Sunday, August 2, 2020

A More Consequential Wager

God existsGod doesn't exist
You believe
in God
RewardedNo consequence
You don't believe
in God
DamnedNo consequence

If you've done any courses or solo exploration into philosophy-and-religion, you've probably heard of Pascal's Wager, which I've illustrated above. There's a lot of controversy around it, mostly because (to my understanding) it over-simplifies the matter of faith and belief, and assumes that the deity of choice doesn't care why you chose to believe in them, only whether of not you do. (And may or may not imply there's only one deity in question who might take offense.)

I came to a realization a few days ago that there's a more immediate Wager that a lot of people are participating in without even realizing it. I'm going to call it Covid's Wager, and you should see it below:

affected by masks
COVID isn't
affected by masks
You wear
a mask
SafeMild discomfort
and inconvenience
You don't
wear a mask
ScrewedNo consequence

I'm not suggesting that Covid's Wager doesn't have similar shortcomings to the original, but given that the coronavirus definitely doesn't care why you wear a mask, I think we can cross that one off the list.

I'm certainly not qualified to say whether or not the coronavirus is or is not, and to what degree, affected by masks, but I can tell you one thing:

Normally, I have pretty vicious seasonal allergies. This year, I was wearing a mask through the worst of it, and my allergic reactions were remarkably mild. It was a significant enough difference that I actually used about half of the allergy medicine compared to how much I usually take. That's argument enough for me that wearing this thing has done me some good.

It's certainly worth whatever mild discomfort I've suffered, and if you've ever heard me sneeze, you know the discomfort on my nose and ears is mild indeed.