Thursday, 1 October 2015

Catastrophes that Never Happened (and why to roll your eyes at the fear mongering stories in the media and on the net)

The older that you get
the more bull crap you've read,
and the easier it is to spot.

There are plenty, and I do mean plenty, of bovine scat apocalyptic scaremongering stories floating out there, in both the credible/respectable parts of the media and the proverbial watering-holes on the net.  They come in all sorts of flavours: some economic (the collapse of the global economy), some spiritual (2012 apocalypse), some scientific (bee's dying/colony collapse disorder), some religious (the second coming of Jesus), some technological (the Y2K computer virus), some geographical (climate change doomerism) et cetera ad nauseum.  Yet despite their manifold  flavourings they all follow the same formula:
  1. The world as you dear viewer know it, safe and secure, is about to change.
  2. A single event is imminent (sometimes immediate, but usually less than five years away) and will cause chaos in your worldview.
  3. Panic!
And that about sums it up.  It's pretty simple really.  It's a recipe that any tv chef would be proud of: Take one event, remove all rational discourse, lace it heavily with the emotion 'Panic!', mix in a hearty amount of bamboozling statistics, wrap in tin foil, bake in the oven for 30 minutes, serve with a dollop of hysterical cream et voila, apocalyptic news a la mode!

Yet despite it's simplicity it's a formula that has kept on being used again and again over the years, both by professional journalists (who we are taught are respectable and trustworthy) and 'alternative news' sources (who are getting larger audiences as the years progress).  Time and time again it's used and time and time again there're people that fall for it.

Old PT Barnum supposedly said 'there's a sucker born every minute' and going by the repeated success of apocalyptic stories he appears to be right.  After all people should wise up to these stupid stories and stop buying into them, but they don't; and these apocalypse-obsessed authors keep on writing them and churning out new doomer stories for them to read.  It's sad really.

It's sad because the result of these stories is that a new generation is suckered into the whole 'the apocalypse is imminent' mindset and go off the rails.  Some of them just become melancholic, fatalists who think "we're all doomed" and give up on life to a greater or lesser extent.  While others pull out all the stops purchasing the latest biological, chemical and nuclear bomb proof underground bunker in deep Texas stacked floor to ceiling with MREs (courtesy of Alex Jones' Prisonplant/Infowars store, which is full of preppers goodies).  It's all BS; both the story that seeded these aberrant life styles and the actual life styles themselves, and a real waste of peoples time and energy.  Time and energy that could be put to better use doing the things that they can control rather than things that they can't.

After all what's the point in fretting over some bees dying in the back of beyond which you 'cannot' control, when you could be enjoying your life engaged in activities that you 'can' control.  That's what it all boils down to.  Focus on the parts that you can control and you'll be better off than the misery guts and apocalyptic fruit-cakes who think that the 'end of the world is nigh' (for the 41,018,838,547th time).

So next time you come across some apocalyptic news story (be it in the mainstream news or in the alternative news media) have some mental states close to hand with which you can fend off their soul-destroying nastiness:
- Doubtfulness ("Dude, bee's are not essential to the survival of humans.  The last time I checked the Eskimos were getting on fine without them.").
- Cynicism ("A computer virus is gonna end the world you say?! Yeah, of course it is!  Skynet here we come!").
- Wariness ("I'm supposed to trust this sleaze-bag and his apocalyptic predictions after his umpteen failed predictions years ago?").
- And general street-nous/common-sense.


1 comment:

  1. If you think that climate change is some kind of made-up story designed to induce panic in the masses, then you clearly aren't a scientist. Personally, I think that without a radical change in direction, the human race is heading for disaster. I suggest you read Future Imperfect.