Sunday, August 8, 2021

Book Report

     Factfulness by Hans Rosling was published in 2018 and one was one the more interesting reads I have had in a long time.  The book talks about how different groups of people view the world, and how they are completely wrong.  It divides the world population into four major groups (1 being more modern western civilization-like and 4 being more remote tribal-like living), and systematically breaks down ten different natural instincts that the people of the world have that cause them to view the world in a distorted way.  The objective in writing this book was to really open peoples' eyes to what is going on around them and around the world.  Things are often not as they seem, and life is very different for different people coming from different places, as outlined in just about every single chapter of the book.  There are a lot of graphs and studies in the book, as well, to help visualize the points that Rosling is making, and they do a great job aiding in explanations.  Rosling wraps the book up by telling his readers to go out and use the tips he gives and try and see the world in a different view, and see if they see and live life any differently.

    My favorite part of the book was the chapter about fear.  Titled "The Fear Instinct", it gave me a very new perspective on how fear can affect people's everyday lives.  The most interesting part of the chapter to me was when Rosling discussed how the same fear can affect people living in groups one through four very differently.  The big example he uses is the fear of snakes.  People living in group one (the group with the most advanced medicine and medical care) may have the fear or snakes, but it does not really affect their lives in any critical way.  People in group four (the group that lives in remote areas, often in tribes or villages), however, have a justified fear.  A snake bite from the wrong species would likely be fatal.  This may cripple their ability to participate in everyday life.  This was a very interesting perspective brought to me and is something that I had honestly never considered before.  The example of fear of terrorism was also given, and it was shown that group four was the least at risk of a terroristic attacks, and group one through three had fairly high risk of terroristic attacks with three bring the highest.  One would think that the least protected people (group four) would have the greatest fear of terrorists and the people with the best protection (group one) would have the least fear, but the book highlights otherwise.  People in group one are generally terrified of terrorist attacks.  

    The concept of the fear instinct is something that can also, perhaps, be tied into a class subject.  When it comes to certain mythical creatures, such as Bigfoot, the Jersey Devil, and the chupacabra, fear may be a huge part of whether or not people believe in such animals or not.  To me, it would seem that group one may believe in these mythical creatures more, as much of group one is within cities and suburbs and does not get out into the wilderness enough to really say whether or not they think the creatures are real.  This group is more likely than any other to hear a story about an alleged creature sighting and immediately believe it ceased off of fear of the unknown.  Group four, however, is a group that would spend much more time out in the wilderness and outside in general, and a lot of the people that fall within group four would be able to safely tell you that if these creatures were real, one of them would have eventually seen it.  There would be a lot less fear controlling their decisions than someone in group one that lives in a city. Fear can very easily control the minds of many.

    I think that there is a lot of information from the book that could be applied to the current virus situation in the world.  In particular, my favorite chapter about fear is one that many people could learn from.  The fear of this virus has taken control over many people's lives, and has caused many lasting affects, such as social anxiety, depression, and loss of drive to succeed.  I decided to look at the virus from a different perspective after reading the book, and decided that we are actually very lucky.  We are very lucky because of the modern medicines and medical practices that we have compared to smaller and more impoverished countries.  This virus must not be allowed to completely control people's lives due to the fear it may cause, and chapter four of Factfulness outlines exactly why this is the case and how we as a people can change to keep this from occurring.  Live with smaller amounts of fear and enjoy life as much as you can, while you still can.

Youtube clip about fear and how it can affect decisions:

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