The Ostrich Epidemic
I learned something new the other day and it is called “Normalcy Bias”. After I looked up the definition, I began to think about the world in general and suddenly it hit me that we are becoming in some respects a world of normalcy bias.
The normalcy bias, or normality bias, refers to a mental state people enter when facing a disaster. It causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster occurring and its possible effects. …http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normalcy_bias
“People with a normalcy bias have difficulties reacting to something they have not experienced before. People also tend to interpret warnings in the most optimistic way possible, seizing on any ambiguities to infer a less serious situation.” David Schectman
I think a little bit of normalcy bias affects us all. We hear the weather report and even when it says it is going to be a bad storm, we tend to minimize it because we have been through it before. This was seen in Katrina when people were told to evacuate and did not because they felt they could make it through it and many died. We also do it with those we care about. We try to turn them into perfect beings who never do anything wrong and do not want to admit when they are wrong. We may see warning signs in our marriage or relationship and refuse to believe them and then when the other person leaves, we stand there wondering what happened. We do it with our health and think “Oh, I will be fine” and then when it gets worse and worse, we do not know what to do.
Normalcy bias is where we see the bad going on but we in essence turn it off and act like life is as normal. I wonder if this is how cults obtain so many members because people may see that what is happening in the cult is not normal but they refuse to believe it and so carry on their life as if nothing is going on. Look at Warren Jeffs and the FLDS. He is in prison for having sex with very young girls and yet many of those women with their children are still following him even though he even admitted at the beginning that he lied and was not the prophet. Mothers offered up their young girls to this man and other men and now are obeying his rules from prison saying they can not even touch their spouses. Only 15 men can have sex and populate the community. I personally call this the ostrich effect…sticking our heads in the sand to avoid facing reality. It is so much easier to pretend that it is not happening.
We are seeing this across the country and world as we see economic collapse in many areas, starvation, obsessive control by some leaders, etc and yet, when we see the warning signs, we refuse to believe it could be true and many will never believe it even when they stand distraught wondering what happened as the world they knew suddenly becomes a state of chaos and collapse. And we see it with adoration of public figures. Those with normalcy bias will never believe anything bad about the one they adore even if that person that they adore admits to doing wrong. People will believe anything the public figure says even when they see the truth, many prefer to just go on as if it is not affecting them and carry on life as normal. Actually, someone said on a news street show when asked what they thought about what was happening in our country and the reply was “Well, it is not affecting me so everything must be ok”.
To me, normalcy bias is a way of avoiding reality and the truth. It is a way of not accepting accountability for many and for some, it is complete denial of the situation. As you all know, I am a big promoter of the truth…just tell the truth. Little lies become big lies and you are soon telling another lie to cover the first lie. I also believe that we should expect the truth from those around us. Expect honesty, accountability from those around us and when it comes to being a public person such as in politics that affects our very being, not only expect the truth but DEMAND the truth. Do not become the ostrich with your head in the sand for it does not make what you are avoiding go away.
I saw this the other day with the trial of the men who owned the farm that had the cantaloupes with Listeria. These young men were standing up and being accountable for their negligence. Did they deserve prison? In my book …no. But, I was so proud to see them hold themselves accountable. And yet, what did I see from public people on the news article? I saw people totally denying that anything was done wrong and blaming the victims, who by the way died. Even when the young men took accountability for the situation, those in the public denied they did anything wrong.
I am afraid I finally read one too many of those posts and asked people to please stop removing the honor from these young men who stood up during an era where taking accountability seems to be rare and took the accountability. Saying they were wrong does not make them bad people. This reminded me of when Clinton had the affair in the Oval Office. People would defend him, say it was no one’s business ..totally denying he was accountable for his actions. Well, the truth is, I liked Clinton but had he been the head of a big corporation and done that with an intern, he would have been fired. That is accountability. That does not take away from the good he did in office to say he was wrong.
No one…NO ONE is perfect and never does anything wrong and when we idolize people and try to make them seem as if nothing they do is wrong, we are in reality contributing to what they did do wrong. I am sure people will be saying Justin Bieber is not out of control and getting arrested was people picking on him but the truth is…he acting in a way that he should not have. Does that make him a bad singer or a bad person? No, it makes him human and makes him someone who does things wrong and should be held accountable. And t hose that have normalcy bias will defend Bieber or others up until the point they crash and have to be placed somewhere and then those people will wonder “What happened? He was doing so good.” No, he was not doing good. People just could not allow themselves to admit that the one they loved so much and thought so much of was not doing well.
Normalcy bias….a way of avoiding reality. Many have it unconsciously and many deliberately refuse to see the reality and pretend that everything is fine. And then some, like the women running away from the FLDS compound have finally opened their eyes and taken action. Normalcy bias allows many things to creep into our lives little by little. This is what happens in our country. For example, the first time gasoline goes up high, we scream and have a fit but then we get used to it and so they start inching it higher and higher. Each time they allow us to get used to it and then jump again. Little things are creeping in and we just become immune to them and make ourselves believe everything is alright. But is it?
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