Unfortunately when we humans are fearful the prefrontal cortex of the brain shuts down. As this is where we make our infrequent attempts at conscious thought, that means during times of mass hysteria 99% of people are totally beyond the reach of reason. Not surprisingly we’re seeing all manner of incredibly stupid behavior not only from politicians anxious to minimize loss of votes but also from ordinary ignorant people who’ve been whipped into a frenzy of unreasoning terror by the mass media and social media. Hence people rushing out to burn down 5G antennae, people rushing to drink bleach, people “distance shaming” those who haven’t succumbed to mindless panic, and all manner of other follies. We simply have to wait until the virus (the mental virus of terror that has caused great mental harm to 99% of the population, not the relatively harmless coronavirus that only threatens around 2% of the population) to burn itself out. I wish I could be confident that we’ll learn the real lesson, which is to rein in totally irresponsible mass media. Alas, I have no confidence anyone will learn anything at all from this lamentable situation.

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.

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