wiki - bookmarks - home

Hysteria 2020 (General)

by dulan drift, Monday, April 27, 2020, 08:43 (458 days ago)

Here's a topic that rarely gets a mention in the media - partly because there's nothing the media likes more than some good ol' fashioned hysteria to drive a story - so it's counter-productive to be pointing it out.

As such, it's still not entirely clear to me if what we're experiencing now is a 'virus event' or an 'hysteria event'. Even if you accept all the strategies employed to contain the virus are necessary it still needs to be acknowledged that the world is the grip of an unprecedented level of hysteria. It's just as real as the virus - in fact it spreads in a very similar fashion.

A few points to consider:

1. Hysteria breeds hysteria - it becomes an infectious self-perpetuating system once it reaches a critical mass of circulation amongst the population.
2. It creates it's own reality. Even if there are no rational reasons for the hysteria, the consequences of that hysteria are real.
3. By it's nature, it can't be 'cured' by rational arguments - all that gets burned up in the bonfire of hysteria as it runs its course. It sucks everything else into it.
4. Hysteria grips a population with 'the same thought at the same time'. Normally thoughts are more scattered across different subject clusters - they balance each other out - but hysteria creates a singularity system - similar to the way a typhoon engulfs other weather systems into a swirling destructive force.

There has always been hysteria - the fact we have a word for it proves that - but the internet has enabled it to spread worldwide on an incredible scale. In recent times we have seen three major outbreaks that have been turbo-charged by the internet.

1. Trump's campaign and election. Trump is a master at stirring up hysteria - he was able to make it work for him by getting everyone's thoughts - good or bad - concentrated on himself. It's not just the people at his rallies yelling out US-A! either - even many of those who purport to oppose him such as the Washington Post and The Guardian are obsessed with him. Their papers are full of stories about him - they contribute to the hysteria event just as much as supporters.

2. The Australian Fires. This is more of a localized outbreak but it fully engulfed Australia achieving the singularity of thought concentration that characterizes an hysteria event. The causes of it (climate change multiplied by farmers doing burn-offs too late in the season) were lost in the general hysteria.

3. The Big One. Blanket media coverage to the exclusion of all else - the greatest example of human thought being concentrated on a single event at the same time.

So where is it all going? The key point is the singularity. Hysteria is a black-hole event that collapses everything else into it. With the agency of the internet all this information is sucked into a central point of gravitational pull.

Sociologically - large scale death in poor countries due to the breakdown of supply lines and a dramatic leap forward in the consolidation of personal data in a central command point. Social unrest remains to be seen. The reaction in Australia is surprisingly docile and accepting, though there are signs of unrest in other places.

Philosophically - the diversity of existence arose from a singularity - the ancient philosopher Anaxagoras called it 'nous' - something like 'thought as a pure concept'. Are we, for better or worse, inexorably on the way back to collapsing into that state of singularity again?

Hysteria 2020

by dan @, Tuesday, April 28, 2020, 15:10 (457 days ago) @ dulan drift

This an interesting question. My knee jerk reaction would be to say this is not hysteria because I don't see people acting in ways commonly thought of as hysterical. But then, maybe this is what hysteria looks like.

The one reason I question if this is hysteria is because it's happening so uniformly around the world, a world in which countries and peoples love differ and argue. A question I have is, why is basically every country falling into line on this, and what is happening in those countries or regions that aren't shutting down and aren't engaging in strict distancing?

It will be interesting to see what happens in the US in the coming month or two as states open up even while the virus is still, apparently, raging. What happens when a region opens up and the world doesn't end? Conversely, what happens when a region opens up and cases rapidly quadruple?

There's something else I've been thinking about. The last couple of times I've been back in the US, I've been shocked by the health of Americans. Obesity, in some places, is the norm. I'll be shopping and be surrounded by obese people in electric carts. There will be traffic jams in the ice cream isle. I'm not joking, and the vast majority of people riding these things are not old, they're obese.

