Stop blaming COVID-19

Teresa D Hawkes, Ph.D.
4 min readFeb 28, 2020

Dear friends, be strongly aware of the shift of agency from human behaviors to the COVID-19 virus that is taking place in almost all media I have read.

I am just one person, so I cannot read all media; your mileage assuredly differs.

COVID-19 meet reader. Reader, meet COVID-19

We have agency. COVID-19 has agency.

Agents act in the Earth environment for the purposes of individual and species survival.

What does it mean to say that humans shift agency?

It means instead of saying, human behavior over time has contributed to the fear and chaos emerging in our societies due to the COVID-19 virus infection, we say COVID-19 caused the stock markets to tank, we say COVID-19 is causing social unrest and fear. The fact of the matter is, COVID-19 is a species of virus living out its physiology here on Earth. Virus physiology is studied by scientists and we know some things about what to expect from viruses as a result.

Human behavior over millennia in the psychological, economic, political, social, and religious domains have made our race vulnerable to infections by many bacterial and viral agents.

The key here is human overcrowding of our living spaces. We are not spread out uniformly across Earth, we crowd into villages, towns, cities, metropolises, and megalopolises. We live in close proximity with our slave animal species as well as wild species. Viruses do well in that environment. They can take up residence in our bodies and the bodies of other similar animals (mammals) asymptomatically or symptomatically, and are associated with morbidity (disease) and mortality (death) in a certain percentage of any host population. This human-virus host relationship allows viruses to jump between similar animal bodies in any given environment for the purposes of individual and species survival. This is what all species living on Earth do: try to survive as individuals and groups through time. That means reproduction and helping subsequent generations survive to do the same thing.

If we wish to make ourselves less vulnerable to infectors, we have to change our behaviors across all domains through which we act here on planet Earth, blue among the Stars.

What behaviors?

Primarily those that have led to the overcrowding of humans and animals. These behaviors began in the Neolithic period, and have been built upon for at least ten millennia. We are now genetically adapted to the behaviors that have lead to our present situation. This is not due to any infector (e.g., measles, rinderpest, the COVID-19 virus). It is not due to some other agent projected outside of humans (deities of various kinds, ideas of various kinds) via our power of mind. Those things have no independent agency outside the forms we have given them.

Our present predicament is due to our use and misuse of our own agency as individuals and groups here on Earth over time; at least ten millennia of time. We have honed our ability to project our minds out onto matter and energy and manipulate such to have our way. For a time. Matter and energy are vast forces at work in the entire Universe and are not amenable to our will if that will is not in accord with those great forces.

To compensate for this FACT, humans have shifted agency from us to non-living created agents (e.g., taboos, customs, laws, mental constructs) in an attempt to get what we want by forcing each other to project a facsimile of reality that is not reality into other human minds, as well as the minds of our slave animals.

What have we wanted?

To be the only thing that matters in any given situation and to escape from the knowledge of the destruction that behavior wreaks across all human mind and physiological domains.

Our minds exist to help us survive as individuals and groups through long-time (not the infinitesimally short time it takes to click between websites). How we project our minds out and how we assign agency to our mental creations, each other, ourselves, and outside agents in our environment to understand and react to events occurring around us is critical to our ability to meet our biological purpose: survive as an individual and a species over long-time.

If we stop projecting the contents of our minds as individuals and groups out onto each other, other living beings, and the Earth and Universe environments, if we reclaim our own agency in current affairs (we are screwing up big time), we have a shot at figuring out how to mitigate the damage we have done to each other, other living beings, and the Earth environment. We have a shot at surviving as individuals and a group (homo sapiens).

What are we going to do about this?

Kafka-head in the Dark, Keith Wigdor
Aimea Saul, Markings



Teresa D Hawkes, Ph.D.

We all matter! Code: ALL. A Warren Democrat. A scientist. A poet. A mother. LOVES Bader Ginsburg. Loves McCartney. Is old.Is white.Is LGBTQ.She/her/me.Is woman.