Saturday, October 23, 2021

How Could We Be So Blind?

- I've got some questions for you.
- Ask away.
- Do you speculate on the stock market?
- No.
- Do you use social media?
- No.
- Not at all?
- Not at all.
- Have you ever joined a political party that promises to take back your country from its enemies and make it great again? Practiced political correctness, cancel culture?
- Of course not.
- Do you see all economic transaction as occasions to get the better of your trade partner? And do you subscribe to market fundamentalism, the belief that markets free of regulation benefit rich and poor alike, though you can't help knowing, if you thought about it, that it was obviously not true?
- No, and no.
- Finally, were you surprised at how rapidly and near totally the population of this country, as well as many others in the world, complied with unreasonable lockdowns, physical distancing, mask mandates?*
- Yes. Though I did understand that lockdown was allowing people to get away from each other, enjoy a truce in the war of neoliberal life in which everyone is an enemy of everyone else.
- And when the lockdown kept coming back?
- I was shocked by the continued near total compliance.
- I asked you questions about your participation in social mechanisms that guide individuals into groups of shared passions, fears, hatreds. Why didn't you see that the epidemic was providing such a mechanism; or would you not agree that that is what has happened, and is the explanation of the rabid complicity we see all around us?
- I agree we're dealing with crowd formation by means of ritual practice.
- So why didn't you see it? We'd talked about ritual many, many times.
- The requirement in ritual of weakness at the beginning I saw, fear of infection, and the required passion in the acting out of ritual I saw too, in the irrationality of the measures taken, passion as always creating blindness. What I didn't see was the - necessary to ritual - deliberate choice to enter upon its practice, and the expectation at the end of the ritual performance of being reborn from weakness to strength.
- Do you see that now?
- Do you think that neither you nor I saw this coming because we, not being past participants in ritual crowd formation, didn't immediately see how the government and media's management of the epidemic was of the same form as stock speculation, social media use, populist political party creation, market fundamentalist trading?
- And those who participated in those mechanisms, being practiced in those mechanisms, did see what was in it for themselves when they complied with government decrees and mandates.
- Is that your conclusion?
- Yes. Experience with the ritual practice of everyone following everyone else at the cost of damage to human nature but promising a sense of renewed safety and strength in the sight of everyone around you doing the same.
- They saw it and we didn't.
- We see it now. 
Further Reading:
* On the manipulation of COVID statistics - e.g., false positives and testing of asymtomatics: what percentage testing positive have symtoms, what percentage hospitalized die, what percentage hospitalized have 'co-morbidities' - see: Prof. Norman Fenton. On the efficacy of lockdowns, see: Summary of Academic Studies on Lockdowns, & What HappenedDr. Jay Bhattacharya on 19 Months of COVID. According to the World Health Organization, more than 3 million people died as a result of harmful use of alcohol in 2016. This represents 1 in 20 deaths. Traffic accidents caused an estimated 1,350,000 deaths worldwide in that year; last year 800,000 people killed themselves, 500,000 died from drug overdose, 400,000 by murder. Depression typically affects every year 264 million people, but that number along with the number of other 'diseases of despair', including obesity, has greatly increased in our times of COVID-19. And who cares? It's said that it's a choice whether to kill yourself, to drink or drug yourself to death. Just so it's a choice to go into public and expose yourself to disease and crime, not to mention streets infested with reckless, drunk, suicidal, murderous, drugged, and depressed drivers.