LN – Quarantine: solidarity and selfishness, two possible reactions to uncertainty

Faced with fear, the responses can be diverse. For this reason, specialists agree that it is necessary to act collectively and build social solidarity as a protective network.


the coronavirus changed the world forever and completely altered the routines of humanity

, by force of contagion power and the lack of a cure. Today,

the only way to deal with it is isolation

, a situation that generates the most diverse reactions. The

solidarity and selfishness are starkly

: Doctors who work tirelessly versus pharmacies that increase gel alcohol by 300%, people who do not respect quarantine and others who follow it conscientiously, compulsive buyers who are short on gondolas, and neighbors who help each other. After the declaration of “social, preventive and compulsory isolation for the entire population”, the situation is even more critical.

“What is revealed are central aspects of human behavior, which have to do with our

reaction to danger and uncertainty

. Although we are social beings, we have survival mechanisms implanted in our brains throughout evolution and are designed to survive the threat, “explains Dr. Fernando Torrente, psychologist and director of the Institute of Neurosciences and Public Policies of the Ineco Foundation. This could be a first answer to why selfishness, “save yourself who can” or aggression towards who is seen as a threat integrate the reactions of individuals who face danger.

There is no doubt that the countries that are gaining the


They are that

don’t underestimate the pandemic

and they act collectively, with citizens who

take care of each other

. “We have the advantage,” says Torrente, “that we are seeing what happened in other places and learning is another of the human virtues. We Argentines realized that the response has to be collective, imitating those who had good results before than us. ”

Until yesterday, there were companies that did not give paid leave to their workers, businesses that kept their doors open and exposed their employees to contagion, people who underestimated the severity of the problem and escaped on vacation to the coast or tried to maintain their routines. Even some adults over 65, despite their vulnerability, ignored the advice of extreme care. “The


is part of the mechanism


. In these situations, fear is transformed into fear and that destroys “, explains Diana Kordon, honorary president of the Chapter Mental Health, Human Rights and Social Emergencies of the Association of Argentine Psychiatrists (APSA). Therefore, she indicates that” the messages have you have to be very careful not to go from fear to panic. ”

Before the announcement of the quarantine, many people went to make large purchases at supermarkets, a partial shortage was seen in Buenos Aires.
Before the announcement of the quarantine, many people went to make large purchases at supermarkets, a partial shortage was seen in Buenos Aires. Credit: Marcelo Manera

Given the quarantine experience, Kordon considers

essential to avoid “the anguish of loneliness”

. He recommends reinforcing the communication that this, as it started, is going to end, and that there are already countries where the disease rate is falling;

calling on the phone instead of leaving audios, because listening to the voice on the other side simultaneously makes us feel present and close; virtually meet and see the faces on the screen, taking advantage of the benefits of social networks today

. “If one privatizes care, the experiences of anguish increase. On the other hand, if we feel it as something collective, there we have the possibility of

build social solidarity as a protective network

“, advise.

Denial is part of the defense mechanism. In these situations, fear is transformed into fear and that destructures.

Diana Kordon, medical psychiatrist and psychoanalyst

At the same time,

it is also in these contexts where generosity reactions arise

and empathy. “I’m doing

home office

and what I save on transportation I want to donate to someone who needs it, “writes a citizen to the

NGO Red Solidaria

on his Instagram account. “Where can you donate food for people who are in need?” Asks a citizen of


By facebook. In neighborhoods, neighborhood groups urge others to buy food at nearby businesses to help the local economy, and doctors offer free consultations so that people don’t go to the guards and avoid the risk of contagion. It was also launched from the networks under the hashtag #ArgentinaAplaude, an applause campaign to support doctors, nurses and assistants in their fight against the coronavirus, which was carried out last night.

The list of good deeds goes on

: publishers upload books in PDF format so they can be downloaded free of charge, moviegoers share movies and a Buenos Aires theater like Timbre 4 has already scheduled for the weekend

three of his works to see online

. The rest of the world is on the same path: the most famous museums offer virtual tours, the New York Metropolitan Opera, the Berlin Opera and the Philadelphia Orchestra share their concerts scheduled on different networks and musicians such as Chris Martin and Neil Young they make spontaneous appearances in streaming. In Argentina, Alejandro Lerner and Fito Paez will also give free concerts from their homes.


generosity and selfishness are spontaneous responses to fear and uncertainty

, all the specialists consulted by


, for whom the best way to confront this pandemic is with a

collective consciousness

, thinking of one and the others at the same time, with a leadership that knows how to coordinate actions in the crisis

“The message of the State must be clear, based on evidence and on time, and the Argentine Government did so, so it was not rejected,” analyzes Mario Pecheny, professor of Sociology of Health and member of the Conicet board of directors. “He is working with the opposition, with scientists and with the WHO, and that is what makes him credible. It is impossible to overcome this pandemic if you do not work collectively,” he adds. In “uncertain times”, where the economy, work and interpersonal relationships lose predictability, Pecheny emphasizes the importance of “going day by day, step by step and fulfilling each one with what corresponds to him”.

With selfishness and violence as possible responses to fear, and with the panic of losing the most basic pressure on individuals, Kordon insists that the group approach is the way to contain the situation from a psychological point of view. ”

Solidarity is not something that is done by others but ‘with’ others to solve a problem. We are called for that, here will be the solution, the problem is in common

“he concludes.



Publicado en el diario La Nación

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