Surviving the Age of Hysteria
Is it getting harder to remain calm and collected when following the news?
hysteria: /hɪˈstɪərɪə/ noun: exaggerated or uncontrollable emotion or excitement.
We came across a Grist article in which editor Kate Yoder dives into the motives of COVID-19 deniers and climate skeptics. The statement made by Donald Trump with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic that Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, is an alarmist, has been etched in the minds of many Americans since. This is not the first time scientists have been put on the spot concerning their opinions on important matters: concerning the climate change crisis, Trump has made similar remarks on how the matter should be handled and how important it actually is. Are scientists really ‘alarmists’ and how seriously should the general population take their word?
The strategies used to dismiss the threats of crises follow a similar pattern. First people tend to deny its existence and then shirk any sort of responsibility or action to alleviate the problem. Whether it is denying the existence of covid-19 or climate change, people seem quick to assume that people are hysterical or alarmists, instead of coming to terms with the problem in question and finding a reasonable solution. “Back in the day, alarmism was seen as a virtue” but nowadays scientists should be seen as realists instead of alarmists according to Dr. Fauci, with a goal to be devoid of any claims of overreaction, focused on facts rather than emotions.
But are we really living in the age of hysteria and alarmism, or are we experiencing the lack of political will?
Would you like to hear more about our “age of hysteria”?
Tomorrow, for our monthly IMPAKT TV episode, we invited philosopher Marc Schilenburg. In his book “Hysteria, Crime, Media and Politics” (Routledge, 2021), Schuilenburg argues the existence of a moral overdrive in today’s societies while seeing social media as key players that help the spread of the “infection of hysteria”. Recent examples such as our dealings with covid-19 show us that this could be just the wrong approach. Or do we need the coolness of a society which has a purpose, a political will to really change matters for the better? What roles do politicians and journalists take in spreading or calming down hysteria? What can you do in a world where the facts are hysterical?
Join us for the third IMPAKT TV episode dedicated to Hysteria or the lack of political will! Together with our guest Marc Schuilenburg, we will discuss and aim to unravel the causes of hysteria in the modern world and how to deal with it.
The event is free and will be streamed from our planet.impakt.nl.
You can register here.