From “The Abundance of Less Lessons in Simple Living from Rural Japan by Andy Couturier

From “The Abundance of Less Lessons in Simple Living from Rural Japan" by Andy Couturier

Pages 264-265



“Sooo..” I begin to ask him, a bit apprehensive, not wanting to be insulting, “Gufu-san, why write all this stuff down?”


Unperturbed, he replies simply, “To make a record. If you don’t record things, you start to lose your sense of the place. It’s also interesting when you talk to other people, or when I want to look up something later. But it’s mostly just to make a record, even if I don’t use the information.”

“Yes, but how do you decide which things to write down?”

“Whatever is possible to write down, I write. How much the bus cost. How much the movie was, or how much the hotel was.”

“But why?” I ask.

“I didn’t have any purpose in doing it.”

No purpose? Perhaps I’ve been too attached to all my own actions being done for a reason. Utilitarianism is so deep in my culture I don’t even notice it. Listening to Gufu it occurs to me that it may not be so good to be always reaching ahead in time. Sitting here with my friend in a farmhouse in the mountains of Japan, I find my way of seeing the world start to deepen and change. All these little, unlooked-at details create the fabric of memory. By writing them down, we are refusing to let the experiences of our lives get subsumed in the tsunami of time, the onrush of the next, and the next, and the next. I think of so many travelers (myself included) zipping from one location to the next, taking photos of scenery or a building. Have I been missing the beautiful in the obvious?

Gufu is showing me--not that he’s trying to show me anything--that the whole world can come alive with these tiny details, ephemera, you might call them. But not just a generalized “world,” but a specific world, an India of a particular time, and, as it happens, an India that is disappearing every day.


Friday, March 27, 2020

Julie Ali @JulieYAli · 17s Replying to @RandEnoch @IanBradbury17 and @neil_ferguson Well I guess we're going to find out soon enough aren't we? Trump is going the route you propose. I'm thinking Americans are toast. @realDonaldTrump I guess you and Trump are bosom buddies in terms of your approach.

Let me be clear. This virus has a lethality substantially in excess of “seasonal” flu. Yes, up to half of those infected might not show symptoms. But that is accounted for in our estimates and always was. There is no credible data supporting the idea that 90% are asymptomatic.
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Without large scale random serology everyone is guessing. If Ferguson's guesses are wrong our wallets suffer unnecessarily. If the other guesses are wrong many people die prematurely unnecessarily. I know which I prefer.
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And lots of epidemiologists disagree. We're back to needing the serology, and argung over how to behave until we have that. I'd argue for precaution, that the costs are lower.
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This is why the government has ordered 3.5 million antibody tests. To find out how immune the herd really is. Once the results are in the country will go back to normal.
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Or not. Depending on the results, and whether we are capable of learning. But actually they still don't seem to be planning for random large scale testing, which is what we really need.
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This is costing billions of pounds a day. Which Generation Snowflake will be paying for all their lives. Fewer people are going to die with Chinese Virus this year than with seasonal 'Flu. Our tactic should have been to protect the vulnerable. Not nuke the economy.
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Oh dear, we'll just have to have fewer toys, trips and excess food. As massive prices go it feels survivable. And if you're right we can stop soon. If you're right.
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A lower life quality. A smaller NHS. Less law and order. We had completely the wrong strategy. We should have isolated and protected the vulnerable with everyone else carrying on as normal.
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The lock down will not prevent people becoming ill. It just flattens the normal distribution curve a bit. Whilst people are committing suicide from depression.
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And by "flattening the curve a bit" we might stay below ICU capacity. Which makes a big difference, not only to covid sufferers, but also to the other people who need that provision.
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This statistician ( I really am) still prefers the precautionary approach, and I know of no serious model currently suggesting we could get through below capacity without drastic measures. But we need the testing.
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