Thoughts on a quality of the twenty first century – a witch scare quality – with remarks about the influence of social media and the natural dislike of people

In a recent conversation I said some interesting things:


I first began to say that this century hasn’t really created anything new.  Its as if everything is a continuation of the last century.  I went on wondering when a “new mentality” is going to appear.  I then said that the only thing new seems to be a quality similar to a witch scare.  The term “witch scare” may not be the right word, or the wrong expression, but its the word I keep using and I don’t know what other word to use.  Even its quality is not easy to describe.  I even had difficulty trying to describe it.  I used these expressions:

  • Its like there is a “quiet apprehension” between people
  • There is a “quiet paranoia” going on
  • Nonsensical things people do offends or bothers people
  • People seem to find hatred in things
  • People jump to find fault with people
  • People seem to find abuses in things
  • People are too willing to accuse people
  • There are divisions happening between people
  • I’ve often said that “we seem to be moving into an era of bias and favoritism”

Overall, this quality seems to conjure up threats and enemies and there is an easy tendency to accuse and blame.  In this way, it is something like a witch scare but it can also be compared to the McCarthy era.  Its a much more milder version of these but seem similar in nature.  But the important thing, I think, is what it reveals . . .

Despite what it may seem I actually seem to see divisions happening between people nowadays.  Many people think that people are becoming more “unified” in the world, but I tend to think that, behind all this, there are actually growing more divisions, fears, and apprehensions between people.  This gives it a witch scare quality that, in the midst of “world unity”, people are growing more apprehensive and accusative of other people and are willing to find people to blame for this fear.

This witch scare quality is not new.  It seems a continuation of what I saw in the last century, with the cold war scare, conspiracy theories, law suit crisis, every ones rights being violated, and such.  But it has a different quality . . . there’s a “something” about it.  To me, this different quality gives it a “newness” even though it originates from a previous mentality.  It may be the something else has added a new side to it . . .


I then wondered when this all began.  I then said that this all seems to of begun about 15 or so years ago.  I then realized this was about when social media got really big.  I began to wonder if this may be a result of the social media.  Thinking on it further I felt that it probably has a big impact on it.

The social media is often said to “bring people together” or “connect people”.  There is some degree of truth in this.  But it has also brought great and tremendous tension between people.  Its conjured up whole new avenues of dislike between people and is as if amplifying them.  Its done this in ways such as:

  • Its made people more aware of people.  There is more awareness of the differences between people, how people think, etc.  It also brings out misanthropic tendencies in some people.
  • People find out what people really think.  I’ve always said that “if we found out what other people truly thought, we wouldn’t like them anymore” and I think that is sort of what has happened.
  • Its made people reflect too much on people and what they do.  This causes people to become more judgmental and critical of people.
  • Its made people take things to seriously.  A statement or word is often taken far more seriously than it really should.
  • Its a means to express bad feelings.  Some people use social media to express hatred, discontent, etc.
  • Its an avenue of social hysteria.  Any panic, threat, etc. spreads easily in the social media.

In this way, the social media has become an avenue for a naturally appearing dislike between people . . .


The Christian idea is that everyone is supposed to love one another.  This is the point of view that Western society assumes to be true.  I have never believed this.  I think this witch scare quality reveals what I have always said:

“People don’t really like each other”

This doesn’t mean that people automatically hate each other and want to kill each other.  It also doesn’t mean that people can’t get along.  Nor does it mean that there is always tension between people.  It means that there is a natural dislike that happens between people.  It often underlies peoples association with each other which is one reason why people can jump from a love to a hate of people very easily.  Best friends can become enemies over a small thing.  This natural dislike is a natural phenomena and is always there.  Its always been like that.  Even many primitive tribes will avoid each other.

This natural dislike has great impact on peoples association with each other.  To deal with this dislike it causes many things to appear in relationships between people in ways such as:

  • There is emphasis on politeness, courtesy, and etiquette
  • There are “codes of behavior”
  • There are oaths and promises in relationships, such as in marriage
  • There are motives behind the association that “bond” or hold it together, such as in a family

What we see is a prevalence of rules, or some rigid condition, in associations between people . . . that is, “structured”.  If one looks closely one can see that almost all relationships between people are not “free” and “open”, as one would think, but are actually “structured” with many rules and regulations.  If often does not appear this way because we accept this “structure” as a part of relationships.  Part of the reason for this “structure” in relationships between people is to prevent this natural dislike from appearing.  This is why when the “structure” is broken it often unleashes this dislike.  For example, if someone does something that is viewed as impolite, or viewed as rude, it can cause great tension between people . . . the dislike surfaces.

I have always felt that the dislike is not just a hatred of people.  If it was we’d see a lot more of it.  To me, it seems that it is part of a greater story.  I would describe it this way:  When we associate with people we see them as a part of our self.  As a result, we “project” our whole self toward them, good and bad.  Since we feel love and hate we both love and hate them, so to speak.  As a result of this “projection”, both love and hate are always there “under the surface” in any association with people.  This means that a dislike of people is always there even though you don’t see it.  It also means that there is always a  love of people as well.

In Christian/Western society a natural dislike between people is not acknowledged.  I would even say that there is even a fear, a phobia, to acknowledge any dislike between people in Christian/Western society.  This is because of things like:

  • Christianity preaches that we are supposed to love everyone
  • The fear caused by war (WWII, Cold War, Vietnam War, etc.)
  • The fear caused by the Holocaust and the Nazi’s

As a result of these, its a feeling that no one wants to accept causing them to be unable to relate to it.  People want the association between people to be “good”.  This causes these natural feelings of dislike to go “underground”, so to speak, causing the “quite apprehension”, “quite paranoia”, and such, that tends to give it a witch scare quality.

For many years I have always maintained that we need to accept, and be aware of, this natural dislike between people.  We need to quite condemning it, denying it, criticizing it, villainizing people for displaying it, and such.

Over the years I’ve grown to accept the natural dislike between people as the way of things and I expect it.  I also try to understand and respect it.  I’ve always said that “I respect the natural dislike of people until it starts to adversely affect people”.  The vast bulk of times it doesn’t do anything.  If you stand back and look you’ll notice that everyone displays it to some extent and in some way . . . even yourself!  Like a lot of things, its a problem only when it gets out of control.  But its always there . . . there’s no point of denying it or trying to change it.  In some respects, this witch scare mentality is a result of trying to deny a natural tendency that all people have . . . a natural dislike of people. 

Interestingly, the people that are often displaying this witch scare quality the most are people who are promoting “peace”, “love”, and such, between people.  This is because they are denying any dislike between people.  They are as if trying to force everything to fit the “Christian ideal” where we all love one another.  But, deep down, they are displaying the dislike the most.  This often appears as a fierce condemnation of people who don’t support their views.  In the end, even the preachers of “love and peace” display this natural tendency.  More than once have I said that these are the people we need to most be leery of for they harbor the repressed dislike.

Copyright by Mike Michelsen

This entry was posted in Historical stuff, Mass communication: media, social media, and the news, Modern life and society, Psychology and psychoanalysis, Society and sociology, Twenty first century and post cold war society and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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