I’m not sure how many times I’ve read the phrase “It’s crazy out there” in the past two weeks. If you were actually “out there” and not on social media or plugged into the news, you’d find things are actually not “that crazy.” Yet brands, companies, governments, media, and news would all have you believe the WuHuFlu is taking down this entire planet. It isn’t. But it is doing a number on our economy all because fear is spreading faster than the disease itself. Fear, by the way, which media only felt like amplifying once the disease made landfall. Remember, media downplayed the entire thing and called the closing off of travel to and from China “racist.”
Since I am plugged into social media, I see a lot of panic for the sake of feeling panicked and connected to everyone else panicking, and very little facts. It does seem like the panic is worse this week than it was last. Why, I asked myself, are so many people abandoning reason for fear? Simple: the herd mentality.
Before you get upset at me for using the word “herd” don’t. There are evolutionary reasons we go with the group (more on that later), and they’re not all bad. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pause to think before we run with everyone else.
Watch this video from National Geographic:
Which did you chose?
Now let me assure you I don’t think the panic around the Wuhan virus means we should all go out and lick toilet seats. But no one ever said we should. No, idiots on social media with a challenge don’t count, they never do. No one told them to do that, but idiots gotta idiot.
Obviously we should be cautious and hygienic and avoid those most at risk: the elderly and immune-compromised. No one is saying we shouldn’t. Okay? Okay.
But this complete shutdown of our way of life is absolutely insane. And I will NOT walk that back. The United States isn’t Italy. This disease, while worse than the seasonal flu, sure, isn’t crippling people or killing by the millions. It isn’t ebola. It isn’t cancer. It isn’t AIDS. Oh, by the way, did we ever go to these lengths to stop the spread of AIDS? Swine flu?
Those most at risk are those who are old or have pre-existing medical conditions that render them unhealthy. Not children, teenagers, young adults, middle aged, or even above middle age. Yet we’re shutting down schools, businesses, and our entire way of life for a disease that affects a small group of people. It’s insane.
But it’s human. It is our nature to follow and do as we see being done. One reason people hoard toilet paper is because others are hoarding toilet paper. There must be a reason, right? Better double up on the double-ply if others are doing it. That’s because we’re herd animals. Again, not an indictment. It’s just who we are.
Now watch this social experiment which shows just how strongly peer pressure affects us:
Would you stand or remain sitting? Would the pressure to conform get to you? Has it gotten to you already?
Now here’s an explanation of how social media compounds on the herd mentality and turns us into different people. Note that this video was released a number of years ago just after the dentist killed Cecil the Lion.
Yes it is “crazy” in certain places of “out there” but does it need to be, or is the fear compounding on itself because other people are afraid, and thus people feel they’re crazy if they’re not afraid?
To me it seems very much the latter.
Again, no one, NO ONE is saying we should be irresponsible. We should all be hygienic. All the time. We should all take care not to go out when sick. Which, by the way, should be standard practice! But it seems like whenever I mention that maybe we shouldn’t cede so much control to government to take care of us, even conservatives lose their minds and try to condemn me for being an unfeeling, reckless hater who loves germs and hates old people and children and how dare I exist.
It’s irrational and, dare I say it again, insane.
How much do you actually know about the virus from media versus from medical professionals? How do you treat people with a different opinion on how to handle this virus? Do you feel pressure to conform for the sake of conformity? Why are you okay to give so much power to government to take care of you when the mere idea of government control was unpalatable to you just weeks ago?
I’d encourage you to tweet me, but I’ve seen enough tweets on this for me to completely see just how dangerous people are when they’re running with the herd.
Be safe, always, but let’s all practice a little critical thinking with our social distancing.