Returning to Normality

How’s it going for you?

Whether you’re a festival director, a future bride or a fire performer, this has affected us all. The great leveller. Something to make us remember that we’re all subject to a few key, identical rules and feelings.

The rules of health, and the feelings of safety. See what I did there? The #eventprofs will get it.

So there’s a lot of talk around at the moment about socially distanced events. Even some bespoke venues happening with spread out tables and increased toilet facilities. Initial looks at these seem to suggest they’re going to have a different feel from what we’re used to but I for one, applaud the people doing their best to look at things in a progressive way.

So the question remains, can we have events? And when?

I still don’t know. No-one does. And if they tell you they do, they’re guessing. Might be an educated guess and potentially even actually based on some of the myriad of conflicting data out there in the world, but a guess nonetheless. When there is proven yet conflicting data (like in this case) that’s what it all comes down to. Sets of data give trends, not absolutes and therefore lot of science is based on consensus rather than binary right and wrong. Kinda like how we should think about morality*

Thing is, guessing is fine. We do it all the time and actually, it’s how we make sense of the world. How many of you actually set a timer when you’re cooking a sausage? Do you set one for the potatoes too? Maybe there are some people with 8 stopwatches on the wall of their kitchen but I’m fairly sure that most people look under the grill, in the pan / saucepan and use a little thing that we call intuition.

Humans are great at intuition. There’s some really interesting data about how good we are at doing it quickly too. It’s called ‘rapid cognition’ and Malcolm Gladwell has a book on it. Subconscious instant decision making which, if you can connect to it, is incredibly powerful. A lot of the huge decisions in our lives end up getting made (correctly) this way, career choices or loving someone, for example. And smaller decisions, like being hungry.

Sometimes it’s not so good. Rapid cognition is also responsible for a lot of our biases and prejudices. Which gets worse as we’re again not always aware that we’re even doing it. Watch out for those. Especially when they relate to being oppressive in some way or listening to someone on the internet spout rubbish and believing it just because they’re your mate or politically aligned with you.

Interestingly, there are ways to actually train yourself to have less of them simply by becoming aware of them. Brains are great.

Anyway, intuition. Mine still tells me broadly that we’re going to be doing events next year outdoors without social distancing. I’m basing that on the fact that getting a vaccine and people feeling safe is a very high priority for the world’s medical and political community at the moment and when that is the case, things tend to get done quickly. Secondly, large swathes of the world are pretty much back to normal. They may have had different infection rates and dealt with it differently, but the information is there, plain as day.

I could be wrong. Obviously no lives hinge on my guesses, which is why we allegedly** have leaders. I’m not condoning breaking any rules and as ever, we need to be aware of risk and empathic to the most vulnerable members of our society. But the point is that if our actions don’t affect anyone else then we’re all allowed to think what we want to think and take comfort in those positions. The feeling of having made a decision rather than lying awake at night worrying about it is a nice one. When new data comes, you adjust.

It has to come eventually. We all know that. Things are changing a LOT every week and historically, the correct position tends to end up halfway between the two hysterical extremes. Those extremes are getting further apart, sadly. But the barren mid-point still exists.

So stay safe, stay strong and keep your chins up. This too shall pass. Anything you want to chat about, get in touch!

Warm regards,

Arif

* That’s possibly another email

** I don’t meant that there is any debate over why leaders exist. I mean that it’s only alleged that the ones we have currently could have that term applied to them.

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