Here’s a thought I had:
Recently, I have noticed what I often call the ‘post 2016 election mentality’. This refers to a mentality that originates as a result of the 2016 Presidential election hysteria that took place in the U.S. As I have explained in my article “Thoughts on a media-induced mass hysteria . . . the “Trump panic”” much of this election was dictated by a media-induced mass hysteria. As I watched it happen before me I saw the media literally exaggerate, distort, sensationalize, fabricate false things, etc. on a scale that I’ve never seen before. They did this with many different aspects of this election and to such an extent that much of the population was “worked up” to the point of what I often called a “hysterical frenzy”. I would even talk to people about it and they’d have this “crazed and frenzied” look in their eye telling me ridiculous nonsense about Trump that was so obviously absurd that it was unreal. It was almost surreal at times. The ‘post 2016 election mentality’ is really the continuation of that mentality after the election. In other words, its a continuation of the “worked up” mass hysteria frenzy attitude (remember that the media “worked up” the people to this “hysterical frenzy”).
Most people, it seems, have calmed down but there is a small group of people that are still “worked up” and are having difficulty calming down from it. I would not doubt that some will keep it going for as long as Trump is in office and maybe even continue it even after that. In other words, they are keeping the frenzy going. A large part of these people seem to be:
- Paranoid people
- People who are upset about life or other things
- People who feel “threatened” by the government or politics
People, such as these, continue the frenzy and are keeping it alive. In fact, I’d say that many won’t let it go. Much of this seems to show that they are “attracted” to the frenzy and that it “speaks” to them. In other words, what’s important is the “frenzy” not the politics or issues, as they claim. The “frenzy” tends to be a medium for the issues and problems that they feel. Keep in mind that the “frenzy” is an outlet . . . it does not solve the problem.
I tend to feel that this type of mentality tends to largely be a result of the Vietnam War protests of about 1970. In other words, the ‘post 2016 election mentality’ has a resemblance to the Vietnam War protests of about 1970. One could even say that it, in some ways, appears almost like a reenactment of the hippi movement begun in the Vietnam War protests. Because of this, it makes them continue to interpret things in a certain way and continually emphasize certain points originating from this era. Some of the traits this entails include:
- The assumption that the establishment or authority is bad. Of course, since Trump is President, an attack on the establishment or authority is actually an attack on Trump.
- The idea that we are all being oppressed in some way. This is strong with females, in particular, many of who seem to think that they are being threatened in some way, even though nothing has happened.
- A continual emphasis on freedom, that we need to maintain it or that it is being threatened in some way.
- A tendency to look at things in the worst possible light. For example, if Trump or the government does something its interpreted as a great threat in some way.
- A tendency to see things as threatening the entire world.
- A blind rebellious attitude.
- An emphasis on females and minorities.
- A concern over hatred.
- An emphasis on some form of unity, real or imagined.
- An emphasis on “loving” or caring for people.
- An emphasis on peace.
- A tendency to fear and paranoia. This is because the Vietnam War protests is greatly influenced by the cold war and the threat of nuclear annihilation. This is the origin of much of the fear and paranoia that we see later and which motivates all this.
Much of these claims, though, are not founded on fact and actual conditions but reflect biased points of view which tends to make them interpret things a certain way or see things from a certain light. Because of this, it is a matter of how they interpret things that is the question. In this way, they are really trying to force a specific interpretation onto things. I call this “forcing the interpretation”. As they force this interpretation they tend to alter the facts to reflect their viewpoints and attitudes. As a result, their interpretations tends to show these qualities:
- A bias
- A distortion
As a result of these they often create a reality that does not exist: threats are created that don’t exist, enemies are made that don’t exist, intentions are assumed that don’t exist, freedoms are threatened that aren’t threatened, evil intentions are created that aren’t there, and so on. In other words, “forcing the interpretation” tends to create an image of realities that do not exist. Generally, things are portrayed worse than they are, and usually because of some malicious intent, often taking the form “X wants to harm Y and, because of this, Y is in a panic”.
This type of mentality became very prevalent during the Vietnam War protests. And, because of the growth of media during this time, it as if “injected” these attitudes into the general population of the U.S. As a result, many people in the U.S. have a tendency to “force the interpretation” creating false threats, enemies, and so on. In short, Americans are more likely to display paranoia after the Vietnam War than before. This is one of the lasting effects the Vietnam War protests created.
