Manson: Is It Just Me, Or Is the World Going Crazy?

Mark Manson Mar 12, 2020

Mark Manson is an author you might have seen some of his books. But, this is an article (archive) he wrote in 2016. And, whilst I don't agree with everything, I actually want to highlight what I agree with in this one. As a note, he didn't like candidate Trump, I didn't bother to include those comments anywhere.

Trump is an effect, not a cause. You don’t get a major party nomination off your own merits; you get there because you’re able to represent and channel millions of people’s thoughts and feelings. There is a putrid stench fermenting just beneath the surface of 21st-century society, and it birthed Trump, not the other way around.

This is obviously proven by Mr. Bloomberg.

What struck me the most was this constant narrative that somehow the world has become this insane and dangerous place and we need somebody to take charge and make everything “safe” and “secure” for us again. . . .
Safe from what? . . .
Violent crime is at an all-time low, international wars are at an all-time low, there have been precipitous drops in domestic violence, steady declines in drunk driving-related deaths, death from infectious diseases and a rock-bottom child mortality rate. You’re more likely to be killed by a piece of furniture than by a terrorist attack. . . .
I’m not just shitting on Republicans here, either. This sense of insecurity seems to be universal, even if couched in different language. Hillary has talked about the need to escalate the war on terror in order to protect us[.] . . .
Because, like you, like seemingly everybody, I have also felt as though the world is spinning out of control and there’s nothing we can do about it. I’m exhausted from all the stories of shootings and attacks and bombs and the constant stream of awful stuff that is happening out there. I, too, feel desensitized and dejected from the seemingly constant carnage raging across the planet.
But the world isn’t worse. It’s just that we’re more aware of all of the bad things than ever before. As Ta-Nehisi Coates put it: “The violence is not new; it’s the cameras that are new.”

I might not like Mr. Coates. But, when he's right he's right. And, Mr. Manson uses it perfectly. The world isn't crazier than it's ever been.

Negativity generates responses. From my own Twitter forays, being a negative asshole gets way more attention and clicks than being nice and kind. Mr. Manson refers to it as the attention economy.

In the attention economy, people are rewarded for extremism. They are rewarded for indulging their worst biases and stoking other people’s worst fears.

That's a serious problem. In my experience, it's also very true.

To add onto that the world is more connected than it's ever been. There is still enough bad in the world that any single thing, under the camera constantly, could cause a panic.

As long as the camera gets bigger, this is the new normal. That is, as long as the broadcast continues, and people keep watching. But, of course, it's set to exploit our dopamine receptors. We will keep watching. A few here and there will turn it off. Most people I know, in real life, don't give a fuck. But when more people keep watching the panics will get worse.