See my book MINDING CORONA, of which this is a chapter. In e-version on Amazon, this book costs almost nothing. Here is a link to a pdf for free (non up-to-date version). The app (‘Aurelis’) is permanently for free on Google and Apple stores.
COVID is a mind-body problem. Most experts in the picture are not mind-body experts.
►►►Why read this? We use our mind appropriately and get out of the worst troubles, or we don’t and we don’t.◄◄◄
Too little, too late
This text is another try as a wake-up call, being urgent and partially too late by now. Too late sadly for many people, as well as to prevent the wave that is about to rack several economies, including some of the countries who wanted to put lives and ethics first. I see this, for instance, in the case of Argentina. It’s heartbreaking.
Who is going to communicate – too late – that it is to some extent, perhaps even largely preventable by properly using our mind?
The economy: simple
Although the economy cannot tolerate another lockdown, it will get beaten worse in the coming twelve months than in the previous. We will go into another lockdown precisely because we desperately want to avoid lockdown “for the economy cannot take it.” So, we will wait too long.
This is because the next year will be amazingly (unsuspectedly, even today) horrendous. Some ‘turbo phenomenon’ will come as if from nowhere.
Arguably, around half of this mayhem is due to conceptual, virus-related factors.
The other half is due to mind-related factors. To be precise, these are subconceptual. One can approximate this with the term nonconscious. For instance, one cannot consciously decide to be immune to panic. One cannot consciously choose to have a placebo effect. One cannot consciously decide to be motivated to wear a face mask, nor to anything else. Our conscious motivation is not a cause, but a side effect, as is so little known in public and so much in proper science.
One cannot consciously decide to influence one’s immune system, good or bad. Yet nonconsciously, there is a huge and scientifically validated influence, as is again (much too) little known in public. This public includes many physicians.
Mind→body influences are much more complex, as well as – accordingly – much more significant than is generally thought, especially in medicine at the level of practitioners.
Meanwhile, the highest-level science shows many such mind-body influences, as I expanded upon in MINDING COVID and other books and articles. Now I put the starkly naked conclusion as the title of this blog/chapter.
Seasonality is almost certain.
Never say 100%. Well, 98%.
Surprisingly perhaps, the seasonality of infectious disease is still little understood. We know a few interfering factors. The mind also plays an important role. It is undoubtedly not only virus-related + a matter of people staying indoors.
With seasonality, we are already feeling autumn in Europe. I see in this the temptative debut of the second wave. Winter will be bad.
Comes the whirlpool (see my book).
Since one doesn’t see nonconscious mind, it is not there…? Hm, although this thinking is prevalent worldwide, it still is the thinking of a preschooler.
Driven also by nonconscious mental elements, the COVID whirlpool is ready to strike again, the big way. Don’t just believe me but, at least, think like an adult. We need to be fearful without getting anxious. Denial makes people prone to tumble into the whirlpool at the moment of unavoidable truth. It is a lousy defense against panic.
With the possibility of repeat infections by SARS-CoV-2 being a certainty by now, and expected to become the rule rather than the exception, reaching herd immunity gets more complicated (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-covid-19-reinfection-means-for-vaccines). We need every possible support, conceptually and subconceptually. The whirlpool is a bad thing, but insight in it can provide additional means to escape it.
In my country (Belgium) and worldwide, virologists have hardly an inkling about nonconscious processing. They have no training in this. They didn’t become virologists because they were aficionados of the psyche from the start. Quite the contrary, some are the most mind-body aversive people, thus inhibiting rather than enhancing this side of the solution. These experts are not experts in mind-body.
So, they are understandably suspicious of mind-body within a culture that is as a whole weary of mind-body. It is indeed difficult to see one’s thinking as influential on the body within a double emergence [body → mind → consciousness]. Yet it is our reality as human beings, not as bodies devoid of mind, and mind – never mind. Bizarre?
From a mere consciousness-viewpoint, indeed, it is bizarre. If you look at it from a reality-viewpoint, the picture changes dramatically.
Patients do not exist for the sake of medicine.
But meanwhile, these experts guide politics, which is OK. In mind-body matters, they do so abysmally, which is not OK. Of course, they are not guilty. Mud-throwing is out of the question. Objectivity is of utmost importance in science. That is one more reason why science should not act politically. It should support and guide politics. In this, it should also be broad, not narrowly self-serving.
People do not exist for the sake of science.
Also, science, in its objectivity, is a worldwide undertaking. That takes time, and there is not enough time in COVID-times. Yet the endeavor should remain the same.
“People may not be ready for this”
as my first publisher warned me twenty years ago. They still may not. Yet, sorry, I think we are in an emergency now. It is less important whether people are ready then it is mandatory to act upon this emergency correctly, even if it hurts some general preconception.
The war metaphor is also deficient in this respect. Did you ever see a war in which those who say “There is no enemy” or worse, “We are our own enemy” are regarded with benevolence? I have been encountering this from March.
We need a Copernican revolution, not putting the earth out of center in the universe, but our ego out of center in our inner universe. I suspect that both are quite related.
Mind is also crucial for motivation. As already mentioned, to-be-motivated is not merely a conscious choice. It is a nonconscious happening/action.
We will need motivation to do the right thing concerning COVID, as long as the West is democratic. Either we use our mind, or – very arguably – we might better get authoritarian. Democracy is something to be earned continuously.
We think we have the virus better under control now than in the spring.
Indeed, but it is ourselves that we need to get ‘under control’ most of all. As with the first wave, we will be the primary source of whirlpool energy. That is not the domain of any mind-less medic. People are never mind-less. However, from historical causes, people have been and are being treated this way.
COVID is a mind-body problem. We need mind-body experts, but we don’t have them in place.
Go 200 years in the past: procedures such as blood-letting would be the answer to COVID. It would be the overall accepted thing to do, and blatantly wrong. Indeed, any other therapy from then would be blatantly wrong. By then, the authoritative galenic medicine had been wrong for 1600 years. Oh yes. Oh yes. It is very well possible to flow along in the wrong direction en masse. Not surprisingly, since such a flow is particularly strong. [see: “Streaming Underneath“]
Not everything was bleak. A sensible measure from centuries ago and what we still do is quarantine.
“But now we have science!” Indeed, but we don’t have any strong mind-body science. In this domain, relatively little relevant progress has been made.
When will we know?
This is preventable, as will be shown some years from now, through real-world evidence. What do we have to wait for? An appropriate use of A.I. tools.
In that same future, stress within a population (not only the sum of individuals) will be seen as a crucial issue. It has a considerable impact on health and wellbeing. We need a much better view of what is stress in the first place: what concept is relevant, how can it be delineated, what do we care to call stress?
Meanwhile, I am troubled by many researchers who don’t come out of their comfort zone. This is about more than reluctance. It is an active evasion that I would like to better understand.
What I want?
Most of all, I want to have the means to enable further development, translations, and divulgence of the free app. Of course, I would also like to get the message out. To get rich of all this – COVID and much more – is not wanted unless it’s the only way to succeed.
You and I and all know what is at stake. It deeply hurts that developing countries will eventually be the main victims, while the rich are more responsible and need to use our brains – pun totally intended.
This text is not a complaint against anyone.
But I do hope something can be achieved.