The paradox of preparation

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Author: Jason Kottke


The paradox of preparation refers to how preventative measures can intuitively seem like a waste of time both before and after the fact.

Most of us don’t stop brushing our teeth because the dentist didn’t find any cavities at our most recent checkup, but with larger events that have effects more difficult to gauge (like Covid-19, climate change, and Y2K), it can be hard to spur people to action. From Chris Hayes:

“A doctor I spoke to today called this the ‘paradox of preparation’ and it’s the key dynamic in all this. The only way to get ahead of the curve is to take actions that, at the time, seem like overreactions, eg: Japan closing all schools for a month with very few confirmed cases.”