Zozobraed

Samain and the Moon of Radical Change (just take out Trump and I’ll call it radical change)

Thursday gratefuls: Vote talliers. Reporters. Democrats voting. Republicans (if you can call them that) voting. Lisa Cutter wins. Hickenlooper wins. Wolf introduction proposition in Colorado. Ahead in vote tallies. Biden’s popular vote. 71,750,000! Wow. The next four years. Picking up the pieces, trying to heal. Commitment to that process from me. Glad the vote is over.

Hey there, hi there, ho there. I’m as zozobraed as can be. Two very clear zozobra moments. Talked with Jude, my next door neighbor. He stood at the corner of my garage, me ten feet or so away. His border collies, Zeus and Boo, shuttled between us looking for affection. Kep, on the other side of the fence, barked from time to time. Somehow we got to Covid. “Well, it’s death rate is only 1%, I’ve read,” he said. Death rate is notoriously difficult to calculate and changes frequently. See this NYT article. It was the only in Jude’s comment that grabbed me. It meant that he saw the Covid danger as exaggerated. It isn’t. This NPR article shows that death rates in NY hospitals has dropped from 25% in the early day of the crisis to 7.6% now. Yes, those are the hospitalized. Here are some other numbers 9,500,000 (at least) infected. 233,000 deaths so far in the U.S. That is, for instance, a .025 rate of death.

Yesterday Ken came to do a fall check on the boiler. He’s a smart guy, on his way to a biology degree until a dui got in the way. We’ve known him the whole time we’ve been up here. He installed our new boiler. More than half Indian, Diné, his point of view is neither this nor that ideologically. An ex-Marine with two sons in the Marines, he has a conservative take, but as he said, “I’m no Biden hater. I think Trump would have been better if he’d kept his mouth shut.” Ken believes that if wolves are introduced to Colorado as prop 114 would trigger that all the Elk and Mule Deer would die. He’s a hunter and claims privileged knowledge. He also believes if the measure passes it would cost nineteen million dollars a year when you count reparation to ranchers and farmers. The proposition itself estimated eight hundred thousand dollars.

Here’s the zozobra moment for me in each of these conversations. Oh. They’re both working with a different set of facts from mine. These are intelligent men who’ve narrowed their information collection to conservative shock jocks and Fox News. Because I like both of these guys, I allow zozobra to rule me.  Their beliefs, sincerely held, negate my worldview. Yet, here they are, talking to me, the world seems the same, our mutual world, but when we begin to describe it? Nope

Where, I wonder, would I even begin. In philosophy there is a sub-discipline called axiology. Philosophy websites define it as value theory, but I learned it as the discipline associated with assumptions. A sort of meta-consideration. Now, that could be about values. What’s the value behind this ethical principle? But, I’ve kept it in my intellectual armamentarium as a reminder to check out what folks assume in any argument or belief. Axiology came to mind after talking with both Jude and Ken. A clear assumption, one I have as well, is that our sources are correct. Perhaps a difference would be that I consider sources’ sources. Who said that? What do they believe? What do they support? Do they have a skew in their thinking created by a bias?

But, since we start from different data realities and since we disagree, the only logical point of conversation is axiological. Why do you trust Fox News? Why do I trust Fauci? Is there a common ground? I ducked this conversation in both instances. Too hard. And, most likely, not fruitful. But. If we don’t have these axiological conversations, how can we learn to see each other?

I kept moving from foreground to background, my information universe, then theirs. The dissonance and the difficulty in reconciling them zozobraed me. No matter how the election comes out, this same struggle, this zozobra, will play out over and over again. No plan right now. Just wondering.

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