In previous articles I have tried to dissect concepts like biopolitics and did my best to look at it from a systems point of view to explain possible effects it has and will have on our socioeconomic systems in a post-corona time.
Today’s article is a bit different in that I would look to address a theme which seems to be an ongoing political and social issue throughout history, namely recognizing individual and group differences around freedom and safety and trying to come to mutual understanding in honoring the differences between individuals and groups.
The theme that is clearly playing out now in most societies are groups and individuals who are divided due to valuing inherent needs of ‘safety’ and ‘freedom’ in a different degree. Since safety is an inherent need for all individuals that has to be fulfilled, the sense of feeling safe or free is experienced in different gradations among individuals.
Let’s say one has his need for safety fulfilled only if and when he or she has savings, a pension plan, a house without mortgage and insurance policies for all possible risks. For someone this could be a good level of safety, for someone a bit more liberal and free this sounds more like a ‘middle income trap’ or a golden cage trap in that it probably takes away a lot of freedom, money and time to ensure so much safety. Time and money that could have been spent on that next adventurous holiday or entrepreneurial dream.
A person that has the need for freedom more dominant in his or hers psyche would sacrifice the energy and time that would have been spent on increasing their sense of safety by increasing the amount of freedoms and sense of being free in life.
So depending on how different needs are expressed in an individual life or in a certain cultural group, you can expect some mutual understanding issues along the road. Hence the reason why mediators could be of great help in today’s challenges!
So this is how today’s clash and polarization in contemporary society could be partially explained according to my understanding. Since these inherent needs are polar opposite of each other, there seem to be people fighting among other people during a pandemic like ours about basic civil rights of freedom and the clash of safety for all. For example, in the process of coming to a vaccine or in forming policies about either necessary biopower or unnecessary biopower in dealing with a pandemic calamity.
The question, I think, should be asked what the minimal need for biopolitics is in order to make sure risk of the virus is minimized without sacrificing and disrupting the freedoms unnecessarily. The sad part of the story so far in my research is that it is very easy to manipulate the severity of a virus by playing people down on fear for safety, since many people are simply afraid or easily made afraid. This (unnecessary) fear makes the need for safety higher on the list, not to downplay on the valid fear there is for getting the virus. Personally, I have been diagnosed with chronic asthma and I have been dealing with many lung infections at a young age with a lot of antibiotics, so I have my fair share of experience in dealing with infections.
So if fear and hysteria rules society then it does not really matter if your inherent need for safety is high on the list, since fear is ruling the world and not empirical data about the severity of the virus.
So this brings me to the problems on today’s information age and how difficult it is to do science in a world that is filled with contradictory research, either created with hidden agenda’s by the industrial political complex or not. However, educated people who think critically can do their own research and come to their own conclusions how to fulfill these polar opposite needs of freedom and safety.
I hope this article shed some light on the polar opposite needs and how one can see how this will cause some challenges in contemporary society in honoring these differences in love…
All the best,