Focus Worry

Traffic Jam Alarm is in the air. The financial crises. Job problems. Global warming. Overeating. Nuclear energy generation. Starvation and war in some places.

Perhaps we can direct our dread; focus it’s power. Let’s concentrate our anxiety on the single most important issue. If we all worry together its gathered force can avert the threatening disaster.

I list here, unprioritized, those things which are available to worry about. It is only a matter of prioritizing them. Everyone is invited to choose #1. Let’s see if we can settle on what is best to worry about. Sufficiently concentrated worry ought to dissolve the problem.

  • Nuclear threat. Proliferation.
  • Pandemics: West Nile Virus threatened a world pandemic in 2005. Swine flu threatened pandemic in 2009. Bird flu in 2012. In 1918 a world wide flu pandemic killed over 50 million people in two years.
  • AIDS
  • Communicable diseases.., epidemics, untreatable flus, ebola
  • Contamination of food supply by chemicals: Health-attentive people recommend supplements. We can’t trust the food supply. Vitamins are removed in food processing
  • Terrorists: deliberate contamination of food, of air or water. Bombs.
  • Global warming
  • Environmental degradation. Loss of natural habitat.
  • Loss of species. Extinctions.
  • Air pollution
  • Water pollution
  • Potable water scarcity
  • Economic: shift in wealth distribution; increasing imbalance between rich and poor. Loss of social benefit net. Lack of medical care for needy. Unemployment. Poverty.
  • Corruption in government. Political decisions in hands of few. Money talks.
  • Debillitating civil strife. In Africa. Caribbean. Mideast. …  Resulting mass migrations
  • Meteors from outer space. Asteroid impacts. Dark matter. Nearby supernovas. Black holes. (Russell Schweickart from the Association of Space Explorers in 2007 said, “Extinction can be caused by a large asteroid impact. But with an early warning system we can prevent this. We can’t prevent a tornado, but we can prevent this.” “It is possible to save the Earth from something like an apocalypse” with this kind of spacecraft.)
  • Individual threats: accidents, gun violence, drunk driving, street gangs, robbery, rape, distracted cell phone driving.
  • Earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, vulcanism – eruptions, tsunamis.
  • Climate instabilities. Scientific American, November 1992 p.62
  • Sea level changes. Scientific American, July 1995 p. 21
  • Muscular dystrophy, cancer, heart disease, multiple sclerosis …
  • Drug addiction, alcohol addiction, gambling addiction
  • Inner city violence
  • Crisis in education. Diminishing resources for education.
  • Domestic violence
  • Cruelty to animals
  • Eating disorders, obesity
  • Gay rights. Moral values
  • Racism
  • Conspiracy (of the left or of the right or even of freelancers)
  • Earth magnetic pole reversal. This is an actual threat. The poles do reverse sporadically causing ecological havoc.

These are some of the threats. Pending catastrophes. The news is full of them. What about good news? Is the world getting wealthier? Healthier? Is life span increasing? Are the number of species increasing? (Albeit not the number of cute species.) None of these generate much emotonal response. Only fear does that.

“Nothing beats fear for raising money.”  So a capitalist society must contend with insistent interminable fear.

We can join the frenzy. We can prioritize our fears. And, by defending our choices, cultivate them. The most frightening one wins. What fun!