Lately we have heard so much about the global economic crisis, recessions, job cuts, natural disasters, increasing environmental problems and so on. Continuous talk about these things can easily influence the collective psyche in a negative way.
Even before recent events, we have always been bombarded with news, images and video clips of tragedies, wars,disasters, violence, crime,etc from a very young age. We are not even consciously aware of the extent to which we are exposed to such negative media. We might think that we have grown ‘immune’ to it or that we have become numb or insensitive to such media.
To a certain extent, this is true but there is a residual effect that acts on our subconscious minds and which can influence us negatively by injecting fear, paranoia, hysteria and anxiety. This has the direct implication of affecting our reasoning and decisions even in everyday life.
More than that it is the ‘collective effect’ which we seem to be more vulnerable to. This means that it is not only our own personal exposure to these stories which affect us most (although they do in certain ways) but it is the way that the general morale of the people around us (even those we do not interact with directly)can leave a sort of after effect on our own mood and attitude.
Since no man is an island, we are all subject to this collective effect. The social environment we live in is a highly connected network of individuals. When a network is highly connected, causes and effects spread out throughout the network very fast and effectively. There is a lot of interdependency.
It should therefore come to no surprise that other people’s moods affect us in many ways. Now although these moods can be both positive and negative, it is the negative thoughts and attitudes that are of a concern. I call it the negativity pandemic. (more…)