If I had to isolate one personality characteristic most common in Social Media, it has to be FEAR.
Fear is not evident in everyone (especially not in those on my friend list!) but it sure is out there and running wild. Fear of damn near everything is bad enough – but mostly in chats I have observed a strange fear of being WRONG about something. For example, one person on Facebook just BLOCKED me after sending a snotty message because I DARED to mention that contrary to her assertion, New York’s Lincoln Center is not located on 68th Street. This demonstrable fact upset her. Why? I have no idea, but her reaction is not atypical.
I recently listed FBI stats in a NY Times comment section (the lowest form of Social Media) showing that terrorism in the USA is mostly non-Muslim. “Uh, NO!” came one brilliant reply from a master of forensics.
I have repeatedly asked Hillary supporters to give me one reason SHE should get any votes. If a specific reason is ever cited, a rare happening, it always turns out to be wrong – which I gracefully explain using a new invention called FACTS. Invariably, these facts are dismissed with a wave of the phrase “you are a hater!” and then I am usually compared to a lower bodily orifice. Why? Because a cherished belief turned out to be wrong. To Hillary supporters, merely correcting their mistakes about her record is like asking a jesus-christer if Mary really was a virgin.
BEING WRONG IS NOT A SHAMEFUL THING
Acknowledging an error, and acknowledging ignorance, is the first ESSENTIAL step in the process of LEARNING. Yet time and again we see people who have false beliefs which they cling to in spite of facts. This is evidence of fear, and when fear takes hold, facts mean nothing.
We are ALL ignorant concerning many things. How could it be otherwise?
Does anyone seriously think they know everything? Yet the words “I do not know” seem to be the most difficult things for many people to string together. Rather than say “I do not know”, they will fabricate “facts.” Then, they cling to the fabrication with religious zeal. They simply cannot tolerate being wrong. This is where the lie that 99% of terrorists are Muslim comes from. Prove this is wrong, which is easy, and all hell breaks loose.
Why? I don’t know many more things than things I do know. How could it be otherwise? Yet people go to war over the supposed SHAME of being wrong about something. They not only refuse to acknowledge an error, they double down. They act just like Bush/Cheney/Powell on the subject of WMD (and STILL people insist that there WERE WMD even though “W” once slipped up and admitted otherwise.)
Think of Donald Drumpf clinging to his demonstrably erroneous belief that thousands upon thousands of Muslims over in Jersey City cheered on 9/11/01. Or that Paris is a city in Germany.
This is part of Drumpf’s appeal to a generally disturbed public. He is simply incapable of acknowledging a mistake. And he is cheered for this ignorant intransigence as though it were an asset. He also must be keenly aware that if he does say he was wrong he will lose his most ardent – and ignorant – supporters. They would turn on him faster than Drumpf can bankrupt a casino.
Putting fear-based people in positions of authority will always lead to death and destruction on a global scale. Until America rids itself of fear, people exactly like “W,” who lived in constant fear (as do most dry drunks), will hold a deep appeal to voters. Look at the millions of deaths and the widespread destruction “W” caused in his panic over supposed “evil doers” he saw everywhere.
This is not Bush’s fault, nor is it Drumpf’s fault. Sick people will always elect other sick people. It is inevitable. And the sickest among us will never seek help, for in our culture “YOU SHOULD HAVE YOUR HEAD EXAMINED” is a deep, deep insult. When you break a leg, is: “YOU SHOULD GET THAT X-RAYED” an insult? No, nor should it be.
Sick people whose addiction is fear will never let go of that fear. They need it. They are accustomed to it. It is in the warp and woof of their personal fabric, planted there ages ago and nurtured with all the loving care an addict always give to their drug of choice.
This fear is nothing new. 1919 was a year of monumental fear in America – and that is when this book was written. It sure resonates today.
I wrote an introduction to this new edition, putting it all in its historical context. If we want and desire true happiness and freedom, we need to beak the cycle of fear. Fear-based people will only spread fear in the Home of the Brave.