The Other Pandemic…Media Induced Psychosis
The coronavirus pandemic is real and deadly. Yet there’s another pandemic decimating society, one that I believe will ultimately do more damage than Covid-19. This other pandemic is a silent, secret predator festering under the radar, corrupting the brains of millions of people. This condition is rotting away their ability for rational thought, clear thinking, discernment, and self-determination. Science hasn’t categorized it yet, so allow me the permission to give it a label: Media Induced Psychosis (MIP).
As you may or may not know, psychosis is a condition affecting how your brain processes information, sometimes causing you to hear, see, or believe things that aren’t real. Psychosis is not a disease itself, but a symptom of psychotic mental diseases such as schizophrenia, paraphrenia, delusional disorder, or bipolar disorder. Psychosis can be caused by trauma, use or withdrawal of certain drugs, brain tumors, or brain injury. I am positing here that this new type of psychosis is caused by and spread through mind viruses. It’s extremely virulent and highly contagious.
DISCLAIMER: Before we go deeper, please know I am not claiming to be a doctor, have any psychiatric credentials, nor attempting to diagnose anyone. For the record, I’m a self-educated high school dropout. (Albeit one who has spent most of my life studying the mind viruses that cause humans to act the way they do.) I’m postulating that while you won’t read about Media Induced Psychosis in any medical journals yet, the real psychiatrists will eventually be forced to recognize and acknowledge this condition.
MIP is rapidly reaching pandemic proportions, fueled by people’s over exposure to misinformation, hate speech, polarizing content, virtue signaling, and conspiracy theories across media outlets and the Internet. You could make the argument that like other forms of psychosis, this one is also caused by trauma. But in this case, it’s the mental trauma of exposure to so much visceral hate, toxic arguments, and emotional manipulation — and the fear and insecurity they can cause.
The symptoms of Media Induced Psychosis include:
· Low self-esteem
· Inability for rational thought processes
· Lack of self-care
· Short attention span
· Loss of free will
· Fear of others
· Susceptibility to conspiracy theories
· Demonizing those different than you
· Fear-based decision-making
· Inability for critical thinking
· Sanctimonious virtual signaling
· Pulling away from family and friends
· Developing a siege mentality
· Hanging on to outrageous beliefs
· Feeling alienated
MIP an unintentional, collateral result of the mass adoption of the Internet, its related technologies, and how the traditional media uses the Internet to amplify its reach. You are tracked by every online search you perform, what you buy, every website you visit, your social media posts, the things you ask your voice assistants, the apps running in the background on your phone, and what you stream for entertainment. This data is then exploited to manipulate your habits, moods, identity, beliefs, and behaviors.
The objectives are to make you feel powerless, needy, and helpless — and drive you to take self-destructive actions that reward the people who are buying your eyeballs. A lot of it is marketing: companies using your data to sell you more shit you don’t need. And a lot of it is mental manipulation by traditional media and the social media platforms: inducing fear and outrage to keep you glued to their platforms, molding your thoughts — then selling your eyeballs to the marketers, so they can sell you more shit you don’t need.
MIP is a self-sustaining condition that feeds on itself. Each expression of fear, outrage, or hate draws an equal and visceral retaliatory response, ratcheting up with every cycle. It’s astounding how easily people’s free will can be neutered, making them essentially mindless bots manipulated by the computer algorithms. There are two super-spreaders of this pandemic:
· Modern Journalism
· Social Media Platforms
Both the media and social media conglomerates share a common element in their business model: They need contrived controversy, outrage, and fear of others in order to remain profitable. The marketing departments, behavioral psychologists, and computer algorithms they devote to keeping your eyeballs on their platforms physiologically condition and addict you to their shitstorm of never-ending stimuli.
An astounding number of people make a social media post as the last waking thing they do, they leave the phone to recharge on the bedstand, and then check it the first thing after they open their eyes in the morning. This isn’t just mildly detrimental, it’s sick, addicting and dehumanizing. It takes you down a rabbit hole to an ever-present state of anxiety, distraction, alienation, and loss of mental focus. Like Pavlov’s dogs, billions of people are reacting mindlessly to the gratification of likes, shares, and followers. Much worse, they are being unknowingly manipulated to fear and hate others. As I mentioned in this post, there are millions of people with so much disposable time they can put up five posts a day signaling how righteous they are — and how evil the people who disagree with them are. The social media algorithms get exactly what they need to keep everyone locked on their sites, frothing at the mouth, peacocking their virtues, and attacking the people on the other side.
Meanwhile, what we used to call journalism has evolved (devolved) into media conglomerates. In decades past there were a few television networks. They were granted licenses as long as they agreed to provide a certain quota of public affairs programming and the nightly news. Conglomerates like CBS, NBC, and ABC could essentially program any kind of garbage entertainment they wanted 23 hours a day, as long as they offered that one hour of John Chancellor, Peter Jennings, Walter Cronkite, etc., and local news. Those 23 hours of garbage produced huge profits, of which they sacrificed a small portion of to spend in their money-losing news divisions for the required hour of programming each day.
