This guest post by Worrisome and entry in our non-fiction writing contest.
I have been wondering about why so many people seem so incapable of seeing all the changes that are happening right in front of us. Why instead of so clearly seeing that things are slowly going ever so wrong, they doubt themselves or refuse to believe that there is anything different happening or that they can do anything to effect change. In reading 299 Days, the author speaks of normalcy bias as a problem between him and his wife, and candidly many on this blog speak of spouses and children that “just don’t seem to get what we are seeing”. And so I decided to write a bit about it.
The reason why is straight the Wikipedia website……
“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. This often results in situations where people fail to adequately prepare for a disaster, and on a larger scale, the failure of governments to include the populace in its disaster preparations. The assumption that is made in the case of the normalcy bias is that since a disaster never has occurred then it never will occur. It also results in the inability of people to cope with a disaster once it occurs. 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.
The normalcy bias may be caused in part by the way the brain processes new data. Research suggests that even when the brain is calm, it takes 8–10 seconds to process new information. Stress slows the process, and when the brain cannot find an acceptable response to a situation, it fixates on a single and sometimes default solution that may or may not be correct. An evolutionary reason for this response could be that paralysis gives an animal a better chance of surviving an attack; predators are less likely to eat prey that isn’t struggling.
The normalcy bias often results in unnecessary deaths in disaster situations. The lack of preparation for disasters often leads to inadequate shelter, supplies, and evacuation plans. Even when all these things are in place, individuals with a normalcy bias often refuse to leave their homes. Studies have shown that more than 70% of people check with others before deciding to evacuate.
The normalcy bias also causes people to drastically underestimate the effects of the disaster. Therefore, they think that everything will be all right, while information from the radio, television, or neighbors gives them reason to believe there is a risk. This creates a cognitive dissonance that they then must work to eliminate. Some manage to eliminate it by refusing to believe new warnings coming in and refusing to evacuate (maintaining the normalcy bias), while others eliminate the dissonance by escaping the danger. The possibility that some may refuse to evacuate causes significant problems in disaster planning.
Not limited to, but most notably: The Nazi genocide of millions of Jews. Even after knowing friends and family were being taken against their will, the Jewish community still stayed put, and refused to believe something was “going on.” Because of the extreme nature of the situation it is understandable why most would deny it.
The list of citable examples of a sinking nation are endless…..
As some of you know I live here in California where things are definitely degrading….
- The state is broke! Cities are going bankrupt… San Bernardino, Stockton and Vallejo. Taxes are going up. Sales taxes, income taxes, gas taxes, dmv fees, new and additional taxes on paint and lumber products.
- The unemployment level is higher than the national average.
- Every city and county is laying off fire fighters and police officers. Many cities won’t even dispatch cars now for simple situations…you want to file a report about someone breaking into your car? Go to the web and type it up yourself. And don’t expect anyone to ever show up to talk to you about it.
- Most every state, county and city employee has been promised a huge pension that the retirement plans cannot honor but they continue to make the “promise” as if it will all work out.
- San Juaquin Valley Farmers have gone bankrupt in record numbers because the terrible trio, Babs Boxer, Diane Feinstein and Nancy Pelosi shut off long contracted water rights in favor of a smelt.
- There is no lumber industry and the fishing industry is definitely a ghost of its former self. But the marijuana industry is the actual leading cash crop in many counties. THAT industry pays NO taxes AND most involved also use food stamps and such as a cover.
- I happened to be driving around Santa Rosa, California a few days ago, the decals on the police cars doors have missing letters in them, as in P_li_e. The city streets there are so bad that your teeth rattle driving on them.
- We all know prices are higher………
- We know that less than 1000 people in DC are making unreasonable and irresponsible decisions every day. Our system of governance and laws make overturning their nutty decisions a long and arduous process with inconsistent results. (ObamaCare, anybody?) And this nation of sheeples keeps re electing them because they would rather watch football and have better knowledge on the statistics of every play and every game than educate themselves about their futures and what their politicians are doing.
- Now we have a huge gun control controversy both at the states level and at the federal level. Despite a majority of citizens voicing concerns, it is possible we will lose our right to defend ourselves.
