The fatal problem of the Germans with the masks
| Reading time: 4 minutes
Protective masks save lives. This shows the example of South Korea. Why don’t they also prevail in Germany? The misery also has mental reasons. A wake-up call by the philosopher Byung-Chul Han.
KA Korean epidemiologist recently told the Swiss Federal Council about the corona crisis proposed a change of strategy. Accordingly, all Swiss should wear a protective mask. According to the epidemiologist, this could even prevent shutdown.
In the Corona crisis, the Koreans consistently wear the protective mask with virus filters. The Korean group LG carries out an automated entrance control via facial recognition for the employees. If you stand in front of the door without a mask, it won’t open.
The Koreans wear the protective mask not only on the bus, but also at work. Even the Korean president wears it demonstratively. The Korean parliamentarians also attend meetings only with a protective mask. Protective masks in Korea have been shown to help contain the epidemic. In Korea, restaurants and shops are still open. And there is no curfew.
Apparently the Swiss find it difficult to wear a mask. The president of the National Council has a deputy mask wearing prohibited.
Not only Swiss, but also Germans have trouble wearing a mask. That also has a cultural background. The individualism that goes with the unveiled face makes it difficult to wear a mask. In Asia, on the other hand, there is collectivism that has no unmistakable face. This would even be a scandal.
But there is also a difference within Europe. In southern European countries like Spain or Italy, more people wear the mask. What would be the reason? The difference between Catholicism and Protestantism probably plays a role here. Simply put, Catholicism is a religion of rituals.
Rituals are visible actions that must be carried out as perfectly as possible. It does not depend on the inner state. Blaise Pacal writes in his pensées: Instead of suffering internally that you cannot find faith, you should go to church, use holy water and attend rituals. So rituals are not external. They strengthen faith. Yes, the outside is as important as the inside.
Protestantism takes a completely different position. Above all, the interior counts, the interior. For this reason, he has abolished all rituals and images. So the Mardi Gras, this festival of masks and masquerades, takes place mainly in Catholic regions.
With regard to protective masks, virologists in Germany have often communicated that they would not help against viruses. They would not protect me, if anything, but others if I was infected myself. So you wear the mask for an altruistic reason.
As is well known, altruism only motivates people to a limited extent. A completely different motivational situation would exist if you were told that the mask saves your own life. In the virus crisis, unfortunately, one is above all concerned about one’s own survival, not only individuals, but also nations think so.
The borders are closed everywhere. There is also rampant egoism in the virus crisis. Solidarity would help more. It takes on a very bizarre shape today. It is to distance yourself from each other. Closeness and touch mean contagion. The other one to refrain from is only a potential virus carrier. The epidemic is now showing its inhuman face.
Even if the virologists in Germany communicated that the protective masks would help, it would make no difference, because there is no protective mask to buy in Germany. Like almost all other products, they are made in China. Even the medical staff lack the protective masks.
Politicians should have acted with foresight. After the Sars and Mers epidemic, politics should have known that a pandemic would inevitably come at some point. She should have made decisive provisions.
At least the lesson to be drawn from the epidemic is that a country should not delegate the security and protection of its own population to others and should not leave it to market law. Health and capitalism are not compatible. Capitalism and globalization should be reduced, at least in certain areas, such as medical devices.