From infancy we seek to control what we can to gratify our desires. This modus operandi – asserting control – commonly itself becomes a core desire.

Frustration is the invariable price of attempted control thwarted. Coupled to a sense of entitlement, frustration is the seed of anger.

In that moments of inattention often define events as much focus, control is largely an illusion. Yet sense of control is essential to well-being.

Most people gain greater control over their environment as they grow older. That trend is often abruptly reversed when infirmity strikes the elderly. Many aged people experience further decline after being institutionalized. “The consequences of such a loss of control usually include withdrawal, depression, and sometimes early death,” observed American psychologist and gerontologist Richard Schulz.

Man has long sought technological leverage to control Nature itself: a vain, ultimately self-defeating endeavor. The covid-19 pandemic has been a taste of Nature getting revenge for its rape – a lesson which humanity has not taken to heart (nor is likely to). Instead, reflexively, the response to covid-19 has been to seek domination.

Despite copious evidence of covid-19 spreading unchecked, most people prefer the delusion of control, including epidemiologists who should know better. Many in the public health field have spoken of “flattening the curve” of a rising epidemic, or expressing a sense of control once an outbreak has passed its peak.

People hate to think that their inconvenient efforts are futile. That covid-19 can be defeated by face masks and social distancing is reassuring. These facile measures ignore that the covid virus readily enters through the eyes and that expelled viral-laden clouds spread further or linger longer than presumed.

But then, actuality – over which control is scant indeed – does not matter. It is the illusion which confers comfort.


Ishi Nobu, “Matterism” in Unraveling Reality (2019).

Ishi Nobu, “Coronavirus pandemic,” (20 May 2020).