When Ted Turner started CNN, the journalism business model was disrupted overnight. The news was no longer a money losing division, it was the whole company, and companies need to be profitable to survive. There are still some principled journalists striving to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable,” but the overall business model to facilitate that has been gradually eroded.
We’re now in an era where media conglomerates and social media platforms have become the source of news, culture, trends, and ultimately…human behavior. Both platforms are no longer catalysts for critical thinking, but simply weapons which are wielded to tell people what to think. The end result: millions of people with Media Induced Psychosis.
Once MIP occurs, those infected by it are essentially done as contributing members of society. The neural links in their brains are retrained, creating an inability to process anything longer than 60-second TikTok videos or 280-character rage tweets. They check out from all people and information that doesn’t support the confirmation bias of their worldview. They subconsciously curate an ever-increasing diet of information from the media and social media sources that reenforces their fears, anxieties, hates, and conspiracy theories.
Ironically, it’s our own personal freedom that leads to our enslavement. Because back in the day when there were three old white guys in New York who chose the news, there were some kinds of checks and balances (with system bias of course), and you only received a limited amount of data. Now with the Internet, we all can curate, create, and develop our own sources of information, leading to a confirmation bias rabbit hole…
When we are exposed to information that agrees with our confirmation bias, we herald it, trust it, share it all over our social media profiles, and live by it. When we are exposed to information that contradicts our confirmation bias, we decide the study was flawed, the information was wrong, or there was some error in calculation. We just keep circulating down and down the rabbit hole, creating more sources of information (misinformation) we desperately want to believe.
We become angry, fearful, alienated, and distrustful, then start blocking and cancelling people, joining online mobs, and finally becoming susceptible to conspiracy theories that any rational 10-year-old would discredit. We lose the self-awareness to rise above ourselves, go up to 30,000 feet, look down on ourselves objectively and make sure that the information diet we are feeding ourselves is unbiased, balanced, and serves us — and doesn’t just confirm our confirmation bias that speaks to our lowest denominator.
So, I’m clocking out…
I’ve sent my last tweet, posted my last Facebook update, and sent my last Instagram story. I’m resigning from the position of Social Media Influencer in Charge of Keeping the World Spinning, Fighting the Forces of Evil, and Encouraging Everyone to Be More Virtuous. I trust that the world is somehow going to keep spinning even without my explicit guidance and direction. (Feel free to apply for the opening. Just know, the pay is crappy, the hours are arduous, and the retirement plan sucks.)
I need to escape the toxic media/social media ecosystem before the condition rots my brain any further and am resolving to spend more time in reflective thought…and the space between thoughts.
You’ll find me in a sanctuary world of my own creation, a domain of people governed by rationality and critical thinking who desire to engage in civil discourse on the ideas of the day. I will mindfully and relentlessly curate my information diet by increasing subscriptions to specific podcasts, blogs, and newsletters. This will foster specific long-form thoughtful explorations of specific topics of relevance, instead of hot takes on 1,000 topics from people who want to sell my eyeballs.
This isn’t because I want to get away from people who disagree with me. I actively seek to be around people who disagree with me every chance I get and relish a hearty discourse. But that debate needs to be on ideas and principles, not name calling and attacks on the people expressing them. Social media provides not enough of the former and too much of the latter.
The world is way too complex to be governed by snarky takes or the consensus of Twitter mobs. And truth be told, there is just something about the entire concept of social media in general that gives it a default negative setting. Ultimately it fosters a very unhealthy level of egotism, self-absorption, and malignant narcissism. I’ve long said if I wasn’t an author, you wouldn’t catch me dead on social media. But given the continuing devolvement of the platforms, the time seems right to let the books stand on their own, trusting that the content inside and word of mouth will allow them to reach the people they’re written for.
I’ve strayed from my own work and it’s time to return to first principles. And one of those is:
You can’t be treated for prosperity you must be willing to receive it.
It’s not my job or your job to try and drag people across the finish line who don’t want to go there. Leave that crusade to the keyboard warriors who need to signal their virtue. There is a world where dogma and doctrines don’t exist. A world where people exist to debate ideas not ideology, to develop strong beliefs but hold them loosely. They might ponder a question like, “Who is John Galt?’ fleetingly, but are much more likely to reflect on questions like, “Who I am and who can I become? How do I grow into the highest possible version of myself?”
So that’s where you’ll find me if you’re interested…
You can still connect with me through my blog, the Power Prosperity Podcast, the Prosperity Livestreams, and my email newsletters. Just know there won’t be any announcements of new blogs or episodes via social media because I won’t be on social media. You can stay in the loop by:
1) Subscribe to the feed for my blog here. Look in the column at the top right of this post for the “Stay Connected” box. Then you’ll receive an alert when new posts are live.
2) Subscribe to my weekly newsletter Gage on Prosperity which include my “Friday Filosophy” updates. It’s in the top right corner of my home page here.
If you know others who want to escape the Matrix and join the army of free thinkers, please use the share buttons above and invite them to the community. This post should help them know immediately whether they want to belong or not.
If we never meet again, I wish you nothing but peace and prosperity. If you decide to join me in the new world, we’re going to have a wonderful adventure together.