Psychological sense of uncertainty is a primary mental driver. Uncertainty warps by poisoning with fear. Those who chronically feel uncertainty mentally suffer and sow social discord in reaction.
Our lives begin in wonder: a quest for understanding which may morph into a lasting longing for control, to render the environment more certain, and so mollify an otherwise troubled mind.
Living is an exercise in probability. Nothing is certain (except death and taxes, as English dramatist Christopher Bullock observed in 1716). Yet the common operational axiom is continuity: that tomorrow is going to be like today.
Mental uncertainty reduction is a feint with only false assumption for foundation. Yet this probabilistic delusion is psychologically healthier than fearing that tomorrow may be worse than today – a strongly positive fear of the future.
The healthiest perspective is to give time no thought beyond necessary planning of tasks and probabilistic contingencies, as a preparatory mental exercise of readiness. Only those in a state of enlightened consciousness possess such steadiness and temporal unconcern.
Inherent in enlightenment is acceptance. Those rare beings who are realized – in the highest state of consciousness – intuitively know what physicists also appreciate: that time does not exist and is purely a mirage of the mind.
By stark contrast, the Collective of humanity commonly worry. Worry is the prattling mind forging chains of fear. Those who fear time passing toward the untoward react by mentally circling tribal wagons, and by embracing nonsensical political precepts, such as an ideal of personal freedom which does not exist, and a resistance to change in the status quo, for fear of what that change may be.
In the political dimension, the labels applied to this mental illness are conservatism and populism. Fools under the fearful sway of uncertainty look to leaders who promise what they cannot deliver: the stoppage of time, or a return to an imagined past which never was.
Populist politicians pander to uncertainty fears with fierce falsities. The most potent populists are pathological liars. American Deceiver-in-Chief Donald Trump and British Prime Perfidy Boris Johnson practice duplicity as a stock-in-trade, as do other populist charlatans. Hence, in political expression, the self-deceit of thinking that uncertainty can be reduced finds detrimental societal consequence. That populism has become so popular is a proxy for the psychological decline of the Collective.
The world now faces a dire certainty: a man-made mass extinction event which is accelerating in momentum from economically driven pollution. That capitalism is the cause cannot be reasonably countered. That democracy has not worked is obvious to all but the politically ignorant or blind. Instead of charting a corrective course, populism sprouts as a final botulism on the body politic, speeding human demise – a cancer spread by fear.
Michael A. Hogg, “Radical change,” Scientific American (September 2019).