On certainty

Tank Green/ November 20, 2021/ COVID-19, Health, Thoughts

When I was studying religion at university, I came to the realisation that people who were religious had a need for certainty that I did not share. It seems pretty clear to me that vast swathes of the world have gone mad out of a need for the same thing: certainty. And it is precisely this neurosis which is driving them to (try to) control others.

It seems pretty clear to me that it is impossible to control a virus. Aside from the fact that they are a part of the ecology of the earth and our bodies at all times (what else would we “test positive” for if we swabbed for it?*), they are microscopic organisms invisible to the naked eye. Rationally, how do you think you can control something you cannot see? You can’t.

This is why everything that you are doing to try to control the virus doesn’t work, and that is why you are moving on to trying to control others. You will never control the virus because you cannot see it. You can see me though, and that is why you want to control me. I, and others like me, stand as proxies for the thing you cannot see and cannot control.

What you need to get your head around is that the virus is potentially everywhere, including in and on your body, and at all times. Whilst your body isn’t a hermetically sealed bag, attempting to control what others do to their body will have little to no effect on the “safety” and integrity of yours.

So the answer here is not to freak out and think you have the ability to control a microscopic organism that you cannot see, and which is designed to change and evolve to escape capture/death (much like us), because you don’t and you can’t. Any “control” you think you have, even the control of others, is an illusion. The answer here is to accept that viruses and other pathogens exist and to do everything in your power to ensure your own health by taking good care of your own body. For most of us, this first means taking care of our gut by only consuming nourishing foods and liquids.

You cannot control a microscopic organism, but you can control what you eat. You can control how much you exercise. You can control how much you drink, if at all. You can control whether or not you smoke. And by controlling those factors, you can control your own health baseline. That is because diet and exercise are the only simple and surefire preventative and proactive measures that you can realistically do to improve the long-term health of your body.

Once you know that you are as healthy as you can be, then maybe, just maybe, you can dial back your madness and your fear, take things more in your stride, and stop oppressing others. Maybe then you can remember that life is risk, and that’s why it’s interesting, because risk brings experience and reward.

Nothing in life is certain except death. (Taxes are no longer certain because of the rich.) You can never be certain where the virus is. You can never be certain if you will get it. The only thing you can do is to take better care of your own body and from there allow pragmatism to rule you, not fear.


Just read this in Martin Blaser’s Missing Microbes:

[R]esearchers recently found the signature of many pathogens (disease causing microbes) living peacefully in the nasal passage of healthy people. One, Staphylococcus aureus, is notorious. It can cause boils, sinusitis, food poisoning, and bloodstream infections. But it can also have a completely benign presence in your nose, just minding its own business. At any one time, at least a third of us, and maybe more, are carrying it.