Is reality a creature of social consensus? And, of mountain lions and wolves

Currently, people in large numbers obey the edicts or diktats from government officials largely without thinking about these orders.  People are fed a non-stop stream of propaganda that inculcates the belief that this Corona Virus threatens them individually and collectively as one of the most serious threats to their physical survival in all of history and human experience.

For these people, the “reality” is that the Corona Virus is an existential threat to mankind, and thus extreme sacrifices, and forfeitures of various rights are necessary.  The social consensus has been forged through months of misinformation, propaganda and emotional, even near hysterical, fears.

Apparently, reality is a creature of social consensus.  Or, similarly, we might opine that truth is what people can be made to believe.

In passing, let us just point to Sweden’s example.  The Swedes did not lock their country and economy down.  Today, the numbers of new infections, hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 are all declining.  The death total there never came close to the dire predictions of the “experts”.  In the US and many other Western countries, who did not do as Sweden did, the prescription in place is for a series of repeated societal lock downs if numbers of cases (with many false positives from flawed testing procedures) begin to rise.  This is guaranteed to destroy economies over a bad strain of the flu.  There is nothing more to say here.  We will leave it to those trained in group psychology to add their analysis.

of mountain lions and wolves

Years ago, I was in favor of reintroducing wolves into various areas of wilderness and semi-wilderness in some of the western states of the US.  Later, I saw a television documentary on the impact of the (reintroduced) wolves on mountain lions, a competing predator species.  The wolves often hunt in packs, whereas the cougars (aka mountain lions) are solitary hunters.  The documentary informed viewers that the wolves, in packs, will often track and try to kill the big, solitary cats.  It is only the cats’ cunning that allows them to fend off and escape packs of wolves.  But, the wolf packs can be tenacious and do succeed in killing the cougars by wearing them down in their pursuits.

This does not strike me as a fair fight. The wolves use their numbers to bring down cats that can easily fend off a single wolf in the wild.  As well, the packs of wolves kill more prey than the solitary mountain lions in any given area.  It may be that the bringing back the wolves to various areas in the western US is going to make the mountain lions endangered species in these same areas.  Now, I no longer support reintroduction of wolves into areas with mountain lions.

This story of the mountain lions and the packs of wolves may be a metaphor for the humans who engage, often unconsciously, in group think and herd behavior versus the rare and brave independent minded individuals who fight for truth and what is right even while enduring frequent attacks from the crowd.  If there is any hope left for humanity, it lies with the few courageous individuals remaining rather than with the mass of humanity, the mindless herd that stampedes unknowingly towards the cliff.



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