"See this suit? It covers fear."
So began a routine by Milt Kaymen, comedian. He told us he was afraid to walk in the woods because a tree would deliberately drop a limb on him and later, in court, claim it was an accident.
I just heard a short piece on NPR about stress, part of a series. Psychologist Mary McNaughton-Cassill told of the effect of watching, or hearing about, terrorist events replayed by the media. The stress-inducing effects of lurid images and language, repeated many times, often induced greater stress than that experienced by those witnessing the actual event.
To me, it is a picture of a perfect ad campaign. I learned that the greatest amount of money spent on psychological research was directed towards motivation research, inducing people to buy products or vote for candidates. With this knowledge at hand, all that is needed to induce a high level of stress, is a so-called terrorist event.
She mentioned two of such major events--Oklahoma City's Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building and the World Trade Center in New York City. Any research on these two incidents reveals that they were staged events, followed by just such media exploitation as mentioned above. More recently there have been a series of such events. Sandy Hook, for instance. Suspicion is growing that they were created to keep people in fear.
I learned in psychology class that fear is the most powerful of emotions. So, to really do a job on people, use fear. The willingly ignorant public will stampede like a herd of frightened cattle. It works for most of us.
Others see through it. We are not afraid to take a walk in the woods.