Fear is the Virus

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?

Pinhead from the movie Hellraiser
Artist’s depiction of naval mines

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?

It’s so beautiful!! It wants you to see it!
(from Bird Box)

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?

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David

David

I founded iblindness.org in 2002 as I began reading books on the Bates Method and became interested in vision improvement. I believe that everyone who is motivated can identify the roots of their vision problems and apply behavioral changes to solve them. I am into spirituality, lucid dreaming, archery, hang gliding, health and fitness. I own a gym equipment store and gym equipment blog.
David

Latest posts by David (see all)

David

Author: David

I founded iblindness.org in 2002 as I began reading books on the Bates Method and became interested in vision improvement. I believe that everyone who is motivated can identify the roots of their vision problems and apply behavioral changes to solve them. I am into spirituality, lucid dreaming, archery, hang gliding, health and fitness. I own a gym equipment store and gym equipment blog.

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Brenda
Brenda
2 months ago

Love this article. Thank you so much!

Daniela
Daniela
4 months ago

Thanks David for this. You raise many valid points. Moreover, viruses are (apparently) already in our bodies so how is it possible to “catch” them? I feel like there’s a lot more to what we are made to experience these days…

Darrel
Darrel
4 months ago
Reply to  Daniela

As I understand it viruses have a very small number of genes, far too few for them to be able to reproduce in non-living matter. What they can do however is enter a much larger organism such as ourselves and take command of our cells and use them to create copies of themselves (known as “replication”). Interestingly there are even smaller creatures than viruses known as “viroids”, only containing one or two genes, that can replicate themselves in the same way. Fred Hoyle (who I referred to in a previous post) called viroids “tiny genetic fragments”. Viruses I think are not much more than that.

Lambert
Lambert
4 months ago

Yes, our hysteria of the virus is overblown. Now people are losing their livelihoods and lifestyles for a virus we’re not even sure is any more deadly than any other flu. I wonder how many people will be saved by all this quarantining compared to those killed by suicide from all the economic damage and human isolation.

Aki
Aki
4 months ago

Thanks your article. corona virus is not need to fear. But it is special. It’s more easy to spread as it can alive for 8hrs on air and more productive which inflected people can spread to more others. As it just start by few people but can now spread to million of people within half year Across the whole world. We should pay attention on it. And yes this virus is small and weak, our health body natural killer cell are able to against it and recovered. So we need to avoid it reach to weaker status people like elderly or kids. Yes, The virus Cannot move itself. Everyone wear mask and wash hand frequently plus Keep distance to each others , We can stop it continue spreading. Let’s against this virus together. Thanks everyone😊👍👍

Dr. λ
Dr. λ
4 months ago

Only people that are ignorant of how health works and naive enough to have blind faith in the usual propaganda channels are afraid of COVID-19. Unfortunately that’s almost everyone.

Dr. λ
Dr. λ
4 months ago
Reply to  David

I have not noticed that but it would come as no surprise to me. Obesity is misunderstood and the truth about it is much more empowering than the fiction that’s often spread about it.

Dawn
Dawn
4 months ago

I appreciate this article. I’ve been censoring everything I read these days, and knew your would be worth reading, and you didn’t let me down. Bravo!

Roman
Roman
4 months ago

Thanks for posing a number of vital questions, David! And that virus/pinhead/mine image sequence is absolutely on the mark. Brilliant!

Darrel
Darrel
4 months ago

What a great article David, thanks so much. A voice of sanity amongst all the fear and panic I hear on the media. Here in Great Britain the media is doing its best to worry people so I recently heard a broker on TV say something like “What’s really worrying is that we are starting to see financial markets slowly come apart at the seams”. What was meant by coming apart at the seams was never clarified but sweet dreams for the news viewers. It’s true that bad news sells and David has done an excellent job showing us the Time Magazine fronts. Relating to which I remember the concern about an ice age, in fact I think the well=respected astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle memorably said we should be putting as much carbon dioxide as we can into the atmosphere to delay the start of the next ice age as (and nobody disputes this) we are living in an interglacial period.But I digress, sorry. Fear is soul-destroying and very bad for physical health and yet the media tells us to worry as much as we can. To me the words of the old Belinda Carlisle song “…I was afraid before, I’m not afraid anymore” is the right attitude to take. David’s article is an oasis of calm and I look forward to explore the links he has provided. I have never seen or heard of the movie Bird Box but it seems very pertinent. I need to watch it sometime.
One final thought: surely the number of coronavirus deaths so far anywhere is vanishingly small compared with all other deaths considered ‘routine’ occurring at the same time (old age, cardiac, cancer and so on. Also we have no vaccine for this virus yet ‘ordinary’ winter flu is said to kill millions of people every year even though there are vaccines for it. Also by the way the BBC and independent media here have done some really impressive dramatics getting people to panic and fear. One of the best was “All these people out there, totally innocent of the disaster about to befall them”. It is so tiring.

Ron
Ron
4 months ago

David, I always like your articles. If I had a say in the matter, this one would be printed on the front page of the New York Times. If he were still living, I believe Franklin D. Roosevelt would be quick to add his well known words “So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. ” We feed this virus with the energy of our fear. Let calm prevail…project thoughts of the situation suddenly disappearing without reason… our thoughts do create our reality…and we cause no harm by being positive…stay informed, but don’t become immersed in the stories written just to get your attention…