Saturday, April 01, 2023

MASKS: Complex or simple

| May 5, 2021 1:00 AM

Shortly after the New Year 2020 ball dropped, another ball like image with fuzzy little knitted yarn looking things sticking out of it invaded our world. No one seemed to know where it came from, but we were told that it was bent on killing us.

It wasn’t long before the pundits were telling us that it came from China where some unenlightened citizen had eaten a bat. That story seemed a little preposterous, so they soon modified it. The virus may have escaped from a Chinese research lab in 2019, we were told. The illness caused by it was named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

C. Northcote Parkinson’s Law of Triviality states that “The time spent on any item of the agenda will be in inverse proportion to the sum involved.” He dramatizes it with the example of a committee’s deliberations on an atomic reactor, contrasting it to deliberations on a bicycle shed.

A reactor is too expensive and complicated for the average person to understand, so discussion is short and approval quick. On the other hand, a bicycle shed is cheap and easy to understand, so planning it results in endless debate.

The implications from the worldwide spread of COVID-19 are far reaching. But like the atomic reactor in Parkinson’s dramatization, these implications are supposedly too complicated for the average person to understand. However, like the bicycle shed, we can understand the wearing of masks. So, for more than a year now, debate has raged.

To mask or not to mask, that is the question.



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