Are these, and other severely unhealthy people, mostly the ones dying? I don't mean to sound unsympathetic, not at all. My point is, perhaps the virus is just part of the story here.

One other reason I question hysteria as a cause of our situation is because this situation, as it's playing out, is caused not by the virus but by the decisions of politicians and power brokers. We don't have communities coming to an agreement to close down, it's being required of us. Indeed, we have an increasing number of voices protesting for freedom to move, associate, and do business. I do see the media whipping up hysteria, but they always do that. So the question is, why is there such a political rush to shut the world down when this thing is, let's face it, just not that deadly? Or do they know something we don't?

Hysteria 2020

by dulan drift, Wednesday, April 29, 2020, 08:19 (456 days ago) @ dan

So the question is, why is there such a political rush to shut the world down when this thing is, let's face it, just not that deadly? Or do they know something we don't?

Yes, you're right, hysteria is not quite the right word - i don't see any people behaving in an hysterical way on the streets - it's almost the opposite here. Although there are rumblings of unrest in America, in Australia it's pretty much tame compliance - most of the anger is at people who don't comply - i wish there was a bit more blow-back. However, what i'm driving at is the phenomenon of a single issue consuming so much attention at the same time - whether people support the measures taken or not they are all thinking about it. My brother used to say that mental telepathy must be crap otherwise why don't football refs shrivel up and die on the spot when a stadium full of rabid fans is screaming vitriol at them? But i still wonder if there is some psychological effect from all of humanity being focused on the one thing at the same time.

Perhaps the point is better expressed as to why has there been such a radical, seemingly irrational world-wide government instituted over-reaction to what amounts to a nasty flu. I think we're on the same page in that we don't mean to be flippant - but the reaction is way out of whack with how we have dealt with equally nasty diseases before. By all means protect the vulnerable - but a worldwide lockdown with all the repercussions of that? It doesn't make sense.

But as a friend of mine used to like saying 'Everything can be understood' - it's just a matter of seeing it from different perspectives. So for someone, the CCP for example, maybe engendering fear amongst the population on the back of which state control can be ramped up 'to protect us' makes perfect sense. For politicians that like being on TV a lot it makes sense.

As for the obesity thing - i've never been to the States but friends come back with similar stories - as well as an alarming degree of visible poverty which surprised me - i always thought of America as a wealthy country. How do you think that might tie in to what's happening?

Hysteria 2020

by dulan drift, Sunday, May 03, 2020, 19:25 (451 days ago) @ dulan drift

This poll surprised me. I thought it must be running about 50-50 in terms of restarting economies but it's not. Not in the UK anyway. Not by a long way.

Only 17% think schools should be opened
11% think restaurants should open
9% think pubs should open

Is it genuine fear? An innate desire to comply? Or people are happy to have an extended break from their jobs - especially if it's in a country that's promised to pick up the tab for lost income?

Hysteria 2020

by dan @, Monday, May 04, 2020, 15:41 (451 days ago) @ dulan drift

Here's an interview in which the aspect of the fear factor is raised:

Hysteria 2020

by dulan drift, Monday, May 04, 2020, 19:30 (450 days ago) @ dan

Yes he makes a good point - but i doubt he'll get far in the media with his 'fear' theory coz the media loves fear. The media loves it and politicians love it - so i'm not holding my breath waiting to hear either of them say: 'Hey - a large component of this is just a crazy 'fear' event!' (In their minds they think 'We can't say that even if it's true - for the public's own good - it might breed complacency!)

Whatever it is - fear - hysteria - compliance - it's a world record occurrence of it sociologically speaking. And ripe for exploitation.

Hysteria 2020

by dan @, Monday, May 04, 2020, 19:29 (450 days ago) @ dulan drift

And here's a reporter in Guam reporting from a studio with a mask on. It makes no sense at all.

Not sure if that link will update, so here's a screenshot:

RSS Feed of thread
powered by my little forum