Friday, January 29, 2021

Mourning and misdirected anger

There is a real problem with people's grief being swept up into anger that confuses natural evil into moral evil. There is no gross recklessness involved per se if someone dies of a community-spread respiratory virus. And it is a very, very bad thing when we normalize anger about that so as to turn the duty to care, touch, connect, and live normal life into a duty not to do these things, because so-and-so (my friend, my loved one, my mentor) died of a virus. It must be said: That is a tragedy, not a moral evil.

In contrast, if your friend, family member, loved one was locked away from human contact and only allowed to have his loved ones hold his hand for a few minutes at the end of his life, while dressed up looking like aliens, due to specific, draconian rules passed by specific, named, horribly misguided (if well-intentioned) people in power who wouldn't listen to the counter-arguments, that is something that it is legitimate to be angry about. These stories are happening all around us, every day. See here for example.

If I die of a community-spread virus when I'm elderly, and if you admire me or love me, you'd better not use my death to foment anger because someone was in contact with me, or went about his normal life without wearing a mask, or touched something, or talked to me or to other people, as if these perfectly good activities are actually bad activities and supposedly caused me to die.
Instead, try to make sure that I in my old age and all of the elderly people you know have smiling, kind faces around them, human touch, and normal, frequent, in-person contact with those they love and who love them. You have my permission to be angry if I've been locked up and denied that, which as things are looking now is terrifyingly probable for all of us. But not if I've been given human love and contact, not if other people have lived their lives, and I have died as a result of living life myself or as a result of others' living life.

Everyone dies of living life, life is not without risk, and life is good.

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