This attitude of “forcing the interpretation”, paranoia, etc. has carried on down through the years in many different forms. After the Vietnam War they became “detached” from the war and became attached to other things. Some examples include the lawsuit crisis that appeared later, political correctness, over-reacting to being offended, seeing hatred in things people do, and so on. Some of these have become very prevalent to the point of being a problem. What this shows is that the attitude of fear, paranoia, and “forcing the interpretation” is directed to anything that it can use as a medium of expression. In other words, its not the “thing” (the issues) that matters but if it can be a vehicle for the feelings of fear and paranoia. Its this type of mentality that prompted statements I hear all the time such as, “anything can be turned into oppression”, “all you have to do is look at someone and you oppress them”, “just because a black guy is involved we’re now all viewed as racists”, and so on. We can see that anything that can made to fit into their “forced interpretation” becomes as avenue to their fear and paranoia. Again, this is not about the “thing” (the issues) but about finding an expression of their fear and paranoia. This tendency causes an increased likelihood of mass hysteria. This is because mass hysteria can easily become an avenue for these feelings of fear and paranoia.
During the election much of these feelings became attached to Trump. In other words, Trump became an avenue for fear and paranoia. But, we must remember, that these feelings existed before Trump and, in actuality, have nothing to do with him! In actuality, the feelings directed toward Trump revolve around general American feelings, concerns, worries, etc. that are decades old. This is one reason why many statements said about Trump “don’t make sense” . . . people are speaking about something else through Trump.
Much of this tendency is persisting after the election in the ‘post 2016 election mentality’. One could say that it persists in two ways:
- Those that are attached to Trump and politics.
- Those that have gone beyond Trump and politics, into other unrelated areas.
I speak, in this article, of the later. Some examples of these includes things like these:
- There is more “pro-female” themes coming up all the time that did not exist before Trump.
- There is more emphasis on females being “victimized” in some way.
- There is more emphasis on females being “leaders”.
- There is a concern over refugee’s and minorities.
- There is more criticizing and condemnation of the establishment and authority.
- There is more emphasis on a “unity”, with some groups, than before.
- There is more of an emphasis on being involved with democracy.
- There is an emphasis on preserving our freedoms and rights, even though they are not threatened.
Because these things were so easily detached from Trump it shows that these attitudes predate him. In other words, they are attitudes that originate from somewhere earlier, as I described above.
My observation seems to show that much of these attitude do, in fact, originate from the Vietnam War protests and that much of the commotion about Trump is really a reenactment of these protests. It supports my statement I had once said about the election: “The commotion about Trump, in this election, is not about Trump at all but the hippi movement during the Vietnam War and the themes it brought out and that it is still unresolved”. Much of the so-called “women’s march” is a reflection of this fact, of the reenactment of the Vietnam War protest (with marches) stating almost identical themes (rights, freedom, etc.) . . . almost a “carbon copy”, in some respects.
All this shows how impactful the Vietnam War protests were and that it still affects American mentality. This does not surprise me as I have always suspected that the Vietnam War protests is the single most influential event in American history after WWII. It is something like a wound that has not healed. Its shadow hangs over all of us, though it may not seem like it. One example of this is that a lot of people take hippi views (though they are usually unaware of it). In fact, many views seen in this election descend from the hippi views and are amazingly similar to what was said during the Vietnam War. Liberalism, in fact, is greatly influenced by hippi viewpoints and this figured greatly in this election.
I tend to feel that the Vietnam War protests have brought up conflicts that have largely gone unresolved. The reason for this, it seems to me, is that these conflicts are not, in actuality, real but a manifestation of a mass hysteria that gripped the population. In short, the people were “worked up into a frenzy” over conflicts that weren’t really real. But, because of the “frenzy” they got “pulled into it” and, accordingly, believed they existed. The important point is that their behavior was dictated by being “pulled into the frenzy” not by the conflicts themselves. This being “pulled into the frenzy” is mass hysteria. All the fancy explanations and “causes” that they stated are just intellectualizations of this mass hysteria (such as peace, love, freedom, etc). They are only the rallying calls of the mass hysteria and the “frenzy” that they were “pulled into”. In other words, peace, love, freedom, etc. is not what its actually about. As a result, these things will not solve anything . . . and they haven’t. This more or less means that the Vietnam War protests is an issue of mass hysteria, not peace, love, and freedom, as they said.
I tend to feel that the Vietnam War protests were so influential because they hit deep in much of the population and country. I do not feel that this was because of the causes they were fighting for, as they claim, but because of the effects of the media-induced mass hysteria, as stated above. This is because of the nature of mass hysteria. Basically, in mass hysteria the person, the individual, is no longer in control. They have given up their self to the mob. It now dictates their feelings and motives (they’ve as if lost control of themselves). In short, in the Vietnam War protests much of younger people, in particular, gave up their self to the mass hysteria and ceased to be individuals. Being without a self, they had no real way to deal with all the panic and hysteria they and the mob were feeling. They were as if helpless people subjected to the panic with no clear cut way, as individuals, to deal with it. In this way, the mass hysteria hit deep, because people did not have a self to deal with it all. As a result, people had to find ways to deal with it, and without a self. This made many people become prone to do things like these:
- They got wound up and overly concerned with causes and conflicts – this gave a sense of having some purpose.
