When all the straws are in the same glass

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When panic drives us

The panic-driven behaviour demonstrates that fear is as contagious as the coronavirus outbreak, but it also demonstrates something else as well. When one person takes more than they need (Toilet rolls, paracetamols, etc) and then leave others without, self-preservation rather than sacrifice is the default mode of humanity. Loss aversion is a powerful motivator and there is nothing like scarcity or perceived scarcity to promote this panic-driven behaviour. Yet what we are witnessing is what we have always known, it was just that full bellies and full supermarket shelves hid the reality.

Everyone has one straw in the same drink

Imagine it like this, we all have a straw in the same glass of drink and we are all thirsty. Some might be thirsty more than others and others just might be greedier. The point here is for us to recognise that not everyone will drink at the same speed and therefore some will end up with more than others. The failure to consider others is why we are tempted to take more than we need, and if we consider everyone else before ourselves we might just end up with nothing. The fear of losing out, having to go without is why at a time like this people take more than they need.

As we consider, what has happened and why is happening, we might just consider what’s important. while there are many people who are sharing and serving others. The supermarket shelves are still empty because people are taking more they need. Will anyone learn from this or will it be business as usual when the panic is over? It’s fitting then to finish with the words of Winston Churchill, what he wrote after the second world war:

“How the great democracies triumphed, and so were able to resume the follies which so nearly cost them their life”

This quote can be found in volume six of Winston Churchill’s account of the second world war. The title of volume six is ‘Triumph and Tragedy’ and the quote is given to underline the theme of the volume.

By Daniel Ralph

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