Friday, May 14, 2021 | Shawwal 1, 1442 H
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Go Home!


Sonia Ambrosio

Go with the flow. It is stress-free. It reaches its purpose. That is the positive thinking to avoid anxiety and therefore health issues:  developing the capacity to act effectively to bring about desired results.

 First, there is a need to make some sense of what is going on in the world in order to feel able to comprehend and to engage with one of the greatest social challenges.  After reading a large cardboard note on someone's door saying in bold letters GO HOME! - I thought it was rude and sad, but also correct and rightful.

 How could someone have such a note on the front door?  I look for some answers, and perhaps a bit of inspiration.  I saw butterflies around the flowers. This fragile insect has powerful representations such as endurance, change, hope, and life. Exactly what is needed at the moment: stamina to cope with the weird social order coronavirus brought upon us; hope that we still can return to some sort of normalcy as we knew it;  changes that will be for the better.  Then, I check the representations of a bug named Covid-19. The first thing I come across is the iconic medical illustration of the coronavirus: a spiky blob created to display the gravity of the situation, and to grab the public's attention.

 The representations of coronavirus are about threat, health risk, fear, and death. On top of these loaded words, the communication narrative for corona is all war metaphors such as combat, fight, and defeat. The storyline and the illustrations are to foster a sense of collective action while to justify fighting the enemy at all costs.

 Studies say that representations that are too threatening have negative affect such as fear, and has only limited effectiveness in promoting positive behavioral change. In the academic article Social Representations, Identity, Threat and Coping Amid COVID-19, the authors Rusi Jaspar and Brigitte Nerlich, point out that some of the key representations of Covid-19 are that social distancing and the wearing of masks are necessary to reduce disease incidence.  The study also indicates that individuals can respond to these representations in two ways: "Like others, I am at risk", or "Covid is dangerous, but I am young and healthy".

 One of the most accepted truths is that rivers don't go upstream. However, there are unusual situations that rivers can flow upstream.  It is correct to say that for each generalisation, there is an exception. Nonetheless, it is almost certain that what happens upstream will affect downstream. Better, go with the flow!

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