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The internet gives a certain…immediacy to people and events. Turnaround times are faster, and it comes right into our homes, places of work, purses, briefcases and pockets. We’re not seeing a person on television talking about things that happened earlier. We’re getting something more raw.

It’s not overpolished, and it’s right there. We feel more like participants or witnesses to events and actions.

That generally makes us like the characters in the seventies disaster film of your choice. We polarise to one of two extremes: Overreaction, or overinaction.

What’s going on in our virtual worlds can be so immediate and so present that it can be hard to maintain any objective distance. The ease with which we can respond doesn’t give you the sort of time to cool – to think about things; to take a deep breath and put it all in perspective.

Conversely, many (most?) people confronted with something unexpected will freeze. There’s no practised response to the unexpected. No rehearsed plan. That often leads us down the path of completely inappropriate behaviour.

We fall back on habit – perhaps this might be considered a truer expression of self, perhaps not; answers on a postcard – and ultimately commence a behaviour that is well-remembered, familiar and probably wrong. Our news media and fiction are full of examples of these.

Either the course of action we choose in response to the unexpected avoids addressing the problem, or meets the problem with an exaggerated response that similarly fails partially or completely to address what is going on.

You can see examples of this everywhere. Not a single one of us is immune to this particular safety mechanism that nature has provided for us. We can – and do – overcome it, but imperfectly, and not necessarily all that frequently.

Examples are everywhere. Think about them.

Categories: Maundering.

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