Oct 19, 2020

2 min read

Johari’s Window in the pandemic era

You could argue it’s never been important to use Johari’s Window during this pandemic.

We know that everyone knows there’s a pandemic and the number of people who are in hospital or have died as a result of the virus. We know we don’t know how many are actually infected, given you can be asymptomatic, which is why countries are now testing and tracing for people. We know we don’t yet know how we can get a vaccine, which is why there’s over 170 different attempts to create one. You could argue that other countries that have experienced other pandemics in the near past, like several countries in South East Asia, knew what strategies that other countries started using, wouldn’t work, whereas we in the UK didn’t know as we hadn’t experience one recently. However, many people claim they know stuff about Covid, whether they know what know or they know what they don’t know, but hardly anyone thinks they don’t know what they don’t know!

The same could be applied to Brexit, not just to what will happen with a No Deal Brexit. We know we don’t know exactly what economic impacts there’ll be, but evidence suggests it will be mainly negative. If we looked outside the UK, there’s relative consensus by other countries on what the impacts will be for us. States within the EU are more likely to know than the UK about the likely impacts of Brexit on the UK and the EU as they need to talk to each other on how they negotiate with the UK, whereas the UK will be left in the dark.

But how about how people voted in the referendum originally. We know what people voted. We know we don’t know why other people voted, even if we might imagine what that might be. I might think I know why I voted the way I did, but what if I couldn’t perfectly articulate and disaggregate the different reasons why I voted, what things I was very strongly in favour for staying in without conditionality, what things I was in favour for staying in but with conditions, what things I was ambiguous about and even what things that I thought we should do without the EU. Because our relationship with the EU is bound up with values, how can you change someone’s mind on the basis of rational arguments?