The Philosophy On Why It May Seem Like Social Distancing is Hard

“It is so natural just to want to be around your friends and many people in general. I never had to be forced not to be able to hang out with people and it just doesn’t seem natural.” – Anonymous 

“Because there is nothing to do at home. After you take that away man, it is difficult.” – Anonymous  

As humans, the thought of being capable of not interacting with other individuals around us seems impossible. Both the CDC and President Trump urge millions of Americans around the world to reduce human to human contact and interaction in the hopes of “flattening the curve” among the COVID-19 virus that has already killed more 67,000 people worldwide and currently has over 320,000 active cases in the U.S. (CDC, 2020)  

Some may assume that our generation (Generation Z) would be relatively used to social distancing since we are more accustomed to being on social media. 

“To hang out and chat with friends” has the highest percentage in regards to the reasoning behind why Generation Z uses social media intentionally. So why do we still see a struggle of practicing social distancing when we have the one useful thing that could still ultimately keep us close with peers and loved ones? 

Possible Answer: Psychological Egoism:

The famous philosopher Thomas Hobbes suggests that people unintentionally practice Psychological Egoism. This being that as humans, we ultimately are motivated to do what is in OUR best interest even if we care about the well being of society as a whole. (altruism)

Most of us, prior to the Coronavirus pandemic, was so ingrained in our own daily lives with school, work, social affairs, etc. that we didn’t realize that many people were dying by the second or that millions globally have been suffering from poverty.

It is similar to the concept of “Survival of the Fittest” where we are so invested in our own lives that we do not realize what is going on around us. 

A philosophist? I am not. But philosophy could be seen as a great way to possibly give answers or even a well-articulated theory on why we as humans do what we do; especially in a time when what we do can singlehandedly have an impact on our safety and the safety of others. 

Bottom line:

Oftentimes, we do not see the COVID-19 virus as something that impacts us directly because health and government officials see that there is a strong correlation between deaths from the virus and those of older age. This results in the infamous, “Psychological Egoism.” As young individuals, some of us completely ignore the practice of social distancing because even if we go out and catch the virus – more than likely we will recover from it. 

Officials say that many that have the COVID-19 may be asymptomatic. This meaning that many might not show and symptoms such as; fever that is generally common in those who have it and show symptoms. As well, many young people could be at risk of infecting those who are immunocompromised. Underlying conditions such as; asthma, diabetes, allergies, health concerns, lung cancer, breast cancer, etc. are ESPECIALLY at higher risk of being harmed from the virus. 

Ignorance or pure oblivion; the nation needs a united front from our generation in particular to flatten the curve of COVID-19’s spread.

Edited by Rachelle Saint-Louis

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