Why We Wear Masks.

I just realized something about the issue of wearing masks for this coronavirus COVID-19 thing:

People are selfish; that is the modern individualist way. The issue about the wearing of masks is or was around “Am I protected?”

The big confusion around masks is whether or not I am going to be protected because I wear a mask.

And it just dawned on me why there is confusion.

It is because we’re not used to doing things for other people.

We are not, as a society, used to thinking of other people just in a mode of kindness first, and then having myself thought about kind of vicariously due to that first act.

The reason I wear a mask is to protect other people from myself. 

What we have been thinking as a society when asking ourselves whether we need to wear a mask, or buying up all the products off the shelves, the masks, all the N 95 masks, and whether or not a cloth mask is effective is:

is it protecting me from getting the virus?

And that is the wrong question out in public, in general.

We should be asking: Am I contributing to spreading the virus.

When I am out in public I am wearing a mask to protect other people because I may be carrying the virus without me knowing it.

The two primary concerns we have around spreading the virus is shooting liquid droplets from my mouth as I speak to someone else. That is why we are told to stay 6 feet from one another, because typically the droplets from me speaking will only go 6 feet before falling to the ground, and at that in an arc toward the ground. And then virus on surfaces.

In general, the only time I need to be wearing a mask to protect myself from the virus is when I am in close contact with people who are sick, like if I work in a hospital with sick people.

The idea is that if everyone wears a mask then we will all be better protected from transferring the virus to each other through the liquid that naturally flies from our nose and mouth.

Other than that just because the virus may stay alive on surfaces for any amount of time doesn’t really matter so much if I’m washing my hands frequently and being careful not to touch my face.

Of course, if you have some underlying or aggravating health condition which has compromised your immune system then it might behoove you to wear a mask such as a N95 or better, that is protecting yourself when you go out in public or at work. But you should also put a scarf or a handkerchief over the front of that mask. 

But most of the issues around wearing a mask is that most everyone is thinking how can I protect themselves from other people; they aren’t thinking about how they protect themselves by thinking of the other person first.

This is what the CDC and the WHO is telling us, this is what doctors know, this is what we are supposed to understand and trust: Work together. We are in this together and we will survive by thinking of others.

I take care of myself by being concerned about the other person.

That is how we get through this.
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So, in a manner of speaking:

The plain and simple lack of resources and ability to produce equipment means that To think about worry and protect only myself is chaos, contributing to less effective ways of beating COVID-19, longer and more debilitating effects of the virus on myself, our quality of life as a Global society, and more death overall.

To worry and protect others is to bring order, contributing to the lessening of contagion vectors and the actual lowering of numbers of people who are affected. And greater societal Resilliance overall.


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Author: landzek

My name is Lance Kair, a philosopher, a counselor and a musician who is being questioned.

3 thoughts on “Why We Wear Masks.”

  1. Interesting point here about selfishness. True we were not brought up on thinking/doing for society but for ourselves.

    I can’t believe I will say this now, and as horrible as it sounds, I respect corona: it is a slap to wake us up from the illusion we were in

  2. People are by nature selfish. In my opinion, to be less selfish is the goal of philosophy, religion, science, art, music, and literature. Or at least let us act upon some kind of understanding.

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