I’m still having some trouble getting in the groove of writing. To help with this I’ve started looking around the web for writing prompts and I found a couple of PDFs I downloaded and also found a Tumblr. Hopefully, the act of writing will get me moving again, even if these posts aren’t my most inspired or personal.
On the Tumblr page I found the following image:
I had never heard of a “micromort” before, but it is a pretty cool concept. I think having a micromort tracker or discussing things in terms of micromorts would be incredibly beneficial. Humans do a terrible time of rationally measuring risk and making decisions based on risk. Just look at our political debates where the focus is always terrorism instead of things like heart disease.
Terrorism, while terrifying, is incredibly unlikely to hurt anyone in this country. The acts are highly publicized and dissected, but they odds of being a terrorism victim are basically zero. Yet, we spend an incredible amount of time and resources “combating” terrorism. Heart disease, on the other hand, will likely kill you or someone you love, but we spend considerably less time and resources (on the personal and political level) working to eliminate this threat. People will sleep with a gun under their bed in case a murderer breaks in but then eat a greasy hamburger that is clogging their arteries. We suck at risk.
Using the micromort more universally could also encourage people to actually live their lives and experience more things. If we realized that driving your car was more dangerous than skydiving it might encourage people to go skydiving. Or maybe it would encourage people to travel more to new areas, there seems to be a incredible fear of travelling and leaving your hometown for some people… though the risk of death isn’t really higher when you travel. I wonder if you can have negative micromorts? Like exercising reduces your risk of death? Or maybe that would just lower the micromort for certain diseases and health issues.
Then again, this could make people paranoid as hell and obsessed with reducing the micromorts in their life. If they saw how much more dangerous driving a car is than staying in bed, they may be stay in bed and minimize risk at all costs. Knowledge is a double-edged sword. Personally, I’d like objective measures to my risks. I am not very risk adverse and would be pretty tolerant of high risk activities if the payoff would be high. I enjoy skydiving, travel, recreational drug use, and all types of new experiences. Maybe my perception of the risk is too conservative, but I’d rather die with a lot of experiences than live forever in safe boredom.