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Normalcy bias

Reposted from the Forum.

An extract from A Process Driven Life

Normalcy bias and Conspiracy bias tendencies are two of the most prevalent mental conditions evident everywhere today, and most people you meet are suffering from one or the other at at some level. I have talked at length on my radio show and in my books about “normalcy bias” and how it skews just about every piece of information you receive from any mainstream news source.

The “normalcy bias” is basically a state of mental deception (even mental illness in many cases) that can evidence itself in several different ways:

1. When a disaster or emergency strikes (or even the threat of a disaster or emergency), the mind locks up, slows way down, or goes into actual denial – This condition is often just called denial, though it is a product of the normalcy bias. In this state, the person just refuses to see or acknowledge what is true and real, and resorts to anger or avoidance to keep the mind from having to deal with reality.

2. In most cases, the mental defect does not allow the mind to consider that the situation may be worse than it looks. Going beyond just denial, in this state the mind actually conjures or grabs at any thread of information (real or imagined) that will allow the mind to not deal with the reality of the situation, or to avoid responsibilities or duties. More than just rejecting truth and reality, it now creates an alternate reality (often bolstered by myths and fantasies created and empowered by the modern culture of entertainment, etc.).

3. The normalcy biased mind generally accepts a defined period of stability or happiness as a “par” and always defaults into believing or accepting that things will always return to that state (whether that state actually ever really existed is not the point). This error can also be called the status quo fallacy. For example, although the technological revolution and mega-machine state has only been around for a century or so, and the home computer age has only been around for about half of my life, most moderns accept the world they see around them as “normal”. Despite the relative newness and anomalous nature of our current unnatural consumer society and culture, and the fact that now fully 98-99% of the modernists exist while not materially producing any of the products or items necessary for their survival, most of those people (who can only rightly be called “consumers”) tend to believe that IF a disaster or systemic collapse were to happen, that the new normal would return fairly quickly.

4. The normalcy biased mind often refuses to accept that others in authority may not always have their best interests in mind. A blind submission to unrighteous authority, while willingly rebelling against righteous authority is a hallmark of modern man. In this state, the person exhibiting the normalcy bias naturally defaults to the mindset that everything is going to work out without any thinking or planning, and that all of the people who are paid to make things work right are going to stay at their posts and work selflessly and tirelessly to bring things back to normal. This effect is also called “somebody else’s problem”.

Not everyone corrupted by normalcy bias is passive. The current Occupy Wall Street nonsense and austerity protests and riots all around the world are the product of selfish, mentally unstable consumers lashing out because the bounty provided by an artificial economy and corrupt banking practices created a false sense of prosperity for most of the lifetimes of those people who now see that the system can’t be maintained indefinitely. People corrupted by the normalcy bias can be very violent and dangerous when their deceptions are threatened.

I don’t have regular TV reception or cable, but I do watch some modern shows in order to do my job and to be able to judge what is going on in the world. I particularly am interested in the spate of post-apocalyptic literature and entertainment. One of the most oft-heard “objections” in reviews of my book The Last Pilgrims goes like this:

“I don’t think things will be that bad, or that they wouldn’t return to normal faster than 20 years. I mean, we have knowledge of how to make electricity, and we have technology. Someone out there will figure it out and things will come back online eventually and get back to normal.”

In the new TV series REVOLUTION (it’s horrible, and a blatant ripoff of the story line of The Last Pilgrims), the characters walk around 15 years after the collapse belaboring the fact that the power hasn’t come back on and dreaming of when it does. Apparently the collapse and disasters that followed didn’t teach them anything at all about dependency on artificial systems. In the TV series THE WALKING DEAD (zombie apocalypse), the characters are searching around for some semblance of “normalcy” and the idea of production never enters their minds. They are only (temporarily) happy when they find a place with air-conditioning and commercial food and hot showers. Not one person ever considers that things might not get back to normal. I will give the producers of this show some credit. When the survivalist group makes it to the CDC in Atlanta, they find out that pretty much all of the people there who were supposed to figure things out and fix them, either went home to be with their families, or they killed themselves. I’ve often said that the collapse will be sealed and certified once the millions of government apparatchiks all figure out that their families are on their own… so the police, soldiers, etc. all leave their posts and join the ranks of the walking dead. By the way, Zombies are a metaphor for stupid people, and the modern mind of man corrupted by the “normalcy bias”. I wonder how many people who read and watch zombie entertainment actually realize that they are the zombies?

Most modern survivalism and prepperism is founded in the normalcy bias. While recognizing that there might be disruptions or disasters, the concept is that eventually things will get back to normal, and normal is always defined as “the last 30 years of artificial plenty”, ubiquitous machines and computers running everything, and inordinate comfort… the 72 degree, espresso, and iPhone myth. Millionaire survivalism (buy it up, store it up, and make it through), modern “prepper” movement (the same thing on perhaps a smaller scale), all generally rely on a default system of consumerism that must return for people to be happy. At their root, these worldviews rest on the maxim that consumer products can be bought and stored for long enough for the consumer system that produced those products to come back online.

History, however, is a long lesson in the eradication of normal. History teaches us that mankind experiences massive swings or cycles – from long periods of material prosperity and consumer progress into longer periods of forced simplicity and production. It seems evident that man comes together to build a Tower of Babel, then God inevitably destroys the tower and scatters the people. My book Surviving Off Off-Grid lays out this pattern more fully, and my fiction book The Last Pilgrims shows what it might be like entering one of these historic patterns of correction.

2 comments to Normalcy bias

  • Axon

    Brilliant. I really enjoyed reading that. Ditch the faraday box and buy a spade and a hoe instead!

    • Skvez

      No, the spade and the hoe are irreplaceable tools as well.
      If you buy into the ‘only use the things you can make yourself philosophy’ you need to break a branch off a tree, sharpen one end on a rock and use that for your spade/hoe.
      That life is a hard one (and with a life expectancy somewhere in the 30s) I’ve no desire to try and live that way. I have tools and I intend to benefit from them.

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