits a working class area, the lock downs are severe, the army was called in and it was time to get really tough. All the while, with a dazzling array of special exemptions for rich people to keep visiting their holiday homes in the regions or going on grand tours to shop for more real estate.

But the crowning class irony? All of the useful essential work was actually being done by the people in west and south west Sydney. We could have locked down the interior decorators, share traders and poodle groomers of Bondi and no-one would have noticed, but without the logistics workers the country would grind to a halt.

But the ultimate tragedy, the ongoing failure to contain the Sydney outbreak has found its way to vulnerable and under resourced Indigenous communities in the states west.

Why do we elect widget-selling liberals to government, they don’t even believe in government and cant mount a national emergency response for the life of them.

Ok, the class thing has been appalling, but we are all in this together right?

Well not here in the Northern Rivers, we are tearing our social fabric apart with our oppositional views on the pandemic and how to respond.

We live in an age where social media seizes upon every persons confirmation biases and then arranges a bottomless feed of information from the same echo chamber. It is fuelling terrible extremism across the world, hate, white supremacism, purity spirals, cancel culture, conspiracism, incels, you name it, if there’s a marginal view there’s an online community popping up to feed and reinforce it.

There is plenty of reasons to distrust authority, government and corporations (including big Pharma). There is an observable history of corruption and dishonesty enough to cause any sane person to be highly sceptical.

But here is the thing, what do you do with your scepticism of authority, do you trade it in for total unquestioning belief in some alternative narrative that appears on your online feed? Why would you do that? How is the contrarian dude on YouTube any more reliable?

These are frightening and most of all uncertain times. The big question, for true sceptics, is can you really sit with uncertainty? Can you simply not have the answer? Can it simply be beyond your expertise? Is it really you who has to solve it?

Humans are prone to addiction, but none so prevalent as the addiction to certainty. It’s a reaction to the sheer (beautiful) unknowable complexity of our universe. It drives us to religion, to fundamentalism, to fascism, to ideology, to terrorism, to conspiracies, and to yelling ‘wake up sheeple’ at people.

If you are absolutely certain of your stance on Covid, lock downs, and vaccines, then you’ve probably already gone down a rabbit hole of some kind. Try being uncertain, try not having to know the answer. The good thing about sitting more comfortably with your uncertainty is that you are more likely to be open to new information and less likely to be offensive to other people online.

The thing is we can’t know how the virus might affect us personally, we can’t know whether we might get unacceptable side effects from getting vaxxed, there’s no amount of ‘doing your own research’ is going to bring certainty on these questions.

The point of all of this is that most of us aren’t experts (YouTube doesn’t create experts) and we are being asked to make personal decisions with limited info and understandable amounts of personal scepticism of government media and big pharma.

But for goodness sake, can we all calm down, stop yelling at each other for having different views on a topic almost none of us are experts on?

Not knowing is actually our natural state. No amount of fascism, religion, war, conspiracy, has been able to overcome the inherent chaos and unpredictability and lack of safety that we all face. In fact probably one of the very few things over the millennia that has helped us overcome our lack of knowledge and make ourselves a little safer has been science.

Personally, I don’t believe any conspiracy that relies on the proposition that thousands of people (particularly doctors and scientists) worldwide are keeping a secret, secrets are hard to keep. I also don’t believe any explanation that requires our different world governments to all be in agreement, Russia, China US North Korea and the Taliban all agreeing to pretend there’s a pandemic, nup, not buying it.

Am I deeply worried about whether the control measures introduced for the pandemic will be properly rolled back later? Of course that’s a worry.

Am I worried there will be further pandemics, sure

Do I support policies treating the vaxxed differently to the unvaxxed, (vaccination passports) personally no I don’t. I think it will only inflame the divisions already tearing at our social fabric and wont deliver a substantial enough public health benefit to be worth the social harm it will cause.

Am I right, I don’t know.








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