For me the most interesting, and alarming, aspect of the current mass hysteria is to watch how our hardwired behaviors render reasonable commentary intolerable. As a primate group species evolved under conditions of uncertainty and frequent threat, maintaining group cohesion was an essential element of survival. Therefore we’re hardwired to castigate (and even turn on) those who seem to resist going with the herd. When the mass media, with its always-on sensationalism, overwhelms our brains with constant fear-mongering, our frontal cortex shuts down and our modest capacity to reason vanishes entirely. All that’s left are the hardwired behaviors, and these are all screaming in raw fear and insisting on the necessity of turning on anyone who isn’t panicking alongside us.
It’s interesting to think about the implications of our current global bout of mindless terror and just how easy it was to get us here. No doubt someone out there is contemplating how best to use this lesson for their personal advantage at some not-too-distant point in the future.