- They would go into blind rebellion even when there was nothing to rebel against – this gives a sense of having purpose and a way to vent.
- They went into despair – this reveals how people often struggled with it.
- They became concerned about “developing the self” – this shows a dilemma of the self.
These all became prevalent during and after the Vietnam War protests. What we see in these is that people are trying to grapple some psychological issue and concern, something “deep down”. This means that the issue of the unresolved Vietnam War protests, then, is about psychology not politics. They shows the effects a mass hysteria can have over people . . . in the end, people are struggling with psychological issues.
With the loss of self, I find it interesting that there became, in the hippi movement, a tendency to “develop the self” (reflecting the effect of the psychological issues caused by mass hysteria). In fact, it one looks closer, it seems that it was after Woodstock (1969), in particular, that the mass hysteria began in the greater population of the U.S. As a result of the mass hysteria’s loss of self, with the self problems it created, it seems that “developing the self” became more prevalent after that time. In short, one could probably say that the hippi movement largely consists of attempts at dealing with the loss of self the hysteria created as well as its effects. In this way, one could probably say that the a lot of the hippi movement is a reaction to hysteria, not the “causes” they were professing (which is what I originally thought). Because of this, the hippi movement created whole new areas devoted to developing the self: the self-help movement, new age movement, meditation, LSD to “expand the mind”, and such.
Looking back on it now it looks as if the hippi movement is really an attempt at dealing with a personal crisis. This personal crisis, it seems to me, is the loss of self that a media induced mass hysteria created. In other words, the media-induced mass hysteria of the Vietnam War era has created something like a sickness in the U.S., a ‘mass hysteria sickness’. This is largely an inability to react or resolve the effects of the loss of self, and its effects, created by a mass hysteria. I tend to feel that this is far more prevalent than it may seem and that many people struggle with it as a result of the many forms of mass hysteria that have go on throughout the centuries.
It seems that individual people can usually overcome ‘mass hysteria sickness’. This seems primarily achieved by no longer being involved with the hysteria or anything connected with it. In other words, just be being away from it and continuing on with their lives (which reestablishes the control of their self). As a result of this, many of the mass hysteria’s, through the centuries, are overcome by individual people.
Societies, though, seem to have difficulties overcoming mass hysteria. It seems, to me, that once a mass hysteria reaches a certain level a society can’t really overcome it. This is because it becomes too ingrained in the society. The only way for a society to overcome it is for a “new society” to appear, such as a new generation, a new era, a new mentality, etc. If this does not appear that the culture takes on qualities of the mass hysteria as part of its identity. In other words, the mass hysteria turns into a cultural identity. I tend to feel that the effect of mass hysteria has had great impact on many cultures identity, a lot more than it may seem. This is particularly so with larger and powerful societies, such as the U.S., England, and China.
It seems that the mass hysteria of the U.S. was particularly bad during the Vietnam War to the point that it became part of the national identity. I tend to feel that one of the reasons why there is such an inability to react or resolve the effects of the loss of self, and its effects, is because the Vietnam war protests were really the first great media-induced mass hysteria in history in which the media played a particularly critical role. Overall, there are a number of qualities that that made the media very influential in the creation of a ‘mass hysteria sickness’ during this time. These include:
- There was a multitude of media sources and forms: the news, TV, music, newspapers, etc. which includes different forms of appearance, such as by reading, watching TV, seeing actual footage, musical tunes and lyrics, etc.
- The extensiveness of the media, which made it more widespread and with greater exposure in history.
- It was the first time electrical forms of media was used extensively, which used new forms of conveying information such as visual images and actual footage.
- The naïve and simple mindedness of the youth of America making them prone to gullibility and easily provoked to hysteria.
These all contributed to cause an extensive mass hysteria in the population the likes that have never been seen before. In some ways, it hit America like a storm and America was unprepared for it. This is true of its people and, especially, of its youth. It has affected much of the country and people ever since. It affected the U.S. so much that it created an extensive ‘media-induced mass hysteria sickness’ which has affected American culture and its people. To be frank, America is still grappling under the effects of the media-induced mass hysteria that took place about 1970 and cannot resolve it. The loss of self that mass hysteria causes makes it hard to resolve as a society. Because of this, its effects, and its inability to be resolved, are continuing on years later. This is probably why it has appeared during the 2016 Presidential election and is continuing on in the ‘post 2016 election mentality’. Because it is so deep rooted in American mentality it will go on long after this election and Trump.
Copyright by Mike Michelsen