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Leave Your Reason At The Door/Screen. It's Not Needed Here.
Panic At The Keyboard.
Mass panic almost bears shocking resemblance to a viral pandemic. A spate of infections break out, proliferate a locale or larger region, outside agents take note of this growth with wavering consternation. As it grows, as does collective unease, mounting with choppy waters beneath the increasingly rough rudder of the wind.
Before we have time to take stock of the true measure of the problem and the implications it has for society, the: "WON'T SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!" Segments of the jeering mob take up the call and a Shock and Awe of Biblical proportions ensues. Temporal whim has swiftly inflated a malady that has claimed a couple of thousand lives (a couple of thousand too many, of course) becoming a Horseman of the Apocalypse. The end is nigh! Cyber Martial Law is declared and anyone with a contrary argument from consensus, the former: "Keep Calm & Carry On" linchpins of society are shot down on sight. A furor rages with common sense as the kindling for as long as the panic du jour remains favourable and serves as a useful tool.
However, just as though fire feeds on oxygen, for an hysterical pyre that gas is hype and group worry, it's more finite than even the common sense the inferno blazed upon. Reality soon mounts an assault and the flames peter out into the atmosphere of every day life and true concerns, dying to embers. Glowering in hot resentment under the grace of shadows, waiting for a new inflammable kernel of fear...
Rumour Mills Rubbing Against The Grain Of Your Better Judgement.
All of this hue and cry sound familiar? Of course it does, it threads the steady ebb and flow of news and current affairs like an elevated heartbeat when you slip at the top of the stairs at home. Ebola, Swine Flu, Avian Flu, 2012, raising pulses over Gaza/Israel, Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea, Same Sex Marriage... 30 years ago it was HIV/AIDS. 50-60 years ago, it was the threat of Nuclear War.
None of these instances we have been goaded into tearing our hair out over ever materialised into the all out chaos anticipated and desired for by wooden spoon wielding factions. These individuals or agents crave a pot to stir, but why? What drives the rumour mill to produce raw wattage outputs of hyperbole, mania and frenzy?
It's very simple, read on...
Divide And Conquer.
Divide And Conquer is as old civilisation itself. Such a convenience for splitting the atom of rational thoughts and causing a chain reaction, sometimes in concord with Machiavellian whim, sometimes not. Julius Caesar was the proponent of an ethic which has morphed over the years into the whip, the sheepdog, the Chinese Whisper.
Humans are fundamentally social animals. We have a pack mentality, it is probably why our affinity with dogs are so strong, as they can represent a more base, instinctual and ID projections of ourselves. This reason has permitted the inception and perpetuation of societal structures, class systems and of course, money. Money is the Alpha of our wolf pack, bestowing false idols of leaders upon us and we have no choice but to follow. Austerity mid and post recession renders the masses picking blanched bones frantically for some sustenance, any sustenance, to permit our existence whilst the rich have gorged... but I digress.
Our notions of fear and the spectre of disaster skirting us with predatory passion have swollen vastly within the last decade. More so within the last five years, since Facebook and Twitter "went viral." The ubiquity of smartphones has also been a boon for the harbingers of panic, acting as a lighthouse for the paranoia of the frenzied tempest waves roiling aimlessly amid goaded terror: "we are such stuff as dreams are made on."
Familiar Farces, Fresh Faces.
Over the weekend, two old fashioned brands of brouhaha have been infusing in the pot of hearsay. Our old monster under the bed of terrorism and a celebrity scandal. Both were aided by the auspices of social media saturation. One was a hoax involving a terrorist plot on the London Underground. I spotted this last night sprouting like mould spores across Facebook news feeds, poisoning rational thought with fear. Parts of it read:
"They think there's a terror threat and that it will happen on the tubes tomorrow around the west end area. So don't go travelling on tubes!! It's better to be safe than sorry. Please share."
"Every single police officer in the Met has been called into work from 4am onwards."
Furthermore, courtesy of Perez Hilton's leech feed, nude photos of actress Jennifer Lawrence were leaked online. Both have unleashed cyclones and anti-cyclones of conjecture, accusation, panic and recrimination. Just a brief peek recently at my own Facebook news feed has shown me a link pertaining to Jennifer Lawrence, the Mockingjay of fame has clearly turned a little ire on her this weekend, the Katniss (pardon the pun) has gone bad!
Both elements of these stories have one overarching theme, distraction. Whether from a perceived threat, a real one, or just plain old reality, this hysteria is a welcome diversion to the absurdities of life. It also proves to be a more sinister cause, to distract from the real machinations of those upon the imposed Iron Throne of Alpha. Social media, for all it's benefits, aids the proliferation of someone's agenda. Nowadays, you can just never ensure what your own agenda is.
© Brad James, 2014.