Reflecting on 2 years of COVID and the sensemaking crisis

First draft, 2022-01-31

Everyone old enough to remember knows exactly where they were and what they were doing on September 11, 2001.

It was a singular moment in time when the first plane hit.

What was your 9/11 moment with SARS-CoV-2?

We perceive material events like 9/11 quite well. That perception directly leads to an understanding on the first order. Immediate results from an impact - smashed concrete, molten steel, smoke, loved ones lost.

Material events like air pollution we basically don’t perceive at all. In European cities like Berlin, London, or Lisbon, there are tens of thousands of people dying from air pollution every year. From a numbers perspective it’s similar but the way we perceive it’s very different. No one knows anyone who lost a loved one to air pollution. And yet there are tens of thousands who statistically died that way.

It’s no surprise that when COVID came we were utterly unable to break down the complexity and make sense of what has been going on.

To me, it was painfully clear from the very beginning that what by now I can without cynicism call the legacy media was going to be absent in helping understand the situation based on the available knowledge and data.

And suddenly it’s been 2 years. (and 20 years until the US pulled out of Afghanistan)

There's a personal story for each of us. How we perceived the nth "lockdown" and whatever that actually meant.