You can avoid reality, but you can’t avoid the consequences of avoiding reality. — Ayn Rand(ish)
In what I hope (no doubt in vain) is peak reality-avoidance, the British Evening Standard has written an article attributing the dramatic rise in youthful heart problems to a new psychological malady, Post-Pandemic Stress Disorder.
Suddenly, in 2021 — notably not in 2020, the first really traumatic year of the permademic — previously healthy young men are becoming so freaked out over COVID that they’re increasing the UK’s rate of heart problems by nearly five percent.
The article doesn’t mention — not even as a dismissive throwaway — that COVID inoculations play a role in the new illness. And this despite the fact that the vax-heart connection is no conspiracy theory, but is a phenomenon even mainstream “science” acknowledges.
We’ve all read plenty of stunning “journalism” in recent years, but this was my personal worst.
FWIW, the term Post-Pandemic Stress Disorder was apparently coined by a feelgood psychologist, and in case you were bothering to wonder, there’s zero medical basis for applying it to the sudden plague of youthful heart problems.
But even if there were … holy cats. A formerly respectable news source suddenly invents a whole new cause of heart problems, simply to avoid having to mention the great big elephant standing in the middle of the room.
However, this post is not about COVID.
It’s a speculation on the long-term consequences of chronic reality-avoidance. And because, sadly, the Evening Standard’s fantasy isn’t going to be the last and already isn’t the worst example, we need to be looking ahead to those consequences.
We’re being treated to reality-avoidance in many aspects of life (most notably at the moment 1) how to treat and cope with respiratory viruses; 2) the biological realities of sex; 3) racism presented as anti-racism; and 4) the belief that horrific crimes are not so bad as long as they’re perpetrated by the “right” people for the “right” reasons). And not all of that is coming from the insane left. It’s so bad that even a person like Scott Adams, widely seen as a smart and impartial prognosticator and problem solver, is making demonstrably howl-worthy statements, then sounding even more nuts when he attempts to backtrack on them.
Obviously the specific consequences of specific delusions are destructive enough. But what happens when some large and influential segment of the human race simply concludes that any random aspect of actual reality doesn’t count? That reality is whatever they decree it to be from moment to moment? And that becomes the everyday
madhouse “truth” the rest of us must cope with.
Yeah, that’s already happened. The Soviet Union operated on that principle. Whoever’s running the Biden administration seems well along that road. Academia … OMG. But it’s way bigger than that. It’s global — and it’s ours and our descendants to deal with.
I drew a chart of potential long-term consequences of chronic, civilization-wide (or at least society-wide) reality-avoidance. Of course, this is not only pure speculation, but speculation upon the broadest generalities. Consider it food for discussion, not actual projection. (Click to embiggenate.)
From most dire to most optimistic:
1. WORST CASE: EXTINCTION. The direst predictions about leaky vaccines come true. Some Faucian figure unleashes a lab creation more akin to Stephen King’s Captain Trips than to COVID. A megalomaniac gets loosey-goosey with nukes. Farewell, human race as we know it. We sleep with the dinosaurs. Unlikely, but can’t be excluded.
2. FALL OF THE WEST; EVENTUAL RISE OF EAST OR SOUTH. The West, cultural leader of the world for centuries, commits intellectual, spiritual, and economic suicide. Global collapse ensues, but this dark age leads eventually to new cultural leadership arising from Asia, South America, or Africa. The new culture has its high points, but respect for individual liberty is not one of them.
3. DIVISION OF THE WEST INTO EQUALLY TOXIC FACTIONS. Think fascists vs communists, anti-racist racists vs unabashed racists, extreme nationalism vs globalism without regard for freedom (though both sides may use the word), good sense, or sound economic principles. Voices of good sense and good principles are shouted down by both sides. A continuous downward spiral.
4. DIVISION OF THE WEST INTO REALITY-BASED VS REALITY-DENYING CULTURES. Seems to be where we’re headed at the moment, but all we’re seeing currently is the short term, not a long-term trend. Scenario 4 ensues if, say, the reality-avoiders continue to plunge into disaster, but likewise continue to be unable to concede that their dogma doesn’t work. Another, perhaps larger, segment tries to live according to either traditional or simply more workable principles and does better. But the healthier segment keeps being dragged backwards by the jealous, self-righteous, and increasingly militant reality-avoiding faction.
5. THE HOPEFUL WOBBLES. In this path, those ever-hopeful “if only we could elect the right leaders” people have some success. But of course the leaders, even the few who give their best try, can’t win against the forces of inertia. Other leaders replace them who are either weak or aggressively bad. There are repeated good, or at least hopeful, times. But civilization gradually wobbles downhill until something puts an end to it. (See the last few centuries of the Roman Empire.)
6. SANITY RECOVERS IN TIME TO AVERT MAJOR DISASTER. Some major reality check kicks reality-avoiders in the backside. Maybe Harvard or Yale goes out of business. Maybe it becomes undeniable that COVID inoculations are killing millions. Or that little girls suffer terribly from surgical and hormonal fulfillment of their pre-pubescent wishes to turn into boys. In other words, wish-based or authoritarian policies cause crises whose damage even the intellectually blind must finally see. In scenario 6, however, there is no real countervailing force for good. Societies at least turn away from the worst policies they had been pursuing and stagger along for a good long time, but there’s little uplift.
7. SANITY RECOVERS AND SPARKS A RENAISSANCE. Some major reality check kicks reality-avoiders in the backside. As in path 6, their most vaunted institutions begin to fall or to betray the reality-avoiders. It becomes undeniable that their policies are killing not only us peasants, but their kind of people. Major crimes strike even their super-protected neighborhoods. AND, simultaneously, people of wisdom reassert themselves to rebuild the culture of principles of sanity, progress and human decency. This is the first truly upward possibility in my depressing chart. The better news is that there are various degrees of success for this renaissance, depending on factors like how well a future renaissance “lifts all boats” and how much the reality-avoiding mindset can be educated away, not to return. Could be a minor upward bump; could be a revolutionary uplift for the species. I’ve given three lines to hint at the possibilities.
8. A BLACK SWAN FOR THE GOOD OF HUMANITY. The intelligence of the human race takes an unexpected leap due to some new scientific discovery. Benevolent aliens (ha!) arrive to help us straighten ourselves out. A genetic mutation makes us more sensible or empathetic. Or … Well, let’s just say this is slightly less likely than the Extinction line on the chart and doesn’t really belong here because it isn’t based strictly on things we and our fellow man do to each other. But it’s nice to end on a positive note.
So what do you think?
Long term (really long) where are we heading?
And what’s the best thing you and yours personally can do while we’re on the road to that eventuality? Or to avert that eventuality?