Some modern teachers of natural vision improvement have linked myopia to a kind of fear. Fear is not so much about causing myopia as it is a signal of where you are in relation to where you would be most comfortable.
Physically, the place many of us are right now is stuck in quarantine. Maybe in fear, maybe in anger, or maybe we’ve found a way to deal without going insane.
Tobias Rose-Stockwell wrote a powerful article in 2017 exposing online advertising and social media. It woke people up to the fact that their news feed was not about what was true or relevant but about what headlines caused the most reactions. Read his article here: This is How Your Fear and Outrage are Being Sold for Profit
Facebook and others tailor what’s shown to you to get the most views and clicks.
The public at large wasn’t as aware of this years ago, but many companies already knew it. In the early 2000s, online tracking and analytics became so good that advertisers and publishers got clear indicators that the #1 driver of clicks are intense negative emotions like fear and outrage.
Time Magazine figured out fear decades ago.
You can see the same approach with other publications and news outlets that cater to different audiences. This merely reflects Time’s audience and their own harvested concerns.
The reason a story is featured in the media is because it has been crafted in a way, with some element of truth, to cause you to feel fear or outrage. Factual or positive stories do not earn get that kind of attention.
The easiest way to provoke fear is with predictions of doom. Sometimes a prediction is derived from what they call a “projection”, a mathematical model that takes data and assumptions and presents a hypothetical situation of a problem growing to become terrifyingly bad. These terrifying predictions, which flood the world daily on a variety of topics, don’t actually happen. They were always only ideas that grew and spread.
Understand that the point of stories or “news” like this is not to inform you. They don’t give you the news because they love you. They are merely trying to push your buttons to drive engagement.
They don’t care if they cause mass hysteria. It’s about optimizing their message for engagement and better profits.
Despite the warnings that dominate the news, we just had the best decade ever recorded throughout the world: Poverty, child mortality, famine, malaria, and other problems have all been going down for decades. We use less paper. We are far more efficient with electricity, water, and other resources.
Thoughts of fear are not the only things to spread rapidly. With the power of billions of minds, we have found ways to solve or mitigate every problem we encounter. Better yet, sometimes the problems are only problems when we give our attention to them.
Why are we so easily to manipulate?
Fear contagion is a built-in part of human and animal survival. We needed to know when a member of our group felt sudden fear so that we would be alerted and deal with the danger. You see this all the time with herds of prey animals. A single member gets spooked, and the rest become spooked by the one member being spooked, resulting in all of them darting away together to safety. Then once they start feeling safe again, they calm down and everything is fine.
How is this different from a virus?
Imagine if we put a person in isolation because he is infected with fear, out of fear that his fear will spread to others who come into contact with his fluids, or maybe even his gaze, like the deadly gaze of Medusa that turned men to stone.
We are fed an unending stream of images of a virus that looks like this:
Where else have we seen this?
These images are meant to illicit fear. A disgusting, demonic creature, and mines sitting silently under the water to destroy ships and kill thousands upon touch.
What does a virus really look like?
What exactly are people photographing with electron microscopes when they call it a virus? Is it an invading force? Is it merely a pattern?
This image is said to be that of a virus, taken through electron microscopy where the images are always black and white. Boring, isn’t it. This image is not very effective at manipulating your thoughts. Any colored images you run into are artists’ renditions or edited from the original image to manipulate you.
When most of us think of viruses, we think of something like the single-celled organisms we call bacteria. However, viruses are not cells. They are much smaller, merely bunches of proteins and other molecules, with no power source, no ability to grow, and no way of moving or making decisions. They are more like information.
Viruses are said to wreak their havoc without the cooperation of the host. These things, they say, just happen, and it doesn’t matter what you think or feel.
When you feel fear, where did it come from? Is it someone else’s that you copied? Do you focus on it, trying to get others to feel the same, or do you let it go?
Some patterns are passed genetically from parents. Some we learn through demonstration and practice. Others are passed more materially, through saliva or blood. Others we get through ideas that we share with stories or books. Some patterns we develop ourselves, perhaps something that we spread to others.
Then there are patterns that not only involve thought but are immaterial themselves, at least at first. A murmur of starlings, a school of fish, or people whose minds connect as if matching their frequencies to know what each other are thinking before they say it.
An episode of House depicted a mass psychogenic illness causing everyone on an airplane to get sick. This illness has a simpler name that helps us think of it more broadly: mass hysteria.
What is a virus? Is a virus the thing that makes you cough or feel nauseous? Is a virus the feeling of fear of catching it? Does a virus want to be spread?
Is a virus like the story told in the movie Bird Box, where the unseen force in the air outside infected the minds of anyone who looked upon it, killing them with their own thoughts, causing the small portion of insane people to become disciples of its cause, and leading the remaining population to hide indoors or blind themselves?
Does negativity show intelligence? Rejecting the herd mentality and trying to warn people of danger or problems could be a good thing. On the other hand, if the herd mentality is fear-based, an objector with a different outlook is seen as a threat to the safety of everyone and should not be allowed to speak.
Could it be that people notice that a fear-laced post on social media gets the most encouragement? How are average people, then, any different from advertisers who take advantage of this? Is spreading something for ego-boosting likes and shares any different than doing so for profit-boosting likes and shares?
Did the people in Bird Box die from throwing themselves out a window, walking into a flaming car, or stabbing themselves in the throat? Or was their true cause of death better described as something else?
If this sounds confusing to you, maybe confused is the right way to feel. What is better, fear or confusion?
Latest posts by David (see all)
- Fear is the Virus - April 5, 2020
- Q&A on Reading – From Bates’s Better Eyesight Magazines - September 30, 2019
- New Book: Optimal Eyesight - September 26, 2019