Saturday, October 23, 2021

More On Irritainment

Via Greg Ellifritz comes this article on the effects of irritainment. It's five years old, but more valid than ever. 

Bear Greg's advice in mind when reading it, though...
This is a really good article. It will likely offend anyone who strongly identifies with either the far right or the far left on the political spectrum. Keep reading, even if you are offended. The article describes the difference between fear and anxiety and how large interest groups on both sides of the political aisle increase your anxiety to create a predictable response. Understanding how your brain processes information is key to avoiding irrational fears and anxiety.
This quote from the article reminded me of something:
"What’s occurring in this meet-up group right now is what social psychologists call the “law of group polarization,” which states that if like-minded people are concerned about an issue, their views will become more extreme after discussing it together. Theoretically, most people here, and in similar meet-ups around the country, will leave the room not just with stronger opinions but with less empathy for those with contrary views."
It's like a macro variation of the social effect that a friend used to call "Agreeing Parties".

Friends A, B, C, D, and E are hanging out. Friend F couldn't make it that night. As it happens, Friend B doesn't actually much like Friend F, and uses the absence to air this grievance. This reminds Friend D of some minor beef they had with F and so, to keep the conversation going, they share their own story. 

Now the tenor for the night is set and the group dynamic starts to heterodyne about what a walking sack of assholes Friend F really is. The way to get social capital in the conversation at this point is to be madder at F than the person across the table from you. It feeds on itself and if you think about it, you've probably watched it happen.