- We have watched and waited as the dollar has become near worthless and our country’s financial status in the world become a joke. We have watched and waited as our leaders have allowed our borders to leak. We have watched and waited while our leaders plotted mayhem with Fast and Furious. We have stood by and allowed our leaders to get away with allowing the killing of an Ambassador in Libya. We have watched and waited while ObamaCare has become the law of the land. We are watching a Congressman trying to pass a law to allow a President to be in office for longer than 2 terms. We are watching the Fed and our Treasury department swap x’s and o’s and call it “Quantitative Easing”. We have watched and waited while less than 1000 people, leaders supposedly in DC, have buried us in debt. We paid zero attention when our political leaders made it legal to detain a citizen of this country indefinitely. And now, we are watching and waiting as gun control becomes the latest freedom to die.
Come on folks, quit doubting yourselves, it is here and it IS happening!
This nation and its citizens have become paralyzed by the Normalcy Bias. We don’t want to think that this great nation is declining. We don’t know what to do about it, we feel overwhelmed and helpless, so we do nothing. Or worse, many are vilifying those who are beginning to voice their fears and they mock those that are making attempts to get away from it. You can look to your televisions, the late night comedians or the Piers Morgans if you are doubting yourself at all on this one.
In Germany, there came a time, when the government demanded its citizens turn in their guns. After which 2.2 Million Nazis began rounding up Jews and any other groups they deemed a threat or they just didn’t like and started exterminating them. They terminated the lives of 6 million people. Had each family kept their gun and taken two or three Nazis out when they came breaking down their doors, the Nazi party would not have been able to grow to 8 million before the end of the war. Do the math folks, 2.2 Million Nazis, 6 million Jews….Dominating by fear and intimidation, those 2.2 million fervent “believers” waged such a war of intimidation on the masses that they caved! And the Jews died because they refused to believe it could possibly happen. The United States and most of Europe did not respond. Why did they not? Normalcy Bias. Believing the unbelievable is a monumental mind change.
Now, because of the exceptional events of madmen, the citizens of the United States are all being branded as incompetent and criminal and not capable of handling weapons. As in so many other areas of our Constitution, we are about to become the victims of yet another breach in its tenants.
Normalcy bias needs to take a back seat, we need to put ourselves in the driver’s seat and get to work! Getting ourselves prepared is primary, but we need to recognize that it is not enough.
We must reach out and begin to change the minds of those in the middle that think they are powerless and are continuing to “wait and see”. The progressives have a huge head start on us. They are in our schools and colleges, unions, political forums, etc. We need get much more active, put our money out there to support groups that are deemed of like determinations, and be much more active in forming small groups that can come together in common cause to effectuate change. That is why I found myself 2.5 hours from home in Santa Rosa, Ca the other night, listening for myself to the crowd surrounding Mike Thompson on the gun control issue. I talked to other people that were there, we decided we are going to get together for coffee and discuss which groups we can help and how we can help them. It has to start somewhere. And you know the saying……….’no matter where ya go, there ya are”. Everyone has a small circle of influence.
Look at MD and how he has grown his blog. We can all speak to our neighbors, co workers, church and club members and share our philosophy. Even when they don’t want to listen, you might be able to quietly slide a thought in on them that will niggle at them sometime later in the middle of the night. Don’t bow your head to ridicule or dismissal. Hold your ground, don’t be a jerk about it, but HOLD.YOUR.GROUND! Start learning and teaching, speak up and don’t back down. Do it when you are sober, do it when you have calmly collected your thoughts, but it starts with each of us doing “more”. The time is now and the who is YOU.
This contest will end on February 16 2013 – prizes include:
- First Place winner will receive Two cases of MRE’s courtesy of Camping Survival, A Wonder Junior Deluxe hand-mill courtesy of Kitchen Kneads, $150 gift certificate for Fiocchi Ammo courtesy of LuckyGunner Ammo, A Big Berkey Water Filter System courtesy of TruPrep Emergency Preparedness and a one year subscription to Personal VPN service courtesy of unspyable.
- Second Place: A $200 gift certificate for any order from their store courtesy ofShepherd Survival and A Doom and Bloom Mini Trauma Bag courtesy of LPC Survival.
- Third Place: A Bar-ricade door bar courtesy of My Locksmith, Inc.