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Double Christmas Gold

Looking back on 2020 and 2021, we see a time full of upheavals and changes, in which our daily lives have changed drastically for various reasons.

The triggers were the SARS-CoV-2 virus, measures such as lockdowns, mandatory masks, distancing rules and massive restrictions on our daily, professional and private lives. And last but not least, when vaccinating was believed to be the "game changer" and the ultimate solution, came the relativization of its effectiveness[1] (no sterile immunity, need for frequent boosters, side effects, little protection of others, primarily self-protection) and an even greater division of society by this "lifeline" vaccination.


Who has not personally experienced some emotional discussions about the pandemic, the jungle of measures, mask or vaccination requirements? It has really not always been easy to remain calm, confident, loving, and understanding during this time.


Currently we are encountering fears at every turn: Fear of the virus or of undesirable, serious side effects of a new type of vaccination[2] that is emergency approved and still in the test phase; and the fear of division in society or fear of losing fundamental rights such as freedom, physical integrity, the right to work or to participate in a social life. According to Prof. Dr. Christoph Pieh, author of a recent study at Danube University Krems[3], the "psychological stress limit of young people has been far exceeded”. Furthermore: "The frequency of depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms but also sleep disorders have meanwhile increased five to tenfold". Already 14% of boys and even about one fifth of girls from a total of 1500 examined pupils between the ages of 14-20 years, suffer from recurring, suicidal thoughts.


These alarming, mental burdens have a real background: all of these fears are well-founded, understandable and should be taken seriously. Psychoneuroimmunology shows the connection between psychological stress and susceptibility to infection: “Experimental virological studies have shown that psychological stress increases susceptibility to pathogens.”[4]


Therefore it’s even more incomprehensible that politicians and the media have been focusing mainly on a virus for almost two years, deliberately stoking fear of it, but accepting the consequences and "side effects" of drastic measures such as lockdowns[5] and school closures and thus causing permanent stress. It would be much more important to provide honest information and risk education based on comprehensible facts, evidence-based studies and open scientific discourse in order to prevent excessive fears and the resulting weakening of the immune system as well as disproportionate measures and laws.


The apparently irreconcilable split does not only run through the population; a fair and open discourse that has been common up to now, also in medicine and science, seems neither wanted nor possible. On the contrary, scientific findings that do not confirm the general narrative only have a platform apart from the “mainstream media”. [6]


But complex problems always need several solution options: Being forced to take a single possible path creates pressure and counter-pressure and not a peaceful coexistence. An either-or of two options is a dilemma, and in order to be able to make a truly free decision, at least a third option is needed.


A compromise of two opposing opinions or extremes could be the famous "golden mean". Already the ancient Greek polymath Aristotle[7] pleaded for this "way of the middle", and his modern compatriots have taken a more comprehensible path even for such a controversial instrument as mandatory vaccination[8].


Also highly effective in its application is the "golden rule": "Treat others as you would have them treat you." This was and still is the basis for fundamental ethical and moral concepts of many different cultures and religions[9]. In times of blatant discrimination of law-abiding citizens on the basis of a highly personal matter ("vaccination status") and deliberately media-controlled, but scientifically baseless scapegoat politics, this principle is more important than ever.


In our everyday professional and private lives, I would like to recommend this double "Christmas gold" to all of us this year. It is a gift we can give to ourselves and to our fellow human beings if we consciously focus on finding workable compromises and treat people with the respect and tolerance we would like for ourselves.


Perhaps every golden Christmas decoration, bow or wrapping paper, every glimpse of something gold colored – be it a ring or piece of jewelry – can remind us to consciously focus on and apply these golden wisdoms. This association of the color gold serves as an anchor for our (sub)consciousness and facilitates practical application. Golden rule and middle way can thus serve us, if we choose to do so, as an inner, basic attitude towards others and enable a more harmonious Christmas.











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