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November 16, 2016

Can America Survive the Mass Panic of the Adult Babies?

I wrote the first draft of this post in a series of Tweets. Someone had asked me about what the hell was going on; this is my answer.

This is what set me off:

This is mass hysteria.

In sociology and psychology, mass hysteria (also known as collective hysteria, group hysteria, or collective obsessional behavior) is a phenomenon that transmits collective allusions of threats, whether real or imaginary, through a population in society as a result of rumors and fear (memory acknowledgment).

In medicine, the term is used to describe the spontaneous manifestation (production in chemicals in the body) of the same or similar hysterical physical symptoms by more than one person.

People teach each other how to behave. These people spend all day in bubbles spraying each other with panic pheremones like they're in some kind of Amygdala-Milking Bukakke of Terror.

Or they tweet out unhinged emotional Vaudeville that sparks the release of fear and panic chemicals in readers.

Speaking of a buzzword that is very au courrant with the left at the moment -- the "normalization" of some attitudes -- this sort of performative neurotic hysteria used to be frowned upon, so its infectious capacity and destructive reach was limited.

But now of course hysterical overemoting has been valorized into how one shows one feels and one really cares deeply and ergo is virtuous.

Whipping oneself into an embarrassing emotional lather is now considered righteous instead of ridiculous.

I really prefer people who follow the old-timey White Racist Social rule of keeping one's shit together and taking an I-don't-give-a-f*** attitude.

They're so much less work. Life is stressful enough without a bunch of neurotics adding to that stress with weird outbursts.

The Haidt/Lukianov thesis that current social norms teach people that it's affirmatively good to be hysterical about everything is 100% true.

It's necessary reading for anyone who wants to understand this Age of Daily Rages -- and very helpful for just surviving it.

Lukianov had been helped by congitive behavioral therapy -- a therapy in which people who are actually -- get this -- triggered by something are taught to not be triggered by it.

Say it's a fear of heights. Or of bridges. Or social discomfort. These things do in fact trigger a cascade of bad, anxious, panicky chemicals through the brain in some people.

Cognitive behavioral therapy tries to teach people to short-circuit/disrupt/desensitize that triggering circumstance until it no longer triggers them (or at least triggers them less) and thus they keep the cascade of bad brain chemicals from gushing too much.

Lukianov's amazing insight was that just as cognitive behavioral techniques could be used to desensitize someone to an emotional trigger, so could an evil form of the techniques be used to hypersenisitize someone to an emotional trigger.

What you're seeing on college campuses, on social media, and in society generally is the triumph of these evil forms of malevolent cognitive behavioral conditioning to encourage people not to keep their wits about them and stand strong in the face of adversity, but to collapse into a twitchy puddle of panic and mental disarray if they so much as see a word they don't like.

And thus colleges which once produced some of the boys who stormed Normandy are now producing Adult Babies who need Play-Doh recovery rooms if they hear that American Sniper is being screened at the rec center.

The old ethic--taught to boys and girls alike--to dust oneself off, get up, and walk it off has been replaced by Cry About Every Silly Thing because it makes you a better, more "engaged" person.

We were once a more bottled-up, grin-and-bear-it society -- perhaps too much so, but that's a tangential argument -- and we had to encourage people to let their feelings out, because they were adverse to doing so.

Sometimes we'd have to counsel someone to allow themselves to feel pain: "Even the strong must cry sometimes."

Yeah, dudes, but not every five minutes and not over every little silly stubbed toe.

Hysteria can be transmitted like a disease. That's how one person's hysteria becomes a mass or collective hysteria -- they transmit the fear, the delusion, the panic, the paranoia to those around them, who then act as Lunacy Vectors to infect even more people.

Just as a neurotic mom will often infect her child with neurosis, so too does the hysteria-breeding Petrie dish of social media infect users.

We're animals. We pick up on the jitters and freaky pheremones of our fellow animals. In this way one's emotional state is communicated virally to someone else.

One courageous guy in a unit can put steel into the rest of the unit; one coward can infect the rest with cowardice.

I've seen this myself in real life. When I was young, some friends and I were in a dark and lonely place. But it wasn't actually scary -- maybe it just had the potential to be scary.

All of a sudden one of this little pack of human animals pricks up his ears and starts running, full speed, bolting like a deer that heard a gunshot.

But there was no gunshot.

Guess what the rest of us did? We started running too.

We didn't even know why. We didn't ask why. Not at the moment. We just ran.

One deer started running, and the rest of the deer involuntarily picked up on that fight or flight response.

What spooked him? We asked later. He didn't know. He'd heard something, but he couldn't really explain quite what it was. Who knows -- an echo of a footfall that became in his mind the racing steps of a mob of thugs.

So we just all ran for no reason. No danger around us-- and only one of us had even felt the frisson of danger. But the rest of us then got that danger-vibe into us very quickly and took off after him.

Addiction recovery plans usually involve cutting off contact from those who are still using. People socialize habits into each other.

Having one's entire Twitter Timeline shrieking like lunatics will go a ways towards sparking lunacy in oneself. Having one's entire FaceBook Wall screaming hysterically at you may lead to that awful feeling of growing hysteria inside your chest.

Emotions are vital and important, but they are not let's-put-on-a-show theater for your friends and fake Twitter friends.

The theatrical should be confined to the theater, the operatic to the opera, and the lunatic to a real #SafeSpace in a softly padded room in an asylum.

It may have once been the case that too many people were unhealthily bottled up emotionally.

Sometimes that happens today -- a vet too depressed to admit his pain should be encouraged to open up emotionally.

But most of us aren't that way anymore. Most of us are now quite too far in the opposite direction.

An adult baby should not be encouraged in his performative, look-at-me-and-feel-my-pain-in-your-own-bones hysterics.

An adult baby needs to be told "Toughen up, buttercup."

I still really don't see how America can possibly survive a generation of hysterical imbeciles and trying-to-be-"hip" old people aping the panics of the juvenile.

Society needs a little little more of Kipling's "If"...

If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you...

...and society needs a whole lot less of this Emotional Theater:

This is why I'm so ban-happy, by the way. Constant shit-stirring, unpleasantness, and negativity will breed more shit-stirring, unpleasantness, and negativity. I know full well that angry, unpleasant, and negative people can easily make other people feel angry, unpleasant, and negative.

I don't want that here, and I sure the hell don't want it normalized in the "Just the way everyone's supposed to behave."

As I said at the top: We socialize into each other what collectively become the accepted standards of group behavior.

And it's about time we started banning the hysterical and hostile from our social media streams as well. Or at least try to de-normalize their abnormal psychology by telling them to hump a load and carry it without bawling and wailing about it in front of the other men.

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posted by Ace at 05:19 PM

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