Rolling around lately in my mind has been strange juxtapositionings of ethical dynamics.
This started because I began to ponder statistics of human deaths. And then pondering the emotional response to the coronavirus thing, an interesting￼ situation presents itself.
Let me see if I can spell it out in a simple way without getting too long in the post.
Recently I posted a few statistics about other types of deaths that occur in our day. What strikes me about comparing the number of deaths for any particular topic is that they are all relatively similar, at least, similar in regard to that really only a small fraction of people actually die while the overwhelming majority of people actually live.
So I had to keep present in my mind a certain kind of ethics in thinking about these human beings. While I was pondering these kind of abstract intellectual numbers I kept having to remind myself that I’m supposed to be feeling bad because people are dying. I had to remind myself that I cry almost every day because one person I was very close to died not too long ago– but not from coronavirus.
Nevertheless. Let’s just ponder a few large categories of major killers in our global society. Cancer; murder; drugs. Let’s do drugs — the category. Lol.
Those are the categories I considered to compare to coronavirus. And I think I conveyed in another post that I talked to a doctor friend of mine about statistics having to do with these categories and coronavirus, and he quickly pointed out at least so far as the drug overdoses that drugs involve a choice where as coronavirus doesn’t have anything to do with choice except that we can try to take precaution so we don’t get it￼.￼￼￼￼￼￼￼
This struck me as particularly insensitive, ignorant (coming from a doctor just goes to show that a medical degree does not necessarily denote great intelligence) and basically judgemental about the people who die from drug overdose￼.
And this continuing to be rolling around in my head, I was struck by the contrast in peoples attitudes towards people that are dying from coronavirus.
In short, people who die from drug addiction are blamed and are viewed as bad people. Even though people are getting more intelligent and empathetic about drugs and addiction and substance use disorders, I would have to say that the overwhelming majority of people are very ignorant and self-righteous about alcoholism and drug addiction and view people that have such a problem as somehow morally compromised if not bankrupt.
Whereas people that die from coronavirus are not viewed as bad people.
And this was still rolling around together in my mind when it dawned on me that the ethics really falls into that something which is completely random, e.g. the coronavirus which comes up utterly because of an act of nature, is really having nothing to do with any sort of blame that we can place on humans except that we were doing human things– We view the deaths and human toll that occurs because of this random act of nature containing more “ethical energy￼￼￼”. And I mean this in the sense that if I am not sad or disturbed or worried about the great potential for human deaths that are occurring because of coronavirus then people judge me as unethical and somehow inhuman￼.
Even as the death toll presently may be less than the death toll that is taking place during the same time of people that overdose from drugs￼.
And the tragedy of people dying from something that is pretty much human created, which is to say, that drug addiction is really created because human beings synthesized distillates which affect human beings more radically than their natural state within plants, but as well with synthesized and created drugs from scratch that are more dangerous and ugly and deadly for human beings then anything we could find the natural sphere.
Yet if I’m not concerned about all these people dying from drug overdose, let alone the social devastation it is indeed creating everywhere, and from being a drug addict, I am not ethically condemned in general even though more people overall are dying from this human made problem￼.￼￼￼
￼It seems to me that peoples’ ethical value placed upon human beings is greater than when it’s something natural or something that arises completely innocent of human activity. Whereas if human beings are involved in the tragedy, then as a society we don’t care as much.
That strikes me as contradictory and quite ironic:
This odd ethical behavior reminds me of a book I started to read which told of how particularly terrible acts of nature used to be considered evil, where as only recently, say since the beginning of the 20thcentury , we refer the name of evil to only what human beings do.
STATS and FACTS:
Opioid deaths in United States.
Coronavirus Deaths worldwide