Feelings | Facts

I’ve been trying not to pressure myself to write or even think anything profound about this moment we’re in, but then I was on a panel this week discussing the future of theater, and playwright Luis Alfaro quoted his mentor: There were writers before you, and there will be writers after you. So tell the story of Today. I really heard this, and since I guess I AM a writer, and I DO have a brain and a heart, I perhaps owe it, if not only to myself, to have and share a thought or two about Today.

AND SO, a thought I had this week: I find that when I’m reading Covid news, I can never do so objectively. For one, the virus is a new thing and we’re everyday watching as the Science Sausage gets made — as researchers learn more, they are contradicting themselves and each other, which means, even moreso than usual — WE MUST DECIDE FOR OURSELVES WHAT WE BELIEVE TO BE TRUE. When I’m reading grim news, I feel like the article is oftentimes manipulating me into fear, so that I’ll take the pandemic seriously, and I leave the article feeling stupid, helpless and afraid, like I’m a future host for a virus and the walls I’ve built around myself are porous and for show. COOL! And then, when I read a more positive article, one focusing on perhaps encouraging data or findings, I’m encouraged by it, finding myself longing to believe it — but it’s because I so badly want things to be better. My brain goes: that is better, and therefore, it is true. (For a deeper looker into why the brain does that, this Atlantic Article summarizes it better than I ever could.) I can never read from a neutral place, it’s always filtered through feeling. Which makes me wonder — is finding and a maintaining a neutral brain before you consume information sort of a meditative practice, in itself? OR SHOULD I GET AN ADULT SIZED KIDDIE POOL FOR THE BACKYARD?

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