The Japanese earthquake and tsunami are the talk of globe, and why wouldn’t they be? Natural disasters affect many people and seem like a big deal.
But I’m not entirely sure people talk about a natural disaster simply to talk about it. And the news doesn’t report it just because we want to know what’s happening. I suspect something else is going on.
I suspect this because the people I meet who talk the most about natural disasters are either soccer moms or pre-soccer moms. This is like being a pre-diabetic, but instead of having a high insulin resistance, they have a high bromide resistance (and probably a high insulin resistance, too).
And these people don’t just talk about natural disasters, they worry about them. When you start to worry about something, you have an agenda, which is do whatever you can to keep worrying.
Worrying may seem pointless, but it is a great distraction. If something’s not going right in your life, it’s easy to turn your focus to an earthquake. Then you can drown out the nagging “I hate my life” refrain going on in the back of your head.
And since an earthquake is an unpredictable, random event, it can make you feel blameless for any failure in your life. The chaos of an earthquake proves that maybe you’re not in control of your misfortunes: “Yeah, this earthquake is kind of like that one time I got fired,” you think.
This powerlessness breeds fear, and fear, like any drug, is just a chemical in your brain. And like any chemical in your brain, you can become addicted to it.
So what if you were addicted to fear? Well, you’d probably engineer situations in which you would feel afraid, like talking about an earthquake, for instance. (Thank you, Daniel Goleman.)
We’ve come full circle here, because the best way to describe a soccer mom isn’t by Shape Ups, an SUV, or the kids on the soccer team she’s mom’d. A soccer mom is a person who predominantly reacts to chemicals in her brain she has no control over. Glenn Beck is one of the biggest soccer moms out there. This should be of no surprise considering the monstrous face chub he has going on.
Yes, it’s sad that people died. Of course it’s sad. And I’m against rape, too, big deal. What’s important is that earthquakes, or any other natural disaster, don’t matter precisely because they’re uncontrollable, random events. If a volcano is going to end your life, the only proper way to deal with it is to live a purposeful life so that at that moment when you take your last breath before ash swallows your lungs, you’ll be thankful that you didn’t waste your life worrying about volcanoes.
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t utter a word about earthquakes, volcanoes, or any other earth drama. Earthquakes and tsunamis can be cool to talk about in a certain context. Tsunamis travel at more than 500 MPH before they reach land, this Japanese earthquake was 8,000 times more powerful than the one that hit Christchurch, New Zealand, and it shifted parts of the Japan’s coast by 8 feet. If you want to learn more, go read a book about tectonic plates.
But I am saying that we need to be honest about why we feel the need to dwell on a natural disaster to the point where it makes us feel powerless. So before you put your fear syringe into a coworker’s arm, just remember that the only way to truly defend yourself from a natural disaster is to not have a life that’s a natural disaster.