Adaptation – are we dull?

In the seventh week of the war in Ukraine I find myself and others much more relaxed, even so relaxed that it feels inappropriate. The news talk about other things first, before they report about further destruction and death, refugees, and war crimes. And I wonder, what on earth is wrong with us? For sure the people of the Ukraine have no way to forget the war, and they will notice the drastic changes in their lives in every single minute.

Most of us can only assume how it is to be attacked in the own country, facing bombardment and invasion. For sure we all understand the terror happening and the agony caused, so we should be highly alerted and in need for action, don’t we? The good side of the nightmare is to see people getting closer, bureaucracy acting faster, and nations offering help. But is the war getting normal to us? Are we used to videos from tanks, bombs and destroyed houses?

How can we be so dull, so ignorant to get used to war?

I’m afraid we did it in the same way we got used to hunger, poverty and all other crisis on our tiny blue planet. If we wouldn’t be able to hide such misery from our every day life, we would for sure have gone crazy already. We would simply be overwhelmed by the terribly long to-do-list.

I think the key word is adaption, we adapt to situation in order to be able to continue. We might indeed go crazy and suffer the Delirium furiosum on a fast train, if we wouldn’t adapt and learn to hide the fact that we are not in control of the situation. In the past they said going over 30km per hour would be too much for the human mind to process. If you are used to speed limits, you might get nervous in a car on a highway in a country without such limits. But you adapt. And now we sleep on trains, and sometimes even while driving a car. We get used to more and more violence in movies, to more and more sugar in our diet and more and more nonsense told by high ranking people. But does this make it more healthy, or less annoying? And isn’t it a scandal itself that we heard of so many crisis, that we get used to it easily?

If you ever found a hair in your food, you might have stopped eating. If you couldn’t forget about that hair, you wouldn’t find back your appetite at all. I can think of so many situations where eating would be no option at all, and minutes later we eat.

Adaptation must be a mechanism of protection, existing only to allow us to continue. It is necessary for the individual to adapt. Unfortunately it is also a disadvantage to the society. You can see on Google trends how the search term “Ukraine” peaked on February 24th, and how the interest since then declines. Meanwhile it is almost back to the pre-war level.

Adaptation is a natural reflex, it helps us to protect ourselves from despair, and I think we should allow for it to happen. But once again I would call on our human minds, to not entirely forget about people in crises, not to forget to donate, demonstrate, and discuss when things go wrong. Again it must be our responsibility to act logical even when the natural instincts kick in and try to relax us. I often wondered how so many things can be so wrong and thus somehow accepted. How can you say “It has always been like that.” and never try change it? How can a nasty colleague sabotage your work and be accepted? People got used to it and are to comfortable to make a change.

It is ok to detach from chaos, but we cannot give up the will to change what is wrong.

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